Harvest Sun: Where to go in October

Written by  larapiegeler

Though it may seem that Nature is winding down for the year in October, really she's just engaged in changing outfits...

For one thing, it's time to start indulging in the results of the harvests that take place all across Europe at this time of year. In Italy, you can catch the Slow Food Festival in Milan, the Perugia Chocolate Festival and the beginning of the white truffle season, and in France, mellow out at the Armagnac Festival or Sauveterre de Rouergue's Cider and Chestnut Festival. Grape harvests are happening everywhere, just as the vineyards turn from green to flame-red and orange; try the Loire Valley or the Germany's Mosel area. There's some fantastic mushroom-picking to be done in parts of Eastern and Northern Europe, too, and the Retour des Alpages folk festival in romantic Annecy is one of the few occasions on which cows really do get to wear flowers behind their ears.

It's also worth remembering that although there might be a little chill in the air, Mediterranean waters are still warmed through from the Summer despite the chaos of seasonal tourism being finished with (- but beware of a busy spell during school half term).

An English harvest is a worthwhile experience in itself if you know where to look – apples and pears are being converted rapidly into cider and enjoyed with cheeses and chutneys (- visit the annual Somerset Fair at lovely, rambling Hestercombe Gardens and look out for other regional events on Apple Day on 21st of the month) and annual oyster festivals are being celebrated with relish in Falmouth and Colchester.

There's no sense in waiting indoors carving pumpkins on Hallowe'en anymore, since times are apparently too scary for children to come trick-or-treating, so why not have a grown-up experience (or at least an old-fashioned one) instead and head to Chalindrey in France for their less-than-commercialised Fete des Sorcieres? Or if you're feeling inclined towards more extreme spookiness, pick one of our famous haunted spots.

Of course, if you'd prefer to avoid ghoulishness altogether, how about timing a trip to India for Buddhist temples and glorious Himalayan scenery to coincide with the magical Diwali period?

If a little peace is what you’d really like, try Hawaii or Mauritius – perfect at this time of year – or watch Summer fade out in style in New England, where the forests' Autumn colours are at their glorious peak, or in Japan, where the Momiji (maple) trees splash the green and yellow hills with blood-red against a cobalt sky.

And don't forget, if you want to be at Oktoberfest, they make an early start on the beer during the final week of September!

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