Both high school and college football may be cancelled and many students are learning remotely from home instead of in a classroom, but no matter how much will be different this fall due to COVID-19 some things will certainly be the same.
One thing you can count on, pandemic or not, is that the leaves will change colors soon in northern Michigan.
How soon, of course, is always up for debate among meteorologists, who think the Great Lakes peak could come a bit later than usual this year. But whether the leaves burst into color a few days earlier or a few days later than normal, you can plan your fall color tour knowing that the Tunnel of Trees will be a sight to behold.
The 20-mile stretch of M-119 north of Petoskey is regarded as Michigan’s top fall color tour route. Yet, some people will argue that for fall color, there are even better routes in the Petoskey Area!
In fact, the Tunnel of Trees is just one of five great fall color routes worth the drive:
In addition to color tours, there’s a lot of other activities in the Petoskey Area communities of Harbor Springs, Bay Harbor, Alanson, Petoskey and Boyne Falls/Boyne City where you can immerse yourself in the beauty of fall. Here are just a few examples you may want to add to your itinerary:
- Hiking through woods ablaze with fall color in the Bear River Valley Recreation Area or through wetlands out to the Lake Michigan beach at the Thorne Swift Nature Preserve in Harbor Springs are just two of many hiking trails in the Petoskey Area where you can step right into the thick of fall and be a part of the season.
- While we’re on the topic of trails, don’t forget to bring your bike or to rent one from a Petoskey Area shop. Whether you prefer off-road mountain biking through the woods or paved trails that go past incredible, scenic overlooks, there’s no shortage of beautiful biking trails in the Petoskey Area.
- Speaking of beauty, fall is an especially refreshing time to tee it up at any of Boyne’s 10 world-class golf courses including the glorious Bay Harbor, one of the best in the country, or at an old-school classic track such as Belvedere Golf Club in Charlevoix.
- Follow in the footsteps of Nobel Prize-winning author Ernest Hemingway on a self-guided walking tour of Hemingway’s Michigan. Hemingway spent many summers in the Petoskey Area and there are several sites with plaques that detail his time spent here.
- Pick a pumpkin or savor fresh produce at any of the Petoskey Area’s many farm markets including Pond Hill Farm. Thefamily-friendly destination north of Harbor Springs offers afarm-to-table café, winery, brewery, pumpkin patch, farm animals and more. Fall Fest weekends Sept. 26-Oct. 25 feature pumpkin smashing, hayrides and, of course, cider and doughnuts.
- There’s lots to do in the Petoskey Area for adventure seekers, too, including Zipline Adventure Tours at Boyne where you go soaring down a mountain for some 3,000 feet on the longest zip line in Michigan. Less adventurous? Go for a scenic chairlift ride up the mountain instead. Both Boyne Mountain and Boyne Highlands offer complementary chairlift rides for resort guests, while day guests can buy tickets online.
- Of course, the Petoskey Area is also the best place to hunt for Michigan’s state stone, the Petoskey stone! Come see if you can find a special treasure all on your own.
- Fall is the perfect time to visit a Petoskey Area winery for a sample or two. Book a ride on a winery tour or find a new favorite bottle at your own pace. You’ll also come across craft breweries and distilleries, and when the weather’s nice there’s still lots of outdoor dining to enjoy all over the Petoskey Area.
Fall is a popular season in the Petoskey Area, so find a place to stay and start planning your visit now for Michigan’s ultimate color tour and a host of other autumnal activities. As of now, masks are still required indoors and social distancing is a must.
Try to travel midweek for the best deals and lightest crowds, and keep in mind that sometimes the temperatures drop before the leaves do so don’t wait too long to get your fall visit to the Petoskey Area on the calendar.