Nature’s alarm clock trumpets the arrival of the new season with the crunch of fallen leaves that erupts as our dogs run through the yard.
It’s officially fall, autumn, sweater weather, whatever you want to call it. This is the time of year when everything is especially cozy and the sun lowers in the sky to create a twinkling golden glow on the turning trees. Brisk enough to wear denim and layers with confidence, yet warm enough to enjoy the great outdoors and its abbreviated sunlight hours in complete comfort. Alfresco dining shifts in color and flavor, focusing on a new season of garden bounty. I teamed up again with my friends at Mark & Graham to make sure that this special time is celebrated with style.
I’m not sure which comes first, the flavors or the flair, but like the interiors that I design, this table called for layering. To cover our table, I immediately turned to soft wool blankets that overlap the richest of blues, yellows, reds, and grays to create handsome plaids. Add an embroidered monogram like all of these from Mark & Graham, and you’ll be sure to get those blankets back if they happen to blow away in a gust of wind. I always keep a few extra blankets on-hand to address any chill in the air while people are sitting around after the sunsets.
When it comes to decorating the table, it’s the perfect occasion to intentionally mix things up. Random placement of bowls of apples, a pedestal for warm apple pie, the charcuterie board, and a tray creates a “serve yourself” situation. Pull from the yard leaves and dahlias that you skillfully cultivated, the add mini pumpkins to sing in the season.
Now for the flavors. Formality can be assigned to Thanksgiving dinner. But when dining outdoors, bites of deliciousness are enjoyed in between a game of cornhole, so keep things on the simple side. Afternoon nibbles and wine are good reasons to get together without the fuss of a full-on dinner. A charcuterie board provides a variety of savories from olives and crackers to a wonderful fig spread that pairs with melty brie. Make sure your board is as attractive as the arrangement of food that it will hold. A simple blue stripe and a serif monogram make this one pretty special. Thank you, Mark & Graham.
Wine takes a turn during this time of the year, shifting from light rosé to a hearty and robust cabernet or zinfandel. My charming wicker wine carrier from Mark and Graham provides a dapper way for me to transport bottles to the table, while a marble wine chiller keeps my white variety crisp. A wood server suited for glassware with round cutouts keeps wine from taking a tumble.
While I personally don’t love the season that comes after it, I don’t know a soul who dislikes fall. Its comfort and warmth triggers stability and that yearning to be at home. As you take a neighborhood walk in your favorite cable knit sweater or are cuddling on the sofa among the crackle of the season’s first fire, know that fall is a special time and should be enjoyed by everyone.