Five Fun Ways to Celebrate “Fall-o-ween” in Pure Michigan

Today, our guest blogger Lyndsay Israel from The Awesome Mitten shares some seasonally-inspired ways to celebrate “Fall-o-ween” in Pure Michigan.

You may have noticed that we have hit the calendar jackpot for 2014!  Halloween on a Friday?  Does it get any better than that?  This year, plan your fall weekend celebrations right, including those leading up to the 31st- do, or see something new, take your kids somewhere fun, or win the prize at the Halloween party!  Check out these five ‘Fall-o-ween’ fun plans as you plot out the rest of your autumn months.

Fall Camping

Screen Shot 2014-10-15 at 9.11.34 AM

Photo by Lyndsay Israel

Yes, it’s already chilly, but you always sleep better when it’s cold out, right?  A lot of local campgrounds have adopted Halloween weekend events for their campers; these can include anything from a campsite decorating contest to a costume parade for the little campers!  Because the cold is unpredictable, many have moved this tradition to September, but call your favorite place and check.  I can at least point people to Harbor RV Resort in Monroe County, who celebrate Halloween weekly for all of October.  Head that way until the weekend of the 26th to check out their traditions.

Dress Locally

I always think of cool costumes at the most irrelevant times of the year.  If you share that curse, you forget your great ideas by the time you get your costume party invite.  What about going as a Michigan native?  Tim the Toolman Taylor (or Al, if you’re hairier), Kid Rock, Lucille Ball or Madonna all hail from the mitten state…and make for a fun costume.

Take a Drive

Photo by Lyndsay Israel

Photo by Lyndsay Israel

Peak color is happening any minute now but since it started so fast I anticipate a slow disappearance of the leaves…I am not an autumn expert but this is my opinion.  Check out the beautiful Tunnel of Trees from Harbor Springs to Cross Village (on M-119) if you’re close enough, or just find a park near you to appreciate the foliage before it’s replaced by frost.

Get Scared!

Tis the season to get lost in a corn maze or chased by a man with a chainsaw.  If getting scared is your cup of tea, check out The Haunt in Grand Rapids or ride the Junction Valley Spook Train in Saginaw County!  Take a Twilight Walking Tour in Sault St. Marie or take a Marshall Carriage Co. Ghost tour through local cemeteries.  There are no shortage of creepy options in Michigan, and for more ghastly ghosts, check out parts one, two and three of haunted places in Michigan from The Awesome Mitten.

Decorate

Photo by Lyndsay Israel

Photo by Lyndsay Israel

Decorating for Halloween can be a lot of work, but consider it a dry run for the winter holidays yet to come.  Even if you don’t transform your lawn into a spooky cemetery, pumpkins of all shapes and sizes can be transformed to showcase what your house holds dear.  For me, this means a giant football, but with a can of gold spray paint or black lacy tights, pumpkins can lend some class to your front porch.  Good old fashioned jack-o-lantern carving complete with a big candle to last the month is fun for the family, or decorate enough lanterns to line your driveway.  Use the neglected sand box to weigh down your paper bag lanterns, or send the kiddos on a scavenger hunt for rock weights.

For a comprehensive break down of fall fun in Michigan, check out michigan.org for a great list of even more Fall-o-ween to-dos. How are you celebrating “Fall-o-ween” in Pure Michigan this year?

Untitled1Lyndsay Israel is a life long Michigander currently in Traverse City. She has big ole soft spot for Grand Rapids, where she’s been the better part of the last decade.  Passions include writing about Michigan and Michigan craft beer. Future goals include making it through this Northern Michigan this winter, finishing her masters in secondary education at Grand Valley, owning a large dog, and reading as many books as she can.

 

 

 

Enjoy a Pint and a Lift: West Michigan’s Brewery Hop Transportation Options

Fall flavors are on tap at West Michigan breweries! Today, Experience Grand Rapids shares five ways to enjoy your favorite breweries worry-free with convenient and reliable transportation options. 

Photo courtesy of Brewery Vivant and Experience GR

Photo courtesy of Brewery Vivant and Experience GR

As the temperatures drop and the days get shorter, the allure of warm breweries and seasonal craft beer grows. Local tap lists have been updated to feature fall flavors like apple, cinnamon, bourbon, and everyone’s fave: pumpkin. Grab a sweater and a pint of autumn-inspired beer, and leave the car keys behind for a fun and responsible experience. We’ve got you covered in Grand Rapids both with a slew of breweries and safe transportation options to get to and fro.

Brian Haik combines his love for beer and history to create a special experience for thirsty locals and visitors alike. GR Beer Tours – the top activity in Grand Rapids according to TripAdvisor – offers a well-rounded beer-focused outing. On the half day tour, Brian shares information about beer styles, tasting approaches, and local beer lore. Go behind the scenes at a brewery to learn about the process and meet brewers, enjoy 12-16 samples of beer, and get chauffeured in a comfortable 15-passenger van.

GR Beer Tours Owner Bryan Haik[1]GR Beer Tours offers a handful of tour options exploring different segments of the West Michigan beer scene, plus walking tours in the heart of downtown GR. Private tours are also popular and an excellent way to celebrate birthdays, bachelors, or business events. Join Brian to head straight to the source, immersed in the history and craft beer flavor of Michigan.

