Five Must Do Autumn Favorites in Charlevoix

If you seek a Michigan destination that offers exciting events and unique history while allowing you to slow down and enjoy the changing fall colors, Charlevoix may be a perfect spot for you!  Guest blogger Amanda Wilkin of the Charlevoix Convention and Visitor’s Bureau shares five things not to miss this fall and what makes autumn in Northern-Lower Michigan so special.

1. Attend Festivals and Events

Photo courtesy of Visit Charlevoix.

Photo courtesy of Visit Charlevoix

Apple Fest (Oct. 14-16) is one of the most beloved fall harvest celebration in Northern Michigan, encompassing all of downtown Charlevoix. Area orchards bring 30 varieties of apples and delectable baked goods, while the art and craft show, family fun run, kids activities and historic boat cruise provide memorable events for the whole family.

Later on in the season, there is a Holiday Parade and Tree Lighting on Nov. 25. Children of all ages can stop in and make a fun craft and decorate holiday cookies at Charlevoix Circle of Arts. It’s sure to be a fun event.

Other events include the Leif Eriksson Day Row and Run (Oct. 1), and the Grand Bridal Expo (Oct. 25).

2. Discover Extraordinary Fall Colors

Photo courtesy of Visit Charlevoix.

Photo courtesy of Visit Charlevoix

Whether you choose to tour the sights by car, boat, motorcycle, plane, bicycle or even foot, finding beautiful views in the Charlevoix area is simple. Jump in the car and travel the winding roads around Lake Charlevoix to see the fall foliage ablaze with color reflecting against the deep blue waters. Catch a ride on Sunshine Charters or Keweenaw Excursions to see the striking colors along the shores of Lake Charlevoix and Lake Michigan. Travel by foot downtown to do some shopping and dining amongst the beautiful bright yellow locust trees, or hit the trails of one of the 15 local nature preserves.

3. Experience the Great Outdoors

Photo courtesy of Visit Charlevoix.

Photo courtesy of Visit Charlevoix

Recreation is the name of the game year-round in Charlevoix. Savor the moderate temperatures of fall while you get your adrenaline fix by zip lining, sky diving or mountain biking. Not an adrenaline junkie? Get out on the water via kayak, canoe or paddle board and feel the relaxation sink in. You can also hit the links for a round of fall golf and enjoy gorgeous views and great seasonal discounts. Don’t forget to enjoy a nice walk along the stunning beaches of Lake Michigan at Michigan Beach, Fisherman’s Island State Park, and McSauba Recreational Area.

4. Delight Your Taste Buds

Photo courtesy of Visit Charlevoix.

Photo courtesy of Visit Charlevoix

Experience the best in local flavors by visiting one of the many wonderful locally owned restaurants, pubs, wineries and breweries in the Charlevoix area. Try the whitefish, a specialty that is caught daily by John Cross Fisheries and served in many of the outstanding restaurants.  Make sure to visit the area’s orchards and farm markets, and as an added bonus, you can take part in the hayrides, pumpkin patches and corn mazes!

5. Learn Fascinating History

Photo courtesy of Visit Charlevoix.

Photo courtesy of Visit Charlevoix

Charlevoix is bursting with history. Start your quest at the Harsha House Museum where you will find thousands of historic photos, Victorian antique collections, Ernest Hemingway history and much more.  Visit the famous Mushroom Houses by Earl Young and be transported to another time and place that is full of whimsy and enchantment. Take a tour of majestic Castle Farms to learn about the restoration of the 1918 buildings while enjoying the gorgeous grounds and Michigan’s largest model railroad. In addition, don’t miss these historic hot spots:  South Pier Lighthouse, the Victorian architecture of the Belvedere and Chicago clubs associations, and the Train Depot that opens periodically as a museum.

What do you plan to check out in Charlevoix this fall?

CharlevoixAmanda

About the author: Growing up in Southeast Michigan, Amanda spent time every summer visiting “Up North”, and became infatuated with Charlevoix at the young age of 12. After living in other areas of the country, she was thrilled to be able to move back to her home state of Michigan. Amanda feels incredibly lucky to live in Charlevoix, and much more, to spend her days promoting the Charlevoix area as a travel destination.

March to These Pure Michigan Events in Early Spring

March is almost here and the third month of 2016 will continue to bring exciting events throughout Pure Michigan. From state park visits to sugar festivals, you’re sure to find something you and your family will enjoy.  For a full list of events in Michigan, visit michigan.org/events.

