Are you looking for a unique experience this fall? Our correspondent Kathleen Saron has traveled far and wide, always glad to share tips for memorable experiences. We present 5 top-rated festivals or events taking place within September and November this year.

#1 
Austin City Limits Music Festival

This festival has been running since 2002 and is designed to accommodate nearly 100,000 visitors in two consecutive long weekends. This year the music festival will be held between September 30th and October 2nd, and the second part is held between the 7th and 9th of October. The Texan capital is renowned for hosting some of highest-rated bands and often is called the music capital of the world. The biggest names in rock, indie, folk, R&B, country and hip hop music are playing every year at this festival. It is not only about music; food lovers get to taste signature dishes from hand-picked restaurants and venues from the city of Austin. Families are welcome to enjoy fun activities for children (karaoke, fake tattoos, rock star hairdos) and art markets during the day.

#2
Oktoberfest

This is probably Germany’s most famous festivity with its origin over 100 years ago. It offers endless liters of beer and a wide variety of local cuisine to its visitors. It is held in the Bavarian capital of Munich. Local customs, such as men’s lederhosen and women’s dirndls, are proudly worn by natives and tourists alike that flock this festival by the millions. This year it will be held in the second half of September. If you can’t afford a trip to Germany, replicas are held worldwide. Notable Oktoberfest celebrations include Columbus Oktoberfest in Ohio, Oktoberfest Zinzinnati held in Cincinnati, and Oktoberfest Brisbane, in Australia.

#3 
Harvest festivals

It is an age-old tradition to celebrate the time of harvesting. Many towns and cities hold fun festivities during the fall season when their produce is ripe for harvest. Here are my top picks for 2016:


For wine lovers:

Sonoma County Harvest Fair (Santa Rosa, California)

Date: September 30th - October 2nd


Pumpkin harvest:

Circleville Pumpkin Show (Circleville, Ohio)

Date: October 19th - 22nd

Autumn at the Arboretum (Dallas, Texas)

Date: Mid-September to mid-November

Cranberry harvest:

Cranberry Harvest Fest (Wareham, Massachusetts)

Date: October 8th - 9th

Fruits and Vegetables:

Hood River Valley Harvest Fest (Hood River, Oregon)

Date: October 14th - 16th

#4 
Tivoli Gardens

Set in the beautiful city of Copenhagen, Denmark, Tivoli Gardens is the second-oldest amusement park in the world. It receives over 4.5 million visitors every year. During the fall, the park is charmingly decorated for Halloween and Christmas. The gardens do not only have roller coasters rides for all ages, but also quality restaurants, theaters, concert venues and a casino. Every Saturday night, visitors can experience an impressive display of fireworks accompanied by music

#5 
The Adirondack Balloon Festival

Experience the magical sight of 100 hot air balloons lift into the air in Glens Falls, NY. Running from September 22th through 25th, this non-profit festival is celebrating in 2016 its 40th anniversary. Entrance to the grounds is free of cost. Adventurous people can make arrangements with local pilots for rides on the balloons. There are food stands and a craft fair in support of charity. The overall experience is very rewarding, especially since the balloons have very intricate and imaginative designs.

A holistic approach to the New Year

As we get closer to the new year, it is only natural that we take a moment to reflect on our current state of affairs. We review our recent experiences and try to identify habits or aspects in our lives that are not contributing to our well-being.

We will try to inspire you with unique ideas on how to tackle on the new year. We don’t want to repeat the clichés that go around. Sure, people generally need to exercise more, drop addictive habits such as smoking or eating junk food; rather, we’ve decided to provide you with the tools that will help you overcome negative patterns in your life.

1 -           Quiet the mind

A little voice in our heads goes on chattering constantly day in and day out, and we are most of the time unaware of this. This little voice is called ‘thought’ and as useful as it is, it is often engaged in unimportant and trivial issues. Quieting the mind brings the necessary clarity for you to make balanced decisions in your life. 

2-            Be in the moment

The best way to quiet the mind is by being in the moment. Although our lives are an endless stream of experiences, everything we’ve ever experienced has only happened one instant a time. Appreciate what each moment brings without being too concerned or worried about what is to come. In stressful and agitated days, take a minute to be with yourself in a quiet room or bathroom, to breathe deeply and refocus your attention on the immediate situation.

3-            Dare to meditate

A great number of studies are showing that the art of meditation produces great benefits to its practitioners. Benefits include: inner calm, less stress, normalized blood pressure, reduced insomnia, lower risk of heart attack and stroke, and improved brain function and memory.

It doesn’t take much to meditate. You can start with as little as 2 minutes a day. Simply find a comfortable sitting position in a quiet room in your house. Relax your body, breathe deeply with your eyes closed. Pay attention to your breath, rather than your thoughts. Once you see your mind wandering, bring the attention back to your breath. If you have a hard time focusing, count your breath as it comes in (one) and when you exhale (two); up to the count of 10 and then start over.

4-            Soothe the body

Now that you are calming your mind, do the same with your body. An easy way to relax the body is through herbal tea!  Drink a cup or two of the following herb tea plants to soothe your stomach and soul:  

Chamomile tea: helps calm an upset stomach (anti-inflammatory). Relaxes the body and helps induce natural sleep

Lavender tea: reduces levels of anxiety and stress. Known as a traditional home remedy for insomnia.

Ginger tea: has vitamins and minerals to aid your health. Can relieve nausea, respiratory problems, and stress symptoms. You can buy fresh Ginger and chop it into small pieces and set it in boiling water for 2 to 5 minutes. Add mint, honey and/or lemon to your cup for a refreshing experience.

5-            Be close to nature

Take time to be near natural areas. Going for a silent stroll under trees or sitting quietly by a river or stream, can bring great moments of peace into your life. You will feel rejuvenated afterwards to face the challenges of everyday life.

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