Tickets and Info: www.grbeertours.com | 4-6 Hour Tour incl. beer starts at $50/person

Beer City Runner: Your Ticket to Beer City USA

When I first saw the Beer City Runner (it’s hard to miss) cruising around town a couple weeks ago, I wondered where it had been all my life. For the same cost of garage parking downtown, you can hop on and off this bus all night long cruising between breweries. Beer City Runner circles Grand Rapids every Friday from 5pm to midnight and Saturday from noon to midnight.

Beer City RunnerBeer City Runner has hourly departures from the following popular breweries: Founders, Mitten Brewing Co., Elk Brewing Co., Harmony, Brewery Vivant, and HopCat/GRBC. View the route and timetable online, where you can also grab tickets. Then, grab a pint of autumnal brew and toast your transportation-savvy. I recommend Brewery Vivant’s Pumpkin Tart. It’s not actually tart, but well balanced with the aroma of warming spices and pumpkin. Cheers!

Tickets and Info: www.beercityrunner.com | $8 Hop on, hop off one day fare

Uber: Welcome to the Taxi Future

Uber Grand Rapids ScreenshotUber just landed in Grand Rapids and residents were thrilled. Uber is a convenient, mobile phone based transportation service. Once you’ve downloaded the app and created an account, you simply input your destination and are alerted when your driver will arrive (a matter of minutes in Grand Rapids proper) and the approximate fare. The app stores your credit card information and handles payment, so you can hop out at your destination without fumbling with cash or plastic. This streamlined service is an excellent way to get to and from breweries, leaving your car in park.

Public Transportation

The Rapid bus system is an excellent way to get around town on the cheap. Use the convenient Trip Planner at ridetherapid.org to get directions. The brand new Silver Line Bus transports folks from the suburbs to downtown with ease. We wrote all about it last month here. Ride on!

The Good Ole’ DD

Don’t forget about the age-old strategy for avoiding driving while intoxicated: the DD. Breweries around town are known for more than just great beer. Harmony and Mitten Brewing Co. both have terrific pizza. Vivant has a killer burger and housemade desserts. Founders has terrific live music and peanuts for days. There’s something for everyone, even if it isn’t an Ichabod Pumpkin Ale or refreshing Vandermill Totally Roasted hard cider.

These days deciding how to safely brewery hop is easier than making a selection from each spot’s seasonal tap list. Cheers to that!

Three Reasons to Trick-or-Treat at Binder Park Zoo

Halloween is just around the corner! There are many ways to celebrate around the state – including a trip to the zoo! Today, Becca Freybler from Calhoun County Visitors Bureau shares her memories of ZooBoo at Binder Park Zoo and gives us three sweet reasons to trick-or-treat with the animals. 

Photo courtesy of Binder Park Zoo

Photo courtesy of Binder Park Zoo

This year, Binder Park Zoo’s ZooBoo celebrates 28 years of Halloween fun! Growing up in Battle Creek, I have great memories from my childhood going to trick-or-treating through the zoo during ZooBoo.  I especially remember how much fun it was to put on my costume, get into the minivan and then drive through the zoo entrance and see all the decorations.

Since its start, ZooBoo has grown and now includes so much more than just the trick-or-treating trail.  ZooBoo is an amazing Halloween festival in the zoo, it is creating happy and fun memories for so many kids. Here are some reasons why Binder Park Zoo’s ZooBoo is so special.

Photo courtesy of Calhoun County CVB

Photo courtesy of Calhoun County Visitors Bureau

Community Pumpkin Carve
Every year before ZooBoo starts, Binder Park Zoo holds a pumpkin carve. Anyone can come and help carve the hundreds pumpkins that will be displayed throughout the zoo. Kids are so excited to come back and find where their pumpkin is placed.  It gives visitors a sense that they contributed to making this event happen. This year’s carve is on October 14 from 4-7pm.   It’s so much fun that our whole CVB staff will be there to help carve this year.

It’s in a Zoo
Everyone loves the zoo.  Coming to the zoo when it is all decked out in Halloween and fall décor makes it seem magical.  It’s worth a visit to see the zoo at night during such a fun, festive event.  All the decorations in the main zoo are “merry-not-scary” decorations so this event is great for all ages.

Photo courtesy of Calhoun County Visitors Bureau

Photo courtesy of Calhoun County Visitors Bureau

More than just Trick-or-Treating
Yes, the main attraction is the trick-or-treating for the kids but there is so much more to do! There are animal presentations, the fall classic straw maze, black light mini-golf, a carnival, carousel rides, and even a Haunted Hayride through Wild Africa. Yes, you heard me right. Binder Park has an Africa that makes you feel like you went on an African safari. The Haunted Hayride is for those that want a little more adventure!

ZooBoo is a great event for families and your kids will want to go back every year. You will too! Even as an adult, I still love ZooBoo and want to go back because I love the Halloween spirit that the zoo gives off this time of year. The memories it creates are timeless.

ZooBoo runs from October 15-30.
Wednesday – Friday: 5-8pm
Saturday – Sunday: 3-8pm
Haunted Africa is on Friday & Saturday ONLY from 6-8pm

Screen-Shot-2014-05-31-at-8.55.38-PM-250x194Becca Freybler is the Digital Media Marketing Manager for the Calhoun County Visitors Bureau, handling all of their digital platforms.  She has worked for the CVB since 2010. Becca is a Michigan State University graduate and a lifelong Battle Creek resident. Outside of work she enjoys sports, cooking, being outdoors, and owns a Collie named Simba.