March 1-8

Science Talks: The Nature of Cities
March 3, 2016, Bloomfield Hills

Join experts from The Nature Conservancy at the Cranbrook Institute of Science for a series of evening lectures on conservation challenges and solutions facing the Great Lakes region and beyond. Each lecture begins with a Meet the Scientist mixer with refreshments and appetizers to enjoy (cash bar) as you learn more about the evening’s topic.

This topic for this particular evening is “The Nature of Cities”, presented by Dr. Patrick Doran, associate state director. “By 2050, it is estimated that 70% of the world’s population will live in cities. How can nature help build resilient urban communities around the world, including in Detroit?” Come learn about this exciting topic that will prove to be incredibly informative.

lifestyle expo

Women’s Lifestyle Expo
March 4-5, Kalamazoo

Come to this annual two day extravaganza created for women by women! Every minute is designed to be fun, educational and entertaining! There will be a ton of information you won’t want to miss out on!

Straits State Park -Winter Family Fun Day
March 5, St. Ignace

Spend the afternoon at Straits State Park to enjoy some winter family fun. There will be cross country skiing, snowshoeing, sledding, Frisbee golf, volleyball, and some fires to warm up near. Please bring your own shoes, skis, and sleds if you want to engage in the activities! This day is sure to make the family happy.

fat bike blog

Beard of Zeus Fat Bike Race
March 5, Traverse City

The course this year will be a welcome reprisal of last year’s Fat Camp! Race: a fast, fun circuit with one cruel climb each lap that gives way to a flowing, wide open and spectator-filled loop that winds through the Suds’n'Snow festivities all over Timber Ridge. There’s no better atmosphere than sprinting along a corridor lined with fans cheering on every race on the course! Come be a viewer to one of the coolest races if you’re looking for something fun and new to do.

March 9-15

Gilda’s Laughfest
March 10-20, Grand Rapids

LaughFest is a festival of comedy, performance and very funny stuff. This 10-day event draws thousands to the Grand Rapids area for riotous A-List comedy acts, clean comedy showcases, improv and sketch comedy and stand up competitions. The best part? The vast majority of the events and shows are free.

This year’s headliners include Seth Myers, Chris D’Elia, Kathy Griffin, Anjelah Johnson, Sebastian Maniscalco, Jim Norton, Marlon Wayans, David Cross, Hasan Minhaj and Miranda Sings.   For those with a competitive streak, be sure and catch the Best of the Midwest Competition with some of the hottest Midwest comedians competing for a $2,500 cash prize. While you’re in town, make sure to explore Grand Rapids! It has a fantastic beer and food scene, as well as numerous family attractions so there is something for everyone.

Van Riper State Park – Lantern Lit Snowshoe
March 11, Champion

Join the Michigan DNR for an enchanted evening of fun in the snow on Friday and experience the beautiful 1.25 mile lantern lit snowshoe trail at Van Riper State Park. The trail begins 7/10th of a mile west of the main campground entrance at the rustic Peshekee Cabin. The lantern lit trail will take place that evening. In addition, there will be a cozy fire to warm up by inside the cabin along with some snacks, coffee, and hot cocoa.

maple sugar blog

Maple Sugar Festival
March 12-13, Kalamazoo

Come experience the 51st Annual Maple Sugar Festival. Start your day with delicious pancakes smothered in real Michigan maple syrup! Walk along a wooded trail with a naturalist for a maple sugar tour. Experience some amazing Birds of Prey up close! The whole family will enjoy this sweet experience. Don’t miss a visit to the DeLano Homestead during the festival to experience maple sugaring and life in the 1800s. Horse-drawn wagon rides and demonstrations by blacksmiths and fiber artists will round out the activities.

7th Annual Brew-Ski Festival
March 12, Harbor Springs

Suds and snow – is there a better combination? This is the seventh annual Brew-Ski Festival at Boyne Highlands Resort which brings together snow, craft brews, entertainment, and fun on tap. Hit the slopes, share laughter with friends, and visit the snow bars where brewery representatives will share their enthusiasm and serve up more than 220 varieties of brews from around the world. While satisfying your thirst, listen to the live music and eat some tasty food. This ritual spring celebration is a must-attend event.

leprechaun

 

Leapin’ Leprechaun 5K
March 12, Traverse City

Put on your green race gear and get ready for this annual fun run that meanders throughout downtown Traverse City. Celebrate your finish and get an early start to your St. Patty’s celebration at the post-race party tent.

