“Bachelor in Paradise” has wrapped up and school is starting soon, which means that summer – that notoriously short, sweat-soaked season where frozen juice passes for food and tourists mob Commercial Street in so many black dog-emblazoned shirts – is finally over. Goodbye, our fair-weather visitors and good riddance to all that.
But let’s say you want to show your friends in the lower states what they’re missing. Or maybe you want to cash in on the last few months of picture-friendly weather before the ennui of endless gray sets in. Or maybe you were too busy paddle-boarding and beaching to snap proper photos of all the summery activity. Whatever the reason, we know you’re jonesing for an excuse to whip out that iPhone and start collecting some likes. Eschew the lighthouses and head for the hills. Here’s your easy-to-follow, only-a-little-serious guide to having a picture-perfect autumn weekend.
Dress for the followers you want, not the followers you have
Remember when Taylor Swift strolled through Brooklyn with Jake Gyllenhaal attached to her wool-covered arm while sipping a Venti pumpkin spice latte? That was back in 2014 and, yeah, we remember it, too. It was just so perfect, from her jaunty little knit cap to her buttery soft leather boots. But wait! You, too can live like Taylor (or at least, that’s what her genius marketing team keeps telling us). First, head to Bliss for a pair of denim skinnies and some stacked-heel Frye boots. Extra points if your kicks have a little ’70s flare. Next, get knitting and DIY a hat in rust-colored yarn. That’s a joke because ain’t nobody got time for that – not when there are hashtags to generate. You can get a decent wool cap virtually anywhere in town, from Urban Outfitters to the corner gas station. Top off your look with a cozy sweater from Portland Dry Goods, and, this next step is essential so listen up, a plaid scarf. It’s literally not fall if you’re not wearing some tartan. #truth
Pick your own apples and pick up some likes
Depending on who you ask, PYO orchards are either wholesome settings for family fun or the biggest scam farmers have pulled on the general population, aside from convincing us that juicing 100 pounds of vegetables is a worthwhile way to spend our mornings. Regardless, Maine’s apple orchards are unarguably picturesque, which means an apple-picking date is a must for any Instagram-driven autumnal jaunt. Brackett’s Orchards in Limington is ripe with stunning scenery, from the quaint little clapboard store to the sweeping views of western Maine. Randall Orchards in Standish is also a pretty spot, as is Snell Family Farm in Buxton, where you can mix it up with shots of orange squash and late-season sunflowers.
Hot take: Fire looks good with a filter
Close your eyes and imagine the perfect fall weekend. Now inhale. What does it smell like? Damn right, it smells like wood smoke. If you have a wood-burning stove, now is the time to pack it full of logs and light up. If you don’t, then head to the nearest state park, buy a bundle of timber and get a little fire going. Sebago Lake State Park is a great place to have a fall-themed picnic, complete with hot cider (spiked with whiskey, of course), nice big batards of bread (purchased in advance from Rosemont Market or Big Sky Bread Company) and a peck of apples you picked yourself. A six-pack of seasonal brews will also come in handy when you’re waiting around for the fire to catch. Be sure to pay careful attention to the labels – Maine Beer Co. has particularly good design – when you’re making your selection.
Location, location, location
Finally, the most surefire way to have a picturesque weekend is by renting the right house. Hotels wont cut it here. Instead, check out Airbnb. There are dozens of sweet little log cabins and camps available for a weekend away, including the farmhouse at Oxbow Brewing Co. in Newcastle. You can rent the entire three-bedroom spot, which will house you and nine of your well-clad friends. On your drive north, stop in at the L.L. Bean headquarters and buy a classic Hudson’s Bay Point Blanket (you’ll recognize the iconic stripes from a mile away). If you’re low on cash, grab a set of red plaid sheets – preferably buffalo check – that can serve as a picnic blanket for impromptu al fresco meals or as a backdrop for groupings of neatly arranged objects. (Think thick-framed glasses, vintage paperbacks, a copper flask, a wood-handled hatchet and similarly on-theme items.) Remember: Instagram is all about the color palate, so aim for shades of orange, red and brown, and you’ll be golden. Good luck, and be sure to hashtag the hell out of each shot.
Katy Kelleher is a writer, teacher and editor living in Buxton.