An Autumn Abroad
Here in Britain, we had a glorious summer. With six consecutive weeks of soaring temperatures, we spent the season on beaches, in beer gardens and at BBQâ€™s. It was essential to remember your sun cream, not your waterproof. Come September, I had to dust off â€“ literally dust off â€“ my umbrella. As such, Iâ€™m struggling to feel the autumn spirit; no amount of toffee apples, Pumpkin Spice Lattes, Buzzfeed articles about hygge, or baby seals on Autumn Watch has yet done the trick.
Perhaps what I need is to experience the new season in a change of scene. As this historic poster from the Thomas Cook archive suggests, I should go abroad for the autumn. As the sources from Leisure, Travel & Mass Culture show, late breaks are no modern phenomenon, so here are my top five picks for getaways to banish the autumn blues.
Fewer places on earth will deliver forests of russet and gold better than New England.
The area in the USA is famous for its gorgeous landscape of sugar maple trees, dotted with pretty villages and ubiquitous white church spires. Follow in the footsteps of early 20th century tourists and take a motoring holiday through New Englandâ€™s thick forests, enjoying the crisp autumn air and glowing backdrop of vibrant leaves.
If you think a seaside city simmers down when the sunshine dries up, then you have never experienced the Blackpool illuminations.
Famed for being healthful spot, the second half of the 19th century saw Blackpool transform into the most visited seaside resort in Britain. The illuminations first began in 1912 and served as an innovative way to extend the short summer season into autumn, and keep holidaymakers returning year on year to see the spectacular light show.
You can read more about Blackpoolâ€™s extraordinary history as a holiday hotspot in Leisure, Travel & Mass Cultureâ€™s fascinating exhibition page.
Thomas Cook was quick to spot the potential of the Nile cruise as a blockbuster package holiday.
Cook put on his first Nile cruise in 1869; it was the companyâ€™s first package holiday outside Europe and the USA. The tours proved so popular that in 1872, Cook was able to open their first office in Cairo.
First class steamers conveyed you along the Nile, taking in top destinations like Cairo, Luxor and Alexandria, ticking sights like the pyramids and the sphinx off your holiday bucket list. And according to Cookâ€™s Excursionist Home and Foreign Advertiser, autumn tours combine reduced prices with moderate temperatures and quieter boats.
Yosemite National Park
Itâ€™s back to the USA for unbeatable natural drama in Yosemite National Park.
A favourite spot of Theodore Roosevelt, Yosemite National Park attracts up to 5 million visitors a year. Itâ€™s easy to see why one might visit in autumn, when the golden browns and warm reds of Yosemiteâ€™s dogwoods, oaks and sequoia trees stand in stark contrast against the backdrop of the stark grey Sierra Nevada mountain range.
The area was brought to public attention by Thomas Ayers & James Mason Hutchings, who publicised Yosemite as a prime holiday destination. Read some of Hutchingâ€™s efforts in Leisure, Travel & Mass Culture, with his Hutchingsâ€™ Tourist Guide to the Yo Semite Valley and the Big Tree Groves.
Everyone knows about Japanâ€™s cherry blossom season, but the vivid reds of the autumnal foliage is just as breath-taking.
Kyoto shares New Englandâ€™s fame for the way in which maple leaves transform the landscape. According to a 1964 guide, How to See Kyoto & Nara, one the best views is from Kiyomizu Temple. Nestled in the hillside, the wooden temple was founded in 804 AD, and looks out over a dramatic valley of bright red maple trees.