It’s official: Autumn is upon us. With so many still at home for work, school, and play, it’s more important now more than ever that we look to our homes for sanctuary and salve. By being mindful and intentional about how we might elevate our everyday experiences, we are hopeful that we can create opportunities to relax and recharge with some simple creature comforts at home. Here, a few of our coziest fall favorites—and if there’s anything you don’t already have on hand, all items featured below are available from local shops (a wonderful way to support our area merchants).
APPLES & CIDER
Let’s start with a classic: Terhune Orchards is your one-stop shop to take in (and indulge in) the very best that fall has to offer. Sample the season with their legendary apple-cider donuts, fresh pressed apple cider (with or without a spike of Apple Jack), and an array of delicious fruit pies. Filled with fresh fruits, vegetables, flowers, homemade baked goods, gourmet goodies, jams, and local honey, the farm store is open all year long, and offers order pickup and delivery.
The warmth of a flickering candle on a cold night is a soothing and serene sight. And if we choose, it can add a scrumptious scent to the air, as well. Lighting candles for dinner time, or as you settle in to watch a show or film, is a simple and sublime way to unwind. The handmade, work-of-art beeswax Stick Candles are the quintessential autumn table topper and available at the charming Twine in Hopewell Borough. Or, head over to the swoon-worthy flower shop Viburnum on Nassau Street, in Princeton, for deliciously scented candles.
Whether it’s the background music playing as you stir a pot of soup or when you sit to savor a cup of tea, relax and let the “Mozart effect” take hold: For the classical and jazz lovers, look no further than WRTI out of neighboring Philadelphia, PA. From 6 a.m. to 6 p.m., listen live to the All-Classical Stream, or from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m., enjoy the All-Jazz Live Stream. For an interactive experience, on Thursday, October 15, at 8 p.m., Princeton University Concerts opens its 127th season with a Virtual Watch Party featuring Takács String Quartet performing live from Colorado. The “watch party” will feature music by Mozart, Debussy, Bartók, and Samuel Coleridge-Taylor, and will conclude with a live Q&A in which listeners can directly interact with members of the Takács Quartet. For R.S.V.P. information, visit princetonuniversityconcerts.org.
Bring the outside in: Be it a sampling of favorite wildflower cuttings or your still-blooming dahlias and zinnias, let the fresh-cut beauty of nature add a welcome touch to any room. Check out your local farmer’s market for fresh flowers, and for some added seasonal inspiration, @the_flowerfrog and @figgefloral are two must-view creatives whose visuals will inspire to bring the beauty inside. The perfect finishing touch: the spare elegance of a Simon Pearce bud vase from Hamilton Jewelers.
With gardening on the rise, now is the perfect time to prep for winter and plant those spring bulbs. New Jersey raised Jennifer Figge of Figge Floral Studio, shared with us her deer-resistant favorites: “I love crocus, daffodil, snowdrops, hyacinth, and bluebells,” she says. “For a daffodil that will naturalize, I recommend the Narcissus Goblet: Dig a large hole about 1.5’ wide and plant 10 bulbs together; or plant tulips bulbs in pots on your terrace where deer and rabbits won’t be able to reach, and which will bloom after the daffodils. For a tulip, I recommend Tulipa Black Hero for drama, or Tulipa Apricot Delight for a classic look.”
Cinephiles, rejoice! Though the Princeton Garden Theatre remains closed for now, it is still very much in virtual action! Enjoy the adventure and escape of new feature films, live theater, and classic and cult films, too, all from the comfort of home. A three-minute trailer on the theatre’s site showcases the highlights for the week, and many include exclusive streaming opportunities not available from other services. And as per the request on their site: Renewing a Princeton Garden Theatre membership while it is closed allows it to survive during this challenging time.
Snuggling up on the sofa is always a surefire way to relax—and we all know, a comfy throw to cuddle up with is key. Get out your favorite or indulge in a new one from Pennington’s Ashton-Whyte. Peruse their online store, or shop by appointment, to check out the various colors and sizes available. And if you’ve ever wondered how the decorating magazines get that laid-back look, check out how to dress a simple sofa with style.
Dust off those titles you’ve been meaning to get to, and get lost in the pages of a great read. If you’re short a book (or two), head to Farley’s Bookshop, in New Hope, PA (curbside pickup or browsing by appointment). And when you’re passing through Lambertville en route to New Hope, don’t forget stop by the family owned Lambertville Trading Company on Bridge Street, and treat yourself to a cup of delicious coffee.
FUN & GAMES
Turn off the screens and break open that backgammon, checkers, or chess set, or opt for a classic board game like Rummikub (Clue and Quirkle are ideal for the younger set). A simple deck of cards will have you covered for a rousing round of Gin Rummy and Crazy 8s. Always a hit with gamers-in-the-know: a deck of Skip-Bo or Set. If you need to replenish your gaming trove, look no further than the delightful Jazams toy shop, with locations in Princeton and Peddler’s Village.
COOK or CURBSIDE
With the change in the weather comes a change in the menu, too. As the days get shorter (and colder), there’s nothing better than the warmth of a favorite dish simmering on the stove. Whether it’s a forever favorite or a chance to take on a new culinary adventure, cooking and baking can bring on the calm. But sometimes a night off is a very welcome respite too, so leave it to the experts at Lucy’s Kitchen, on Route 206, or Peasant Grill in Hopewell Borough, with their takeout “heat and eat” menus. The best part: Both spots offer online ordering and curbside pickup.
Look up, and look around! The seasonal beauty of the changing leaves is fast and fleeting, so take the time to take it in from one of these spectacular spots, like Hamilton’s Grounds for Sculpture. Reserve tickets in advance to access the outside grounds only at groundsforsculpture.org.
Last, but certainly not least, a crisp fall evening is the ultimate backdrop for time spent around the fire pit. Let the chocolatiers at Thomas Sweet put an artisan twist on that most yummy of open-flame faves, the s’more, with this pro tip: Use a regular graham cracker on the bottom, toasted marshmallow in the middle, and top with a chocolate-covered graham (a T.S. house specialty). Or skip the fire entirely and treat yourself to one of Thomas Sweet’s handmade chocolate truffles.