From Our Fans: The Best of Fall in Pure Michigan

Fall in Michigan is short, but jam-packed with spectacular seasonal offerings! Earlier this month, we asked our fans to share their favorite fall foods, activities, and traditions.  We rounded up their responses to create an at-a-glance guide to experiencing fall in Pure Michigan. Take a look at some of the best of fall in the Mitten State according to our community. 

Michigan Apples

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Photo by Mary Van Arsdell

Dark chocolate covered caramel apple from Veni’s in Niles, MI. - Mary Van Arsdall

Koezes in Grand Rapids has locally grown apples hand dipped in house made caramel and rolled in cashew pieces. Only in October, delicious! - Joyce Winters

Michigan apples in an Apple Crisp recipe from Mackinac Island Dessert cookbook. Can’t get more Michigan than that! - Eric N Susan Murrell

Fall Flavors

Just had a Short’s Brewing Funkin Punkin keg for our wedding reception. Mmmmm good! Cheers to fall beers! - Adam Crall

Founders Harvest Ale. - Jan n’ Gary Dall

I made homemade apple fritters with Michigan maple syrup glaze! - Briana Herzog

Wasem Fruit Farm in Milan for great apples, maple glazed donuts & cider at a nice price.  - Jill S. 

Nothing is as fabulous as a cider mill donut, still hot enough for the outside to be almost crispy.  - Michele Cook Hayden

Love Blackstar Farms Late Harvest Riesling . It’s the best. can’t wait to visit.  - Sandy Westen

New Holland Brewing Icabod Pumpkin Ale.  - Kim Looman

Color Tours

Photo by Becky Pawloski Scholten

Photo by Becky Pawloski Scholten

Top of the lift ride at Boyne Mountain. Awesome views! - Lynn Jones

Went up to Leelanau, came back down M-37. Was very happy to have stopped at the scenic turnout/rest stop along the way. - Shelley Ferguson

Going to Oscoda. Taking the Fall Color Cruise on the AuSable. - Patrick Shaffer

My quick fall color tour is driving Edward Hines from Northville to Dearborn. - Lynn Plachetzki White

A fall drive to see the trees. When we lived in the Detroit area, we would take the drive through Hines Park. While living in the U.P., we always drove along Lake Superior, then to Tahquamenon Falls. - Joni Johnson

Cider Mills

Franklin Cider Mill! I’m not even a resident of Michigan and we make an annual trek to the “Cider Mecca!” - Karen Page

Opening Day at Dexter cider mill for fresh cider and warm donuts! Yum! - Angela Marshall ‏

Parmenters in Northville – THE BEST fresh cinnamon donuts!!! - Tracy Nafe

Uncle Johns, Spicers, Parshallville, Montrose Orchards…..love them all! - Nancy Miller

Pumpkin Patches

Cari Angell

Photo by Cari Angell

The charming Pumpkin Barn in Levering, MI.  - Cari Angell

Johnson’s Giant Pumpkin Farm in Saginaw, MI. They have a lot of activities for kids, a corn maze, crafts, food, pumpkin chucking with a trebuchet, animals to pet & feed. Always a great time for the family.  - Terri Garabelli

Vince and Joe’s Market on Garfield Rd. in Clinton and 25/Van Dyke Rd. in Shelby Twp. They have everything pumpkin for your Octoberfest.  - Vlasta Hallova Trulik

Andy T’s! See the monster weigh-off contenders and winners! - Andrew Eagle

Fall Festivals and Events

I love Fruit Ridge Hayrides! - Star Juarez

Applefest in Charlevoix! Love my Michigan! - Ruthann LaPorte Beyer

Farmer J’s world record corn mazes by Cabela’s in Dundee. – Jill S.

Art Prize is  awesome its a must see. - Shawn Sams

Joining in on the excitement of The Detroit Marathon is memorable for both participants and spectators.

Game Day Excitement

Photo by MMB Photography

Photo by MMB Photography

Eastern Market is always a stop for my daughter and I…what a great mix of the D at it’s best.  - Jules Ryan

Comerica Park – My favorite spot in all of the great state of Michigan!! - Lynn Friedenstab Becker

Ann Arbor and East Lansing are game day hot spots throughout the season!

Outdoor Exploration

Manitou Charter Fleet – With charter captain Bill Wright out of Leland. We learned many different ways to cook salmon! - Kevin Rogers

Hiking, biking, and off-roading on Michigan trails are a great way to experience fall colors.

