Happy Friday, Grand Rapidians and Michiganders! The beautiful Michigan foliage has been on point this week with magnificent Fall Colors – #Intragramsfavoriteseason. Our Mitten state has phenomenal places to visit to view the changing colors of the leaves and many of us can experience this right outside our door or a short, car ride away.
A couple weekends ago, I went up north to one of my favorite cities in Michigan – Traverse City. This year’s summer temps stayed well above average which counts for a wonderful growing city (watch out for 2016 harvest wines in the next couple years) but the colors weren’t as vivid as I was hoping but I’m not mad about it! I still had plenty of activities and things to do and see that I successfully crossed off my TC Autumn list. I wanted to share with you some of my experiences and some ideas for a TC getaway while the colors are in full swing!
So, if you’re heading up there this weekend or in the following two weekends for some Fall Color action or if you want a vibrant spontaneous TC day trip, read below for some options.
♦ Take the Scenic Route up M-37 – If you have the time it is well worth the extra 40 minutes to an hour it’ll take you to drive up M-37 – if you live in GR, take Alpine Ave. straight up to TC – it dead ends towards the top of Old Mission Peninsular. You’ll drive through a host of apple orchards starting around Casanovia, go through the double lakes surrounding Cadillac and right up through the Manistee National Forest. You’ll probably discover towns you’ve never even heard of and trust me, there will be ample opportunity to snap some pics of those Fall Colors. Another amazing scenic route is following M-22 that starts juts past the town of Manistee and hugs the Lake Michigan shoreline up to the Leelanau Peninsular. Check out this awesome list from Pure Michigan on the roads you can travel to experience the best Fall colors.
♦ Create your own Beer Tour – Draft Magazine recently name Traverse City as one of three new emerging beer towns in America. Downtown TC is home to Right Brain Brewery, North Peak Brewing Company, The Filling Station Brewery and Mackinaw Brewing Company to name a few. Check out the full list here to plan your own brewery hopping adventure or use the TC Ale Trail to help guide you. Not sure if creating a tour is for you or don’t think you’ll have enough time? Head over to 7 Monks Taproom and try beers from all over Michigan and the world.
♦ Experience the Village at Grand Traverse Commons – The former Northern Michigan State Hospital is a restored historical beauty that is home to shops, restaurants and businesses like Left Foot Charley Winery and Trattoria Stella and hosts events throughout the year like the Groundwork’s Harvest at the Commons Dinner I attended on the 8th (this is an annual, local fundraising event). The Commons also holds two-hour guided historical walking tours for $25 if you would like to learn a more in depth history of the building and ground or feel like doing something to celebrate the spooky season!
♦ Wine Tasting on Old Mission Peninsular – Old Mission holds such a special place in my wine loving heart – it’s quaint, it feels welcoming and the views and wine are so incredible I just can’t resist visiting every time I am in TC and feeling impressed every time. My newest vineyard obsession is Bowers Harbor Vineyards (yes, I joined the wine club and it’s a fantastic way to experience more wines at home) and a special highlight this time around goes to the new kid on the Peninsular – Mari Vineyards, specializing in Italian style wines. Check out the Wineries of Old Mission Peninsular website and download a Wine Trail Map so you can discover your favorites too. If you happen to have pictures from this season on Old Mission or venturing up this weekend – enter the #FallintoWOMP Instagram contest by posting a photo and tagging @wineriesofomp and using the above hashtag and you’ll be entered to win free tastings and OMP swag. Contest closes Sunday, 10/23.
♦ Enjoy Eating out in Downtown TC – The choices for culinary experiences and hardcore foodies are plentiful in TC. You can enjoy everything from Latin cuisine to European faire and Sushi to brunch spots that are so delicious you better plan ahead because of the wait. Some of my current favorite eateries are: Patisserie Amie and Frenchies Famous for breakfast/brunch and Georgina’s and Red Ginger for dinner. Seriously, you will not be disappointed by these choices. There also a really nice guide by Downtown Traverse City for an expansive list of dining.
♦ Tunnel of Trees – Another scenic route a bit farther north (just past Petoskey) if you have time to venture up beyond your TC Fall weekend trip. This Lake Michigan coast driving route follows M-119 from that begins in Harbor Springs and end at Cross Village and is designated a heritage scenic route in Michigan. Check out this list of interesting and photo worthy spots to stop along the way. You can follow the official Tunnel of Trees Instagram here.
What have you been experiencing this Autumn in Michigan to experience the Fall colors? If you venture up to TC or anywhere local, #GrabGR to share all of your adventures!
Happy Fall Colors!