Most people have a natural affinity with summer. After all, it is a season of joy. The bright sunny mornings, the long humid nights, the regular sipping of wine… endless days at the beach, light lunches, ice cream and fresh fruit. For sure, there isn’t much more one could wish for. And still, I am partial to another season. A season of crisp air in the morning, of drinking hot tea in the afternoon, of impromptu baking with friends and quiet reading in the evening (when all kids are in bed!). Autumn is by far my favorite season, and not just because I was born in Autumn. To me, Autumn is a bountiful season, filled with the riches of Mother Nature. A season of preparation for the darkest time of the year. A season of harvesting, cooking, curing, pickling and baking; of all those activities that make a house a home.
However, as I happen to be married to the a true man-of-the-city with a strange inclination for the outdoors, we often end op spending our Sundays in Autumn going out. Therefore, as a start of this blog I thought it would be great to give you an idea of our outdoor Autumn activities. This list is especially handy for visitors to and families living in the (greater) Amsterdam area.
Apple and Pear Picking
This year will be the third in a row that we will go apple and pear picking at this amazing orchard called De Olmenhorst. It is only a short twenty-minute drive from Amsterdam, but it takes you all the way to the Dutch countryside. We go up there every year with a group of friends to do apple and pear picking. Our boys love this outing and get all excited when I tell them it’s that time of the year again. Last year Sam was big enough to pick and carry his own apples, so we got him his own basket. I’m sure this year Raaf will also be big enough to do his own picking. Beware that you will take home lots of apples, so plan out your baking beforehand, and bring your wellies at it tends to be rather muddy. This year’s public picking season starts 16th of September at 10 am. For more information: https://www.olmenhorst.nl/activiteiten/zelfpluk.html (Info in Dutch)
Autumn Treasure Hunt
We live close to the Amsterdamse Bos, and as our house, like many houses in Amsterdam, lacks a garden, we love going there, like many Amsterdam folk. Most people though, tend to visit the Amsterdamse Bos during the Summer. However, the visitor’s center, organizes all kinds of excursions, not just during the Summer months. In fact, they organize a seasonal treasure hunt every season! Birdwatching in winter, looking for toadstools in Autumn, you name it. It is especially intended for families, and you can pick up the instructions Tuesdays to Sundays until 3 pm. More information can be found here: http://www.amsterdamsebos.nl/boswinkel/seizoensspeurtocht/ (Info in Dutch)
Children’s Theater Schoorlse Duinen
The visitor’s centre Schoorlse Duinen regularly hosts a puppet show for children between 2 and 8. We’ve recently discovered this activity and plan to go to one of the performances this Autumn. The stories are about the dunes, about nature and the seasons. So right up our ally! After the show, the children also get to do some arts and crafts connected to the show. https://www.staatsbosbeheer.nl/activiteiten/schoorlse-duinen/kindertheater-schoorlse-duinen
This is something you can obviously do at home. But, if you’re not sure about how to make a birdhouse and you need some guidance, then this event is for you. On October 1st the Visitor’s Centre at the Amsterdamse Bos hosts a day of birdhouse building. You pay for the supplies and get to take the birdhouse home to put in your garden or on your balcony. I think this is a great way to teach your children about the needs of birds, but also talk about the different birds that live in the city. It also gives you the opportunity to bring some wildlife in to your garden or onto your balcony and do some birdwatching! Info: http://www.amsterdamsebos.nl/boskalender/2017/1-10-nestkastjes/
I know I have only listed outdoor events. As I said, because my Better Half loves to be outside, these kind of events happen to get on our to-go-to-list. But rest assured, I love being at home, and making our house as homely as I can, especially in Autumn. It is true though, that because we don’t have a garden right now, we try to go the extra mile and make an effort to find outdoor things to do with the kids. After all, soon it will be too cold and too rainy outside to really enjoy the playground. So, as long as there is some sunlight, we try to play out rather than in.