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Coastal Autumn: An Aesthetic Introduction


Coastal Autumn: An Aesthetic Introduction

Hello readers, and happy mid-October! Now that we have reached the middle of our official first full month of Autumn, we’re finally starting to see more elements of this beautiful transition season take over our skies, sidewalks, and picturesque window views. It’s hard to believe that within the next few weeks the remaining green leaves will burst in warm colors and before long, we’ll have mostly bare trees lining our skyline. I love this time of year and savor the wide array of colors we get for such a short amount of time; clashing cool greens lively with memories of the summer and the warm Earthy tones that reclaim the landscape briefly before disappearing under frost and snow. I don’t love the cold, but the brisk temperatures that dip into the 50’s and 40’s during October and November is the kind of crisp and chilly that I can enjoy. I like layering up and spending as much time outdoors as possible. That being said, I find it harder to enjoy these temperatures during Spring when snow piles still linger, turning grimy and unpleasant from runoff water, mud, and cars on the side of the roads. There really is something quite whimsical to me about this time of year, it’s truly like no other. This Autumn, and consequently for this blog, I want to introduce a lifestyle and mindset that is making this Autumn feel particularly inspiring to me; and that is what I have taken to calling Coastal Autumn. See, as much as I love Autumn, I love Summer equally. Summer is when everything is truly alive, bright, warm, and the possibilities seem endless. It’s a popular time of year to fit in travelling, it’s the season of outdoor dining, beaches and swimming, late sunsets with an ice cream cone or iced drink in hand; I can be active outdoors, see beautiful wildlife, and spend afternoons with friends and family. To me, nothing beats a gorgeous, hot summer day outdoors reading a book by the shoreline. Probably the only thing that compares to an ideal summer day, is this feeling of having a Coastal Autumn. It combines my most loved elements of my two favorite seasons, romanticizes the range of temperatures and weather, all while being a realistic Autumn aesthetic for the place I live: Sheboygan, Wisconsin. Located right on Lake Michigan, Blue Harbor Resort is where I spend most of my time, and since moving to Sheboygan in August, I have discovered this feeling and aesthetic of Coastal Autumn at Blue Harbor. In this week’s blog I am going to break down why that is, everything that Coastal Autumn encompasses and represents, and how to incorporate elements of Coastal Autumn into your life.

The Basics

Let’s cover the basics of what Coastal Autumn is. At its root, it’s an aesthetic romanticizing Autumn-time in beach towns along the shores of a body of water. Here at Blue Harbor, it’s the coast of Lake Michigan and its roaring waves. Think of brilliant fall colors being reflected on water, fallen leaves bridging grass to sandy beach, crashing waves against dark and cool rocks. Hot coffees in mitten covered hands sitting in Adirondack chairs facing the water and fog rolling up beaches. There’s sand caked on your boots, flannel blankets and jackets shielding you from the winds coming off the water. Days spent strolling along the beach and nights spent in front of a bonfire wrapped up in hats and layers. Cable-knit textures and soft colors balanced by moody landscapes and the smell of cinnamon mixed with fallen leaves on the ground. It's where late Summer meets Autumn and they enfold: that is where Coastal Autumn begins.

43% of Fall Travelers are heading to a beach destination. What differentiates this time of year for travelers visiting a beach from visiting a beach during the Summer time? What is that “first arrived” feeling that travelers anticipate and dream about in the days leading up to their arrival at their destination? For Coastal Autumn, it’s the feeling of arriving at coziness, an escape from the wind and waves but the perfect excuse to sit and watch it in the company of family or friends, a drink in hand like hot coffee or chilled wine. Ultimately, it’s appreciating the elements of Summer while embracing the temperatures and colors of Autumn.

What Does Coastal Autumn Have to Do with Blue Harbor?

Blue Harbor is where this idealist fantasy of Coastal Autumn originated in my mind. Although it is located right on the shores of Lake Michigan, there’s more to why Blue Harbor is the home of Coastal Autumn than just the proximity of the lake. Sheboygan is a beach town; it’s famously known for being called the ‘Malibu of the Midwest’. As you can imagine, whether you are from the Midwest or not, we don’t get very close to being the type of place you think of when you hear someone talking about surfing and beach towns. I was inspired thinking about what the other seasons, besides just Summer, would look like in this new town known for its beaches, ocean-like waves, bright colors, and Summer attitude. There’s a chance that you have heard of the Summer trend that’s been quite popular among Gen-Z for the last two summers: Coastal Granddaughter. This trend is a fashion, lifestyle, and travel trend that encompasses leisure, slow living, and coastline influences. The “coastal granddaughter” dresses in harbor-wear staples, relaxes on patios with a book in one hand and a drink in the other, spends time in the kitchen baking her own goods or tossing pasta salads, strolls along the beach and spends as much time enjoying the fresh outdoor air as possible. She soaks up the season and glows while doing it, taking her time with the summer and enjoying it while it lasts. I suppose the same could be said about a coastal grandson, although it’s less talked about than the coastal granddaughter. Coastal Autumn draws inspiration from some aspects of these summer trends, but is more inclusive to different genders, ages, and families. A vacation, no matter the time of year, is about exploring something new. Whether you are traveling for work, for family, or for leisure, there is an element of unknown and gaining new experiences, otherwise, wouldn’t we all just stay home? Coastal Autumn aims to contribute to that excitement. It’s Autumn in a way you haven’t experienced before, yet you still get to control many aspects of what it looks like. Maybe in includes hiking around Kohler-Andre State Park, or maybe it’s cozying up indoors after a nice dinner with your loved ones in Beacon restaurant, wrapping a blanket around your partner’s or your children’s shoulders to roast marshmallows over a fire before turning into a warm bed for the night.

