Many people think spring is the most romantic season of the four we experience on this spinning space marble we call Earth. And that’s fine for them—but if People Magazine’s decision to name Blake Shelton 2017’s “sexiest man alive” is any indicator, people have a tendency to get things wrong.

The misconception probably comes from the association of romance with the vigorous amount of blossoming that happens in the spring. There’s something about trees experiencing puberty that really gets people going. In Western NY, however, whatever quasi-spring Mother Nature deigns to bestow upon us can hardly be characterized as romantic. Most of the time, it can’t even be characterized as spring. Take this year, for example, and the thrilling experience of Spring: Winter Edition, followed closely by its riveting sequel, Spring II: Winter Returns. You can find a very compelling argument in favor of cancelling spring entirely here.

In any case, spring is when Western New Yorkers emerge from their hibernal dens, insulated with beer cans and clothing made exclusively of Bills-themed sweatshirt material, to blink like naked mole rats in the weak sun. We’re pale and soft, too haggard for meet-cutes, too incensed by the bounty of potholes revealed upon winter’s thaw to get wrapped up in the hapless whimsy of spring fever.

No, my friends, fall is truly the most romantic season in Western NY. The changing colors, the sweet, crisp air, the re-emergence of corduroy, the thick, steamy soups and stews featuring seasonal gourds—all the makings of a Nora Ephron seasonal special, complete with lots of turtlenecks and tasteful beige-toned scarves.

And now, fall is sprawling for miles out in front of us with nothing but shades of crimson and gold on the horizon and the impulse to get cozy infecting every lovesick sap from the Tonawandas to the Southern Tier. We’ve rounded up the best fall date ideas to make the most of this magical time and inspire your next romantic outing.

  1. Picnic in an abandoned grain silo—Well, well, well, abandoned grain silos make yet another appearance in this blog. Who can blame us? There’s nothing you can’t do in an abandoned grain silo. They’re versatile, dramatic and replete with space that literally no one is using. Plus, industrial reuse is hot right now. So hot, that it’s officially been dubbed Buffalo’s middle name: Buffalo “Industrial Reuse” New York. Plus, if you swap “picnic” for “séance,” you’ve got yourself a spooky themed date just in time for Halloween. Nothing impresses a suitor quite like a good summoning.
  2. Take a trip to Lily Dale—Speaking of summoning, Lily Dale, Western NY’s very own community of mediums, is one of the most romantic fall destinations. It’s quaint and quiet and a great place to learn more about your date—all you have to do is ask a medium! Don’t even bother with small talk. Does he think Spider-Man 3 was the best of the Tobey McGuire Spider-verse films? Does she identify as an Anglophile because she’s really into The Crown? Did he go through an Insane Clown Posse phase? Is he still going through an Insane Clown Posse phase? Does that explain the face paint? How does this keep happening? Magnets, how do they work? Don’t wait to find out—ask a medium!
  3. Visit a pumpkin patch—Pumpkin patches are so romantic! All those beautiful gourds just laying around. But what about the pumpkins that aren’t plucked from their patch and welcomed into homes as the centerpiece of festive fall table settings? You know, the slouchy, lumpy pumpkins that are left to brown and rot. Do something noble and round up every ugly, forgotten pumpkin in the lot—show your date you care about more than looks! You also care a lot about grandstanding!
  4. Eat every pumpkin-spiced item available at Trader Joes—Fall is to Trader Joe’s what Coachella is to Kanye West and rich hippies with flower crowns or what the Super Bowl is to teams that go to the Super Bowl—a chance to go all out. If a food item can be pumpkin spiced, Trader Joe’s will make it so. Start with an amuse-bouche of pumpkin-spiced mini muffin crostini. A pumpkin-spiced jerky variety pack will comprise the charcuterie board before a main course of pumpkin-spiced vegetarian chili with a side of organic pumpkin-spiced bagel bites. Experience the thrill of different textures, ingredients and temperatures, all with the same delicious pumpkin-spice flavor—sourced sustainably from a local vat.
  5. Go leaf peeping—Leaf peeping is a great way to appreciate the beauty of your surroundings with someone you care about. And, unless you’re a small yellow Easter chick, it’s also the only socially acceptable way to peep. If you’re reading this, you’re not an Easter chick, so get it all out of your system now.

Go on, make this fall one to remember. Just please remember to invite us to your wedding if you take one of these suggestions and go on to lock eyes with your squeeze only to realize they’re the one while peepin’ a sweet leaf or two.

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