States Parks to Visit This Season to see Breathtaking Fall Foliage

Autumn colors are now in their peak and provide awe-inspiring views all around the Great Lakes state. Whether you’re planning a fall color drive or want to explore the breathtaking views on foot, there is still plenty of time to enjoy the beauty of the season. We put together a list of a few state parks to enjoy the breathtaking views.

Hartwick Pines State Park
Hartwick Pines is one of the largest state parks in Michigan’s lower peninsula. You can climb the rolling hills to overlook the AuSable River and explore the forest of Old Growth Pines. Also, make sure to make a pit stop at the Hartwick Pines Logging Museum, which is about a 1/4 mile walk from the visitor center. The unique history is worth the extra steps!

Tahquamenon Falls State Park
Tahquamenon Falls State Park stretches over 13 miles and offers amazing sights all year long, but is especially magnificent in the fall. Most famous are the Upper Tahquamenon Falls, one of the largest waterfalls east of the Mississippi. The Upper Falls have a drop of nearly 50 feet and is more than 200 feet across. Four miles downstream are the Lower Falls, a series of five smaller falls cascading around an island.  There are more than 40 miles of hiking trails, 13 inland lakes, 24 miles of the Tahquamenon River and approximately 20,000 acres of natural area, which provides plenty of space to explore.

Tahquamenon Falls - Photo courtesy of @visitthesault

Tahquamenon Falls – Photo courtesy of Instagrammer @visitthesault

Silver Lake Sand Dunes State Park 
Embark almost 3,000-acres along the Lake Michigan shoreline. This area includes both dune country and acres of mature forest. One of the park’s biggest draws is the 450-acre off-road vehicle area, so hop on and start exploring the orange, yellow and red stunning leaves.

Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park
This Upper Peninsula gem provides towering timbers, secluded lakes and miles of wild rivers and streams covering 60,000 acres. Explore 90 miles of foot trails and camp on the shore of Lake Superior to enjoy sunsets from your site. The North Country Trail includes 23 miles within the state park and rugged trails to conquer on a mountain bike. Take in the scenic vistas, waterfalls and old growth forest. It is designated as an official Michigan Wildlife Viewing Area for its various wildlife and can’t miss views.

Porcupine Mountains - Photo courtesy of @ryandjohnson

Porcupine Mountains – Photo courtesy of Instagrammer @ryandjohnson

Seven Lakes State Park
Located in Southeast Michigan, Seven Lakes State Park offers an endless variety of topography and ecosystems form the area called Seven Lakes. Its land has a combination of farmland, rolling hills and forests. About 230 acres of water with several miles of shoreline await the park user.

Isle Royale National Park 
Isle Royale is truly unique as it can only be accessed by boat or float plane. The combination of its protected isolation, wilderness value and natural beauty provides an ideal habitat for an assortment of wildlife. You can explore a rugged, isolated island, far from the sights and sounds of civilization. Surrounded by Lake Superior, Isle Royale offers unparalleled solitude and adventures for backpackers, hikers, boaters, kayakers, canoeists and scuba divers. Here, amid stunning scenic beauty, you’ll find opportunities for reflection and discovery, and make memories that last a lifetime.

Isle Royale - Photo courtesy of @adventureguyphoto

Isle Royale – Photo courtesy of Instagrammer @adventureguyphoto

Which of these state parks have you visited?

Pure Michigan November 2015 Events Roundup

November in Michigan brings a unique combination of fall festivities and holiday cheer. From harvest fests to parades and local tree lightings, there’s always something happening throughout the month of November in Pure Michigan.

Read below for a roundup of some of the many events going on around the state and don’t forget to visit the events page on Michigan.org for a complete listing of activities taking place all year long.

November 1 – 7

All Things Detroit
November 1
Come out and enjoy an afternoon of browsing Detroit/Michigan products, all under one roof! Check out Detroit apparel, handmade jewelry, artisan food products, custom artwork, and more. There will be 75+ local vendors in attendance. Admission $5, children under 12 are FREE! There is convenient, free parking and free door prizes to the first 300 guests. Tickets can be purchased at the door.

Mid-Michigan Rock/Gem/Fossil Show
November 1
The 22nd Mid-Michigan Rock Club show will be 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Great Hall Banquet and Convention Center; 5121 Bay City Road; Midland Michigan. It is conveniently located just off the Bay City Road exit of US-10, on the south side of Midland. Admission is $1 for adults; 50¢ cents for youth 12 to 17. Scouts and military members in uniform and younger with adult admitted free. This year we have 14 vendors signed up for our show.

