Here’s What You Can’t Miss This Fall in Livingston County

It’s been a memorable summer in Pure Michigan, but it’s nearly time to turn our attention to fall! Between the changing colors, cider mills and fall festivals, there’s so much to plan for to fully enjoy the autumn season in the Great Lakes state.

The best way to plan for fall is to plan early, so read more on a handful of can’t-miss fall festivities and locations in Livingston County to visit and explore during the coming season.

Kensington Metropark offers unique events and happenings all year long

Photo Courtesy of the Livingston County Convention and Visitors Bureau

1. Cider Mills, Parks and U-Pick Farms

Parshallville Historic Cider Mill

What’s the telltale sign of autumn in Pure Michigan? Taking that first sip of fresh, sweet and crisp cider. While you visit this iconic mill, take home a (strictly from scratch) Dutch Apple Pie and munch on a toasty donut rolled in cinnamon sugar. A variety of heirloom apples, apple cinnamon bread, apple butter, caramel apples and more make this tasty stop “Apple Central”.

Spicer Orchards Harvest Festival
Fenton, Sept. 17-18

Spicer commemorates farm life of early settlers with antique tractor and machinery, corn grinding demonstration and old fashioned kids play area. Here you’ll find a daytime corn maze, train rides, arts and crafts fair and home-style BBQ meaning you will leave full and happy. In addition to the festival, Spicer offers a variety of u-pick fruits and vegetables and free wine tastings for the adults.

Spicer's Cider Mill is a favorite among locals and visitors alike

Spicer Orchards is an ideal destination for picking that perfect pumpkin (and other fruits and vegetables!)

Kensington Metropark

Kensington Metropark is an ideal destination if you enjoy being surrounded by colorful forest vistas and native wildlife. And nothing says fall tradition like a horse drawn wagon ride to a U-pick pumpkin patch. Plan to allow time to explore the 150 year old restored barn farm exhibit, poultry house and pet the animals at the Farm Center.

2. Fall Colors and Autumn Festivals

There are many fall events tailored for every age in Livingston County

Photo Courtesy of the Livingston County Convention and Visitors Bureau

Mayhew’s Tree Farm Fall Festivities
Fowlerville, Oct. 1- 31

These fun autumn days are designed with small children in mind! Hop aboard the covered wagon hayride through Sleepy Hollow Cemetery and the Ghost Town of Tombstone to the U-Pick pumpkin patch. Find the magic pumpkin in the Evergreen Maze and win a prize. Kids love to pet the farm animals and relish the apple cider and donuts. October 1 – 31, Monday thru Saturday 10-7pm Sunday, 11-5pm.

Tour de Livingston
Howell, Oct. 9

Get your bike ready – the Tour de Livingston will be here before you know it! This scenic ride provides cyclists with a perfect panoramic view of early fall colors as they journey through the breathtaking countryside of Livingston County. The tour features the exclusive opportunity to cruise your bicycle on the GM Proving Grounds and includes hospitality tents, a full breakfast, snacks, and a hearty meal prepared by the chef at Mt. Brighton when the ride is over. Choose between 5 & 10 mile family rides or 29, 38, 62 metric century or a century route.

3. Spooky and Haunted Attractions

Hell-O-Hollow Weekends 
Hell, Sept. 17 – Oct. 31

The thrills are in Hell, where Halloween is celebrated all year long! Take the Grave Digger Sundae Challenge and win the official death certificate, if you survive. Dip scary named toppings like bat droppings, toenails, worms and ectoplasm out of the authentic Coffin Bar.

The Legend of Sleepy Howell and Haunted Howell Ghost Tours
Howell, Oct. 22nd

The Legend of Sleepy Howell is a humongous Halloween costume party for the whole family! Historic downtown Howell is transformed into a magical site for trick or treat, live music, hayrides, costume contests, games and prizes. Don’t forget about the Headless Horseman 5K/10K race while you’re there! The ghost tours are guided by Medium Dianna O’Grady who shares her personal insights and experiences at several historic sites rumored to be haunted. Tour guests are encouraged to arrive in advance to visit Howell’s Main Street Winery, sample some wine and ask about the many “encounters” staff and visitors have shared. Tours by appointment all season long.

The Terrorfied Forest is not for the faint of heart

Photo Courtesy of

The Terrorfied Forest & Terrified Manor
Pinckney, Sept. 16 – Oct. 31

The Terrorfied Forest & Terrorfied Manor are not recommended for the faint of heart. Traversing the dark pathways of the forest will unearth the terrors lurking in the depths of the forest. And if you dare, prepare to have your blood run cold as you experience a different thrill in every room of the haunted manor. Not recommended for children as these frights are sure to leave even the bravest adults trembling.

