Five Ways to Fall in Love with Autumn in Michigan

Welcome to the first day of fall in Pure Michigan.  The autumn season brings many great experiences to enjoy – hiking or biking through brilliant tree tunnels, strolling on still warm beaches and crunching into that perfect orchard apple. If you aren’t quite sold on the harvest season, here are five things to love about fall in Michigan.  Share with us your favorite fall activity or memory by commenting below.

Finding the perfect pumpkin

As Halloween approaches, so does the search for that quintessential pumpkin that will make the perfect jack-o’-lantern or a steaming bowl of pumpkin soup.

Pumpkins are typically harvested in Michigan from September through October.  With many pumpkin patches and farms offering activities like corn mazes, wagon rides and fresh foods from farmers markets, you can make an afternoon out of it.

Photo courtesy of Visit Ypsi.

Photo courtesy of Visit Ypsi.

Jumping in a pile of leaves

Each fall, kids look forward to making the biggest pile of leaves that they can for the sole purpose of making the big jump.  You don’t have to be a kid to enjoy jumping in a pile of leaves or the crunching sound of them beneath your feet.

Trails become covered in freshly fallen leaves during the fall and you can enjoy the sounds of the crunching foliage on one of Michigan’s many hiking or biking trails.

Photo courtesy of Beth Price Photography.

Photo courtesy of Beth Price Photography.

Apple picking season

Michigan is known for its fresh apples during the autumn harvest season.  There are more than 9.2 million apple trees and 850 family-run farms in the state.  There is something special about biting into a juicy Michigan apple that you plucked from a tree branch yourself from a U-Pick farm, or trying out some new recipes with the various varieties of Michigan-grown apples.

Learn more about U-Pick farm, apple tour or cooking inspiration here.

Robinette's Apple Haus  Winery.

Photo courtesy of Robinette’s Apple Haus Winery.

Taking a scenic road trip

Pack up your car for a day or even a long weekend.  The open road is a perfect way to get an up close and personal tour of Michigan’s fall foliage.

Michigan’s well-known fall color routes include M22, Brockway Mountain Drive and Tunnel of Trees, but there are so many scenic routes around the state just waiting to be discovered.   For more information on color tours, visit http://www.michigan.org/fall-color-tours/

Photo courtesy of Instagram user @luc719

Photo courtesy of Instagram user @luc719

Football season

The fall season ushers in the kickoff of football at colleges and universities all around Michigan.  A crisp Saturday afternoon on campus brings students, alumni and fans together to cheer on their team. Consider taking a trip to Ann Arbor to catch a game at iconic Michigan Stadium, better known as The Big House, or the ever-loud and exciting Spartan Stadium in East Lansing. No matter your affiliation, fall football in Michigan is hard to beat.

Photo courtesy of Thomas Gennara Photography.

Photo courtesy of Thomas Gennara Photography.

For more ideas on how to enjoy the fall season in Michigan, visit www.michigan.org/fall, where you can download the Pure Michigan Fall Travel Guide.

Fall Color and Farm Markets near Silver Lake

Whether you’re a lifetime Michigander or you’re visiting the Great Lakes State for the first time, there’s something uniquely special about experiencing fall in Pure Michigan. Guest blogger Andrea Hekkema from the Silver Lakes Sand Dunes – Hart Visitors Bureau shares some of what makes the dunes worth visiting in autumn.

 Autumn has a full color palette in Oceana County.  The dark green spruces, rising pines and the brilliant blues of the lakes and sky balance leaves of deep crimson, glorious golds, rich siennas and umbers.

Photo Courtesy of Silver Lake Sand Dunes – Hart Visitors Bureau

Bountiful harvests of apples and pears color our orchards and plump orange pumpkins and multi-colored squash ripen in the fields. Our temperatures, moderated by Lake Michigan, mean crisp mornings give way to warm days well into October-lots of time for you to enjoy a weekend (or more!) on a color tour with many outdoor activities.

Photo Courtesy of Silver Lake Sand Dunes – Hart Visitors Bureau

Take a drive in the country or a jeep or buggy tour. Consider a ride or stroll on the Hart-Montague Rail Trail, and a canoe or boat trip on one of our inland lakes or rivers. Be sure to stop and check out the fascinating and fun attractions along the way. And of course, while you’re here, indulge your taste buds at one of our roadside farm markets and orchards. The possibilities are as plentiful as the harvest in Oceana County.

Photo Courtesy of Silver Lake Sand Dunes – Hart Visitors Bureau

Still not convinced? Here are some suggestions to get you to “fall” in love with the idea of visiting Oceana County.

Silver Lake: Visit Little Sable Point Lighthouse.  Take a ride over the Silver Lake Sand Dunes and witness a majestic view of the Lake Michigan shoreline. Join a dune buggy tour with Mac Woods or drive your own dune buggy or jeep (rentals are available) through October. Visit Fox Barn Winery and pick up some fresh apple cider or delicious fruit wine.

Historic Downtown Hart: Stroll the downtown district. Enjoy shopping and dining in this small lakeside area. Spend the night or weekend at any of our local hotels.

Mears: After visiting Silver Lake, be sure to stop in Mears. Take time to see the Oceana County Historical Transportation Museum.

The Hart-Montague Rail Trail is a 22 mile linear state park. The entire trail is at least a 10-foot wide paved trail through rich farm land, forests and quaint villages. There are many stops along the way to rest or catch a bite to eat. Start your trip at the Trail Head in downtown Hart, and enjoy your scenic tour of our beautiful area.