Kalamazoo Russian Festival
November 7
The 20th annual Kalamazoo Russian Festival will include a full day of programming for adults and children (the event includes a special children’s activity area). The event will include musical performances by well-known musicians and dancers, an art gallery, lectures by Russian scholars, and a Russian marketplace with unique crafts and packaged foods for sale. Attendees will experience a complete Russian atmosphere hearing the Russian language and music; seeing Russian art, dance and crafts; and mingling with people wearing authentic Russian costumes.

ComiqueCon 2015
November 7
A one-day festival celebrating women in comics, the festival brings together female artists, illustrators, publishers and fans for a day of fun and discussion on the growing impact of women readers of comics and graphic novels. This year’s festival has already announced several main stage presenters including: Leila Abdelrazaq, Nancy Collins, Marguerite Dabaie, Alex de Campi, Nicole Georges, Mikki Kendall and Mairghread Scott. Other planned events include a costume contest, artist VIP reception, discussion panels and a screening of the documentary “She Makes Comics.”

variety_grapesWine, Women & Shopping
November 7
This is a huge event that celebrates both the holiday season and Chelsea’s commitment to preserving small business owners with a shop local event. Look for trunk shows, demonstrations and complimentary snacks in many of the participating stores throughout the day. The restaurants and cafés hold up their end of things with specialty menu items and wine tastings. Tucked away in historic buildings throughout town are shops so varied and inviting, shoppers will surely find treasures for everyone on their list. Maps and lists of participating businesses will be available throughout town on the day of the event.

Frost Fine Arts & Crafts Fair
November 7 – 8
Browse and shop from more than 50 vendors featuring art and fine handcrafted items. Artists are juried on original and artistic quality and items appropriate for holiday shopping. This fair runs Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Sunday from 11a.m. to 4 p.m.

Michigan Historical Museums – Inventing the Outdoors
November 7 – September 5, 2016
Inventing the Outdoors takes you into Webster Marble’s world, where the utility of tools merged with the enjoyment of recreation, and both were propelled by innovations in marketing. The second Saturday of every month features family-oriented activities related to innovation. This exhibit is included with museum admission.

November 8 – 14

Snowshoe Making Class
November 8
Participants will learn to weave a pair of traditional wooden snowshoes, similar to how the Native Americans crafted them for generations. Classes are designed to be fun, informative and interesting. Because this is an activity that requires concentration over long periods of time, it is suggested for ages 16 years and older. These handmade snowshoes can be used for hiking throughout the winter, given as holiday gifts, and/or used as a decoration in your home. Snowshoeing is an easy, inexpensive way to get outside and burn some calories during the winter months.

Riverside Saginaw Film Festival
November 11 – 15
This is a local non-profit providing a film festival each year in November to bring films that our movie theatres are not scheduled to view. Movies include: What We Do in the Shadows, In the Name of My Daughter, Slow West, Amateur Night, Runoff, Learning to Drive, End of the Tour, Mommy, Ida, White God, Iris, Timbuktu, It Follows, Tangerines, Testament of Youth, Tab Hunter Confidential, The Water Diviner, Love and Mercy, Red Army, Meet the Patels, Batkid Begins, Danny Collins, I’ll See you in my Dreams,’71, Wolfpack, Gett, About Elly, Mr. Holmes, Clouds of Sils Maria.

Made in Michigan Show
November 12
This is an event to showcase the goods and services that are ‘Made in Michigan’. Event will be from 6 – 9 p.m.

Women’s Only Weekend
November 12 – 15
Kick up your heels to music, catch up with the latest in fashion and home decor, treat yourself to wine and cheese pairings, chocolate, massages, manicures, sleep in and enjoy a late breakfast, double over with laughter at comedians, take in a classic chick flick, savor fine delicacies specially prepared by our local chefs, enjoy a chocolate fondue, special demonstrations at our local merchants, take pleasure in significant savings and relish a margarita, all at your own pace.

Charming Mothers & Delightful Daughters
November 14
Come and enjoy an event designed to create a lovely experience for both mothers and daughters looking to share quality time. Together, come learn about social graces and gain confidence in knowing the proper etiquette for any social situation. This fun and interactive program for young ladies and their mothers-or mother figures- will include tips on proper etiquette, including greetings and introductions, poise and posture, and all other rules of fine dining all throughout a fun and memorable event that includes a three course meal for both participants.

