I moved to California a decade ago to experience sunny beaches and practically perfect year-round weather. Many people say they would miss the seasons, and, it’s TRUE. I desperately miss autumn. Is the answer to move back to rain and snow in exchange for a few short weeks of fall foliage? Well, sure. Or, I can live in perfect weather and visit fall foliage.
For the 2016 Visit to Autumn, my husband and I headed to Quebec City on October 9th. I had never been there, but I knew to expect a little piece of French-speaking, European heaven. I anticipated satisfying my fall fix, but I had no idea exactly how beautiful autumn could be until we arrived in Quebec City. Mind you, I am no novice to this game. I went to college for four years in Boston. However, I was blown away by the firestorm of colors on display in this little corner of Canada.
The stage is set as soon as you step out of your cab into the old town. Doorways, parks, and public squares–many of which date back hundreds of years — were festooned with an array of Halloween and autumn decorations. As I had just spent the previous weekend in a beach town where everyone was still walking around happily in bathing suits and flip-flops, I was in love with the charm of it all. (Seriously, I am not sure anyone has ever taken more pictures of pumpkins.)
The real beauty in this season, of course, comes from looking up at the trees and shuffling through crunchy, fallen leaves. (Quick note: When you live in California, the smell of fall is astonishingly powerful. Trust me, your nose adapts to fall when you live in it. However, move away for a few years, and you, too, can look like a crazy person deeply inhaling every few feet and loudly asking your husband, “Can’t you just smell the leaves??” )
I am including my not-professional-quality photos here, but they will give you an idea of the explosion of color we saw EVERYWHERE. The most beautiful foliage we found couldn’t be captured by our camera. You simply had to see it with your own eyes. We happened upon it while were driving around a little island right across a bridge from Quebec City called Ile d’Orleans.
On the Ile d’Orleans, there are unbroken chain of trees as far as the eyes could see, and those trees were bursting with color. The line of color kept going across the St Lawrence River and up the Laurentian mountains on the other side of the river. It was simply breathtaking. I can’t adequately describe what I saw, which really isn’t very useful to you. But, know that it is out there if you ever take a drive on crisp, fall day on the Ile d’Orleans at just the right week in October.