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Our fall break at Hopkins functions in multiple ways for students. For some it is a  chance to travel back home for the weekend, and reconnect with family. For others it is an extra day to get work done on either academic or extracurricular projects. For me, I feel a personal obligation to live up to the name of such a break. I always feel like I have to engage in some activity that is quintessentially fall. Otherwise the fall break is just a random day off during the academic year, with no additional meaning.

Look at all those apples!

So, this fall break I decided to go apple picking, since it is probably the most autumn-themed outing I could think of. On the day of the break, my friends and I piled into our car and headed out to Larriland Farm in Woodbine, MD. It’s about 45 minutes outside of Baltimore, but this pick-your-own farm feels like a completely different world from the city. There’s acres of rolling hills lines with apple trees, wide open spaces sprawling below, and the smell of earth and flowers rising from the ground. This farm doesn’t just include a variety of apple selections, but also of crops themselves, with sunflowers, raspberries, broccoli, and even pumpkins in adjacent fields.  As we walked around, we were allowed to sample the produce from all parts of the farm, to test the taste. Let me just say I was never a huge fan of apples back home, but after getting the opportunity to eat them for free at a place like this, my mind has definitely been changed. We also went close to sunset hours, so we got to witness this whole diverse world of colors and smell and taste fade into the golden haze of the last few hours of the day. It was one of the most fulfilling and beautiful things I’ve ever seen. Maybe it was because all of my basic expectations for the day were satisfied, but I honestly just believe that the beauty and stillness of the moment is really what got to me.

Posing in front of sunflowers for the ‘gram

A lot of people write off apple picking as a basic thing to do. Apple picking is usually described as some popular, conformist tradition that any interesting person would turn their nose up to. Or it is described as an activity that only serves the purpose of producing images for social media, and curating one’s online platform. But, I can see why such an activity would be so popular just from my experience out in the orchard. It was one of the most peaceful and wholesome things I’ve done at Hopkins. And yes, I did take pictures to post, and I spun around to show snapchat the gorgeous scenery too. However, I feel like these actions did not diminish the experience I had, I just got to share it with more people. Just because an activity is labeled as unoriginal, doesn’t mean that we should stop participating in that activity. There’s a reason that apple picking is such an unoriginal, basic thing to do: because it’s fun and wonderful. I say we should embrace the basic and revel in how something so simple as picking your own apples can be such an enjoyable experience.

Sunflowers galore!

This fall break felt like a much needed breath of fresh air. In the midst of the semester, in the middle of Baltimore, its easy to forget what exploring the great outdoors feels like (depending on what you count as outdoors, I think the farm counts). Its easy to lose track of the last time you went on an adventure. Doing something that broke my usual routine really helped to clear my head; it forced me to enjoy the moment rather than staying in a mindset of always looking ahead. I would suggest apple picking, or any other similarly basic autumn activity as a great way to spend fall break.

Trying to look like I’m strong enough to hold this pumpkin for social media.