 


Ann Arbor Symphony Orchestra: The Magical Music of Disney
March 13, Ann Arbor

True enjoyment for your entire family! Savor the original music from some of your favorite Disney movies played by the A2SO enhanced by projections of the animation from those classics. Come dressed in your favorite costume.

March 16-22

LEGO Exhibition
March 15 – April 12, Flint

An exhibition of original Lego scultpures created by members from the Michigan Lego Users Group and the Therapeutic Lego User Group in the Art School’s Bishop Gallery. This exhibit is featured at the Flint Institute of Arts.

Krazy Daze
March 18-19, Harbor Springs

Krazy Daze has a little bit of something for everyone from live bands and wild costumes to events for the kids and adults, making it perfect for a family trip! On-snow race events include The Krazy Cup, Silly Slalom, Jump Competition and NASTAR Race. In addition, Krazy Daze features a Ski Over The Pond event for all ages, and face painting and inflatables for the kids. Come make fun family memories.

Kalamazoo World Languages Film Festival
March 18-20, Kalamazoo

This March, the second edition of the Kalamazoo World Languages Film Festival will present films from around the globe. Enjoy a diverse cinematic experience with films in Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Russian, Spanish, Japanese, and Latin. All films will be presented with English subtitles. If you can’t make this timeframe, there is a second weekend for the film festival from March 25-27th. Come on the opening night to meet the French film director, Maxime Giroux, for a Q&A!

Carnival Weekend
March 18-20, Boyne Falls

Carnival Weekend is nothing short of a major holiday at Boyne Mountain. Schedules are rearranged, elaborate plans formed, and the stops are all pulled out to avoid missing a moment of the fun. Like every other year’s celebration, this Carnival Weekend promises to be even bigger and better than the one before. The weekend gets started with the Carnival Kick-off Party in the Snowflake Lounge Friday night. On Saturday, the infamous On-Hill Party takes place, along with the Adult Costume Contest, and a Village Party in the afternoon. Saturday night features music to dance the night away. Sunday’s main event is the Slush Cup on Lower McLouth where you can skim or be soaked.

ballet blogBallet 5:8 Out of the Dust
March 19. Jackson

Ballet 5:8′s spring program is an incredible compilation of Ballet 5:8′s reflective, contemporary works. The program’s first work is a Ballet 5:8 commission created by New York choreographer and Chicago native Preston Miller. And Mercy explores concepts of judgment, grace and mercy in an athletic, contemporary style that engages the eye in continuous, connected movement emerging seamlessly from the music. Be sure to come and enjoy this program for a cultural excursion you won’t soon forget.

Sugarbush Festival
March 19, Grand Rapids

Celebrate the sweet arrival of spring at the 46th Annual Sugarbush Festival! This year’s festival theme is “The Best of Sugarbush!” Learn the process of maple sugaring through Sugarbush demonstrations: identifying what characteristics make up a maple tree, hands-on tree tapping, explore historic pioneer and Native American sugaring techniques and end it all with a taste test in Blandford’s Sugarhouse. Make it an all-day event with wagon rides, maple cotton candy, games, wildlife encounters and lots more family fun! It’s sure to be educational for everyone.

Montreal Symphony Orchestra
March 19, Ann Arbor

The Montreal Symphony returns to Ann Arbor for the first time since 1989, with both American conductor Kent Nagano and pianist Daniil Trifonov making their UMS debuts. “Hearing Trifonov is like having a deep-tissue massage: you keep wanting to pull away from the sheer intensity of it, and you come out feeling as if your reality had been slightly altered…a knockout.”(Washington Post)

March 23-31

March Magic Hoopfest
March 24-26, East Lansing

The March Magic Hoopfest is an interactive basketball playground for children of all ages at MSU’s Jenison Field House during the MHSAA Boys’ Basketball Semi-Finals and Finals. This event includes a variety of basketball skill games, displays and educational activities and is located adjacent to the Jack Breslin Student Events Center where the tournament games are played. It’s sire to be fun for the whole family.

easter egg huntEaster Egg Hunt
March 26, Charlevoix

Charlevoix State Bank and the Charlevoix Area Chamber of Commerce are teaming up to host the 24th Annual Easter Egg Hunt downtown Charlevoix in East Park.

