Fall Color and Farm Markets near Silver Lake

Whether you’re a lifetime Michigander or you’re visiting the Great Lakes State for the first time, there’s something uniquely special about experiencing fall in Pure Michigan. Guest blogger Andrea Hekkema from the Silver Lakes Sand Dunes – Hart Visitors Bureau shares some of what makes the dunes worth visiting in autumn.

 Autumn has a full color palette in Oceana County.  The dark green spruces, rising pines and the brilliant blues of the lakes and sky balance leaves of deep crimson, glorious golds, rich siennas and umbers.

Photo Courtesy of Silver Lake Sand Dunes – Hart Visitors Bureau

Bountiful harvests of apples and pears color our orchards and plump orange pumpkins and multi-colored squash ripen in the fields. Our temperatures, moderated by Lake Michigan, mean crisp mornings give way to warm days well into October-lots of time for you to enjoy a weekend (or more!) on a color tour with many outdoor activities.

Photo Courtesy of Silver Lake Sand Dunes – Hart Visitors Bureau

Take a drive in the country or a jeep or buggy tour. Consider a ride or stroll on the Hart-Montague Rail Trail, and a canoe or boat trip on one of our inland lakes or rivers. Be sure to stop and check out the fascinating and fun attractions along the way. And of course, while you’re here, indulge your taste buds at one of our roadside farm markets and orchards. The possibilities are as plentiful as the harvest in Oceana County.

Photo Courtesy of Silver Lake Sand Dunes – Hart Visitors Bureau

Still not convinced? Here are some suggestions to get you to “fall” in love with the idea of visiting Oceana County.

Silver Lake: Visit Little Sable Point Lighthouse.  Take a ride over the Silver Lake Sand Dunes and witness a majestic view of the Lake Michigan shoreline. Join a dune buggy tour with Mac Woods or drive your own dune buggy or jeep (rentals are available) through October. Visit Fox Barn Winery and pick up some fresh apple cider or delicious fruit wine.

Historic Downtown Hart: Stroll the downtown district. Enjoy shopping and dining in this small lakeside area. Spend the night or weekend at any of our local hotels.

Mears: After visiting Silver Lake, be sure to stop in Mears. Take time to see the Oceana County Historical Transportation Museum.

The Hart-Montague Rail Trail is a 22 mile linear state park. The entire trail is at least a 10-foot wide paved trail through rich farm land, forests and quaint villages. There are many stops along the way to rest or catch a bite to eat. Start your trip at the Trail Head in downtown Hart, and enjoy your scenic tour of our beautiful area.

Bring your canoe or boat to enjoy the beauty of the season from a different point of view. Public launches and boat ramps can be found at Hart Lake and Silver Lake. You can also rent a canoe, kayak, tube, or raft at Happy Mohawk Canoe Livery and experience the scenic White River.

Map Courtesy of Silver Lake Sand Dunes – Hart Visitors Bureau

 

What is your favorite fall activity in Pure Michigan?

Six Scenic Drives for Pure Michigan Summer Road Trips

As school and work schedules slow down and temperatures heat up, summer is the perfect time for a road trip in Pure Michigan! Nick Nerbonne of The Awesome Mitten has rounded up a list of some great road trips around the state.

Summer is meant for road trips with the windows down, music up, and good times on the horizon. Fortunately for Michiganders, and for those who visit us here in the Mitten, there are plenty of options for beautiful drives that showcase the beauty of the Great Lakes State.

I’ve had the pleasure of exploring quite a bit of Michigan’s pleasant peninsulas, and when I hop in the car and hit the road from my home in Traverse City, I often find myself heading toward the miles of Great Lakes coastline that are always just a  short drive away, no matter where you are in the state. Here are a few of my favorites:

1. Red Arrow Highway from New Buffalo to St. Joseph

Head north from New Buffalo on Red Arrow Highway along Lake Michigan to explore the quaint coastal villages of Union Pier, Lakeside and Harbert on your way to St. Joseph. Known for its art galleries and antiques, this popular summer cruise also features numerous Lake Michigan beaches.

The region’s climate is heavily influenced by Lake Michigan, and orchards and vineyards checker the landscape. Sample wines at tasting rooms for over a dozen wineries along the Lake Michigan Shore Wine Trail, and bring a few bottles home to open while sharing the memories.

Don’t miss: Weko Beach

Follow the signs from Red Arrow Highway in Bridgman to this beautiful stretch of Lake Michigan beach. Day passes are available, or reserve a campsite and catch one of Weko Beach’s famous sunsets.

2. M-22 from Arcadia to Frankfort

M-22 receives much of its well-deserved notoriety for the many scenic destinations along its northern reaches in Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. While these are among my favorite day trips in Michigan, I often look further south along this scenic coastal highway, beginning in the village of Arcadia.

On a hot summer day, the beach at Arcadia is the perfect place for a refreshing swim along the sandy shore. After cooling off in the “Big Lake,” head north along M-22 for scenic vistas from the tops of the wooded hills to the Lake Michigan port city of Frankfort. Grab a Michigan craft beer at newly-opened Stormcloud Brewing Company and stroll along Frankfort’s pier to the very photogenic lighthouse.

