Sunday Drives and an Autumn Tailgate Lunch

"Let's go for a Sunday drive," were words often said by my dad when I was growing up, but are seldom said in our own family. But a couple times a year, we opt out of our usual, restful Sunday afternoons in favor of a drive, and we never regret it. It's especially welcome when we've all been super busy, working long hours, and we've passed each other by all week without any meaningful togetherness. (This happens when you're all adults in the household.) It's an opportunity to reconnect as the road stretches before us and conversation, the scenery, some good food, and time together become the priorities for the afternoon. At the end of September, we packed provisions to tailgate and headed north to drive the scenic Kancamagus Highway in the White Mountains of New Hampshire.

We drove for many miles along this famous highway (pronounced like: kank-uh-maw-gus), stopping at several scenic overlooks to take in the views. The surrounding mountains were just beginning to sport their autumn foliage -- this was late September and peak foliage was probably two weeks in the future. We breathed in the fresh air and squinted into the blinding sunlight to point out distant peaks. We studied maps, noted interesting berries, admired the way the light illumined the drying grasses, and chatted with a man who was launching a drone. We read historic markers, watched the autumn leaves fall, crossed a covered bridge, and teetered our way, rock by rock, through a stream.

All the fresh air and exercise gave us quite an appetite, and we were glad we'd planned to tailgate. We parked at the entrance to a fire road and set out our lunch -- just the three of us, surrounded by falling leaves, and tasty food.

Provisions for an Autumn Tailgate Party

assorted cheeses
assorted crackers
Italian breadsticks
ciabatta loaf and good butter
Effervé Pear Sparkling Lemonade
homemade apple crisp and Easy Apple Cider Caramel Sauce (recipe here)

Keeping with the same, no fuss, keep-it-simple plan I have for picnics, everything was store bought. I made a small amount of effort the day before in making the dessert. But really, I like to keep it simple on me, because if it becomes too much work to prepare, we won't tend to prioritize times like this, and they're just too valuable for family togetherness to skip. Plain and simple.

I'd love to hear what your favorite tailgating foods are? Do you tailgate just for sporting events, or just because? Do you have any great tailgaiting memories? Join the conversation by telling your story in the comments below! I'd love to hear!


  1. Thank you once again for taking us along on yet another of your excursions with feasts for the eyes and palette. I have added a drive along the Kancamagus Hwy to my list of New England musts.


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