Guest Post: The Cities You’ll Fall for This Autumn
Spring break conjures up images of college kids in bikinis and board shorts, tropical, sunny clime and margaritas – so many margaritas. For some, maybe it’s the sole reason to go to college; how else to get your parents to bankroll a trip to Cancun than to woefully lament on the difficulties of a trying half-semester of Western Civ I?
Yet Spring Break has gotten a little clichéd – not to mention crowded – and if you’ve got your big boy or big girl pants on finally, fending off raucous college students might not be your idea of a good time. That’s why the grown-ups take Fall Break. Spring Break’s sophisticated, cultured older sister (she wears fine wool to the office instead of velour track suits to class), Fall Break is strategically placed on the calendar outside of most peak tourist seasons (so you’ll reap the benefits of typically lower airfare and accommodations) and offers a little autumnal elegance as an escape from the daily grind. Whether you’re looking to get away for just a rejuvenating weekend or you’ve got an entire week to fill, there are beautiful cities in each part of the world with “Fall Break” written all over them.
San Miniato, Tuscany, Italy
If the gourmand in you melts at the thought of the truffles, that scarcest delicacy of the fungi family, then the San Miniato Truffle Fair beckons. Held during the second, third and fourth weekends of November, the fair occurs during the peak of truffle gathering season (25 percent of Italy’s white truffles come from the San Miniato area) and the Medieval town gives over to fine food, wine, arts, theater, music and crafts.
Noboribetsu, Onsen, Hakkaido, Japan
Not only does this mountainous area boast sulphurous volcanic pits and geysers (in what is known as Hell Valley), it’s also home to Dai-Ichi Takimotokan: a famous hotel that offers weary travelers 29 hot springs baths and is open 24 hours a day. Come in October and you’ll get a glimpse of Japan’s spectacular autumn foliage against a backdrop of other stunning natural wonders. It’s a side of Japan you might not have ever expected.
San Diego, California
San Diego…drink it in. It always goes down smooth. So said San Diego’s greatest ambassador, Ron Burgundy, and the fact is, he was absolutely right. San Diego is a vibrant, multicultural city just 120 miles south of Los Angeles and a mere 16 miles north of the Mexican city of Tijuana. Yet San Diego has so much to offer in the fall, there’s no reason to leave the city. Starting in September, San Diego kicks off a season-long celebration of food with the San Diego Festival of Beer, followed by San Diego Restaurant Week, where around 180 restaurants in the area offer three-course dinner menus for fixed rates of $50, $40, even $30. The city also celebrates the arts with the Contemporary Art Fair in September and the Thanksgiving Dixieland Jazz Festival in November. There are also plenty of multi-national festivals and goings on for Halloween.
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Kuala Lumpur, usually abbreviated as KL, offers visitors a unique taste of the east, flavored as it is with both Chinese influences and culture all KL’s own. Fall is one of the most beautiful times to visit KL, especially for the Mid-Autumn Festival, also known as the Lantern Festival. The tradition goes back 3,000 years in reverence to the goddess Chang Er. Children go out into the night with paper lanterns and special moon cakes are available for all. The rapidly developing city is also home to the 13th largest shopping mall in the world, as well as an unending assortment of cheap, delicious foods.
If you like scarf weather, head to Dublin in the autumn. The maritime climate in Ireland keeps temperatures from climbing or falling too far for comfort and in the fall, they hover in the 40s and 50s, making for brisk walking weather that just hints at rain. The city teems with activities, from the Festival of Fashion in September to Dine in Dublin in October, as well as the “usual” Dublin sight-seeing – the Guinness Store House, Dublin Castle, Trinity College and bountiful shopping on Grafton Street.
This article was written by T.J. Mathers. Mathers is originally from Ireland but, seven and a half months ago, relocated to India. He’s learning to fall in love with the subcontinent.