T.S. Eliot insisted that April was the cruelest month. My money is on September.

The thing is, the weather finally gets fabulous—you know; low humidity, moderate temperatures, pristine blue skies—but there’s not much time to enjoy things before the dreariness of the late fall sets in.

So you’ve really got to squeeze things in this and next month. As a grown-up, I’ve learned to make the most of these early fall weekends, of jubilant outdoor events and crisp, sweater-weather evenings followed by the toasty comfort of indoor gatherings.

Climatically speaking, Greater Cincinnati is a great place for that combination. In Detroit and Cleveland, cities where I used to live, September and October can get mighty dicey. But down here, our lead-up to winter is more leisurely. September—and much of October, for that matter—is certain to be filled with some of the year’s most glorious weather.

And yes, I know—autumn doesn’t officially begin until Sept. 22. But realistically speaking, summer is done when schools start. So let’s stop arguing semantics and get started with enjoying ourselves.

One of the best things about September and October is that outdoor events are abundant. But at the same time, the local arts and entertainment scene has kicked into high gear. So hard to know what to pick. Here’s where I’ll be headed:

The Diary of Anne Frank 

Not every family outing has to be fun and games. And for some families, this play will be the perfect sharing opportunity. The book version of Anne Frank’s diary has been read by tens of millions of young people around the world. It’s been translated into more than 70 languages. Clearly, it has universal appeal.

Yes, we all know that Anne Frank dies. But it’s not her death that made her diary such a cultural touchstone for so many people, particularly young people. It’s the way she managed to live her life, despite the harrowing state of the world outside her four walls.

Anne was 13 years old when she and her family went into hiding. They spent more than two years successfully evading the Nazis who occupied Amsterdam. But her reflections on life, besides being far wiser than you might expect from a not-very-worldly adolescent, were sometimes remarkably optimistic. It is that inspiration that has made her story the subject of so many movies and plays and even ballets.

It’s also what makes it a thoughtful family adventure and an occasion for some first-rate family discussions. 

The Diary of Anne Frank. Through Oct. 11. Tickets are $22-$42. Cincinnati Shakespeare Company, 719 Race St., Downtown. 513-381-2273 or cincyshakes.com.

Great Outdoor Weekend

You know how ArtsWave and Macy’s sponsor an arts sampler weekend in February?

Great Outdoor Weekend is the same sort of things, except that it is LOTS bigger. 

With more than 120 activities at 40 sites, it is touted as the “nation’s largest outdoor recreation and nature education sampler.”

There are more than a dozen sponsors, including some of those you might expect: Great Parks of Hamilton County, The Nature Conservancy, Cincinnati Nature Center and the Cincinnati Wild Flower Preservation Society.

For those who like to get outside, this weekend features an extraordinary array of programs. And I guarantee there will be some you’ve never been aware of.

For instance, the Farbach-Werner Nature Preserve in Colerain Township is offering tree identification hikes. Oxbow, Inc., in Lawrenceburg, will host a program called “Egrets, Herons and Sunsets, Oh My.” (It’s just what it sounds like—a chance to see birds resting at the Oxbow before continuing with their migrations.)

Ever heard of the White Water Shaker Village? Well, it’s time you do. Located on Oxford Road in Harrison, they’ll be hosting a program called “Shaker Life in the 1800s – With a Side of Ice Cream!” There’s also the “Honeybee Hoopla” at Parky’s Farm in Winton Woods. Or the combination Nature Hike and Scavenger Hunt at the Children’s Meeting House in Loveland. 

There are dozens more. Check the entire schedule at meetmeoutdoors.org. Sept. 24-25, at more than 100 venues in Greater Cincinnati.

The Sound of Music

It’s been a long time since we’ve seen The Sound of Music. True, NBC televised the show live in 2013. And you may have come across a community theater production or two in the past decade.

This version is different. Director Jack O’Brien is known for breathing new life into old shows. He’s not bad with original shows, either; he directed the Broadway versions of The Full Monty and Hairspray.

This particular production pops into town for just two weeks as the opening show of the Broadway in Cincinnati series. And it’s one of those few theatrical events that seems to hold the interest of all age groups.

Unlike the Great Outdoor Weekend, space is limited when you’re talking about a theater. And if you’re interested in this one, I suggest you try to snag some tickets as soon as you can. 

The Sound of Music. Through Oct. 9. Prices start at $30. Aronoff Center, 650 Walnut St., Downtown. 513-621-2787, cincinnatiarts.org.