myfiftyplusjourney

It appears fall is coming a little early here to northern Michigan. When I write “northern Michigan” it makes me think of Traverse City and Alpena, but when I write “central Michigan” I think of Mt. Pleasant and when I write “west Michigan” I think of Grand Rapids or Holland…. SO… Fall appears to be coming a little early to northern west central Michigan this year, here in Big Rapids.

The weather has changed considerably in the past two weeks and the trees are turning brilliant colors. On the local news we have maps that show when colors will peak, and when taking a ‘color tour’ is optimum. Several years ago we took a train color tour that started and returned to Cadillac, Michigan. It was a wonderful way to spend an afternoon and see the beautiful countryside of Michigan. We used the michigansteamtrain.com train, but there are several options all over Michigan. This is the Michigan Steamtrain Institute description: This October, experience the autumn foliage of Northern Michigan in style with two upcoming excursions as part of the Steam Railroading Institute’s Fall Color Tours. Take in the color drenched beauty aboard our vintage passenger coaches or historic cabooses pulled by a Great Lakes Central DIESEL Locomotive. Enjoy a relaxing ride while visiting with friends, playing cards, snapping some pictures, or just settling in with a refreshing beverage and snack from our concession car.

If you have never had the opportunity to visit northern Michigan in the fall, put it on your bucket list! From apple orchards, to wineries, to color tours, there are so many ways to spend an afternoon in our beautiful state. A popular one to visit in the Grand Rapids area of west Michigan is Robinettes Apple Haus and Winery https://robinettes.com/ . From hay rides to wine tasting to petting zoos to you pick apples, this is a one stop shop for families or adults without kids in tow. I’ve been gifted wine from here before and it is delicious! One without all of the other amenities but closer to us and with an abundant assortment of fruit is the Grange Fruit Farm https://www.fruitridgemarket.com/grange-fruit-farm/in Rockford. Another fun place to pick apples is Schwallier’s Country Basket https://www.schwalliers.com/ in Sparta, Michigan. They too have several fun activities for kids including a play area and rides for kids and a farm animal barn. Oh, and don’t forget the apple cinnamon doughnuts and apple cider!

Soon the corn mazes here in Michigan will be up and running. Some are spooky mazes, some are haunted mazes and some offer hayrides and bonfires. Right here in Mecosta County we have Four Greenfield Farms. http://fourgreenfieldsfarm.com/ They say: Our maze, pumpkin patch, and horse drawn wagon rides all waiting for you still at the same low prices as the day we opened in 2006. Don’t forget that on Friday and Saturday nights in October we haunt the maze for those brave souls not afraid of what lurks in a dark corn field. Want the Maze all to yourself? We love doing private group bookings. They are great for scouts, church youth groups, family outings, friends, and birthday parties. We offer you use of our picnic area and bonfire pit too. We can also accommodate groups during regular business hours so give us a call.

You can find pumpkins at Four Greenfield Farms, but also at Stilson Family Farm in Morley, Michigan 21847 4 Mile Rd, Morley, MI 49336 and The Hearty Harvest in Remus, Michigan 5356 9 Mile Rd, Remus, MI 49340.

Another great thing to do in the fall (or summer) in Michigan is hike the North Country Trail. Did you know that we have “The longest in the National Trails System, the North Country National Scenic Trail stretches 4,600 miles across eight states, from North Dakota to Vermont. Whether you’re looking to day-hike a few miles or plan a longer overnight backpacking trip, a multitude of diverse landscapes and hiking opportunities are waiting for you.” right here in Michigan in our county? My friend Sheri is hiking many, many portions of this and it looks absolutely beautiful and a very ‘doable’ hike. https://northcountrytrail.org/

Come visit us here in the north. As Mark says we have no extreme natural disasters! No hurricanes, no wildfires, no large tornados, no earthquakes, no volcanic eruptions, no tsunami’s…. we did have a very large flood this year after a dam broke, but for the most part, we are ‘safe’ here.

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