Bring your canoe or boat to enjoy the beauty of the season from a different point of view. Public launches and boat ramps can be found at Hart Lake and Silver Lake. You can also rent a canoe, kayak, tube, or raft at Happy Mohawk Canoe Livery and experience the scenic White River.

Map Courtesy of Silver Lake Sand Dunes – Hart Visitors Bureau

 

What is your favorite fall activity in Pure Michigan?

20 Things to Look for at Michigan Farmers Markets this Summer

Exploring farmers markets around the state is a wonderful summer activity. Guest blogger Samantha Collins, Communications and Events Manager for the Michigan Farmers Market Association, shares what you don’t want to miss.

Farmer’s Stand, Onsted, MI

With over 300 farmers markets in the state, Michigan boasts a vibrant summer market season from May through October with a wide variety of fresh fruits, vegetables and artisan goods. Each community that hosts a farmers market is unique and offers a different yet memorable experience for shoppers.

1. Fresh Seasonal Fruits: Summer months bring a large variety of fresh fruits to the market including strawberries, sweet cherries, blueberries, peaches, raspberries and melons.

Photo Courtesy of Lindsey J. Scalera, Michigan Voices for Good Food Policy.

Strawberries at the Holland Farmers Market. Photo Courtesy of Lindsey J. Scalera, Michigan Voices for Good Food Policy.

2. Fresh Seasonal Veggies: Vegetables are a wonderful addition to daily meals. Farmers market staples include a wide variety of leafy greens, tomatoes and peppers. You may even find more exotic varieties such as Bok Choy, Japanese Eggplant and heirloom varieties.  

Photo Courtesy of Lindsey J. Scalera, Michigan Voices for Good Food Policy.

Ann Arbor Farmers Market. Photo Courtesy of Lindsey J. Scalera, Michigan Voices for Good Food Policy.

3. Wine Sampling and Sales: Shoppers age 21 and over can now sample and purchase wine at farmers markets.

Photo Courtesy of Michigan Farmers Market Association.

Wine Samples & Sales, Dearborn Farmers and Artist Market. Photo Courtesy of Michigan Farmers Market Association.

4. Farmers Markets at the Capitol: Each year 60 farmers and artisans from across Michigan travel to the States’ Capitol Building in Lansing to participate in three farmers markets held throughout the summer on Thursday July 30, August 27 and September 24. These unique events bring more than 22,000 people to the Capitol lawn! 

Photo Courtesy of Michigan Farmers Market Association.

Farmers Market at the Capitol. Photo Courtesy of Michigan Farmers Market Association.

5. Fresh Meat & Fish

6. Cooking Demonstrations: Whether you are an experienced cook or not yet able to boil water, you can pick up a few quick tips and ideas on how to incorporate fresh seasonal produce from the farmers market into your diet through a cooking demonstration.

7. Food Sampling: Samples are plentiful at Michigan farmers markets and can be a great way to try a new product or a new flavor of one of your favorite treats.

8. Wild Foraged Mushrooms: Enjoy an assortment of wild mushrooms picked by certified foragers.

9. Food Trucks: Food trucks have become a hot commodity at farmers markets, known for sourcing their food locally and offering many great options.  

Photo Courtesy of Michigan Farmers Market Association.

The Purple Carrot Food Truck. Photo Courtesy of Michigan Farmers Market Association.

10. Accessibility: Over 150 farmers markets in Michigan accept SNAP Bridge Cards, making Michigan a national leader in accepting food assistance at farmers markets.

11. Live Music

12.  Cheese & Eggs

13.  Artisan & Handmade Goods: Many farmers markets host a wide variety of vendors who make their items by hand using ingredients grown and produced in Michigan.

14. Kid Events & Games: Kids and families can enjoy festivals and events at farmers markets all summer long! From exploring the market through a scavenger hunt to crafts and nutrition education activities.

15.  Baked Goods

16. Fresh Cut Flowers

Photo Courtesy of Michigan Farmers Market Association.

Cut Flowers at the Kalamazoo Farmers Market. Photo Courtesy of Michigan Farmers Market Association.

17. Potted Plants

Photo Courtesy of Michigan Farmers Market Association.

Boyne City Farmers Market Potted Plants. Photo Courtesy of Michigan Farmers Market Association.

18. Physical Fitness Activities: Physical activity goes hand-in-hand with healthy eating, and that’s why the farmers market is a great place to attend a pop up yoga class, walking group and other physical fitness activities.

19. Entrepreneurs & Start Up Businesses: Farmers markets are places for start up businesses and entrepreneurs to test new products and business ideas – a great place to try something new!

20. Pet Treats: More and more vendors are popping up with homemade treats for pets!

Be sure to let us know about your farmers market shopping experience this summer by using the hashtag #farmersmarketsmi along with #puremichigan. What is your favorite Pure Michigan find at farmer markets?

Samantha Collins headshotSamantha Collins is the Communications and Events Manager for the Michigan Farmer’s Market Association. She specializes in social media management, content curating, and creative communication strategy. Samantha is from the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and is a 2010 graduate of Northern Michigan University. In her spare time she enjoys being on Lake Medora which is located in the Keweenaw Peninsula of Michigan, fishing, photography, reading, writing and gardening.