Everyone has a different way to commemorate the fall season. Here in Minnesota, we drive down miles of rural roads covered with amazing foliage that looks to be washed with a paintbrush. Shimmering gold, red and pink leaves dance in cool breezes. We drag out our boots and sweaters, and get ready for the winter that is to come.
But what do you do when you live in a place like, let's say, Los Angeles, which I did for most of my life. Very few of the trees turn. It's generally still warm, if not downright hot. It still feels more like summer than what fall is traditionally supposed to fell like.
So how does one get in the fall mood? We went to Lombardi's Pumpkin Patch in Santa Clarita.
Lombardi's opened in the mid 1960s, before Santa Clarita was an incorporated city. Up in the hills of Bouquet Canyon in a area called Saugus was a small farm that had year round fresh fruits and vegetables. But what they were most famous for was their fall festival, which includes miles of pumpkins for purchase, tractors for children to climb on, petty zoos, pony rides, and of course the traditional corn maze.
It was a Southern California fall essential. Before I had kids, I went to get a pumpkin to carve for the Halloween Party contests and to just soak up the general enthusiasm. But after my son was born, and my daughter 10 years later, Lombardi's was even more special. It was the place we took Jared for his first pumpkin. He loved to climb on the tractors and go in the corn mazes. Most every fall, we would head out on a weekend morning, before the fall heat descended upon the desert climate, and celebrated the season. Fall would just not be fall without it.
Jared's First Pumpkin, carved with love by his dad, Scott Rosoff
Another great thing about Lombardi's was it was a great photo-op. In the mid-1990s I entered several of my photographs in local art shows, and many of the pictures were taken during the festival. They were mostly of my daughter, Mishayla Rose, but I also did many photos of other people's children. Also, I loved the fields of tall sunflowers that covered the landscape. I tried to grow them here in Minnesota, but they become deer food before leaving the seedling stage.
When I heard in 2015 that Lombardi's was closing because of California's draught, I felt sad. In our hearts we yearned for the things in our memories to remain untainted by time. It is also nice to think that many generations would be able to enjoy what you did with your own family. It was not meant to be.
I saw an article online last week that Lombardi's was going to open briefly for the community over the last weekend. I was very happy to hear this. I'm sure it was a great opportunity for the children who went there to take their own children to experience the fun, and to make those great memories. And who knows? With a little luck, and a little rain, maybe things will grow again at Lombardi's Ranch. For the best things to grow in life are the memories you keep in your heart always! I know Lombardi's will always be a big part of mine when I remember those days!!
A young gentlemen in the pumpkin patch
Baby Mishayla on her first trip to Lombardi's
May all your fall memories be wonderful!!