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.

Explore Pure Michigan with these October 2016 Events

Fall is coming incredibly soon! The beautiful colorful foliage combined with all of the autumn festivities, the month of October great time to explore our beautiful state. From UPtoberfest to spooky walks, there are a ton of fun and exciting events happening around Pure Michigan.

Below is a roundup of October events to help you plan the upcoming month. Visit our events page to see everything going on all month long.

October 1-9 

8th Annual Skitoberfest
October 1, Boyne Falls

Come to the eighth annual Skitoberfest, a fall extravaganza and homecoming taking place in the Boyne Mountain Village and surrounding area. Skitoberfest celebrates the best of fall’s family offerings in an Oktoberfest-style setting and the coming winter season with a Snowsports Expo hosted by Olympian Cary Adgate and special guest speaker. Skitoberfest highlights include gourmet foods from northern Michigan restaurants, markets and farms, Michigan beers, wines and spirits for tasting, plus music and endless family entertainment. It’s art, it’s drama, it’s entertainment plus food, beer, wine and fun for everyone! Admission is free, and tickets for food, brews and some activities are available.

Sleeping Bear Marathonsleeping bear mrathon
October 1, Empire

This scenic marathon starts in Empire and runs through the iconic Sleeping Bear Dune Climb, Little Glen Lake and Glen Arbor, all with gorgeous views of the Manitou Islands and the Sleeping Bear Dunes at the peak of the fall color season.

Big Lebowski Beer Tour
October 1, Kalamazoo

“But sometimes there’s a man. And I’m talking about The Dude here. Sometimes there’s a man, well, he’s the man for his time and place. He fits right in there. And that’s The Dude.” We’re proud to announce the return of the Big Lebowski Beer Tour. This is a celebration of Michigan beer, bowling and the most quotable movie of all-time.

Tawas Point Haunted Lighthouse Weekend
October 7-8, East Tawas

Come to the Historic Tawas Point Lighthouse and visit with the ghosts and ghouls. On Friday from 5 to 9 p.m. get a rare opportunity to climb the tower at night. On Saturday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., participate in a Halloween dance, hay rides, campsite decorating, games for all ages, pumpkin painting, lighthouse tours, concessions and corn husk doll making. In addition, registered campers can enjoy trick or treating through the campground from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. and a monster dance will take place in the day-use pavillion from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m.

Lake Huron Discovery Tour
October 7-10, Standish

If you’re looking for a unique event on Pure Michigan’s sunrise coast, look no further than the Lake Huron Discovery Tour in Standish. Here you can chart your own course for 200 miles of events, cities, villages, rivers, streams, and lakes from Standish to Mackinaw along Lake Huron on Columbus Day Weekend. Cycling, kayak/paddle tours, running events, dark sky events, exploration of Native American history, writers retreat and Octoberfest celebrations will also be taking place.

UPtoberfest
uptoberfestOctober 8, Escanaba

UPtoberfest is the U.P.’s largest wine and beer festival, held on the beautiful lakefront in downtown Escanaba, MI. 2016 marks the 11th year of the festival! This is the eighth year that the festival is being organized by Escanaba’s homebrew club, the Bay de Noc Brewers. They are bringing a wealth of knowledge about beer, homebrewing and festivals to the event as well as volunteering all of their time and efforts. This year the focus of UPtoberfest is to keep it local! All beer and wine will be from Michigan, with the majority of it being from the U.P. and northern Lower Peninsula. All proceeds from UPtoberfest benefit The United Way of Delta Count

October 10-16

Fresh Coast Film Fest & Adventure Summit
October 13-16, Marquette

The Fresh Coast Film Festival is the first of its kind: a documentary film festival celebrating the outdoor lifestyle, water-rich environment and resilient spirit of the Great Lakes and Upper Midwest. The festival will gather the best in adventure cinema from around the world while creating a venue for, and building a culture of, Great Lakes storytelling.

A key component of Fresh Coast will be guided outdoor activities to introduce visitors to the outdoor playground of the Marquette area. Rock climbing, fly fishing, sea kayaking, waterfall hikes fall color tours and mountain bike rides will all be offered as part of the Fresh Coast weekend.

Fall Fest at the Holland Farmers Marketholland farms market
October 14-15, Holland

Come to Fall Fest at the Holland Farmers Market and in downtown Holland! On Friday, professional pumpkin carvers will carve jack-o-lanterns like you’ve never seen before, right on 8th Street. That evening, everyone is invited to take a stroll once the sun sets to see the pumpkins glowing to perfection.

On Saturday, the carvers will return to sculpt masterpieces at the Holland Farmers Market and in Downtown Holland. The entire family can enjoy a variety of fun fall-themed activities including pumpkin painting, a candy in the haystack hunt, pumpkin toss contest and much more! Take a hayride from Downtown Holland to the Holland Farmers Market (and back again) for more fall fun!