What’s the Big Deal About Coastal Autumn?

I’m going on and on about what may seem like just a silly little aesthetics trend to some- so why should you, my readers, care? I’m labelling essentially a feeling and a mindset as something that is pleasing to lifestyle as well as visual aesthetics. In the Autumn-time, nature begins to slow down. Mammals prepare for hibernation, days of sunlight become shorter, and life begins to slowly retract from the burst of bloom we’ve grown accustomed to. Nature and our surroundings are signaling a change in pace: taking your time during your everyday life, winding down a little after busyness of Summer flying by. It’s about appreciating the little moments, like how the view out of a window looks like a framed painting, indulging in yummy seasonal tastes, slowing down like the changing of the leaves. We don’t see the trees go from green to colors of flame overnight. We observe this gradual metamorphosis, and to me at least, it’s like Mother Natures’ invitation to join her. I’m pasting the words “Coastal Autumn” onto these habits, these goals, as an easy way to compartmentalize a lifestyle into a term that appeals to myself as well as others. The reason I’m raving on this blog about this trend is really just a way to encourage this warm cozy feeling to absorb parts of your everyday life in attempts to savor this precious time of year and enjoy your daily routine a little bit more.

How to Incorporate Elements of Coastal Autumn into Your Fall This Year

There are various ways to incorporate Coastal Autumn into your life this year. Although it isn’t always realistic to fit a weekend trip into your calendar, there are ways to bring Coastal Autumn to you. Whether you are looking to escape into a trip of Coastal Autumn for a weekend or not, here are some suggestions of what this could look like for you.

1) Flavors and Scents

Taste is the first way you can incorporate Coastal Autumn into your life this year. Food and beverage are important components to seasonal feelings, and it can be quite versatile too. Whether you’re cooking from home or going out to a restaurant- deciding to be adventurous and trying a new flavor or ordering the seasonal special is a perfect demonstration of embracing Coastal Autumn. Oftentimes, our meals get rushed for one reason or another. We have a short lunch break, we have an appointment or a meeting to hurry off to, we don’t want to fall behind schedule or miss a check on our to-do list, or too many other people depend on us. Whatever the cause may be, it’s a luxury for some of us to take our time with a meal. This in and of itself can be special, but if you can, try to add a touch of extra special to it. Squash, cinnamon, apples, warm soups, fresh bakery treats, caramels and chocolates are all popular and special flavors for this season of Autumn. Beacon restaurant located inside Blue Harbor has introduced a new feature weekend dinner menu that changes weekend to weekend. It's a great excuse for a date night, enjoying some warm seasonal tastes, and trying unique dishes that aren't on the regular menu. One of my favorite Fall flavors homemade cinnamon applesauce. Bonus points if I got the apples from a local apple orchard. This year I made my batch with apples I got from Pigeon River Orchard in an array of different kinds of apples including, but not limited to, Granny Smith, Cortland, and McIntosh. These flavors translate into scents too, either by the process of cooking or baking them in a kitchen or infusing them into a scented cleaning product, candle, room or body spray. There is something so comforting about walking into a room and being greeting by a pleasant scent. I like to find a new scent for each season each year because of how strong our associations with smell are. Our brains attach memories to our senses and scent is a strong one. This year, I have enjoying making simmer pots in my kitchen using sliced apples, oranges, dried cloves, cinnamon sticks, and a drop of vanilla extract. I leave it on a low heat setting after the water starts boiling and it makes my whole living space smell like Autumn. I love it because I know I will always associate this smell with my first Autumn living in Sheboygan.

