Autumn officially arrives at 5:18 p.m., and today brings what's known at the autumnal equinox, the point in time when there are exactly 12 hours of daylight and 12 hours of darkness at the earth's equator. The days will continue to get shorter and the nights longer until the winter solstice, the first day of winter, which is also the shortest day of the year.

Throughout the ages, the autumnal equinox has been associated with the harvest. In our backyard gardens, though, we're on no such schedule. Still, pay close attention to the forecasts, and when temperatures are predicted to dip below 45 degrees, it'll be time to bring in the last of the tomatoes. Grapes need to be picked, too, and basil, parsley and other herbs should be cut down and either frozen or dried for the winter.

Here are some more ways to celebrate fall:

Cranberry festivals in the Northeast

Leaf peeping in the Northeast

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Where to go apple picking in upstate New York

Apple picking on Long Island