Apple Fest
October 14-16, Charlevoix

Fall is in the air and northern Michigan orchards are busy harvesting bushels of fresh, ripe apples in preparation for the 38th Annual Apple Festival taking place downtown Charlevoix. Apples are Michigan’s largest and most valuable fruit crop and our area apple trees are full to overflowing. More than 30 types of apples will be available as well as other fall harvest items including pumpkins, mums, squash, jam, maple syrup, pies, cider and so much more. Local non-profit organizations will be onsite to tempt you with hot food items such as chili, hot dogs, apple flappens, soup, and kielbasa. Pick up your fresh bagels, mustard, crepes, honey, meat, baked goods, granola, and fall veggies – all locally grown and produced.

Family Haunted Village and Spook Walk
October 15, Port Sanilac

Meet the unexpected residents of our creaky old buildings! See what’s in the Halloweeny Woods! Warm your cold Tootsies at the Bonfire and sample goodies at the Food Boooooth! Meet the “Wicked

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Witch and Snow White”, Dr. Loop, the Mad Hatter and others! Find the “Grim Reaper” and walk through the Cemetery in the woods.

Autumn Color Tour Cruises
October 15-16, Bay City

As the leaves begin to change and the temperature starts to cool, the Appledore IV changes course and we begin our popular two-hour Autumn Color Tour. Cruising upriver on the Saginaw, passengers will enjoy a warm lunch while keeping a sharp eye out for fall foliage and wildlife!

October 17-23

Fish with the Prosfish with the pros
October 14-17, Traverse City

Want to fish in the Traverse City area, but don’t have a boat, gear or knowledge of where to find the best spots? Participate in fall 2016′s Fish with the Pros. Fish with a pro for two full days, using their boat and gear! Both individual and team tournaments on Saturday and Sunday. Registration includes amazing food from Friday night through Monday breakfast.

Accommodations at the beautiful Spider Lake Retreat – Traverse City, MI. Double occupancy, private rooms feature patios or a balcony and private bath in each room.

Scarecrow Fest
October 15-23, Frankenmuth

Head to Frankenmuth for the Scarecrow Festival. Enjoy entertainment on stage, costume parade and Trick-or-Treating, view pumpkins with personality, pumpkin catapult, pumpkin bowling, pumpkin painting, face painting, children’s inflatables, rock & roll K-9′s, vote for your favorite scarecrow and more!

Conservation Cafe Great Lakes to Great Lakesconservation cafe
October 21, Grand Rapids

Join Dr. Patrick Doran from The Nature Conservancy for a lunch and lecture as he discusses Great Lakes conservation strategies shared on his travels to Lake Tanganyika in Tanzania, Africa. Patrick will discuss how a whole system approach to conservation in the Great Lakes of Michigan and Africa can maximize results for both people and nature. Take a virtual tour of Mahale and the Serengeti as he shares beautiful photography and inspiring lessons learned.

Mackinac Island Great Turtle Trail Run
October 22, Mackinac Island

This year marks the 21st running of one of the most scenic trail events in the state. We have a capacity of 3,500 participants running and walking the inside trails of Mackinac Island during the last open weekend of the season. All who register will enjoy special race features commemorative medals, a race apparel in Great Turtle fashion, special Halloween events for adults and kids, great end-of-season sales plus the beauty of late fall on the island

Zoo Boo!Zoo Boo!
October 22-23, Saginaw

It’s time to put on your costumes and head to the Children’s Zoo for the annual Halloween bash!

Make your way through the merry-not-so-scary Zoo, exploring all of our spooktacular decorations! Meet some of our creepy, crawly animal friends, then take a ride on the Pirate Train. Even the Carousel horses get into costume! Stop by the many activity stations for a treat, a craft or a game. Take pictures next to the hauntingly adorable photo ops! Watch mad scientist Dr. Slime put on a mysterious, scientific show!

October 24-31

Feast & Fear Dinner
October 28, Grand Junction

Feast on a delicious appetizer, entree and dessert served by your favorite ghosts and goblins from Shadow Hollow Haunt! Sample locally crafted wine and beer from McIntosh Winery & Round Bar Winery during dinner. After dinner, if you dare, climb aboard wagons for a chilling end to your evening! They’ll take you through Shadow Hollow Haunt… a one-of-a-kind, live action haunted wagon ride! If you make it back alive, enjoy a free donut and apple cider!

The dinner menu for the haunted evening will be crafted using our in-season produce, meats from a local butcher shop and cheese from Evergreen Creamery in Fennville. The menu will be subject to change based on what foods are available locally. Reservations and payment required ahead of time.

