I’ve been in the D.C. area about a year now and I’m still not quite used to the slightly different timing of the seasons.
Here it is the end of October, and the fall foliage is just peaking in the immediate suburbs where I live. Two weeks ago a group of us was hiking about 50 miles northwest of here, at Sugarloaf Mountain, and there was very little color on the trees at all. In contrast, I saw full color in the High Peaks of the Adirondacks a month ago.
The mountain areas south of here, though, are a little ahead of us in the immediate D.C. area. Ted and I went yesterday with a friend, Bruce, to Massanutten Mountain, about 85 miles southwest, and most of the color was in the carpet of leaves covering the trails. Little was left on the trees. Yet flowers that looked a bit like purple astors were in full bloom, a rare sight in the mountains of the Northeast this time of year, from my experience.
Yesterday’s hike, up to Signal Knob, was the closest I’ve had yet here to the Adirondacks, clocking in at 12 miles and 8 hours long, with rocky trails, and with views of layers of mountains, not just the farmland vistas from the tops of mountains I’ve been to in Maryland. It was great!
Seasons for fresh fruits and vegetables are longer here, too, with a few exceptions. For instance, I can’t find much rhubarb, and lettuce doesn’t grow in the heat of the summer but in the spring and then again the fall. I also miss lilacs, which emit my favorite floral fragrance.
Local strawberries appear in May. Tomatoes come out earlier and I still found plenty at the farmers’ market last weekend. I wonder if the coming storm will stamp out the rest of the year’s crop, though.
Hurricane season has a different meaning here than up in Albany, too. Being further south and closer to the ocean, we had Hurricane Irene sweep by in August 2011 and leave us days without power. We expect much of the same this week, from Hurricane Sandy.
And while I hadn’t yet moved here for winter 2010, everyone still talks about “snowmageddon,” when the D.C. area got two back-to-back snowstorms that dumped more than 3 feet of snow. Ted speaks of it so fondly, that I hope we get at least enough snow this winter to ski a little bit through nearby parks — or at least find snow in the hills of West Virginia.