Fall means the start of prime hunting season!

Halloween Fun

Spooky trails, Swartz Creek. - XTREMETALS

Halloween on Tillson Street – We’ll be going… It’s a Halloween must! And a sleepover for the grandchildren. - Donna Vehar

Junction Valley Railroad is entertaining enough for the whole family – and Handicap accessible! - Dan Miller

Family Traditions

Go horseback riding in the woods and listen to the sounds and look at the colors of autumn. - Brenda Shaw

Bon fires with good friends and some good wine! - Lynn Scraver

We take a trip to Mackinac Island and walk the trails. It is a quiet way to enjoy the beauty. - Cindy Howard Murphy

What’s on your “Best of Fall” list? 

From Our Fans: 10 Breathtaking Fall Color Drives to Experience this Season

The sun is shining. A cool autumn breeze sweeps gently through your hair. And you have plenty of daylight to enjoy a quintessential fall jaunt through the back roads of Pure Michigan. What could be better! If this scenario sounds like a seasonal dream come true, hop in the car, buckle up and head in any direction you please. Use these ten fall color road trips as your guide (and the photos for inspiration)! 

Traverse City – Northport – Frankfort
The Traverse City-Northport-Frankfort areas are ablaze with autumn hues!  As you drive through more than 250 miles of Lake Michigan shoreline, make some time for a stop at Mission Point Lighthouse or Point Betsie.

Photo by Jesse Barcega - Bowers Harbor Park on Old Mission Peninsula

Photo by Jesse Barcega – Bowers Harbor Park on Old Mission Peninsula

Oscoda – West Branch – Tawas City
This Michigan Sunrise Side fall color tour includes a scenic drive along Lake Huron. You won’t be disappointed with a stop to breathe in the fresh autumn air on the River Road Scenic Byway along the Au Sable River.

Photo by Phil Overbeeke - River Road Scenic Byway

Photo by Phil Overbeeke – River Road Scenic Byway

Flint – Brighton – Bloomfield Hills
Fall color in East Central and Southeastern Michigan peaks in October. Recharge with a stop for cider and donuts at Diehl’s Orchard and Cider Mill, Spicer’s or the Historic Grist Mill.

Photo by Shannon Hartman - Holly, MI

Photo by Shannon Hartman – Holly, MI

Pentwater – White Cloud – Muskegon
Rolling wooded hillsides, orchards with ripe apples and beautiful vistas of Lake Michigan are a part of this West Michigan tour. Pull over and take in the scenery at Muskegon State Park, Charles Mears State Park or  P.J. Hoffmaster State Park.

Photo by Louise Olson - Silver Lake Sand Dunes

Photo by Louise Olson – Silver Lake Sand Dunes

New Buffalo – St. Joseph – Benton Harbor – Paw Paw
This Southwestern Michigan tour features cider mills, u-pick farms, roadside markets, wineries and quiet hiking trails as you travel. Why not stop to taste autumn’s harvest at Warner Vineyards Winery, Round Barn Winery Tasting Room or Karma Vista Vineyards and Winery?

Photo by Tanya Pradon - Paw Paw Lake, Coloma Township

Photo by Tanya Pradon – Paw Paw Lake, Coloma Township

Mackinaw City – Petoskey – Charlevoix
Forested countryside and charming resort towns are nestled along the sparkling blue waters of Lake Michigan in this neck of the woods. Old Mackinac Point Lighthouse is a must-visit on this color drive.

Photo by Annette Robidoux - Petoskey, MI

Photo by Annette Robidoux – Petoskey, MI

Houghton – Eagle River – Copper Harbor
Michigan’s fall colors come first to the trees of the Keweenaw Peninsula, the state’s northernmost point. Amidst the stunning display of reds, oranges and golds, take some time to explore Michigan’s historic mining industry at the Quincy or Delaware Mine.

Photo by Clayton Adams - Copper Harbor

Photo by Clayton Adams – Copper Harbor

Munising – Newberry – Grand Marais
Mother Nature’s paintbrush gets a workout in Michigan each autumn.  Her fall palette washes over the Munising – Newberry – Grand Marais area, making a stop at Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore or Tahquamemon Falls an integral part of this fall tour.

Photo by Judy Kniaz - Munising, MI

Photo by Judy Kniaz – Munising, MI

Menominee – Escanaba – Manistique
If you’re looking for fabulous fall color, look no further than the Menominee-Escanaba-Manistique area! Not to be missed along the way is Kitch-iti-kipi at Palms Book State Park. The largest freshwater spring in the state measures 200 feet across and 40 feet deep, with more than 10,000 gallons of clear water gushing each minute.

