As Autumn approaches in West Michigan, it’s time to start celebrating the harvest! West Michigan offers a wide variety of ways to celebrate, whether it’s stopping by a cider mill, attending a special harvest dinner, or heading out to the local fall festival. However you like to get into the feeling of fall, West Michigan has you covered.
South: West Michigan Harvest Celebrations
Fenn Valley Vineyards believes that wine should be approachable, and their tours have been designed to help take the mystery out of making world class wine. Fenn Valley is offering fall vineyard tours on Saturdays and Sundays through October 18th. They aim to strike a balance between education and entertainment. Luckily, the subject matter always keeps things interesting! Their tours are pretty in-depth. They run about 1:45 in length, and involve wine tasting throughout to illustrate the various points being made.
In the fall, the tours go into the vineyard where the emphasis is on how wine grapes are grown and the kinds of operations that Fenn Valley performs to grow their premium grapes. Reservations required and accepted on the Fenn Valley website.
This fall South Haven has a variety of events to offer for young, and slightly mature audiences. South Haven boasts a 20-acre Corn Maze; a lot of creative energy goes into this project every year to make it the best corn maze anywhere! The corn maze is open through October 30th, from 10am-6pm on weekdays and from 12pm-6pm on weekends.
September is apple time at Tree-Mendus Fruit Farm in Eau Claire Michigan. Tree-Mendus Fruit Farm has over 250 different varieties of apples on their farm, and many of the heritage varieties date back to the 1700s. The market is open to the public Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays, and Mondays after Labor Day from 10am to 6pm. Plan to stop by for some free apple tasting! You can sample all of their varieties on hand, and then go to the orchard and pick your own fruit. Enjoy one of their cherry waffle boats, apple pie squares, taffy apples, or hot apple cider, or bring your own picnic to enjoy in the family picnic area with playground.
St. Joseph is a must-stop if you’re looking for fall fun in West Michigan! Kick things off with a visit to the Farmers Market in Lake Bluff Park, and then head downtown on September 25th and 26th for their Fall Festival! Plan on a weekend filled with fun events for all ages, including the Great Bed Race! Downtown shops will also be hosting a block party on Friday, and Saturday will see a Critter Barn petting zoo, a musical instrument petting zoo, and the Great Pumpkin Festival!
Central: West Michigan Harvest Celebrations
Not quite ready to say goodbye to the summer days of ice cream yet? Welcome fall in summer style with the limited edition ice cream flavor of Cider Mill Donut from Hudsonville Ice Cream. Apples are the largest and most valuable fruit crop in Michigan, and with apples, come donuts and cider. “This flavor starts off with apple cider flavored ice cream, with a spiced-apple swirl throughout and real donut pieces,” says Ray Sierengowski, director of product development for Hudsonville Ice Cream. “All the flavors of your local cider mill are delivered to you in one delicious scoop. You’ll FALL for this tried-and-true combination.”
Look for Cider Mill Donut and other “Limited Edition” flavors—distinguished by the red packaging—in grocery stores throughout Michigan, Indiana, Ohio and Illinois from mid-September through early November (while supplies last).
Learn some new ways to bring the harvest into your home this fall with an apple cooking class from Downtown Market Grand Rapids! This family cooking class is titled “Bushels of Apples,” and will focus on this classic fall snack. You’ll learn how to make an Overnight Baked Oatmeal, Apples Bavaria, and an Apple-Butternut Squash Soup, all of which are filled with bushels of flavor! The class takes place Saturday, October 17th from 10am-12pm and registration is available on the Downtown Market’s website.
Post Family Farm is the place to be this fall, with their annual Fall Festival taking place every Saturday from through October 31st. They offer hayrides out to the u-pick pumpkin patch, corn maze, kid’s activity area with crafts and games as well as a new and improved play area for 2015. Their famous homemade pumpkin donuts are available Monday-Saturday starting at 8:00 am and can be pre-ordered.
What better way to welcome fall than by spending some quality time in the great outdoors. Nothing beats a float trip in a drift boat during the Salmon run on the Pere Marquette River in the Fall. The Fall colors and watching the Salmon spawn are something you can’t find anywhere else, whether you like to fish or not. If you do like to fish, it’s the best time of the year to wet a line.
There are few fish that live up to their name, but the King Salmon in the Pere Marquette River certainly do! Red Moose Lodge is located right off the river, and is the perfect place for a fall weekend fishing trip, whether you’re simply looking for a place to stay, or want to book a guided fishing trip down the river.
Rockford’s 39th Annual Harvest Festival is September 25, 26 & 27th, 2015. The Harvest Festival will feature a classic car show, chili cook-off, Rotary Pork Barbeque, children’s activities including Trick or Treating & Costume Contest, crafts, an antique tractor show and parade, and much more. There is also a Farm Market, Museum Auction, Make-it and Take-it Scarecrow Building (which continues the following 2 weekends), Entertainment Tent, and Outdoor Movie. Find more information on the Rockford Chamber’s website.
North: West Michigan Harvest Celebrations
Castle Farms in Charlevoix invites you to celebrate the harvest with them at their upcoming annual Harvest Festival on September 27th! Visit the ‘Mini Farmer’s Market’, with vendors exhibiting and selling homemade items, including maple syrup and caramel popcorn. Take home a snapshot from the photo booth! Horse-drawn wagon rides, arts & crafts, games and prizes, face painting, magic show and fire spinning are just some of the spectacular activities for the whole family. Enjoy free cider and donuts with additional food available for purchase. $10 admission includes full access to the Castle, plus family friendly activities for all ages. Purchase your tickets at the door or in advance on the Castle Farms website.
Pentwater is holding their annual Fall Fest on the Village Green on September 26th and 27th this year. Experience the beauty of fall at their annual Arts & Craft Festival, where over 100 vendors provide hand-made crafts, a special skill or art, a skilled trade, or antiques on the Village Green. Enjoy live music on the green as well. This is a fall weekend in Pentwater not to be missed! Fall Fest runs from 10am through 5pm on Saturday, and 10am through 3pm on Sunday.
Share the excitement of the harvest with Chateau Chantal at their 16th Annual Harvest Day on October 3rd from 12pm-4pm. Mark & Brian’s cellar and still will be open to smell wines, stomp grapes, and tour. Stop by at 1pm for a Mini Slurpin’ Seminar where you can learn the basics of wine tasting, at 2pm for some good old fashioned grape stomping, and at 3pm for a distillation seminar. The tasting room staff will be serving wine tastes and taking private label orders. Also take advantage of special pricing on full case orders of any one varietal of wine!
The Traverse City area knows how to get in the mood for Fall, and has plenty of options if you’re looking to kick off the autumn season. Head to Bellaire for their 17th Annual Harvest Festival & Scarecrow Extravaganza on September 26th, and enjoy a Short’s Beer tent, live music, a craft and flea market, and hands-on educational booths for the kids.
The Acme Fall Festival falls on the same day (September 26th), and features a farmers market, bake sale, craft show (with live demonstrations), kids activities, Michigan children’s offers, and more fun for all ages. Then get your taste buds ready for a family-style feast at Harvest@theCommons on October 10th. Your feast will be prepared by Traverse City’s own Harvest restaurant using the finest local ingredients honoring the farmers of the region. Enjoy local libations and authentic bluegrass tunes by Billy Strings and Don Julin during your meal as well.
Michigan is special because it fully experiences all four seasons. Make sure you take advantage of fall and the beautiful change in color and temperature around West Michigan!