: Late September to Mid-OctoberApproximate Length:
190 milesLodging: PENINSULA BAY RESORT CONDOMINIUMS
on East Bay.F
all is the season of the grape, where local vineyards harvest the future Chardonnays, Rieslings and Pinot Grigios. Combine a color tour of the region with a visit to Michigan's wine country - a feast for the eye and the palate.
Choose one or several of the 19 wineries of Leelanau and Old Mission Peninsulas for a very special fall vacation. Old Mission Peninsula has much to offer the autumn leaf-peeper: delicious apples can be found at roadside stands, charming restaurants, and the Old Mission Lighthouse. "Land of Delight" is the English translation of the Indian wood "leelanau," and it's easy to understand the reason for so naming the Leelanau Peninsula, especially in fall. Circling the perimeter of the place many call Michigan's "little finger" is a color tour that has been popular for decades. An easy and interesting route, M-22 takes you along the shoreline through the quaint villages of Suttons Bay, Peshasbestown, Omena and Northport, with water views almost the entire way. North of Suttons Bay the sign reads: Northport 12 miles. Northport, situated near the tip of Leelanau Peninsula, overlooking Grand Traverse Bay, is a picture-perfect town, with a marina, waterfront, unique shops, galleries and restaurants.
Each port town has its own unique charm, and each is a perfect place for shopping, dining, trying your luck at the casino or just breathing the crisp fall air. Tour the Grand Traverse Lighthouse, a living museum. Along the western coast, Leland and Glen Arbor offer still more options, and spectacular autumn color can be expected in the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, a 71,000-acre national park that includes 35 miles of Lake Michigan shoreline. Go barefoot "one last time" when you encounter the massive sand dunes and stunning sunset beaches.
According to the National Park Service, many of the best spots for viewing fall colors at Sleeping Bear are easily reached by car or by a brief hike. The park's popular Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive, for instance, gives motorists a bird's-eye view of areas like Alligator Hill, where brilliant fall foliage is set off by Glen Lake's tropical shades of turquoise, jade and cobalt blue.
The Frankfort-Elberta area has much to offer, and is the gateway to the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. Located on the eastern shore of Lake Michigan in Benzie County, the Frankfort and Elberta communities encompass beautiful Betsie Bay, a historic sailing harbor. The Point Betsie Light Station is one of the most visited and photographed in Michigan, and is considered to be the most popular visitor site in Benzie County. For mariners, Point Betsie (or originally: Point Aux Bec Scies), has been one of the most prominent and utilized lights on Lake Michigan.
Another great side trip is to the Gwen Frostic Prints Company in Benzonia (located between Frankfort and Benzonia). This 250-acre wildlife sanctuary on the Betsie River is home to Frostic's studio with 15 Heidelberg presses using the original Frostic blocks to print a variety of paper arts. Kids will love a stop at the Homestead Sugar House in Beulah, just five miles from the top of the hill on US-31. Open until November 30, enjoy delicious hand-dipped candies, fruits and even thick sugarless syrup.
You're likely to hear the sounds of music mingling with the rustling of fall leaves on a color tour of Benzie County. The Interlochen Center for the Arts offers year-round education for young people interested in the performing arts. Situated on Green Lake, the Center provides excellent professional entertainment, as well as student performances. The campus itself consists of tree-lined pathways that take on vibrant personalities during the autumn months.
For more information check out www.michigan.org/travel
Labels: Festivals, Lighthouses, Northern Shores News, Peninsula Bay News, Pet Friendly Stays, Traverse City Attractions, Traverse City Vacation Rentals, Wineries