As a Chicago transplant living in Los Angeles, what I perhaps miss most about living in the Midwest is the changing of seasons—that and a sandwich from Al’s Italian Beef.
In particular, I miss autumn and the turning of the leaves when colors burst from the trees in vivid reds, yellows and oranges, and the air is crisp and sweet like an apple.
Even though the weather is getting colder, the heart still seems to warm with the anticipation of the holidays—and while saying goodbye to the joys of summer for the slowness of winter is not always easy to do, the beauty of autumn helps make that transition a little easier.
I know I’m not alone in my fondness for fall. People come from all over the world to witness the changing of the leaves across America. Even in places like Los Angeles, where the temperature stays warm, you’ll find an assortment of autumn-inspired events, products and food.
That’s why this week, for my real estate reverie, I’m headed to Colorado and Montana for some quiet retreat in appreciation of my favorite season.
Brush Creek Ranchette in Aspen, Colorado
Unsurprisingly, Aspen and its surrounding area are home to large groves of Aspen trees. These white-trunked trees are famous for their radiant yellow foliage that cover the valleys and mountains of central Colorado during the fall months.
Quaking aspens are one of my favorite trees, and this is perhaps why I decided to buy the ranchette at Brush Creek.
Overlooking Brush Creek valley and parts of Snowmass, this four-bedroom, six-bathroom estate puts me amongst stunning expanses of Colorado mountainside.
With almost 1,500 square feet of patio space and a wraparound stone deck, I get a front-row seat to the deep, rich colors of the autumn landscape.
My parents also love to watch the changing of the leaves, so I invite them to stay the detached, two-level backyard cottage. Outfitted with a kitchen, bedroom and art studio, this 2005 addition will allow my guests their privacy while still being just a stone’s throw away.
At dusk, we drink warm apple cider and watch the sun set over the Rocky Mountains. We then head into town for dinner at one of Aspen’s many premier restaurants.
At dinner, my parents ask if they can stay with me for a week or two during ski season—my mom wants to try snowboarding.
Western Cabin in Bigfork, Montana
One of my favorite sights during the autumn season is seeing the bold reflection of the turning leaves’ colors across the surface of water, which is why I decide to buy a home in Bigfork, Montana, where there is an abundance of rivers and lakes including the magnificent Flathead Lake.
I choose a western-style cabin on Buckaroo Trail where a mountainside location gives way to unsurpassed views of Flathead which can be gazed upon from inside through large windows or from the rooftop garden terrace.
The rustic yet contemporary interior adds to my peaceful experience, evoking the tranquility of a country cabin without having to forgo modern conveniences.
Living in the Saddlehorn community means I have access to the private waterfront members’ lounge and boathouse.
I take my boat out every morning and idle on the placid waters of Flathead, breathing in the fresh air and watching leaves fall onto the water making delicate ripples on the surface.