Kristin Emery is a meteorologist at KDKA-TV in Pittsburgh, an O-R columnist, and writer for Total Health magazine and other publications. Kristin is a Washington native and a graduate of Washington High School and West Virginia University.

It’s usually tough to think about most of September as still being summer when the leaves are already starting to lose some of their luster, the sun angles are lower, days are shorter and everything around you is suddenly covered in pumpkins, hay bales and pumpkin spice dust.

Meteorological seasons follow the calendar months so that meteorological fall starts September 1. Maybe this is why some of my neighbors ditch the petunias and put chrysanthemums and scarecrows on the porch on that day. The start of astronomical seasons is based on the earth’s position and tilt, so astronomical autumn begins Sept. 22.

I’m a staunch holdout for fall activities and attire to only begin once we’ve officially entered autumn, but I feel as if I’m in a growing minority based on the practices of the early adopters of hayrides and apple cider doughnuts. I’m not against jumping full-on into fall in September when the weather is right, but it’s tough to want to wear your tall boots and sweaters when it’s still 85 degrees in Southwestern Pennsylvania.

Football season signals the start of fall as well and our first tailgate in the Blue Lot at West Virginia University each year normally involves shorts, t-shirts and plenty of sunscreen rather than boots and blankets.

I love September weather and think it’s the prettiest, nicest, most pleasant month of the year in our region. You can go from shorts and flip-flops on Labor Day weekend to wearing your jeans and a sweatshirt by the last week of the month. The grass doesn’t need to be mowed as often, you can forget about pulling weeds and you don’t yet have to worry about shoveling snow or driving on ice. Nice.

Our family used to spend a few weeks each August “down the shore” in our camper at Sea Isle City, N.J.

I recently revived that late summer getaway and we just got back from a few post-Labor Day beach days at Wildwood Crest.

It was wonderful!

Smaller crowds, lots of sunshine and water still warm enough to swim. It reminds me of a Jimmy Buffett song about the end of summer with the lyrics, “The best time of the year/I go down to talk to me/When the coast is clear.”

It truly was the best time of the year lounging at the shore and reflecting on the summer while having enough space to really stretch out on your beach blanket. We have one more week of official summer left before I will change out my door decoration to something harvest related. By then, I’m sure everyone else will have moved on to Halloween. By the time I put up my Halloween décor, others will be hanging Christmas lights.

There’s no right or wrong here and we all change seasons on our own schedule. I’m happy to enjoy lower 80-degree temperatures in my flip-flops for one more week.

Kristin Emery can be reached at

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