The year was 1872. America only had thirty-seven states. Civil War general Ulysses S. Grant won reelection as president. Montgomery Ward published its inaugural catalog, and Bloomingdale’s opened its doors for the first time.
It was also the year Yellowstone National Park became America’s first national park. In honor of Yellowstone’s 150th anniversary, here are fifteen fascinating facts that illustrate why it’s a worthy addition to any bucket list.
Simply put, there’s nothing else quite like Yellowstone National Park in the country and perhaps the world. As our inaugural national park turns 150, it continues to stand as a testament to the majesty, wonder, and natural beauty that make America grand.
Several areas of Yellowstone National Park were impacted by historic flooding during the summer, which may affect park accessibility. Contact Yellowstone for the latest information before making any travel plans to the park.
For more info, visit nps.gov/yell
Fall can be a rejuvenating time of year. In many parts of the country, the air is crisp and leaves are beginning to change to their bright, colorful hues. The options for fun and budget-friendly autumn activities, including local outdoor concerts and flea markets, are also abundant, so be sure to check your community calendar. And remember that you can make your adventure even more cost-effective by searching for deals on sites such as Groupon.
As part of the pumpkin-picking experience, many farms offer hayrides that take you to their respective pumpkin patches. Many also have their own corn maze, which makes for great fun during your visit.
Many apple farms provide not only apple picking but also a variety of other activities, such as live music and organized games for the little ones. Some also have markets that sell jams, cider donuts, and other homemade baked goods. To finish off your day of fun, set aside some apples from your adventure and make caramel apples when you get home.
Autumn weather is ideal for outdoor activities, so connect with nature by hiking or biking through a park—ideally where foliage is in full bloom. Pack a picnic lunch, and just enjoy the beauty around you; perhaps snap a few pictures of your family surrounded by nature and frame them as gifts for the holidays.
Pack up your camping gear for an excursion to a local campground. Depending on your location, you could rent a kayak or canoe (or bring your own if you have one) or take a walk to explore the trails. Finish off your night by playing games and making s’mores around the campfire. Don’t forget to bring warm clothing for the evening hours!
Bundle up with your favorite sweater and blanket, head to an open space to take in the beauty of the stars, and enjoy the peace and quiet that surrounds you.
Hop in the car and take a ride to behold the wonders of the fall foliage. Turn on your favorite playlist, put the windows down to breathe in the fresh, cool air, and enjoy the view.
Gather your friends or neighbors for a variety of games that everyone can enjoy: a relay race, cornhole, Frisbee, a scavenger hunt, or flag football. You could even organize a pumpkin-carving contest. Top off the night with an outing to your local ice-cream store.
A game night is an excellent way to spend quality time with your family. Cozy up with cups of hot cider or hot chocolate, play card games, board games, or charades, or extend the definition of “game” by starting a puzzle that everyone can then work on each day thereafter.
Get into the spirit of the football season by hosting friends or family. Let everyone bring their food of choice, put out chips and dip, fire up the grill, and enjoy the game from the comfort of your own home.
There are many simple, fun, and inexpensive DIY decorating options for the fall season. Adorn your front porch with tall cornstalks and a selection of colorful gourds, make a fall wreath constructed with pine cones and ribbons, or purchase a variety of colorful autumnal plants and flowers to disperse throughout your home. (See the sunflower article in this issue for some seasonal suggestions.)
If you live near a beach, make a day of it. Pack a lunch, a Frisbee, or your favorite book to enjoy. If there’s a nice breeze, bring a kite to fly along the shoreline.
An excursion to see animals is always fun for kids and can be an inexpensive way to spend the day with your family. Be sure to invite Grandma and Grandpa too!
Make some pumpkin muffins or candy apples, and deliver them to your local police officers and firefighters to thank them for their service.
If you’re looking for ways to give back to your community, volunteer at an animal shelter, a local food bank, or any other local charity. It’s a meaningful way to spend a fall afternoon.
Keep little ones entertained on a fall day by helping them find interesting leaf shapes and colors. Later, turn the experience into a craft project by helping them trace the leaves onto paper and color them in.
Fall brings opportunities for fun that everyone can enjoy. Put on your favorite sweater, seek out the activities that appeal to you, and enjoy the season!
If the crew is coming over for the big game, these hearty appetizers are sure to please no matter which team wins.
These crusty baguette slices topped with melty cheese and grilled sirloin are the perfect starter for your get-together.
Stuffed with savory mozzarella and provolone and served with grilled toasts, these tasty bites are sure to be a winner.
recipe by Patterson Watkins
photos by Patterson Watkins
Toasted baguette slices are topped with grilled sirloin and cheese in this appetizer version of the classic Philadelphia cheesesteak.
recipe by Patterson Watkins
photos by Patterson Watkins
Jazz up your game-day party with these cheesy stuffed meatballs. Simple grilled sub toasts add a nice smoky crunch to sop up all the deliciousness.
The beginning of fall is prime time to switch up your home’s decor. However, you might not be ready to deck out your home with pumpkins just yet. Enter sunflowers, the perfect summer-to-fall decorating staple that will add a touch of happiness to your space. Whether you love using real blooms, artificial ones, or a combination of both, the suggestions below can help you achieve the perfect pre-fall look.
In most places, sunflowers bloom during summer and fall, making it easier to find bunches of flowers at a local home-and-garden store. However, remember to leave the sunflowers in a sunflower field alone unless the owner permits you to pick them. Once you purchase your sunflowers, there are many ways to highlight them in your home.
Add branches of baby’s breath to your bouquet, and place the flowers in a country-chic tin tub, a trendy Mason jar with a burlap bow, or a timeless glass vase. Cut the stems at an angle, and fill the tub, jar, or vase about three-quarters full with room-temperature water. Be sure to change the water every one to three days to promote longevity and maintain the vibrancy of the petals.
Greet your guests and improve your home’s curb appeal by purchasing window boxes. Fill them with soil, and plant a handful of shorter-variety sunflowers, such as Elf or Suntastic Yellow. Don’t forget to open the window and water them every two days unless it rains.
For this piece, start by filling a decorative glass bowl halfway with water. Cut the sunflower stems close to the head of each flower, and place them gently into the bowl—the flowers should float. Floating-flower bowls will look elegant on your kitchen table or entryway console table.
When decorating with sunflowers, you don’t have to limit your options to the bloom itself. From paintings to pillows to kitchen accents, there are numerous ways you can show your love for the flower.
If you want your decor to last much longer, you might want to opt for artificial sunflowers, which can look just as great as real ones. Use them to fashion a wreath, make a garland for your fireplace, or create artwork by gluing them onto a canvas.
Sunflower solar lights
Brighten your sidewalk or walkway with these waterproof sunflower solar lights. By day, you’ll see what appears to be a sunflower garden, and by night you’ll see a warm, glowing path in your yard. These lights are also the perfect touch for your fall bonfires!
Sunflower welcome sign
If you’re not ready to craft a sunflower wreath, this welcome sign is just as warm and inviting. Hang it on your front door, in your kitchen, or along an entryway hall for the best look.
Sunflower salt and pepper shakers
The little details in your home are just as important as the statement pieces. That’s why this pair of adorable sunflower salt and pepper shakers is the perfect small but bright addition to your table.
Sunflower kitchen-utensil holder
When was the last time you thought to change your kitchen-utensil holder? This subtle but impactful ceramic version has a hint of bright-yellow petals, which will make just the right subtle statement with any kitchen decor.
While sunflowers aren’t necessarily a year-round decorating staple, you can take advantage of their abundance this month by incorporating them into your home decor.