Four Characteristics of a Pure Michigan Fall

Today, guest blogger Shannon Saksewski from The Awesome Mitten shares a few key ingredients of fall in Pure Michigan.

15reasonstolovefall1Seasons.  A stark difference between four distinct seasons.  This is one of the several reasons why, despite opportunities, I haven’t felt truly compelled to move to another state.  It’s always been difficult for me to imagine living in a place where I couldn’t, in a broad sense, measure time by looking at the leaves.

Fall’s my favorite.  Fall is a favorite for a lot of people.  You’ve likely noticed by now that large retailers agree, especially if you’ve ever walked through their aisles in August—and sometimes July—when they start offering Halloween goodies and autumn decor.  Let’s set the retail goods aside for now, though, and focus on what makes Michigan truly special in the fall.

Colors
Oh, the glorious colors!  People from around the country flock to the Mitten in the fall to witness the flaming reds, oranges, yellows, and even burgundies.  Peak color varies throughout the state, but generally falls between mid-September through the end of October.  As a general rule, the farther north one travels, the earlier colors will peak.

Color tours are a popular fall activity for many Michigan residents and visitors.  Residents need not travel far in order to experience the sights, sounds, and smells of Michigan’s technicolor forests.  Over half of the state is forested—that’s over 19 million acres—and most of that consists of northern hardwoods (the color-changers, like maples).  Want to get on the road to see what all the fuss is about?  Here’s a list of color driving tours.  Prefer to get out of the car and see the sights up close?  Try these hiking and biking tours.

Bangor apple festApples
With 9.2 million apple trees, Michigan is the second-largest apple producing state in the US—and we have serious love for our orchards!  It seems like almost everyone, especially people who grew up here, has a favorite orchard.  My personal favorite is Wasem’s in Milan, very near where I grew up.  I love that place for its crisp Michigan apples, sure.  If you talk to someone about their favorite orchard long enough, though, you’ll likely realize that they’re not in it for the apples alone.  Orchards offer a range of goods and experiences.  For example, I contend that Wasem’s has the best donuts, cider, and apple butter in the universe.  (That’s a strong statement, and I’d love to debate the point—and taste-test—with any of you!)

Orchards offer much more than edible goods.  In addition, they are often home to Halloween-themed activities like haunted houses, haunted hay rides, and nighttime corn mazes.  For those less inclined to be purposefully terrified, check out the decorative goods, historical surrounds, demonstrations, and much more.  A visit to the orchard could be a brief stop, or an all-day affair.  Check out an old favorite, or search for a future favorite.  Regardless, enjoy!

FordfieldFestivals
Clearly, there’s a lot to celebrate about fall in Michigan.  Colors! Apples! Pumpkins! Alpacas!  Oh, and beer.  Check out this calendar of Michigan’s fall festivals.  At least a few of these are on my must-see list.  Which will you visit?

Football
We tend to take football pretty seriously in Michigan—to the point where some of us use “fall” and “football season” interchangeably.  Whether you’re a die-hard fan of Michigan’s own Detroit Lions or a  particular university, or are just in it for tailgating fun (or both), it’s possible that you closely associate football and fall.  Not too interested in football?  That’s OK.  There are plenty of orchards to visit instead of tailgating, cramming into a stadium, and/or yelling at the television.

What do you think?  What other festivals, places, or traditions are characteristic of fall in Michigan?

shannon-293x300Shannon Saksewski is a life-long resident of Michigan. Professionally, she is a healthcare strategist focusing on consumer experience and marketing.  She was trained, and has experience in, psychology, social work, and business at the University of Michigan.  Outside of work, she enjoys cooking, traveling, writing, and experimenting with local beer and craft cocktails.  Connect with Shannon on Twitter (@ssaksews), or LinkedIn.

How to Reel in a Salmon or Steelhead in Pure Michigan This Fall

DSK113 19 - salmon

Salmon and steelhead are ready to bite! Fall is a great time to get out on the water and reel in a big one. Today, Elyse Walter from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources shares some tips and techniques for making a big catch in Michigan this fall. 

Michigan offers some fantastic fishing during the fall months – particularly for salmon and steelhead. In fact, now can be the perfect time to target them, if you know where to go and what techniques to use. Whether you’re looking for the various salmon species or steelhead (rainbow trout that are stocked in a river) you’re sure to find plenty of opportunities this month and beyond!

Atlantic Salmon
Fishing for Atlantic salmon is huge on the St. Marys River; in fact this spot is considered the best recreational Atlantic salmon fishery west of the East Coast. Most anglers troll for this species using downriggers, but other popular methods are fly fishing for them with wet flies or spin fishing for them with plugs, spinners and spoons.