What is your favorite thing to do when visiting Livingston County? Share with us by commenting below and like the Livingston County Convention and Visitors Bureau Facebook page to stay up to date on upcoming events!

Cheers for Charlevoix Beers: 5 Awesome Breweries

Calling craft beer drinkers! Northern Michigan is the perfect place to enjoy the lakes while sipping on a delicious Michigan craft beer. If you’re looking for an ideal spot to stay right in the middle of a fun Michigan brew tour, look no further than the Charlevoix area!

Read more on a few breweries to discover in Northern Michigan via the Charlevoix Convention and Visitors Bureau.

1. Lake Charlevoix Brewing Company

Located in downtown Charlevoix, the Lake Charlevoix Brewing Company is an 8 tap brew-pub featuring four mainstays and four ever rotating tap handles of quality Michigan craft beer. During the warmer months make sure to get a seat in the beer garden overlooking Round Lake. They thoroughly enjoy the seasonality of different beer styles, drinking darker beers in the winter and lighter beers in the summer. One of the coolest beers on tap currently is Our-Levoix, a rhubarb red ale that is both tart and sweet brewed in collaboration with Our Brewing Co. Hopheads will love the El Trubador, a citrus noted Imperial IPA made from Michigan Cascade Hops. The food menu provides shareable apps and simple tacos and sandwiches that perfectly accompany the beer choices.

Lake Charlevoix Brewing Company is your stop for delicious craft beer

Photo Courtesy of the Charlevoix Convention and Visitors Bureau

2. Petoskey Brewing Company

It’s hard to miss the Petoskey Brewing building on M-119, which was built in 1898 and brewed until 1915. In 2012, the brewery was restored and reopened. The seasonal Cranium Crush Waffle Cone Raspberry Cream Ale is a great blend of fresh raspberries and actual waffle cones. This unique brew is a great seasonal beer that’s smooth and great for summer. If you are a IPA fan, Hopsessed Double I.P.A. is a bold blend of citrus and Simcoe dry hop. This beer’s high bitterness is somewhat toned down by the caramel used in the malted barley. Petoskey Brewing also offers a full menu with delicious burgers and sandwiches.

The Petoskey Brewing company hails from a historic northern Michigan location

Photo Courtesy of the Charlevoix Convention and Visitors Bureau

3. Beards Brewing Company

Nestled in downtown Petoskey, Beards has a unique concealed backroom location. With a vibe like your neighborhood coffee shop, the low key feeling is ever present with the offering of Wed-Sat food truck Happy’s Tacos. Looking for a good summer beer? Look no further than the Luna, this beer is a classic brewery staple that is a saison-styled American wheat ale that has amazing undertones of citrus. The Serendipity Porter offers a smooth chocolatey flavor with a perfect blend of sweetness. There are also subtle undertones of sherry and smoke that makes this a great class of beer.

Beards Brewing is a can't-miss when visiting Petoskey

Photo Courtesy of the Charlevoix Convention and Visitors Bureau

4. Shorts Brewing Company

Shorts is a Northern Michigan staple. This local brewery has gained state and national recognition for their innovative beer names. Known for its Soft Parade, Bellaire Brown, and Huma Lupa Licious, the brew pub also offers numerous unique beers that cannot be found in stores. Try their Chocolate Wheat ale, an amazingly smooth and drinkable porter style beer. Gitchy Gitchy Ooh La La is brewed with nontraditional ingredients such as cucumber, lemon and lilac. This tasty blend creates a fun tasting experience. Shorts always has tons of new beers being added to their tap list. Make sure to save room for food, as their menu does not disappoint (our fav is the White Pepper sammy).

Shorts is known as one of the most recognizable breweries in Michigan

Photo Courtesy of the Charlevoix Convention and Visitors Bureau

Up & Coming

Stiggs will be a great addition to the Michigan brewery family

Photo Courtesy of the Charlevoix Convention and Visitors Bureau

5. Stiggs Brewing Company
Boyne City

We were very lucky to get a sneak peek! Located downtown Boyne City, Stiggs Brewing Company can be found in the historical Alpena Railroad building. This once bustling railroad depot promises to be the next great addition to the Michigan craft beer scene. The Screaming Tree IPA is an American hops and barley ale that’s well balanced and smooth. The Boyne Logger is a Vienna Style Lager that is lightly hopped and visitors a chance unwind after a busy day.  The Swoopy Swallow is a Weizenbier that has a wheaty malt flavor with an extremely crisp finish. Stiggs serves pub food with a twist derived from local farmers and vendors paired with Stiggs hand crafted beers and other Michigan wines and spirits. Don’t miss your chance to visit the newest addition to Northern Michigan. Stiggs Brewing Company will be opening in October of 2016!

Tap Rooms You can never go wrong with Michigan craft beer. Check out each of these locations to find more awesome Michigan beer.

