The first day of fall is nearly upon us, so that means a lot of fall favorites are about to make a comeback. Some of those favorites include cool crisp weather, fall foliage, seasonal decorating and two fun, food-filled holidays, Halloween and Thanksgiving. In honor of this colorful season, here is a list of things to buy or do in Three Village for $20 or under:
It's festival season. Attend at least one. Try the 21st Annual Long Island Apple Festival on Sept. 19 in East Setauket ($4-$6).
Talk a walk. Enjoy the crisp autumn air and take in the fall colors while learning about local history. The Three Village Historical Society holds three different walking tours during the season ($3-$5 per tour).
Decorate for free. While you're on that walk, pick up a few leaves in colors you love. Place them in between some tissue paper then put them inside the pages of a big heavy book. In 2-3 weeks they will be dry and you can use them as decorations on your Thanksgiving table or on your windows. And don't stop at leaves – pine cones, acorns and branches also make great natural decorations when tossed into a clear hurricane vase or placed on a white platter with some colorful gourds.
Fall flavors in food. Pick up one of three fall-flavored items at Wild By Nature: Post Road Pumpkin Ale is $9.99 for a six pack; Almondina Pumpkin Spice Biscotti is $3.19 per package; and roasted acorn squash is $6.99/lb. "It's made fresh in our deli. A real fall favorite," said store manager Jim Kiley.
Or in snacks. This is the time of year for candy apples and caramel apples. Either can be purchased with or without nuts. Stop and Shop sells the Tastee brand in singles for $1 or a three pack for 2.99. Or pick up a bag of candy corn ($2-$4 per bag) while you're there – another must-have indulgence for this time of year.
Or in a beer. Pumpkin Spice Ale is now on tap at John Harvard's Brew House. During happy hour (4 p.m.-7 p.m. and 10 p.m.-close) pints are $3, but even the regular price of $5.50 is hard to turn down for a taste of a freshly made, micro-brewed flavored beer.
Support the Seawolves. Can't travel to NJ to see the Jets or the Giants? Stony Brook University's football team has four more home games this season ($14 or $10 per ticket).
Get spooked at the Long Island's Haunted Gold Coast Mansions event in Stony Brook on October 21 ($18 for lecture and refreshments).
Get cooking. Winter squash is now in season and Ann Marie's Farm Stand has butternut, acorn and others from $.99-$1.59 per pound. Other under $20 deals to check out while you are there includes mums (5 for $20), pumpkin pies ($10.99), apple pies ($16.99) and local honey ($8.99 and up).
Mum's the word. This is the time of year when mums bloom in all the fall colors, and you don't have to make a special trip to the nursery to buy them. Detmer Farm, Ann Marie's Farm Stand, Stop and Shop, King Kullen and Waldbaum's carry them and offer deals on multiple purchases.
Choose the perfect wine to compliment your turkey. Bob and Barbara at Hamlet Wines and Liquors recommended three that would go well with your bird. Firesteed's Pinot Noir ($13.99), Rosenblum Cellars Zinfindel ($19.99) or Two Vines Gewurztraminer ($8.99), if you like white and prefer a bit of sweetness.
Ice cream gets even better. Cold Stone Creamery always has Apple Pie a la Cold Stone, but somehow it tastes better in the fall. Try other fall flavors like Apple Caramel and Pumpkin Pie Ice Cream ($3.25-$6.29) or pick up a Pumpkin Pie Ice Cream Pie ($12.99-$14.99) for turkey day.
Caffeine fixes take a fall turn as well. Try a Pumpkin Spice Latte or a Toffee Mocha Latte at Starbucks ($3.75-$4.75).
Want a muffin with that? Fall flavors are not just for coffee lovers. At Dunkin' Donuts try a Pumpkin donut or a Fall Harvest donut ($.99 each) or a Pumpkin muffin ($1.49). Wash it all down with a Pumpkin Swirl Lattee (all sizes under $3).
It's only rock and roll. Learn about the roots of rock and roll at the "Record Makers and Breakers" lecture by John Broven on Sept. 20 at the Setauket Neighborhood House. Free.
Movies. The Staller Center has 12 movies lined up for the fall. Tickets are $8 each for adults, $6 each for students presenting their ID. Or buy a pass for $25 and see all the movies – that's less than $2.10 per movie!
Chocolate, Chocolate, Chocolate. Godiva in Stony Brook Village has an array of chocolates perfect for the season. Try a Fall Milk Chocolate Leaf ($8), a bag of Caramel Apple Gems ($10) or the Halloween Lollipop Trio ($15).
Take the kids to college. Or at least to the Earth and Space Science building on Stony Brook's campus. That's where the Museum of Long Island Natural Sciences is. Kids can learn about dinosaurs, rocks, insects, the benefits of living green and many other things. Free but donations are appreciated (reopens Oct. 1).
Or to the bookstore. Borders in Stony Brook presents two events geared towards the 5-to-8 year old crowd: the Cat in the Hat Kids (September 18) and Olivia Goes to Venice (October 2). Both are free.
Buy a gift for your holiday hostess. Pick up some fall potpourri, fall candles, leaf plates, a fall or Halloween themed figurine or table top decoration (each item is less then $20) at the Stony Brook Gift Shop in Stony Brook Village.