DSK329 023 - girl charterChinook Salmon
These fish are often called “kings” and with good reason! Popular spots to target them in the fall include Great Lakes piers, streams along the Lake Michigan coast, or inland streams such as the Manistee (Tippy Dam), Pere Marquette and St. Joseph rivers. Many anglers focus on low-light time periods – such as in the morning or in the evening – but others target Chinooks after dark with glow-in-the-dark spoons. Artificial bait is what most anglers use to appeal to this species, but salmon eggs are popular as well.

Coho Salmon
This popular species can be caught in Lake Michigan at any time, though some of the best fishing happens in early fall. In particular, the Manistee River is very popular in late October and in the Upper Peninsula the Anna River is a great destination for this salmon. Lots of anglers use spinners, spoons and plugs when fishing for this species.

DSK265 65 - steelheadSteelhead
Michigan is considered one of the best steelhead fishing destinations in the country with several well-known spots located throughout the state. These include the Manistee, Muskegon and St. Joseph rivers in the Lake Michigan watershed, the Au Sable River in the Lake Huron watershed, and the Huron River in the Lake Erie watershed. Most anglers head out in November and/or December (if they’re not hunting) to target steelhead and use a variety of techniques to do so – including spinners, plugs and single salmon eggs floating under a bobber.

Don’t miss your chance to catch a big salmon or steelhead this fall. For even more information on fishing in Michigan, including rules and regulations, visit www.michigan.gov/fishing. 

Where is your go-to destination for fall fishing in Michigan? 

Elyse-Walter-150x1501Elyse Walter is a communication specialist for the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. She specifically works with the DNR’s Fisheries Division to help educate and promote the state’s fishing opportunities and aquatic resources.

Eight Things to Know About Slippery Rock University’s Big House Battle in Ann Arbor

Today, guest blogger Laura Berarducci from Visit Ann Arbor shares eight fun facts about Slippery Rock University’s Big House Battle versus Mercyhurst University on October 18, 2014.

Photo courtesy of Slippery Rock Athletics

Photo courtesy of Slippery Rock Athletics

The voices of many football fans will echo throughout The Big House this year—and not just during University of Michigan games. Fan favorites Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania will play its conference rival Mercyhurst University at Michigan Stadium on Saturday, October 18 in the Big House Battle. Below are some fun facts and inside information about this legendary event!

1. The University of Michigan football public address announcer, Steve Filipiak, started a 55-year tradition (and counting) when he announced the Slippery Rock score during the 1959 Wolverine football game. The score has been read at every home football game since.

2. Slippery Rock’s school colors are green and white. Mercyhurst colors are green and blue. Special apparel celebrating the event will be for sale at the game.

Photo courtesy of Slippery Rock Athletics

Photo courtesy of Slippery Rock Athletics

3. This will be the third visit by Slippery Rock to the Big House. The first visit was in 1979 against Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania. The second was in 1981 versus Wayne State. The Rock lost both games.

4. The Slippery Rock football attendance record was set during the 1979 game: 61,143.

5. Rocky, The Pride of the Rock, is the school’s unofficial mascot. His appearance resembles a lion, but with a mossy green mane. This will be Rocky’s second visit to the Big House after being introduced to fans in 2010 during a halftime ceremony honoring Slippery Rock.

Slippery Rock's Mascot, Rocky - Photo by Steve Wiseman and 104.3 WOMC

Slippery Rock’s Mascot, Rocky – Photo by Steve Wiseman and 104.3 WOMC

6. Slippery Rock University (also known as “The Rock”), located north of Pittsburgh and 265 miles east of Ann Arbor, is a NCAA Division II school and part of the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference. Michigan Division II schools include Wayne State University and Northern Michigan University.

7. Fans wishing to purchase individual tickets can do so online through the U-M ticket office. Individual tickets are $20; groups of 10 or more can purchase tickets at $5 each; a family package that includes four tickets, four hot dogs and four soft drinks is available for $50.

8. All students at Slippery Rock, Mercyhurst and Michigan will be admitted to the game for free.

Laura Berarducci is the Director of Marketing for the Ann Arbor Area Convention and Visitors Bureau and has been an Ann Arbor resident for more than 30 years. Even though she graduated from Indiana University, her heart bleeds Maize and Blue — except for on October 18 when she’ll wear green in the Big House to cheer on The Rock. For more information about Ann Arbor and festive fall activities, check out www.VisitAnnArbor.org