Which of these breweries have you visited? Share with us by commenting below!

Things to Do and See Around the Pure Michigan 400 Weekend

Michigan International Speedway (MIS), home to the Pure Michigan 400 and located in the scenic Irish Hills, is a perfect destination for NASCAR enthusiasts who love the outdoors. The two-mile track is located on more than 1,400 acres near Brooklyn, a small-town community with unique attractions and destinations nearby.

Whether you are a lifelong fan, or this is your first race, there’s so much to experience during race weekend when visiting the Irish Hills. So rev up your engines and read more on how to plan your ultimate weekend at MIS.

MIS is one of NASCAR's fastest tracks

Photo Courtesy of Craig Gardiner Photography

Things to Do

If you’re arriving to the area early, or staying a few days after the checkered flag drops, there plenty of activities that will make your visit complete.

Camping continues to be a huge part of the Pure Michigan 400 experience, and for good reason. MIS is a destination within itself, with ten campgrounds and nearly 9,000 campsites, it is the largest registered campground in Michigan. If you don’t have a camper or tent, take advantage of one of the RV rentals offered by the speedway.

The Cherry Creek Winery in Brooklyn makes homemade wine in a 100-year-old school house, as well as fresh butter fudge and Michigan cherry preserves. Staying on a historic note, the Walker Tavern Historic Site and Cambridge Junction Historic State Park is an iconic spot in the area, and offers one of the largest Farmers Markets in Southeast Michigan. Here, at crossroads where Sylvester Walker fed weary travelers in the mid-1800s, you’ll now find more than 50 venders offering fresh produce, baked goods, and locally produced crafts.


From 1836 to 1855, when a stagecoach ride from Detroit to Chicago was a long and arduous five-day trip, a favorite stopping place to relax and enjoy a meal was Walker’s farmhouse and tavern.

Just beyond the grounds of MIS, you can explore the US-12 Heritage Trail which bridges southern Michigan’s east and west shores. The US-12 Heritage Trail encourages travelers to journey its winding roads, meet its people, explore its places, and uncover its hidden treasure. Feed your travels at Randy’s Barbeque Shack, home of award winning smoked beef brisket, chicken and more.

Play some games on the grass at one of 32 golf courses within a half hour drive from MIS. Located in Brooklyn is Hills’ Heart of Lakes, one of the finest golf courses in the Jackson area- which also happens to be owned and operated by Senior PGA Tour Pro Mike Hill and his family! After the champion has been crowned and the crowds have cleared out, stick around to enjoy 18 holes at  Clark Lake Golf Club with great weekday special rates as well as a full service restaurant and bar.

Hills' Heart of the Lakes is one of the most popular courses in the area

Photo Courtesy of Hills’ Heart of the Lakes

Explore the Area

The Irish Hills Area has more than 50 lakes, many of which have public access swimming and boat, canoe, and kayak rental options that allow you to explore Michigan’s inland lakes while unwinding from an exciting weekend at MIS.

You might fall in love with the small town feel that encompasses southeast Michigan as you explore the area. In addition to Brooklyn, Onsted, Tecumseh and Manchester are all welcoming communities with unique attractions and local charm.

About a half hour drive North West of Brooklyn is the historic city of Jackson which has much to offer in way of history and culture, and a lively arts district. Check out a historic prison tour at Michigan’s First State Prison. Adjacent to the prison is a must see in Jackson’s art district, ART 634, a true “Center for the Creative Spirit” with displays of music, dance, photography, painting and more.

The historic prison tour is a can't-miss when visiting Jackson

Photo Courtesy of Jennifer Bowman, Permissions given by the Michigan Department of Corrections

Traveling east on I-94, you’ll find Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti. Ypsilanti has a great outdoors scene for golfing, mountain biking, canoeing and hiking as well as beautifully preserved historic areas and hotspots of arts, music, and shopping. Home of the University of Michigan, the city of Ann Arbor has a thriving art community, one of America’s Best Main Streets, nature trails, and restaurants that will satisfy any foodie. (We recommend a corned beef sandwich at Zingerman’s).

The Big Race!

The big event is undoubtedly the Pure Michigan 400 on Sunday, August 28. NASCAR’s biggest stars bring the drama and excitement to the fastest track in NASCAR as they make their final push to make the final Chase for the Sprint Cup.

A NASCAR race is fun for the whole family and definitely should be on everyone’s Pure Michigan bucket list. Purchase your tickets now and don’t forget to tag your photos with #PureMichigan and #PureMichigan400 while you’re there!

The Pure Michigan 400 provides thrills from the start to the drop of the checkered flag

The Pure Michigan 400 provides thrills from start to finish

Have you ever attended the Pure Michigan 400? Share your experiences with us below!