The Great Beerd RunBeerd Run
November 14
Meet at the Grand Traverse Resort and Spa for the second Great Beerd Run- a 5k fun run designed to celebrate all things Beer and Beard. This is an untimed run with on course beer tastings provided by three different local breweries. There will also be a post-race Beer Tent featuring a Best Beard Contest, race grub, music and beer. $40 registration fee includes race entrance, knitted beard beanie, race medal, three beer samples, one glass of beer during the post-race party, and entrance into post-race party. The race is open to participants 21 or over. Must provide photo ID.

November 15 – 21

TC beer weekTraverse City Beer Week
November 13 – 20
Traverse City Beer Week showcases a series of events highlighting this fabulous craft beer scene. From November 13th to the 20th, there are seven days of craft beer tastings, dinners and workshops. Get a pint or a sample, meet with brewers and brewery representatives and learn more about our incredible beer state of Michigan.

Light Night
November 20
In late November of each year, Grand Haven’s Main Street is all abuzz with holiday cheer as Washington Avenue is brightened by an eye-catching display of seasonal lights during the all-illuminating Light Night event. As visitors marvel at the twinkling displays, Christmas songs are played in the street. Hot chocolate and freshly roasted nuts offer a warm reprieve on the chilly eve. FREE Light Night commemorative mugs to the first 500 patrons. Indoors, participating merchants host open houses with special promotions.

Silver Bells in the City
November 20
The entire city will glow with millions of lights for the 31st Annual Silver Bells in the City, bringing together family and friends from all over Michigan to celebrate the holiday season. Immediately following the parade, the steps of the State Capitol will sparkle as the State Christmas tree is lighted, followed by a spectacular fireworks display cascading over the capitol dome (weather permitting).

Made in Michigan Craft Beer and Wine Festival
November 20
Second Annual Made in Michigan Craft Beer & Wine Festival takes over the Diesel Concert Lounge. Admission includes 10 sampling tickets (3 ounces each). Additional sampling tickets will be available for purchase. The event also boasts live entertainment, 50/50 raffles, and more. Tickets are $30 in advance and $35 at the door.

Christmas Through Lowell
November 20 – 22
Kick off your holiday shopping season in and around Historic Lowell at the 24th Annual Christmas Through Lowell event. The event will feature over 40 homes and businesses that are unique and magical. Over 300 artists and crafters will showcase their gifts and creations for three days! On your Christmas Through Lowell shopping extravaganza, you will find hand-made treasures, jewelry, Christmas decorations, folk art and fine art, antiques and re-found treasures, primitives, crocheted and knitted crafts, hand-crafted purses, bags, totes, and so much more!

Holiday Expo & Craft Show
November 21
Come check out the holiday expo and craft show for great holiday shopping with over 100 of your favorite vendors and crafters from across Michigan. Find that perfect gift for everyone on your list this year! Admission is free.

November 22 – 30

Festival of Trees
November 19 – 29
The Muskegon Museum of Art will host its annual Festival of Trees in what has become a Muskegon tradition, transforming the museum galleries into a festive holiday display, special events and activities! This year’s decorative theme will carry through themed trees, wreaths, and other holiday decor created by local designers and sponsored by individuals and organizations in the community. Visitors can bid on the trees, decor items, and donated gift baskets during the Festival’s on-going silent auction. Some other special events will be Teddy Bear Breakfast, Senior Day and live musical entertainment by a variety of local performers.

Outdoor Adventure Center – Wild about Wednesdays
November 25
Free admission for all of our visitors and special programs, fun and games around a specific topic each month, plus enjoy all the exhibits at the Outdoor Adventure Center! There will be story time for our youngest guests, hands-on experiences, games and informational sessions for interested visitors.

Downtown Traverse City Turkey Trot
November 26Turkey Trot
The 8th Annual Traverse City Turkey Trot will take place on Thanksgiving Day with both 5K and 5M race courses. Join the fun and get some exercise before the holiday festivities! All race participants will receive a long-sleeved T-shirt and goodie bag. Children running or walking must be registered. Strollers and dogs on leashes are allowed (although dogs are not allowed on Thirlby Field and will be rerouted). Races begin at 9 a.m.

Holiday Celebration and Candle Walk
November 27
This is the perfect way to start the Christmas Season. Hot chocolate and cookies at 6 p.m. and the ceremony starts at 6:30 p.m. Immediately following the ceremony, a candle walk to the Chamber Platz for the lighting of the Christmas tree.

