8 Ways to Celebrate Fall in Michigan

Today, guest blogger Hayley Serr of The Awesome Mitten gives us 8 ways to celebrate the fall season in Michigan. 

Photo by Instagram user @laurenweber84

As the temperature begins its steady decline and we pack away our swimsuits and beach towels for the year, Michigan embarks on its glorious transition into autumn. Our great state is, without question, the best place to enjoy the splendor of fall. From the beautiful colors of changing leaves to the delicious crisp crunch of Michigan apples to the spectacle of the Thanksgiving day parade, there are so many things to enjoy this fall in the mitten. Here are eight items that should definitely be included on your autumn to-do list.

Take a trip to a cider mill. Cider mill trips are such a staple of the season that it almost seems like this is a given. However, this wouldn’t be a fall to-do list without a mention of cider mills. Many offer much more than cider and donuts, too. Pack a basket and a blanket, pick up some traditional treats, and enjoy a picnic in the crisp fall air. Or head to a cider mill with an apple orchard to pick some some fresh apples for munching. Since many locations also boast hayrides, corn mazes, and more, a trip to the cider mill is much more than just an excuse to eat donuts.

If you fancy something stronger than cider, pick up some seasonal craft beer. Or better yet, host a tasting party! Michigan’s craft beer industry is booming, so there is no shortage of delicious autumn brews. Pick up an Arbor Brewing Company Oktoberfest, a New Holland Ichabod Pumpkin Ale, a Short’s Funkin’ Punkin, a Detroit Beer Company Oktoberfest, or any of the other great seasonal picks from your favorite Michigan breweries and invite some friends over to try them out. Offer assorted cheese options and pads of paper to take notes if you want to make it a more traditional tasting party, or just put out some munchies and enjoy some good conversation and great beer with friends. (For you non-beer-drinkers, remember that it’s harvest time for Michigan wine so you don’t have to miss out on the fun!)

Get into the Halloween spirit with some happy hauntings. With October 31st fast approaching, there are plenty of events to get you in the mood for the holiday. For those in the Southeast Michigan area (especially with little ones), the Zoo Boo is a perennial favorite. Throw on a costume and head to the Detroit Zoo for entertainment, games, and general trick-or-treating merriment amongst the animals. Also in the metro-Detroit area is the Greenfield Village Hallowe’en event; patrons will be surrounded by Greenfield Village spirits, treat stations, colorful characters, and thousands of jack-o-laterns for a 20th century Hallowe’en experience. (Watch out for the Headless Horseman!)

Or for those looking for a little more trick than treat, get psyched for Halloween with a zombie hunt. Taking the interactive experience to a whole new level, locations such as Blake Farms in Armada, Darksyde Acres in Jonesville, the Haunted Farm of Terror in Lenox Township, and TC Paintball in Lansing offer patrons the ability to test their preparation for the zombie apocalypse by taking down the undead. Gear up and take aim with these live action zombie hunts if you dare.

Visit a fall-themed festival. Whether you have a hankering for film, an appetite for chili, or are clamouring for good music, there is a Michigan festival for you. From the Mackinac Island Halloween Weekend celebration, to the Frankfort Film Festival, to the Blues & Brews Festival in Adrian, to the Peak2Peak Mountain Festival at Crystal Mountain there is an event for every taste this season.

Tailgate! Whether you’re a Wolverine or a Spartan, November 2nd is THE gameday for college football fans in the state of Michigan. East Lansing will host the inner state rivals for what is bound to be one of the greatest games of the year. If college sports aren’t your thing, autumn is still chock full of great sporting events. Head to Detroit to tailgate for a Lion’s game, hit a Wings game the Joe, or cheer the Tigers on to ALCS (and hopefully World Series) victory.

Head to Detroit for the Thanksgiving Day Parade. As the theme of this year’s Thanksgiving Day Parade is “Downtown Our Town,” the celebration will not only be of Thanksgiving, but also of the great city of Detroit and of Michigan. Be one of the hundreds of thousands of people who gather to celebrate together and watch one of the nation’s oldest Thanksgiving traditions. For those who’d rather enjoy the spectacle from the comfort of home, tune into the live broadcast on Thanksgiving morning at 9 a.m.

