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That time of the year has come when the colorful leaves slowly fall off the trees, and the crisp air blows. Many people at the University of Northwestern–St. Paul have traditions for this time of year, and some spend their fall weekends visiting apple orchards and pumpkin patches.

Amelia Triller, a senior communication studies major, and her family have a sweet tradition that takes place every year in the fall. She says, “We would go on [a] ‘Triller Family Retreat’ every year where we would spend time together—sometimes at a family camp—and play games, go hiking, sit around a campfire and sing songs.” Things remain the same, even as she and her siblings have gotten older. They go up to their cabin and do similar activities.

Triller shares how her father started this tradition when they first became a blended family. His hope was to create a way for his children to become closer and get used to the new family dynamic. Triller says, “It set aside quality time where our relationships became deep and meaningful.”

Her favorite parts of the family tradition are the dance parties and gazing at the stars. She hopes to pass down this tradition of going on family fall retreats with her future family. “It’s valuable in creating a strong and intimate relationship with the people who are closest to you,” Triller says.

Sarah Edwards, Student Life’s administrative office assistant, shares a couple ways her family spends their falls. One tradition that they have is to go to an apple orchard. They usually attend the Fall Harvest in Delano, Minnesota. Edwards mentions how her daughter “loves that tradition.” Her parents and sometimes her sister tag along as well.

This tradition has been going on now for almost a decade. Edwards says, “I just love the beautiful fall weather, the excuse to all be together outdoors, the delicious apples and my youngest’s excitement about her birthday.”

The other tradition is a family “leaf drive.” This entails driving to a new state park, scenic overlook or somewhere that they have not been before. She grew up doing it with her parents and four sisters. The tradition of going on a leaf drive also began back when Edwards and her husband were dating.

Edwards explains: “We don’t do this one every year. Sometimes we combine it with the apple orchard, but it’s still [a] good one. My husband and I just enjoy exploring new places and fall colors.” This fall, they went to Red Wing, Minnesota, which is about an hour drive from Northwestern’s campus.

Both Triller and Edwards hope to continue these fall traditions. These traditions have not only allowed them to see the gorgeousness of the season, but it has cultivated deeper relationships and created precious memories, which will last a lifetime.