As always, the event is free for children up to 10 years old. There will be different ages grouped together for the hunt.. The hunt will include 3000 prize filled eggs and some special golden eggs. So bring your Easter basket and be ready at 2:00 p.m. sharp so you don’t miss out!

There will also be face painting, a luncheon and story time if you need even more fun!

Kalamazoo Reptile & Exotic Pet Expo
March 26, Kalamazoo

Have you ever wanted to own a reptile? Now is your chance! Come to the Reptile and Exotic Pet Expo to learn more about owning one of these creatures as well as buy, sell or trade a variety of reptiles, amphibians, small mammals and other exotic pets, supplies & food.

sleeping beauty blog

American Ballet Theatre: The Sleeping Beauty
March 31-April 4, Detroit

UMS and Michigan Opera Theatre are joining forces to bring American Ballet Theatre’s new production of The Sleeping Beauty to the Detroit Opera House. Choreographed by Marius Petipa with staging and additional choreography by Alexei Ratmansky, this classic story ballet premiered 125 years ago at the Mariinsky Theatre in St. Petersburg. The story is one of the most familiar and enchanting of all fairy tales: the beautiful princess Aurora is cursed by the evil sorceress Carabosse to sleep for 100 years, until she is awakened by the kiss of a handsome prince. It’s ballet on the grandest possible scale, with superstar dancers, opulent sets and costumes, and Tchaikovsky’s ravishing score performed live by the Michigan Opera Theatre Orchestra.

Do you know of any other cool Michigan events happening in March? Let us know!

Michigan in December: A Winter Wonderland of Events

The holiday season brings concerts, festivals and community lighting celebrations that make us remember why we love the snowy season and are proud to call the Great Lakes State home. Pull out your calendar and discover some of the many events that are happening in Michigan throughout the month of December. 

December 1 – 5

Parade of Lights
December 1 – Holland
Santa arrives in Downtown Holland escorted by bands, floats; vehicles, family and friends all decked out in thousands of sparkling holiday lights! Over 80 entries will illuminate the streets of downtown Holland during this procession. At the end of the parade, Santa will take the time to greet his fans young and old alike! The parade begins at 8th Street and Columbia Avenue and continues onto the Eighth Street Market Place, home of the Holiday Kerstmarkt at 6:30 p.m

TruckLights

Shop & Champagne
December 2 – Birmingham
Sparkling, Creative and Delicious, words that describe Shop and Champagne! Guests will preview the annual Holiday Shop, a retail boutique with artisan, one-of-a-kind gifts for everyone on any list! That night, in addition to exceptional edibles from the region’s finest restaurants, there’s a 10% discount on all purchases, valet parking &, of course, delightful wine & champagne! An excellent evening for entertaining friends & colleagues! All proceeds benefit the BBAC’s ArtAccess & educational programs.

A Polar Express Christmas
December 4 – Frankenmuth
All Aboard! Come celebrate the Christmas season with readings and music from the best loved book and movie A Polar Express. Join the Saginaw Elite Big Band, Big Money and the Sidewinders, FHS Choirs, our own Polar Express Children’s Choir and guest soloists as the bring the characters and story to life right on the Bronner stage. Ride along with children on their journey to the North Pole where they learn about friendship, bravery, and the spirit of Christmas.

Christmas on the Farm
December 5 – 6 – Grass Lake
The Waterloo Area Historical Society takes a look at the ways a rural 1880′s Michigan farm family celebrated the season with “Christmas on the Farm and at the Dewey School Museum”. This re-creation of the holiday’s traditions will include tours of the Farm Museum and Dewey School. Hand decorated greens, gifts and home-made baked goods will be for sale. Free refreshments and live music will be among the offerings for this homespun weekend.

Santa Breakfast/Lunch
December 5 – 6 – Kalamazoo
Enjoy a delicious breakfast or festive lunch with your family and watch the smiles on your little ones faces as they have a personal visit with Santa. Avoid long lines at the mall – give your child the time they need to talk with Santa. There is never a problem with photos, you can take as many as you like!

 

December 6 – 12

Holiday Home Tour
December 6 -
Spend a Sunday afternoon in December touring beautiful decorated homes for the holiday season. A trip to South Haven during December is always a delight.

Ladies’ Night Holiday Shopping
December 10 – Traverse City
A tribute to the ladies! Join the restaurants and merchants of Downtown Traverse City for a night filled with specials, food and refreshments while you conquer some holiday shopping!

