Moving Forward

This past weekend my girlfriends and I got together in Gladwin for a girls weekend.  We couldn’t have asked for better fall weather.  My friend’s mom has a cabin on 20 acres that she let us use. Nothing but beautiful golden trees in sight. The colors were popping, the sun was shining and the temps in the upper 50s/low 60s the whole weekend.  It was so nice on Sunday that I put the top down for the drive home (though I did have the heat on too!).

There were 10 of us in this group of friends, but we lost Becky in July (during our last girls weekend).  Half of us have been friends since middle school/high school and the other half we picked up along the way and adopted into our group.  We get together throughout the year as we can for movies, vacations, dinner.  Some of us live closer than others, some work full time and so it just depends on who is available.  We all know we are welcome though.

Last weekend 5 out of the 9 of us were able to go.  On Friday we met up at a cider mill that had a hard apple cider tasting room. A new experience for all of us. Then we headed to the cabin, had a nice dinner and relaxed that evening. There was reading, crocheting and we even watched a movie. Something we NEVER do on a girls weekend. We stayed up late into the night talking about Becky and more serious things. Saturday we went to Dow Gardens & Whiting Forest and it was gorgeous. (I’ll make a separate post about that place soon.)  We went to dinner, sat around a bonfire for awhile and had another quiet evening at the cabin, again staying up late to talk.

It was a big change from our usual weekends where we stay up late giggling, drinking and taking silly pictures.  We typically do or say things that we tease each other about for the next year! Things we aren’t allowed to talk about with anyone else. Last weekend was much quieter. It wasn’t something we talked about or planned, no one said ” I don’t feel like playing a game” or ” I don’t want to get drunk and silly”.  It’s like we all felt the same way inside and didn’t even have to express it to each other.  I think we all just needed a weekend with each other to help heal us, not a wild and crazy kinda one.

I know we will get back to our more typical weekends.  We will be silly again and talk about Becky and laugh at her antics instead of tear up. We will smile at her memory and make new memories of our own. The cloud will lift naturally, it will just take time.  I came home last weekend feeling relaxed and grateful for my friendships. Maybe it wasn’t what I had expected but I think it was exactly what I needed.

The Tasting Room

The road to the cabin

Autumn in Michigan

My blog has been around for 3 seasons now. You have seen my pictures of beautiful blue ice on the bay and the craziness of Perchville, a mid winter Tawas Bay tradition. You have read my posts about springtime and the joy of seeing my garden start to bloom.  And there were a LOT of posts and pictures of summer time here in Northern Michigan.  Those are all great seasons and there are things I love about ALL of them. But there is nothing like fall in Michigan!

This is the time of year our state shines.  The 7 weeks from the middle of September thru Halloween have always had a special place in my heart.  Football games, cider mills, pumpkin painting, fall color tours, bonfires, warm days and cool nights.  What’s not to love?  These are some of MY favorite things:

Fall Camping

I have been camping in Petoskey in October on a couples trip. Our campsite was absolutely gorgeous surrounded by trees full of orange and yellow leaves. We did the famous Tunnel of Trees drive, sat around a bonfire, did some stargazing. I’ve also camped with the whole family this time of year.  For those trips we found campgrounds that had Halloween activities and made our reservations early. Tawas Point State Park just did one this past weekend. Hayrides, pumpkin painting, lawn games, a dance, trick or treating.  My kids have many memories of those weekends.  Whether you want a romantic weekend away or a family friendly weekend, give camping a try.  If you don’t have an RV you can find a campground with cabin rentals.    Michigan CampgroundsMichigan State Park Campgrounds

Cider Mills

Who doesn’t love a warm cinnamon sugar donut that melts in your mouth and some apple cider to wash it down?  You can also go on a hayride to pick your own apples or pumpkins, find your way through a corn maze, pet some farm animals  and browse homemade arts and crafts.  There are a LOT of options at cider mills these days!  Check out this link and see which one best fits your needs. Michigan Cider Mills

Fall Colors Road trips

It’s tricky to time your road trip just right to see the leaves at peak color.  I’m going to post a map below (ignore the dates).  You can use this map to see the general zones, each zone being about a week apart.  The predicted peak dates are always dependent on weather.  Cooler weather makes the leaves change faster, warmer weather makes the color take a little longer to peak and one bad wind storm can take away all the leaves overnight.  Keep an eye on the latest forecasts and color reports and go from there.  If you are making reservations ahead of time and need a best guess I would say you are going to see some fall color for sure the 2nd/3rd weekends of October in the upper peninsula and northern lower peninsula and then the 3rd/4th weekends for the bottom half of the lower peninsula.

I’ve already mentioned the Tunnel of Trees in the Northwest part of the lower peninsula.  Another pretty route is the River Road Scenic Byway in Oscoda.  I did a whole blog post about that road if you look back in my archives.  There are MANY beautiful places to kayak, picnic or simply admire the view.  A new one for me this year was in the Northeast part of the lower peninsula. US 23 from Au Gres up to Mackinaw City. That one will take a  3 hours around with no stops.  But you are going to want to stop! There are 5 lighthouses, many waterfront roadside parks and several state parks along the way.  If you leave the Au Gres/East Tawas/Oscoda area by 9am you should be able to stop and visit some of these places along the way, find a nice place for lunch and still make it to Mackinaw City for sunset by the bridge.  I suggest eating dinner after sunset in St. Ignace so you can enjoy the lights on the Mackinac Bridge on your way back over.

Here are some other popular road trips Michigan Fall Color Drives



Honorable mentions

Other favorite fall activities for my family include Friday night football games when our kids were in marching band, Cedar Point’s Halloweekends, haunted houses, watching the Lions win or lose on Sundays and of course, passing out candy to trick or treaters!

I know many of my readers live in Michigan and share in my love for this time of year.  For those of you that aren’t as lucky, I highly suggest a visit during this magical time.  If you need help with planning just let me know, I’d be happy to help.