Photo by Jim Brannstrom - Nahma Township

Photo by Jim Brannstrom – Nahma Township

[Insert Your Hometown Here]
You don’t need to drive far to find fabulous fall foliage in Pure Michigan. Take a trip down Main St., head to a local park, or just gaze out your window!

Photo by John Walbridge

Photo by John Walbridge

Have you taken a fall color tour this season? Tell us about your trip. Visit michigan.org/fall for more ideas on Pure Michigan fall getaways. 

 

Four Characteristics of a Pure Michigan Fall

Today, guest blogger Shannon Saksewski from The Awesome Mitten shares a few key ingredients of fall in Pure Michigan.

15reasonstolovefall1Seasons.  A stark difference between four distinct seasons.  This is one of the several reasons why, despite opportunities, I haven’t felt truly compelled to move to another state.  It’s always been difficult for me to imagine living in a place where I couldn’t, in a broad sense, measure time by looking at the leaves.

Fall’s my favorite.  Fall is a favorite for a lot of people.  You’ve likely noticed by now that large retailers agree, especially if you’ve ever walked through their aisles in August—and sometimes July—when they start offering Halloween goodies and autumn decor.  Let’s set the retail goods aside for now, though, and focus on what makes Michigan truly special in the fall.

Colors
Oh, the glorious colors!  People from around the country flock to the Mitten in the fall to witness the flaming reds, oranges, yellows, and even burgundies.  Peak color varies throughout the state, but generally falls between mid-September through the end of October.  As a general rule, the farther north one travels, the earlier colors will peak.

Color tours are a popular fall activity for many Michigan residents and visitors.  Residents need not travel far in order to experience the sights, sounds, and smells of Michigan’s technicolor forests.  Over half of the state is forested—that’s over 19 million acres—and most of that consists of northern hardwoods (the color-changers, like maples).  Want to get on the road to see what all the fuss is about?  Here’s a list of color driving tours.  Prefer to get out of the car and see the sights up close?  Try these hiking and biking tours.

Bangor apple festApples
With 9.2 million apple trees, Michigan is the second-largest apple producing state in the US—and we have serious love for our orchards!  It seems like almost everyone, especially people who grew up here, has a favorite orchard.  My personal favorite is Wasem’s in Milan, very near where I grew up.  I love that place for its crisp Michigan apples, sure.  If you talk to someone about their favorite orchard long enough, though, you’ll likely realize that they’re not in it for the apples alone.  Orchards offer a range of goods and experiences.  For example, I contend that Wasem’s has the best donuts, cider, and apple butter in the universe.  (That’s a strong statement, and I’d love to debate the point—and taste-test—with any of you!)

Orchards offer much more than edible goods.  In addition, they are often home to Halloween-themed activities like haunted houses, haunted hay rides, and nighttime corn mazes.  For those less inclined to be purposefully terrified, check out the decorative goods, historical surrounds, demonstrations, and much more.  A visit to the orchard could be a brief stop, or an all-day affair.  Check out an old favorite, or search for a future favorite.  Regardless, enjoy!

FordfieldFestivals
Clearly, there’s a lot to celebrate about fall in Michigan.  Colors! Apples! Pumpkins! Alpacas!  Oh, and beer.  Check out this calendar of Michigan’s fall festivals.  At least a few of these are on my must-see list.  Which will you visit?

Football
We tend to take football pretty seriously in Michigan—to the point where some of us use “fall” and “football season” interchangeably.  Whether you’re a die-hard fan of Michigan’s own Detroit Lions or a  particular university, or are just in it for tailgating fun (or both), it’s possible that you closely associate football and fall.  Not too interested in football?  That’s OK.  There are plenty of orchards to visit instead of tailgating, cramming into a stadium, and/or yelling at the television.

What do you think?  What other festivals, places, or traditions are characteristic of fall in Michigan?

shannon-293x300Shannon Saksewski is a life-long resident of Michigan. Professionally, she is a healthcare strategist focusing on consumer experience and marketing.  She was trained, and has experience in, psychology, social work, and business at the University of Michigan.  Outside of work, she enjoys cooking, traveling, writing, and experimenting with local beer and craft cocktails.  Connect with Shannon on Twitter (@ssaksews), or LinkedIn.