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Heading Up North this fall? Here are 9 things to do if you find yourself in the Petoskey Area!
1. Visit a Local Farm Market
Pond Hill Farm:
Pond Hill Farm is your go-to place this fall. Every Saturday and Sunday through the end of October they celebrate Fall Festival Weekends. You'll find hayrides, cider and donuts, pumpkin bowling, pumpkin smashing, a squash rocket, wine and beer tasting, and MORE! They're located just 5 miles north of downtown Harbor Springs on M-119. Find out more here!
PS Pond Hill Farm has events going on throughout the year so no matter what season you're in the area it's worth stopping by for a visit!
Bill’s Farm Market
Bill’s Farm Market has an abundance of fruits and vegetables during the summer season but come fall they are filled with gourds, squash, and pumpkins. On Saturdays they feature public hay rides, apple cider, donuts, and a free pumpkin for a minimal fee. They are located a few miles east of Downtown Petoskey with a beautiful views of the countryside. Check out their website for more information.
Coveyou Scenic Farm
Coveyou is located south of Petoskey. The have an array of fall festivities and a STUNNING view overlooking Walloon Lake. Stop by and visit the Lakeview Deck where you can see it for yourself. Click here to find out more.
Uncle Frank's Apple Town
If you're looking for something a little different, Uncle Frank's Apple Town is it! They're open through the end of October and feature hayrides, fresh pressed cider, donuts, pies, pick your own pumpkins, and a corn maze. Located north of Alanson on US-31. Find out more here.
2. Petoskey Wine Region
The Petoskey Area is a place where grapes grow abundantly. The short growing season and cold winters present challenges but that hasn’t stopped 12 local wineries from forming the Petoskey Wine Region.
Each winery is a little bit different and of course you can expect a unique experience at each of them. If something really out of the ordinary is your jam or shall I say syrup.... check out Maple Moon Winery. They are America's first maple winery and make their wines by fermenting sap collected on their sugarbush farm. They'll tell you all about it when you visit. No matter which winery you choose, you can't go wrong with wine + fall colors.
You can also purchase the Petoskey Wine Region Passport for $59. It's valid for 1 year and offers discounts at each of the wineries for up to 2 people. Definitely something worth looking in to!
Get out and enjoy this color! Driving through the trees is a treat but getting out and hiking, that right there is where the magic is. We have an abundance of trails in the area and many of them are a part of Little Traverse Conservancy. You can download their app LTC Trail Explorer on your phone and get information on different trails and nature preserves. We love this app because of the interactive map that lets us explore the different nature preserves in the area.
Bear River Valley: located near Downtown Petoskey. A simple hike along the Bear River with a couple of pretty bridge crossings.
Avalanche Mountain Preserve: located in Boyne City. Over 300 acres of woodland with hiking and mountain biking trails as well as a disc golf course. There are 462 steps to a platform overlooking Lake Charlevoix. Here's a video I made of hiking it for the first time.
Deadman's Hill Scenic Overlook: located south of Boyne Falls near Elmira. There is a 3.1 mile hike that begins and ends at the overlook and might be one of the best in the area, especially in the fall.
Nature Megaphone: located east of Indian River. You read that right, this hike leads to a giant nature megaphone in the middle of the woods. Here's a video we made of hiking to see it for the first time. Also, a short blog post about it!
4. Tunnel of Trees (or make your own fall color tour!)
If you come to Northern Michigan in the fall, you have to put the Tunnel of Trees on your list. It's not a man-made tunnel, rather a natural one made by the canopy of trees and their vibrant green, yellow, orange, and red leaves. M-119 is often called one of the most scenic drives in Michigan, this 27-ish mile winding road has 137 curves and features iconic views, delicious dining, and historical stops. Click here to read the blog post I wrote called, "The Ultimate Guide to Northern Michigan's Scenic Tunnel of Trees."
The Tunnel of Trees is maybe the most famous color tour in the Petoskey Area but it's not the only one. Here is more information on scenic drives from the Petoskey Area Visitor's Bureau. Mostly, I recommend exploring for yourself. I personally love the drive from Cross Village back toward Harbor Springs driving along a mix of State, Robinson, Stutsmanville, and Pleasantview Roads. Another good one is, making my way to the Boyne Falls area from Petoskey by going east on Mitchell Street and following that all the way down to Thumb Lake.
There are so many backroads to explore, go out chase the color, and see them for yourself!
5. Search for Petoskey Stones
Stroll the beaches of Petoskey and you're likely to find yourself Michigan's state stone, the Petoskey Stone. Petoskey Stones are coral fossils formed more than 350 million years ago. Dry and unpolished, these rocks look like regular limestone, but wet or polished you can see the distinctive coral pattern begins to emerge. The fall season seems to bring more rain than usual as well as bigger waves on Lake Michigan. Since Petoskey Stones are easier to identify when wet, searching for stones after (or while) it rains or as crashing waves expose new rocks is a better time to go out and look for them. Good beaches to search are Petoskey State Park, Magnus City Park Beach, and Bayfront/Sunset Park.
Pro tip: locals know that the best places to find Petoskey Stones are gravel pits. This means you're likely to find them on gravel roads too! While you're out enjoying the fall color, find your way to an off the beaten path gravel road and search for Petoskey Stones. You'll have a better chance of finding them after it has rained or if you bring a spray or water bottle with you. Obviously be careful if you do this. Always be aware, don't block traffic, and be smart.
6. Ride Your Bike!
Another great way to see the Petoskey Area in the fall is by bicycle! Hop on the Little Traverse Wheelway and ride 23.5 miles right next to Lake Michigan from Charlevoix to Harbor Springs. There is plenty to stop for along the way.
The Petoskey Area also has multiple mountain biking options throughout the different towns. This website will give you more information on different trails in the area. If you're looking for a more dynamic experience with fall color, definitely put this on your list. With all of the different colors and the way the sun comes through the trees, it seems like every turn is a new experience.
7. Explore the Different Downtowns
A trip Up North wouldn't be complete without strolling the streets of the different downtowns. The communities that make up the Petoskey Area are each unique in their own way. Be sure to stop at one of the local coffee shops, grab yourself a drink, and make your way through the different shops and galleries that make up our downtown areas.
A shop to put on your list that isn't downtown is Sturgeon River Pottery located outside of Petoskey. We love it here. It's features an array of pottery, Petoskey Stones, and handcrafted gifts. We always seem to find something we need. Actually, we received two gift cards here for our wedding present. I told you we love it!
8. Take a Chairlift Ride
See fall color for miiillllleeeess and get a totally different perspective of the area by riding a chairlift to the top of one of the local ski hills. Boyne Mountain and Boyne Highlands both offer chairlift rides. I recommend giving them a call to find out more information.
9. Watch the Sunset
They call Petoskey the "Land of the Million Dollar Sunsets" for a reason. They are truly something to see. This is the time of year when the sun starts to set ridiculously early. Check to see when it's setting during your visit, grab some snacks, a hot drink, and a blanket and make your way to the water to watch it go down.
There are so many different things you can do in the Petoskey Area and Northern Michigan in the fall. Make sure you check what events, celebrations, and festivals are happening for your visit! Also, so you have this guide with you during your trip, especially when the cell service isn't great, download it for free here!
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