Glow in the Park PartyGlow in the Park Party
October 28, Douglas

Glow in the Park is an annual, all-inclusive kick-off party for the Halloween weekend. In response to growing Halloween tourism and overall community enthusiasm, Glow in the Park is a family friendly event where “anything that glows goes.” There will be music, food and drink along with plenty of fun glow-in the-dark activities for the kids. Come in full glowing costume or get your glow on when you get there with face painting, black light areas and a merchandise booth selling glow sticks, necklaces, bracelets and our official T-shirts! Proceeds support the Douglas Halloween events.

The amazing face painter uses UV reactive face paint to turn you into a human glow stick under the black lights.

Halloween Bash
October 29, Gaylord

Head to Treetops for the annual Halloween Bash Saturday, October 29th! The party festivities will be from 8pm Midnight with a DJ, cash bar, light hors d’ oeuvres and a costume contest! Prizes for “Best Dressed” and “Best Couple”! Cash only event.

Shanghai NightsShanghai Nights
October 29, Clinton Township

Shanghai Acrobats of the People’s Republic of China present a magnificent blend of athleticism and theatrical expression with high-flying trapeze, aerial balance, flowing theatrical dance, juggling and mime-character comedy, showcasing an artistic world full of history and wonder. These amazing, multi-award-winning artists, direct from Beijing, give us a deeply aesthetic night of breathtaking beauty and physical daring, thrilling young and old alike.

Step Back In Time To the Life of a Fur Trapper
October 30, Monroe

River Raisin National Battlefield Park, welcomes you to a National Park Service Centennial Event: “Step Back in Time to the Life of a Fur Trapper” on Sunday, October 30 from 1:30-2:30 p.m.

Join Norbert DeWilde to learn all about the fur trade and the life of a fur trapper. Have fun exploring furs in this hands-on fun filled educational activity. This is open for all ages. The activity will be held outdoors with weather permitting.

Did we miss your favorite October event? Name it below!

Exploring the Old Mission Peninsula on M-37

Just north of Traverse City, the Old Mission Peninsula is a narrow finger of land extending into the center of Grand Traverse Bay. It’s 22 miles long and in some places as little as a mile wide: a beautiful patchwork of orchards, vineyards, forests and villages that’s especially lovely in fall.

Highway M-37, known by locals as Center Road, shows you the best of this magical place. It’s perfect for a half-day drive that combines fall color with beautiful views, visits to wineries and fruit stands, and unforgettable meals at charming restaurants.

The first winery you’ll encounter is just past the crest of the first hill, it’s the Old Mission vineyard and tasting room of Black Star Farms, established on the site of the former Underwood farm. At the bottom of the hill, rising up on the left, is the Italian stone villa that houses Mari Vineyards, the peninsula’s newest winery.

For the next few miles the road runs along the shoreline with its ducks, docks, birds and boats, then begins to rise again. On the right you’ll see a former one-room schoolhouse. (The Peninsula once had seven of them, and five are still in use.) It’s the tasting room of Peninsula Cellars. Across the road and up the hill is the relaxed new Bonobo Winery.

Photo Courtesy of Traverse City Tourism

At the summit of the hill, there’s a scenic treat: a lovely overlook with splendid views of both arms of the Bay – a favorite place for watching sunsets, storms and other natural displays. It overlooks the sprawling vineyards of Chateau Grand Traverse, the first winery established on the Peninsula.  As the road descends the hill, continue to enjoy the scenery along with the fruit and vegetable stands that will be increasingly noticeable on both sides of the road. Stop by for some fresh apples, plums, beans, squash and other locally-grown goodies!

Photo Courtesy of Traverse City Tourism

Just ahead is the village of Mapleton, one of the Peninsula’s two small towns, home to the laid-back Peninsula Grill and Bad Dog Deli, as well as a handy grocery store, the Peninsula Market, which has the only gas pump out here.

From Mapleton, the road leads north over a razor-thin bluff known as the Hog’s Back, (with wonderful views of East Bay to the right) and rises even higher to the imposing Chateau Chantal Winery Bed & Breakfast. Over the next hill you’ll find the Old Mission Tavern, a charming eatery that has its own art gallery, the Bella Galleria.

Photo Courtesy of Traverse City Tourism

One last hill takes you down past cherry orchards, vineyards and tall rows of hops with great views of Old Mission Village to the right. Here, as the highway makes a gentle turn to the east, you’ll enter Lighthouse Park, home to the picturesque Mission Point Lighthouse, built in 1870. Although it is no longer in operation, it is open for tours and is the centerpiece of an attractive park with popular beaches, historical exhibits and extensive hiking trails.

Photo Courtesy of Traverse City Tourism

What are your favorite memories of the Old Mission Peninsula? Share with us by commenting below!

Blogger Bio: Mike Norton majored in history at the University of Michigan and spent 25 years as a newspaper writer and columnist in Traverse City. For the past decade, he’s been director of media relations at Traverse City Tourism. He lives in the village of Old Mission.