Take a fall foliage tour. Our great state is, without a doubt, one of the most picturesque, beautiful places in the nation. This is especially true when it comes to witnessing the changing of the seasons. Whether you’re heading to the coastline, cruising down I-75, walking the trail, or paddling down one of Michigan’s rivers, the spectacle of colors that autumn brings is best enjoyed from anywhere right here in the mitten.

What will you be doing to celebrate the season this year?

 

 

 Hayley SerrHayley Serr writes for The Awesome Mitten and works for Hour Detroit magazine. Born and raised in metro-Detroit, this Spartan alumna relishes any opportunity to explore and share all of the wonderful things there are to do in Michigan. Aside from exploring the mitten, Hayley loves spending time with her family, cooking, and curling up on the couch with a good book.

Get Lost in this Pure Michigan Corn Maze

Best maze

It’s the perfect time of year to get lost in a Michigan corn maze! Guest blogger, Mark Benjamin of Bestmaze Corn Maze in Williamston, MI reveals some of the maze’s best kept secrets and what visitors can expect from this year’s Pure Michigan-themed paths.

The Bestmaze Corn Maze has a Pure Michigan theme for 2013.  Visitors can walk the Mackinac Bridge, and the coastlines of both peninsulas before exiting the maze guided appropriately by a Great Lakes lighthouse.  While in the maze they can also explore the canoe camp and the Tulip Festival’s windmill & tulip scene.  People need not fear exploring the confusing trails and getting lost forever; as there are manned lookout towers that can assist lost walkers who need help.  A quick hand signal from a tower gets them through a tough area; but soon they are in another subsection lost again.  There are signed optional exits about every 15 minutes as well.  The maze is designed to be one with superior maze flow that is very challenging for hard core mazers, but at the same time the optional exits and optional help from above is perfect for small children.  Did you miss the Labor Day Bridge Walk…well you can walk the bridge here until Oct. 27th.

First time visitors are usually shocked at how well manicured the trails are and how dry they are even after a heavy rain. The owners of the maze hand rake and slightly dome all 3 miles of trails each year, as well as install underground drainage tiles so the experience is a pleasant one.  And that is how Bestmaze got it’s name.  Customers said, “change the name from the original Maze-n-Market to Best Maze.”  After hearing that several times, the owners took the advice and word spread.   The wooden billboard along I-96 near exit 122 has become an icon over the 13 years now.  This year with the Mackinac Bridge & Pure Michigan theme, many visitors are heading out for the first time.

Laser Though the maze is the star attraction, it is just one of several things to do.  There is a special laser tag arena cut into part of the corn field.  There is an inflatable obstacle course and an inflatable jousting contest on which to challenge your friends.  There is also a Vault Laser Challenge, which is a criss crossing laser beam timed obstacle. You may have seen laser beams guarding a bank vault in the movies…now try it yourself.  Oh, by the way, your friends are monitoring you on the outside tv screen as you navigate it! For excitement and a great maze, make one of your fall traditions a visit to Bestmaze. Of course, Bestmaze has cider & donuts as well!  Did we mention fudge?  You can’t do the Mackinac Bridge Walk without fudge!  Even the trolls “under the bridge” know that.

What is the best kept secret of Bestmaze?  They have a separate haunted area that features the best props the haunted house industry has to offer!  The Trail of Terror is a 1/3 mile long outdoor haunted trail through the rustling corn.  It is a full blown sensory overload filled with a vortex tunnel, special effects, animatronics, actors, sound and even the smells of a rain forest or cotton candy at appropriate scenes.  They cooperate with other great haunts in Michigan like Realm of Darkness in Pontiac and Jackson Underworld so they can trade props every year so they never produce the same show two years in a row!

Michigan has its yearly season changes, and nestled in between summer beach time, Mackinaw Island visits and winter snow is fall – the magical time where leaves turn color and you can laugh at yourself as you find your way through Bestmaze or scream yourself hoarse on the Trail of Terror…And one last chance for fudge before the snow flies.

Bestmaze operates Fri. 6-10, Sat 1-10  & Sun 1-9.  Maze tickets are $8, $7 each for 4-15 people and group rates are available.  The haunted trail is $15.  Maze & Trail Combo is $20.  Call (517) 521-2378 for more information.

To learn more about Michigan corn mazes and other fall activities, visit michigan.org/events.

Mark Benjamin is a 6th generation farmer in Williamston, Michigan.  He is the maze designer and operator of Bestmaze.

Have you found your way through the Bestmaze corn maze? Let us know how you did!