My Autumnal Inspirations Fall Bucket List


Fall is most certainly one of my top two favorite seasons. My time living in the North East and Mid-Atlantic areas has made me appreciate all things autumnal. I love the weather, fashion, and the myriad fall specific activities. I can even appreciate pumpkin cake and pumpkin lattes, although I don’t take it too far (wink). With my children back to school during the day the weekends are our family playtime. This year, we’ll do our normal fall outings (hayrides, apple picking, hiking), but we’ll also venture out a bit further to explore some places we’ve never been but have always wanted to! All of the activities on this fall bucket list can be done at any time of the year, but since many involve nature, autumn is a good time since its cooler and there are fewer bugs and crowds!

Falling Water in Mill Run, Pennsylvania

Falling Water, the famed house designed by architect Frank Lloyd Wright in 1935 is at the very top of my fall bucket list. The house was built on a nature reserve and sits on top of a 30-foot waterfall. Wright is known for mid-century modern architecture and creating structures that seem to sprout from their woodsy environment, careful not to offend the surrounding nature. Falling Water was once a private home and now serves as a tourist site, hosting thousands of tourists yearly.

Although I’m sure Falling Water is beautiful at any time of the year, autumn must be the best! The colors represented in fall are a perfect backdrop for viewing Falling Water, which is why it’s on my fall bucket list. I imagine the surrounding foliage is like autumnal confetti, sprinkling down around the property in celebration of its beauty, giving it even more life.

Treehouse/Yurt Stay

How cool would it be to stay in a tricked out treehouse for a weekend? A real treehouse perched on a mountain with all of the modern amenities one needs to feel luxurious pampered. The elevated locations lend to super-fly views of the Shenandoah mountains and other forested areas in our region. I can only imagine what the sunrises and sunsets are like.

A stay in a treehouse brings back childhood nostalgia, but most of the treehouses in this area are adults only. For a fun stay with the kids try one of this area’s yurts. A yurt is a giant, collapsible tent which originated with nomadic tribes in Mongolia; they have become very popular among the United States glamping enthusiasts. Yurts are circular, have wooden lattice walls and ceilings, and are covered in heavy felt or traditionally, skins. A yurt provides structure and protection in a way that even the best tent does not. Many have plumbing, electricity, and all of the amenities that make them a win for those who don’t camp.

Family Wilderness Classes

I really want to take a wilderness/survival class with my family, which is why it’s on my fall bucket list. I want to learn about herbs, medicinal plants, and how to survive overnight in different climates. I’ve been around several people that knew their way around nature in different climates and it seems to be an essential skill that many don’t know. Bringing the family along assures that everyone can pull their weight and we emerge victorious if we all get stuck in the wild (smile).

Luray Caverns in Luray, Virginia

Am I the only one with children who collect rocks and pebbles, and calls them crystals? Probably not, right? My girls love rocks and crystals and rocks that look like crystals. Our home is littered with treasures that have been excavated by my geologists in training. Just two hours out of DC Luray Caverns are caves that have naturally occurring calcite formations. The caves are vast, displaying columns, drapes, and walls of crystal formations. In some areas, they go up several stories high. There are also small lakes and bodies of water. Luray Caverns is a dream for rock collectors.

So there it is, fall bucket list! A shortlist of activities to look forward to this fall. I’ve stayed in a yurt with my family once when my girls were seven and two, and it was so much fun! All of the other adventures are new to me. With most people opting out of international travel, it is nice to take beautiful and interesting adventures close to home, and this area has plenty. Let’s explore!

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Shaniece is a California girl living in DC. She discovered DC in 1995 when she came to study theater arts at Howard University and left DC for New York in 2000. Fast forward to 2008, she excitedly moved back to DC with her husband (found him in NYC) and daughter (grew her in Atlanta). She’s been living, loving, creating art and making connections in DC ever since! She now has two daughters (11 and 6). Shaniece enjoyed working in the non-profit/NGO sector for years until making the transition into full time chef, organizer, manager and volunteer (you know, a stay-at-home mom) and a part time artist, and occasional thrower of a good party. Shaniece loves family, reading, art, international relations and development, and building bridges. Exploring the world is very important to her and she loves to travel with family and friends.


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