Holidays in the Cities
November 28
There’ll be historic holiday tours and carriage rides at the Lakeshore Museum Center historic sites, an artisan market and craft show at the Century Club, holiday lighting of Hackley Park, refreshments, and Santa Claus! You will also have an opportunity to win a beautiful basket of goodies by getting your card punched at local merchants! The event takes place in downtown Muskegon and historic Lakeside district for unique shopping and holiday gifts.

Which events do you plan to check out in November?

Castles in Michigan? Seven Attractions Fit for a King!

Hear ye, hear ye! You are now in the court of Pure Michigan’s kingdom. Surprising to some, Michigan is home to a handful of castles that would draw envy from some of the mightiest medieval rulers. From visiting the tall tower at Curwood castle or sitting down for a chicken dinner fit for a king in Frankenmuth, these Michigan mansions are sure to peak your royal interests.

Castle Rock
CastleRock
Steer your cavalry toward St. Ignace to see some of the most spectacular views of the Straits of Mackinac and Mackinac Island around. This ancient lookout of the Ojibwa Indians, referred to as Pontiac’s outlook, is 195.8 feet above ground level. If you’re an adventurous traveler, climb the 170 steps all the way to the top.  Castle Rock also features a gift barn full of majestic mementos so you’ll never forget your visit.

Learn more about Castle Rock in this video from Under the Radar Michigan.

The Curwood Castle

CurwoodCastleCurwood Castle, located in Curwood Castle Park, hails on the banks of the Shiawassee River. It served as the writing studio of James Oliver Curwood, one of America’s foremost authors of adventure novels and an early advocate of environmental conservation. Set in Owosso, among one of the richest collections of historic homes and buildings in the Midwest, this replica of a Norman chateau was completed in 1923. The beautiful castle was used by Curwood until his death in 1927. It is now a museum and open to the public.

Castle Farms

Built in 1918, this nationally acclaimed French Renaissance Castle offers old world charm and modern day amenities with its soaring stone towers, cobblestone courtyards and magnificent sweeping gardens. Open year round, Castle Farms welcomes weddings, historical tours, private parties, festivals and more! Feed the fish, play giant chess, tour the royal collections, 1918 museum, Garden Railway, Enchanted Forest and whatever else your honorable heart desires.

Castle Museum of Saginaw County HistorySaginawCastle

The Castle Museum in Saginaw stands tall and welcomes all to explore its long and rich history! Designed as a French castle to honor the French heritage of Saginaw, this stronghold is now home to the historical museum, featuring voyageurs, archaeology and exhibits on Saginaw County and state history. Once a federal building, this castle open’s its gate to all curious nobles.

Bavarian Inn Castle Shops

Put the Bavarian Inn Castle Shops on your map to be transported to a German-style castle. Located in the lower level of the world-famous Bavarian Inn Restaurant in Frankenmuth, these shops are worth your voyage. From souvenirs to some of the finest wine and cheeses around, there is something for everyone in this royal bazaar. Don’t forget to try a sample of Frankenmuth’s famous fudge!

Henderson Castle Bed & Breakfast

HendersonCastle

When your noble feet are weary, make your way to the Henderson Castle Bed & Breakfast. Whether you hail from near or far, you’ll be treated like a king or queen minutes away from vibrant Kalamazoo. Situated in the historic West Main Hill neighborhood, you’re minutes away from the theatres, shopping and vibrant night life of downtown Kalamazoo, but secluded enough to enjoy a quiet night free from the noise of the city. Get a massage, facial or manicure in our day spa. Soak in the rooftop hot tub while taking in the best view of downtown Kalamazoo that’s available. If you’re hungry, stay for dinner and indulge in some of the finest French food southwest Michigan has to offer.

Photo Courtesy of Instagrammer (at)Oni_One_

Photo Courtesy of Instagrammer (at)Oni_One_

Miners Castle at Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore

Miners Castle, arguably the most famous formation of the Pictured Rocks, is accessible by vehicle and short trails. A paved footpath winds to the stunning overlook of Lake Superior and Grand Island. Take the stairs and trail (carefully!) to the lower overlook and snap a picture at one of Northern Michigan’s most photographed spots.

Whether you’re a king, queen, prince or jester, you’re sure to find an imperial Michigan castle for the whole family to enjoy! 

Have you visited a castle in Michigan? Do you know of any others to add to the list?