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
Fenton

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
Milford

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. mayhewstreefarm.com

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 Terrorfied.com

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!

Sugarloaf Mountain: A Short Hike to an Amazing View

Michigan is home to hundreds of great hiking trails to explore – many of which offer spectacular views to enjoy along the way. Today, native “Yooper” Jesse Land takes us on a journey through Sugarloaf Mountain in Marquette, which he thinks rewards hikers with one of the best views in Michigan.

Marquette is full of excellent hikes and beautiful views. One shining example is Sugarloaf Mountain. The trailhead for Sugarloaf is just a few miles from downtown Marquette, the turnoff from county road 550 is well marked, and it’s a relatively quick hike to the top where you’re rewarded with one of the best views in the Upper Peninsula.

The Hike to the Top

On a recent hike, my first time to Sugarloaf Mountain, two friends and I took the “difficult” route and made it up in about fifteen minutes. There’s an optional “easy” route with a tamer grade that takes a little longer, but both paths up the mountain do require a extra care as rocks and roots stick out of the ground along much of the path.

Most people come to Sugarloaf for the view, but the forest canopy that envelops the trails is worth mentioning. With century old trees and ancient rock outcroppings, this trail reminds me of a few of the better hikes I’ve done in the rainforests of Australia. It really is a gorgeous area.

As we approached the top, the dirt trail switched to a series of wooden stairs that brought us up to the viewing area. At the top we were rewarded with a stunning view of Lake Superior, Marquette, Presque Isle Park and Little Presque Isle as well as Hogsback Mountain and the large swath of forest between Marquette and Big Bay.

Photo courtesy of Crag Grabhorn @ Chalet Press

The Stone Monument

Also at the summit is a stone obelisk erected long ago by Boy Scout Troop 1 to commemorate their assistant scoutmaster Bartlett King. King had helped to establish the local troop, which is one of the claimants of first Boy Scout Troop in the U.S. He later fought and died in World War I and his troop members wanted to construct a memorial that his mother could see from her home on Marquette’s arch street.

Three Observation Decks

As we stood there, about 1,000 feet above sea level, I was impressed with how much work has been put into this viewing area. Three viewing platforms situated atop Sugarloaf Mountain offer three slightly different vantage points. The first observation deck faces southward toward Marquette and offers a view of the Superior Dome, the Upper Ore Dock and Presque Isle Park. The second deck faces northward toward Wetmore Landing and Little Presque Isle island. And the third platform faces westward and offers a great view of Hogsback Mountain.

After the Hike

After our hike we opted for a late lunch in downtown Marquette, but deciding where to eat was no easy task as Marquette County is filled with excellent dining options, not to mention being home to four of the thirteen Upper Peninsula Breweries.

Getting There

Sugarloaf Mountain is located about six miles north of downtown Marquette on CR 550. Get there by taking Washington Street to Fourth Avenue. Turn north onto Fourth Ave., which becomes Presque Isle Ave and drive .4 miles to Hawley Street. At Hawley Street, turn west (left). Hawley becomes CR 550. Drive about 4.0 miles on Hawley Street/CR-550 to the parking area. A sign that reads “Sugarloaf Mountain” marks the parking area and is easily visible from CR 550.

Have you been to Sugarloaf Mountain? What did you think?

This blog post was written by Jesse Land on behalf of Travel Marquette Michigan. Marquette County is home to some of the best hiking, biking, motorcycling, beaches, breweries and restaurants in the Upper Peninsula. Learn more about beautiful Marquette County at www.travelmarquettemichigan.com.

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
Charlevoix

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
Petoskey

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
Petoskey

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
Bellaire

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!