By Joshua Nowicki
Summer is definitely the most popular time to visit southwest Michigan, however, I feel that there is even more to enjoy in the fall. Here are some of my fall favorites:
- Enjoying the Fall Color: Whether on foot, by bike, stand-up paddle board, kayak, or in the car, enjoying the colors of fall is a must. I love hiking the trails at Warren Dunes and Grand Mere State Park, driving past vineyards and farms, and walking along the beaches and down State Street in St Joseph.
- Windy Days: Probably my favorite part of fall are the windy days along the lakeshore. Watching the powerful waves crashing against the lighthouses, piers and shorelines is an impressive sight you have to see. Because the winds are frequently from the north, waves have the length of the lake to build which brings an increasing number of surfers to southwest Michigan. Silver Beach, Lions Park Beach and Weko Beach are popular surf locations. Moreover, it is perfect for flying kites.
- Beach Glass: Fewer people on the beaches and windy days make for a great opportunity to find beach glass and fossils as you stroll along the lake.
- Camping: Fall is definitely the best time to go camping. The cool nights are perfect for sleeping and you cannot beat relaxing next to the warmth of a campfire with a cup of coffee.
- Harvest: From hayrides and picking your own fruits and vegetables to enjoying a masterfully prepared meal featuring local ingredients, fall is a great time to eat. The smell of ripe grapes as you drive through countryside, the delicious taste of fresh pressed apple cider and search for the perfect pumpkin are all things I delight in.
- Makers Trail: The Makers Trail goes hand in hand with the drive through the countryside to enjoy the fall color and farm markets. Moreover, many of the locations have great views of the fall color directly from their tasting rooms and outdoor seating areas. Additionally, an increasing number of locations offer delicious meals featuring local produce and unique beers, wines and cocktails. I personally love barrel aged and sour beers.
- Fall Events and Festivals: A couple of my favorite fall events in St. Joseph & Benton Harbor are Artoberfest, Fall Festival and Luminary Festival. All are family-friendly fun. Art, food, music at Artoberfest; fresh produce, Critter Barn, face painting and more at Fall Festival, and a stroll down the candle lit city streets while shopping during Luminary.
- Sunsets: With the summer crowds gone, the beach is the perfect place to relax and enjoy the vibrant colors of the setting sun. If you look closely, fall is a great time to catch a glimpse of Chicago from across the lake.