2) Setting and Atmosphere

Setting is also important to Coastal Autumn. Don’t get me wrong, like I said earlier you don’t have to be along the shore of any body of water in order to experience a Coastal Autumn; you can bring elements of it to wherever you are. When you’re sitting down to eat, what do you want your atmosphere to be? Are you having a movie night? Relax on the couch, get comfortable with blankets and wear your favorite lounge clothing. Perhaps you pack a picnic and sit outdoors enjoying the Fall weather, colors, and smells. Similarly, you can set yourself up with a window view if you’d prefer to be indoors and at a table. Bonfires, fireplaces, even space heaters add to your atmosphere too. To me, the most important atmospheric element of Coastal Autumn is incorporating spending time in nature. If you happen to be near water, a lake big or small, a river, the ocean; as the name suggests, you in the epicenter of Coastal Autumn. Spend time along river banks or lakeside shores, rain or shine, fog or spotless skies. Take time to breathe in the air rolling off the water, the sound of the water waves or stream, appreciate the nature surrounding the body of water. Here in Sheboygan, Lake Michigan’s waves ebb and flow, roar, and become as still as glass. I connect with the lake at least once every day, whether it’s by looking at it out the window, going on a walk alongside the beaches, or admiring it from afar. I find it so serene to pause my day and watch the water even if it’s just for 5 minutes. It feels grounding to detach myself from everything else going on in my life and just contemplate the immense lake, it’s power, and peace. I also connect with nature by going on walks through beachside neighborhoods, admiring cute little beach houses, Halloween decorations, people’s gardens, the towering trees. Changing your surroundings by stepping outside to catch coastal glimpses or feel the chill air on your skin is part of Coastal Autumn because it practices a mindfulness that sometimes gets swept up and lost in daily life. It takes on a new refreshing feeling when you become conscious of its role in your day and how it adds a piece of serenity in an otherwise busy day that doesn’t necessarily stand out against the rest.

3)Interior Décor & style

Let’s face it, as much as I may love to spend time outdoors, I am an adult with a job and responsibilities that typically lie indoors. Because of this simple fact, I enjoy incorporating elements of Coastal Autumn into my interior decorations by adding coastal colors and influence. This way you still have that change of scenery without having to go far, if you don’t live near a body of water, or can’t enjoy time outside very often. I am a painter, so adding special colors to compliment different seasons and moods is something my eye is sensitive to. I love coming up with variations of a color palettes each time a changing of season rolls around. This year, I have been inspired by Coastal Autumn and my color palette has included lots of creamy off-whites, rich tans, browns, soft greys, light and dusty blues, gold, rose pink, champagne, burnt sienna’s, bright oranges, and burgundies. I incorporate seasonal colors into my wardrobe, office, and décor. Plaid blankets, fresh produce on display in my kitchen, florals, screen savers, the books I display on my shelves in my living room, all of these are aspects of color palette I keep in mind when I am thinking about how to sprinkle seasonal touches into my life. Texture is another huge element I keep in mind. In my artwork, I specifically enjoy playing around with texture and I am a firm believer that whatever inspires you creatively must be brought into your day-to-day life in order to keep you inspired, excited, and happy. I love corduroy this time of year, well as knitted wool, cable patterns, flannel patterns, rougher textures like raw wood, pinecones, and studs; while also pairing them with smooth and sleek textures like leather, matte materials, and shimmer. The beauty to texture, in my mind at least, is that it can be incorporated in so many different ways. It can be incorporated into physical spaces like your home and work place through objects such as blankets, pillows, notebooks, hanging wall decor, and greenery such as houseplants. It can also be in clothing, such as sweaters, pants, jackets, and shoes. Branching off of clothing, you can include texture into style with accessories such as belts, jewelry, hats, scarves, bags, wallets, even hair, nails, and makeup. Texture is even in food, the texture of bread fresh out of the oven versus the texture of a rich and creamy soup. The texture of indulgences like wine and chocolate, cheese and nuts, and how to pair them together. I love playing with textures and I look forward to each season that brings a new texture in-season.

The Quintessential of Coastal Autumn

At the end of the day, Coastal Autumn is about adapting a desired mindset. The philosophy of Coastal Autumn is a promise to yourself to think creatively about the ways you can slow down and indulge in enjoyment throughout your week in order to avoid a falling into a tiring, droning routine. Sheboygan is a Midwest beach town that at times looks like the East or West coast along the beaches of Lake Michigan, which children often mistake for being the ocean. It’s the Midwest though, we experience all four seasons, we brace ourselves for the cold winters to come when the leaves start to scatter and cover the ground like a vibrant sheet before snow covers them like a blanket. Sheboygan is the quintessential of Coastal Autumn because of its charming juxtaposition: cold beaches, Summer waves and trees with flaming colored leaves. Sitting in Adirondack chairs in the sand with mittens and a steaming hot drink. Beach houses with frosty gardens and surf boards surrounded by fallen leaves. Blue Harbor's location, interior and exterior, food and drink, and views have all inspired me immensely and make coming to work feel whimsical, special, and peaceful all at once. There is something, even if it's little, everyday here that make the day feel like vacation, a break, a fantasy of living on the water in a picturesque Autumn beach town. I find that keeping these appealing pieces of Coastal Autumn help me to romanticize my life and bring joy in my regular everyday routines. I hope that by reading this blog, my readers feel inspired to do a similar thing and find something special to focus on this season. With that being said, stay cozy and rock on, Sheboygan.  

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