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Turning of the Leaves – a Fall Ritual

Every autumn we stand in awe of the beauty in our forests as the green leaves of summer change gradually to a rich mixture of red, purple, orange and yellow.

hotel kronenhof

Technically, this change is the result of chemical processes happening in the tree as the weather changes.  Chlorophyll breaks down and the residue mixes with anthocyanin pigments to give us the wide spectrum of fall leaf colors.

Since temperature, light, and water supply influence the degree and duration of fall color, many of us plan vacations around where and when to witness the intensity of nature’s glory.

This year, we’ve opted to fly from the dusty plains of Wyoming to Pontresina, Switzerland.  Of course, it would be more convenient to watch the changing of the leaves in the Colorado Rockies, New England, the North Cascades of Washington State, or many other places that have developed a whole tourism business around this annual event.

But, Switzerland is… well, Switzerland.

Engadine Valley - autumn with snow-capped peaks

Pontresina is about six miles from St. Moritz in the heavily wooded Upper Engadine Valley of southeast Switzerland.  A few years back, we stayed in the Grand Hotel Kronenhof’s sister property, the Kulm Hotel St. Moritz ( and have been eager to return to again hike the Engadine.   Both hotels have amazing history, luxury, and well-deserved five stars.


Photo courtesy of Swiss Tourism.

When we heard that the Grand Hotel Kronenhof ( offers a “Golden Autumn Days” package from late September to late October, we immediately booked the first two weeks of October.

hotel kronenhof

Grand Hotel Kronenhof

Since traveling through eight time zones can be a bit stressing, we look for ways to make the trips easier, and there is little debate that Switzerland has one of the most efficient, comfortable, and reliable train and travel systems in the world.

We prefer to fly into Zurich, then take two most beautiful train rides:  First to Chur, the capital of the canton of Graubunden, and considered to be the oldest town in Switzerland.  (Evidence of first settlement as early as 3900 BC.)  Then jump on the panorama train, the Glacier Express, for a breathtaking trip to St. Moritz and the Engadine.

Now leave it to the Swiss to come up with a brilliant idea.  The Swiss Travel  Fly-Rail-Baggage service lets you check your luggage at any airport in the world and pick it up at the train station nearest your destination.   Easy!

Join us at the Grand Hotel Kronenhof.  Come for the glorious colors of autumn, stay for the food and the spa.  Wyoming will still be there when, or if, we decide to return.


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