Warm your heart this weekend in Southwest Michigan! What a rarity in mid-November to still have swaths of jewel-colored trees along our highways and county roads! Even if our trees shake loose their topaz, ruby and orange citrine gem-hued leaves, you can shuffle your feet through the treasure chest of color on our trails. The beauty of Southwest Michigan’s nature, the refreshing smell of crisp air, the sound of Lake Michigan’s waves are so exhilarating. Don’t miss it this week!
Stroll amid hundreds of glowing candles on Nov. 19, 5 to 8 p.m., as luminaries light the way to downtown St. Joseph shops, wineries and restaurants. What a lovely evening to start your holiday shopping.
If you can be here for the weekend, follow the Makers Trail to pick up your favorite wines, beers, spirits or ciders to share with family and friends on Thanksgiving Day or make Creative Connections at our galleries and bring home decorations for your table and mantel. Before you leave Southwest Michigan, thrill your tastebuds with our pumpkin-flavored drinks, chilis and treats. It’s what makes late fall a total feast for all of your senses!
Our fall color show continues in Southwest Michigan! If you haven’t made your fall color tour yet, come this weekend. Bright gold, red, orange and deep brown leaves create a camera-clicking canopy of color along our roads and trails. Falling leaves are creating a quilt of autumn hues on the ground and as they float in our rivers, streams and lakes, too. With all this beauty around you, it is a great weekend to try professional photographer Josh Nowicki’s 15 fall photography tips and bring the simple joys of fall home.
Happy Veterans Day! If you can take time off, visit Southwest Michigan for the holiday or weekend. It is a time to honor your military service or the service of others. Lake Bluff Park in downtown St. Joseph has several memorials to the men and women who fought in major U.S. wars. The park also has beautiful vistas of colorful leaves and is a short walk to the city’s tree-lined streets with their preserved, Victorian-era homes.
On Nov. 14 at 2 p.m., Lest We Forget will host a FREE Patriotic Concert at The Mendel Center, Lake Michigan College, 1100 Yore Ave., Benton Harbor. Before the concert, veterans in attendance can have their photos taken between 1 and 1:45 p.m. Then, under the direction of Dale Reuss, the Southshore Concert Band will perform traditional patriotic songs and salutes to the military branches. As a special tribute to the 100th anniversary of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, concertgoers will also hear a former guard, Stuart Aspinall, share his experiences.
After the concert, take a drive through the countryside or along the lakeshore. Our show-stopping trees will take their final bow by the following weekend.
Looks like fall color peaks this week! The wait is finally over. We anticipate this weekend will be the BEST for fall color! The weather forecast is great, too — little to no chance of rain, partly sunny skies and day temperatures between upper 40s and low 50s. Wear a jacket and come see the tree show!
Follow these roads to fall color
If you own a kayak or canoe - bring them along! The reflections of the trees on our rivers, streams and lakes are so peaceful. There are still some migrating waterfowl stopping over briefly as they follow their ancient paths south along Lake Michigan’s coast. Early morning and early evening paddles also give you a chance to see wildlife at the water’s edge. Here’s where to paddle.
Fall colors keep transforming our landscape. You won’t be disappointed if you’re seeking fall color in Southwest Michigan this weekend and early next week. While we are still hovering around 50% leaf color change, there are pockets of vibrant reds, yellows and oranges throughout our countryside and lakeshore woods. Our trees change day-to-day so we are likely to move into peak as we cruise through next week.
Best fall color tours
Lots more ways to celebrate our colorful, end-of-October weekend. You can catch sight of some colorful costumes and gourds in and around St. Joseph at our Five Unique Halloween Happenings. Enjoy Flick-or-Treat at the Krasl Art Center, Arcfright 2021 at Arclight Brewing Company or Terror at Tabor, a spooktacular night at Tabor Hill Winery & Restaurant. If you dare, get tickets to The Haunting of Hill House, a spine-tingling play performed by the Twin City Players. You’ll also have fun just walking through downtown St. Joseph seeing the 2021 Pumpkins on Parade.
Stay here for two of Michigan’s BIGGEST college rivalry football games. Two of our state’s BIGGEST college rivalries are meeting on their gridirons in the next few days. The Michigan State University vs. University of Michigan showdown for the Paul Bunyan Trophy is on Oct. 30, and the Western Michigan University vs. Central Michigan University Battle for the Victory Canon is on Nov. 3.
Whether or not you have tickets to cheer in the stands, Southwest Michigan is your stay-over destination! Arrive a day early, or plan to spend the night following the game and take in Southwest Michigan’s fall color. If you don’t have game tickets, meet up with friends to watch your team on your hotel room TV or on the screens at one of our local restaurants or pubs. Another fun activity while you are in town is to ride your team’s horse at the Silver Beach Carousel.
Good news for leaf peepers! This week, our daylight hours are shrinking and our nighttime temperatures will dip into the mid- to low-40s. That combo triggers the hardwood tree leaves to break down their chlorophyll. The green color disappears, and our forests and streetscapes will turn into fiery hues of reds, oranges and yellows.
This weekend, we could reach 50% of our trees putting away their summer greens and sporting their autumn colors. However, peak colors aren’t expected until the last weekend of October or early November.
Now through the weekend, see our autumn palette along our Makers Trail. We’ll be popping corks, tapping kegs and mixing cocktails — filling glasses and growlers in fall shades at our craft wineries, breweries and distilleries. Read our new blog about how easy it is to pair nature trails with Makers Trail destinations and double your fall color fun. Then, download our Makers Trail app to:
Southwest Michigan Fall Color Report: Third Weekend of October
This fall’s warm days and nights have delayed our annual color show in Southwest Michigan. Nearly 80% of our hardwood leaves are still green in Berrien, Cass and Van Buren Counties. Red, yellow and russet leaves are just starting to pop along our fall color tour trails.
For peak autumn colors this weekend, drive to our local farm markets and orchards. There you can see bushels of shiny red and golden apples, plump orange or white pumpkins, colorful gourds, Indian corn, squashes, Brussels sprouts, cabbages, cauliflower, tomatoes, kale, onions and mums. This is fall beauty you can gather up and bring home!