Typically in school you learn the four seasons: Spring, Summer, Autumn, and Winter. In Florida, you learn: summer, summer-y, not summer but still hot, and Christmas. I grew up sweating in my Halloween costume, spending Christmas in our pool and New Years Day at the beach. This year is my first official fall and I am beyond excited! Fortunately for me, I moved to an area famous for beautiful landscape and spectacular fall foliage. Now that it has arrived, I love my country road drive to/from work every day, eager to see new vibrant colors.
One of the great fall activities in the area is the Back Roads of Brown County driving tour. It gives you an opportunity to take a scenic country road tour stopping along the way to visit artists in their home studios, combining the two things that Brown County is famous for….and its FREE!
I consulted my colleagues on the best route to take and set out on a beautiful, sunny and perfectly chilly day… not before I warned them to send a search party if I wasn’t back by 3pm. AT&T (aka my GPS) isn’t exactly reliable in these parts, and neither is my sense of direction. I had my trusty map, but I’m blonde so no telling how this could end up.
There was a wide range of arts & crafts, from jewelry to painted silk scarves, various wood & metal sculptures and handwoven textiles to stitched paper art and books. The dynamic of this tour made for the perfect peaceful day…enjoying the winding roads and fall scenery, and then talking with the artists one on one, getting to see their actual studios and even witness them at work. Some studios had cool features such as a 2 story mill complete with working water wheel, intricate gardens, creative layouts and décor, and a workshop porch for classes. I was really amazed to see how reasonably priced much of the crafts were, easily affordable for anyone to take home a souvenir. Many artists carry their products at various galleries and shops in the village and also have individual websites where you can check out other works, or follow their progress.
I was very surprised at how easily I got around and the brochure map from the Visitors Center made it easy to find my way, even giving mileage estimates (incredibly helpful since I found myself tuning out to the landscape). The full tour is about a 1 day long excursion. Altogether I spent 3 ½ hours, accomplished half of the tour, and drove about 45 miles, making this is a great low cost day trip for exploring Brown County. The tour runs for the entire month of October so try to check it out in the next few weeks. If you can’t make it, then plan for their Studio & Garden Tour in June.