6-for-1 Day
December 11 – Boyne Falls
Drop whatever you’re doing on December 11, 2014, pack up the SUV and head to 6-for-1 Day at Boyne Mountain. Initiated to commemorate the resort’s opening of America’s first six-person, high-speed chairlift the Mountain Express in 1992 6-for-1 Day is the best excuse we can think of to take a day off from work, leave the housework for another day, or…um…leave school promptly when your last class is over.

Snowboard1

Holiday Sale
December 12 – 13 – Traverse City
There’s no better time than this event to stock up on wine and wine-related gift items. It’s the best shopping in the Traverse City wine tour region of the year! For the first two weekends in December, you will find both Leelanau wine and merchandise at their best prices. This is a great opportunity to take a self-guided wine tour to find wines that will pair perfectly with your holiday meal, whether you are doing the cooking yourself or you are a guest of friends or family. And, wine, of course, makes your holiday shopping simple and easy. Who doesn’t love getting a bottle of wine?

December 13 – 19

Men’s Night Holiday Shopping
December 17 – Traverse City
Just in time to finish your holiday shopping! This night is a salute to the men! Enjoy food, refreshments and specials while you shop the night away finishing up those last minute holiday gifts!

Dashing Through the Snow 5k Trail Run/Walk
December 19 – Saginaw
Let’s take some time to get out and enjoy the cool weather and beauty of Saginaw County’s Imerman Park trail with a bit of exercise (and a cool, long sleeved event t-shirt!) to relieve the seasonal stress. A good, hard run should be in order to earn that holiday meal! This will be a USATF sanctioned event that will be professionally managed and timed with online results being posted within 48 hours of race completion. There will be plenty of good cheer on the trail with holiday music and a possible visit from the “Big Man” himself. Ho, ho, ho!

A Classic Rock Christmas
December 19 – Port Huron
Presented by Blue Cross Blue Shield, a Classic Rock Christmas is classic hits and classic carols, fused into one, performed by the December People. This high powered quintet, made up of some of the finest musicians from some of the world’s biggest bands, is a classic rock holiday tradition in the making.

Michigan Historical Museum – History Gamers
December 19 – Lansing
Whatever your age, come over and play! Today, you can try your hand at historic games from jacks to hopscotch and investigate historic toys and board games. We’ll feature new games each program.

Ongoing Events Throughout the Month

Santa Visits Daily
December 1 – 24 – Frankenmuth
Bring your camera and wish list to Bronner’s for Santa will be visiting with children 10 years old and younger. Monday – Thursday 10 a.m. – 11:30 a.m., 1p.m. – 4 p.m., 5:30 p.m.- 7 p.m.; Friday 10 a.m. – 7 p.m.; Saturday 9:30 a.m. – 7 p.m.; Sunday noon – 5:30 p.m. Please note that many children wish to see Santa on Saturday and Sundays, guests should anticipate a wait. Because Santa has a very busy night on Christmas Eve his hours will end at 3 p.m.

Bronners

Christmas Tree Festival
December 1 – 30 – Monroe
Get in the holiday mood by viewing holiday-decorated trees and wreaths created by Monroe County 4-H clubs, organizations, church groups, classrooms, and charities displayed throughout the museum during the month of December. This is our 37th year of hosting this event, and this year the trees and wreaths will be judged and prizes awarded. Stop in if you have a lot of time, or just a little, and vote for your favorite.

Nite Lites Jackson
December 1 – 30 – Jackson
The 2015 season will be the 20th year for Nite Lites in Jackson! One of Michigan’s largest Christmas light displays, this animated drive-through display is over one mile long! Each year the Jackson County Fairgrounds are filled with dancing lights featuring scenes with reindeer, Santa Claus and the Nativity among the millions of lights. It’s a magical outing that families hold as a tradition year after year. Winter Wonderland–inside the American 1 Events Center each weekend in December–features kid’s activities and warm up with a hot cup of cocoa at the concessions. Get your photo taken with Santa Claus himself, watch a holiday puppet show, or take a ride on the kid’s holiday train. The reindeer may also stop by for a special visit.

nite lites

Holiday Nights in Greenfield Village
December 4 – 27 – Dearborn
Take a lantern-lit journey into a living snow globe filled with live music, skating, fireworks and tons of winter wonder during America’s premier celebration of the season.

Which events do you plan to attend this December?