As temperatures dip and vibrant leaves blanket Harvard Yard, students have begun a series of annual autumn traditions.
On campus and across New England, students are picking apples, carving pumpkins, and quaffing hot cider to get into the fall spirit.
One such student, Alec S. DeCaprio ’21, celebrated the arrival of autumn by embarking on an apple-picking excursion with a group of friends.
“Recently, I went apple-picking in the middle of the state, a little more west. We actually brought back a lot of the product here, so I have a lot of donuts in my room, apple ciders in my fridge,” he said.
The House Committees of several upperclassmen houses have also organized fall-themed activities to mark the season.
On Monday, Mather held a new celebration, “Fall Fest,” which included “pumpkin painting and bobbing for apples, make-your-own caramel apple station, [and] apple cider donuts,” according to Mather HoCo Co-Chair Lenny C. Murphy Jr. ’18. The group is also adding “fall-themed” happy hour events.
Winthrop’s HoCo and Faculty Deans collaborated on a harvest-themed event this past weekend, said Winthrop HoCo Co-Chair Danielle O. Strasburger ’18. About 30 Winthrop students traveled to Shelburne Farm in Stow, Mass., to pick apples, amble through pumpkin patches, and take an old-fashioned hayride. They later put their pickings to use by baking pies.
The following day, Winthrop residents resurrected an old annual tradition called “Throptoberfest,” a party featuring pumpkin decorating, apple cider donuts, and fall-themed beers and ciders amidst a festive setting of hay bales and corn stalks.
Dunster is planning a “Fall Hoedown,” featuring traditional fall foods and folk music. Dunster Faculty Dean Cheryl Chen is also planning to traveling with students to Red Apple Farm in Phillipston, Mass. for apple-picking this weekend.
“It’s so beautiful around here in the fall, and it’s just a nice way to get people off campus,” Chen said. She added that later this month the Faculty Dean’s open house “will be an apple-themed event,” possibly offering freshly baked apple crisp.
Other organizations on campus are also taking advantage of fall foliage and weather in an effort to escape the frenetic pace of college life. In addition to their regular hikes throughout New England, the Harvard Outing Club has organized multiple fall-themed trips.
“We ran a trip to the farm last weekend mixed with Food Literacy,” said Cameron J. Maltman ’20, Gear Manager for the club.
For students coming to Harvard from outside New England, fall activities can provide a new cultural experience.
“I’m from Texas originally,” said Strasburger, “so I think just the fact that it’s a season that’s celebrated is fun, since that’s not really my background.”
This month’s fall festivities follow weeks of unseasonably warm temperatures. According to climate data from the Northeast Regional Climate Center, this September marked the third-warmest on record for Southern New England, and a warm spell at the end of the month broke several daily high temperature records.
“We’re setting many more high temperature records than low temperature records,” said Earth and Planetary Sciences professor Peter Huybers, noting that an increase in average temperatures makes unusually warm temperatures more likely.
“In some ways, I love this. Fall is my favorite season,” said Huybers.
DeCaprio, though, noticed a distinct shift in the weather Thursday.
“Today was really the first day where the air was very crisp, and I think that’s a trademark of New England, very crisp air. It’s not offensive to your lungs,” DeCaprio said. “It really draws me into this New England aesthetic.”