Michigan vs. Pennsylvania

From my title you might think I’m writing about college football teams today – Michigan versus Penn State. It might be football season but football is definitely not the subject of this post.

If you read my post yesterday, you’ll remember I highlighted some Lake Erie lighthouses Papa and I visited on our autumn vacation last year to Michigan.

We left our home on a sunshine-filled, crisp fall October morning in 2019 and road-tripped on some blue highways along Ohio’s shoreline of Lake Erie. As the day progressed, so did the temperatures and it reached 80° by mid-afternoon and I began to regret my packing choices of cool weather clothes.

By the time we reached our destination in Michigan, the tide had turned, so to speak. We encountered much colder weather which eventually caused me to regret my packing choices again because I didn’t bring enough warm clothes, like hats, gloves, and a winter coat! We even encountered snow.

But there was another big difference that became so very apparent on that trip. Usually in our neck of the woods, we have some nice color on our deciduous trees during the autumn months, but for the last several years, our fall foliage just wasn’t that great. And being such a lover of the season, I missed those vibrant colors.

With each mile as we traveled northward through Michigan last October, my eyes beheld a feast of gorgeous, colored trees bedecked in vibrant shades. I just kept exclaiming, “Those trees, that color, oh, oh, oh!” as I grabbed my camera for shot after shot.

“Every leaf speaks bliss to me, fluttering from the autumn tree.”~ Emily Brontë

After being fall color deficient for so long, I absolutely reveled in seeing those lovely trees with their coats of scarlet, gold, russet, and amber.

That was a year ago. And now it’s 2020 and something magnificent happened — yes, I can say that even in this dreadful year of difficulty and hardships that we won’t soon forget.

Autumn, in all its glory, shined forth here in my hometown area. The leaves this year have been beautiful and Papa and I took another day-long road trip not too far from home just to bask in all their splendor.

So I thought I’d give my readers a little quiz (no need for test anxiety, this is just for fun!) and post some fall photos for you to identify. Some were taken in 2019  in Michigan and some were taken just recently here in my own little corner of Pennsylvania.

Can you identify which fall photos are from Michigan and which are from my home state? (Answers provided at the end of this post.)


“Autumn… the year’s last, loveliest smile.” ~ William Cullen Bryant

Well, how did you do? Here are the answers: #1 Pennsylvania 2020; #2 Michigan 2019; #3 Michigan 2019; #4 Pennsylvania 2020; #5 Michigan 2019; #6 Pennsylvania 2020; #7 Michigan 2019: #8 Pennsylvania 2020.

Anyone get them all correct? You get an A-plus!

©2020 mamasemptynest.wordpress.com

Vacationing in October

blogIMG_9328Time changes things.

When our home was full of children, Papa and I only took our family vacations during the summer months when school was not in session. Both of us were raised to believe that the only reason you missed a day of school was because you were ill.

So we just didn’t think it was the best idea to take our three out of their classrooms for a week of vacation because they would miss so much and then have a lot of catching up to do.

Occasionally, we would take a trip during their spring break, but the majority of our family excursions for fun, relaxation, and sightseeing happened during the summer season. That continued during our children’s college years as well.

But things changed as time progressed and our offspring graduated from college, moved out of our family home, and set off into the world launching their careers and own ways of life.  As our nest emptied out, one by one, Papa and I realized we were free to do as we pleased.

And if we wanted to travel any time of the year, we certainly could do so. After our last fledgling flew out of the nest, Papa and I decided to take a trip down south in the fall. Our first non-summer trip as empty nesters.   

We traveled through several states, stopping along the way when some site piqued our interest as we made our way to Alabama to visit our oldest daughter who was living and working there at the time.

At every stop we made, we marveled at the lack of crowds. Families with school-aged children were non-existent at the points of interest we visited since school was in session. We found that we could take our time absorbing the sights and not feel rushed because tourists were not abundant at each place we stopped. 

What a new and great experience it was and we truly enjoyed our trip and the time we had together – just the two of us – like those days in our married life before children came along.

We had discovered a great perk to entering into that empty nest phase of life.

Since then, we’ve ventured on several trips during the ‘off-season’ of vacation time. We realized how pleasant it is to travel in the less busy seasons of fall, winter, or late spring before schools let out for the summer.  

And now that I am retired and Papa is semi-retired, we can pick up and take off on a journey whenever we darn well please.

Staying true to our discovery, we recently returned from an October vacation and it was glorious. Of course, since autumn is my very favorite time of year, I basked in the cooler weather and amazing fall foliage we encountered on our trip to Michigan, especially the Upper Peninsula.

And I checked one more state off my bucket list of visiting all 50 states in this great country of mine. (Ten more to go.)

I plan to share my thoughts, photos, and experiences from our trip in the next several posts.

Won’t you pack your virtual suitcase and come along for the trip?

“Travel, in the younger sort, is a part of education; in the elder, a part of experience.” ~ Francis Bacon

©2019 mamasemptynest.wordpress.com