Don’t miss: Lake Michigan overlook just north of Arcadia

Head north along M-22 from Arcadia and stop at the scenic turnout just outside of town. Climb the steps for a spectacular view from atop the bluff.

3. M-23 from Tawas City to Alpena

Often overlooked by travelers heading north, Michigan’s “Sunrise Coast” offers a Great Lakes setting with a beauty all its own. From M-55 in Tawas City, M-23 skirts the Lake Huron shoreline through the coastal villages of Oscoda and Harrisville on its way north to Alpena. Pack a picnic and enjoy the scenery at Alpena’s waterfront park adjacent to the marina on the shores of Thunder Bay.

Harrisville State Park offers campsites directly on Lake Huron. Make your reservation early to get the best view of the beach.

Don’t miss: Sturgeon Point Lighthouse

Constructed in 1870, this classic Lake Huron beacon is a must-stop when traveling along M-23.

4. River Road Scenic Byway

The River Road Scenic Byway leads visitors west along the AuSable River from Oscoda. The drive lives up to its name, with several viewpoints high above the AuSable Valley along the way, but also provides a glimpse into the area’s past as a major hub in Michigan’s timber industry. Hiking trails and elaborate staircases provide access to the water’s edge, so bring your hiking shoes.

Don’t Miss: Lumberman’s Monument

Dedicated in 1932, Lumberman’s Monument recognizes the hard-working lumbermen of Michigan’s early logging industry. Follow the trail northeast from the

Lumberman’s Monument Visitor Center for a panoramic view of the AuSable River and surrounding area.

5. US-2 from St. Ignace to Manistique

A trip across the “Mighty Mac” always involves breathtaking scenery, and the drive west from St. Ignace on U.S. 2 doesn’t disappoint. After passing the famed Mystery Spot just outside of town, the highway re-joins the Lake Michigan shoreline for several miles. Locals and visitors alike stop along the way for picnics among the dunes and swimming in the Lake Michigan surf.

Any visit to “The Yoop” would not be complete without an authentic Upper Peninsula pasty. Hiawatha Pasties in Naubinway, about 45 minutes west of St. Ignace, is a favorite of locals and visitors alike.

Don’t miss: Cut River Bridge Overlook

Park at the scenic turnout about 25 miles west of St. Ignace for a view of Lake Michigan and the Cut River 150 feet below; a trail and staircase lead to the valley floor for those looking for a mid-drive adventure.

6. M-134 from Hessel to Drummond Island

Head east on M-134 from I-75 north of St. Ignace for views of Lake Huron and the Les Cheneaux Islands that go undiscovered by many. The classic boathouses of the early-1900s cottages and rocky shorelines of Les Cheneaux’s 36 islands are seen by many as reminiscent of east-coast hideaways found along the coast of Maine. If you’re lucky enough to make the drive early in the morning, keep your camera ready for a photo of a sailboat moored among the morning mist in one of the many natural harbors.

Don’t miss: Antique Wooden Boat Show in Hessel

Held each August in the Les Cheneaux Islands, the Antique Wooden Boat show is one of the largest gatherings in the country of classic vessels dating back to the early 1900s.

Nick Nerbonne is an online marketing specialist, outdoor adventurer, craft beer drinker, wine enthusiast, and aspiring photographer from Traverse City. 

Fall for a Pure Michigan Road Trip

The leaves are changing in the Great Lakes State, which can mean only one thing: Fall is here in Pure Michigan!

Now is the perfect time to hit the road and marvel at Michigan second-to-none annual color show of reds, golds, oranges and yellows splashed across the state. No matter where you are in Michigan you’re never more than 85 miles from a Great Lake, and with so many other natural and man-made wonders, from waterfalls to museums, it’s easy to plan a fun-filled road trip that is Pure Michigan.

Take a cruise down these fall color driving routes that follow winding, two-lane roads to scenic spots, historic sites, small towns and recreation areas around the state. Bring the binoculars to wildlife viewing areas along the way, like Pigeon River Country State Forest – home to the largest free-roaming elk herd east of the Mississippi – or venture to the Upper Peninsula to catch a glimpse of free-ranging moose.
For those a little less adventures, there are numerous historic covered bridges throughout the state, including White’s Covered Bridge over the Flat River in Ionia County that dates back to 1867. Don’t forget to plan a shoreline tour to see some of Michigan’s 115 Great Lakes lights and lighthouses; you can even stay at a choice of lighthouse Bed & Breakfast inns overlooking Lake Superior.

While you’re on the road, make sure to stop along the way and taste the many flavors that Pure Michigan has to offer. From cider mills, wineries, artisan breweries, and foodie tours, Michigan has something to please every palate. Microbrew enthusiasts will want to be sure to check out the Detroit Fall Beer Festival at the city’s Eastern Market on Oct. 22, and wine lovers won’t want to miss The Round Barn Winery’s Jammin’ in the Vineyard each Saturday and Sunday through October.

For more events and activities, visit michigan.org and sign up for the free Pure Michigan eNewsletter for updates on fall colors, festivals and events, special promotions, and more.