Some may sing the praises of awakening springtime.

Some will endorse summer's ripened maturity.

Others prefer the glistening stillness of winter.

But I will take the changing kaleidoscope of autumn.

I think that I shall never see a countryside as colorful as my native land's festive fall fantasia -- splendorous Carroll County.

If I were an artist, I'd paint for you a breathtaking pastoral landscape or splash a scenic watercolor across the canvas.

Instead, I invite you to embark on an odyssey.

We'll wander through Wonderland, trek the hills of Heaven and sidestep into Shangri-La.

Nature's outdoor palette ranges from pale to profuse -- alabaster to ebony -- with a myriad of hues, tints and shades blended into a magnificent masterpiece of art.

Beauty beckons as Mistress Autumn Accolade displays her favors for all to enjoy.

Whether one takes a leisurely stroll or a scenic drive amid the quaint towns of Union Bridge, New Windsor, Manchester, Uniontown, Sykesville or Hampstead, beauteous vistas tantalize the sight and awaken all the other senses.

Like a variegated mantle, ombre and bronze soybean plants cover many fields. Their nearly bursting crop of plump beans will be harvested throughout this fall.

Corn, with its crisp and shriveled stalks, begs the onslaught of the noisy, churning picker and pours forth the golden nuggets into the awaiting trailer.

Forests and woodlands are ablaze with russet, scarlet, copper, crimson, mahogany and Burgundy hues.

Spectacular seas of goldenrod dazzle the eye.

Hollow joe-pye weed -- the mauve shade having somewhat faded -- retains its tall, sturdy stem and exuberant cluster of blossoms.

Two of these wondrous areas are in the meadow at the railroad track near Tannery and down in the valley on Hoffman Mill Road by Aspen Run.

Traversing on into Westminster, one glimpses still-emerald lawns and the lingering vestiges of Queen Anne's lace, prolific foxtail and stunning, statuesque maroon sumac along back roads.

Farmers markets, laden with crisp, juicy apples, multicolored Indian corn and huge pumpkins, promise a break in the routine, a fragrant slice of pie right out of the oven and a tangy sip of cider.

Rushing rivers, tumbling rock-strewn streams and meandering brooks gradually slow the tempo from allegro to andante.

Carroll County residents and visitors have picturesque sights around them to contemplate, majestic wonders to appreciate and dazzling scenes in which to revel.

All is attributable to the detailed design, intricate handiwork, and creative skill of a master craftsman.

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