Southwest Michigan Fall Color Report
Fall Color Report: Oct. 26-Nov. 1
With more vibrant hues popping off the pages of Southwest Michigan, it’s fair to say we are right on the cusp of peak fall color! It will hit any day now.
As you take in the autumn canvas around you, sip on some of our fall drinks on the Makers Trail. Nothing is better than the tastes of fall with a crisp breeze and crunchy leaves falling around you.
Fall beverages on the Makers Trail
Enjoy the cozy weather with a craft beverage from our local makers. Be sure to download the passport to earn prizes! Here’s what you’ll find on the trail:
- Niles Brewing Company: Basic Witch Amber Ale with coffee and pumpkin spice; Death by Peanut Butter Cup, Howlin’ at the Moon, Poison Apple and Candy Bar Delight cocktails.
- River Saint Joe: Autumn Punch, an infused apple cider cocktail, with citrus, pumpkin spice and cinnamon topped with sparkling wine. This is available as a mocktail, too!
- Round Barn Winery & Estate: The Nutty Pumpkin, made with Divine Vodka, Black Walnut Cream and pumpkin spice creamer.
- Round Barn Brewery & Public House: Red Rum Elixir, a blue drink made with Round Barn Red Sky Rum, and Moerschtoberfest beer.
- Silver Harbor Brewing Company: Toastbusters, a Halloween French Toast Imperial Milk Stout.
- The Livery: Ask your bartender for a Spooky Cider — hard cider, splash of wine, peach and black cherry.
- 12 Corners Vineyards: Call ahead before you visit! This winery sometimes has spiced, mulled wines to enjoy in the fall.
- Chill Hill Winery: Sangria with 100% pumpkin puree.
- Lazy Ballerina Winery: Try the limited batches of Caramel Apple Cider and Peach Cobbler Apple Cider.
- St. Julian Winery - Union Pier Tasting Room: You can’t go wrong with a glass of Head Games, a spiced wine, this time of year. If you visit the tasting room in Union Pier, enjoy it mulled and mixed with other specialties.
- Iron Shoe Distillery: The fall cocktails are back. Add Sweet Jesus and the Hayride to your list of reasons to visit this distillery. You can also make any cocktail here a mocktail!
- Peat’s Cider Social: Spooky drinks await — sip the Butter Beer Bourbon cocktail and The Good Witch apple pie cider on your next visit.
Fall Color Report: Oct. 19-25
It’s here! That wondrous time of fall we’ve been waiting for! When more and more leaves flaunt their brightest and most boo-tiful colors, the wind howls, branches creak, waves crash and Halloween fun intensifies over the next two weeks.
Leaf prognosticators hover their pointers on Oct. 23 for the start of peak color in Southwestern Michigan. Pull on your jacket and tour our countryside. If you dare — stop at our un-boolievable Halloween happenings this week through Oct. 31.
Add these 13 Halloween treats to your October caul-ander
No need to “Double double” your “toil and trouble” planning your Halloween fun. Join us at these Southwestern Michigan events:
- Pumpkins on Parade: Vote for your favorite pumpkin design in Southwest Michigan. Oct. 20-31
- Niles Scream Park: Feel chills crawl down your spine at one of the scariest haunted experiences. Oct. 20-Nov. 4
- Eden Springs Park Halloween Train Rides: The entire family will love this not-too-spooky miniature train ride on Saturdays & Sundays. Oct. 21-29
- Haunted Scarousel: Oh, the fun you will have riding the spooky Silver Beach Carousel on Saturdays and Sundays. Oct. 21-29
- Harvest Fest & Trunk-N-Treat: Dr. T.K. Lawless Park packs the day with hayrides, a dog costume contest, treats, a bonfire and more. Oct. 21
- Chili Dinner and "Stories in Stone" Presentation: “I smell chili” at the Morton House as you listen to local gravestone stories. Oct. 21
- Halloween Spooktacular: Get your ghoul on to paint pumpkins, play games and join in the costume parade on River St. Joe’s farm. Oct. 22
- An Old-Fashioned Halloween Masquerade: Dare to join this hauntingly fun evening for adults in the History Center at Courthouse Square. Oct. 27
- TORP Improv Comedy Night — Howling Halloween Edition: Scare up a lot of laughs with your friends in The Oak Room at the Citadel. Oct. 27
- Halloween Treats for Berrien County Animal Shelter: Crystal Springs Florist is collecting pet supplies, food, pet treats and money for the shelter. Find beautiful fall decorations for your home and office, too. Now through Oct. 28
- 2023 Annual Trunk or Treat at Berrien County Animal Shelter: Bring your costumed children (no pets) to fill their pockets, bags or pumpkins with tasty treats. Area supporters will have their trunks ready from 9:30 a.m. to noon at the shelter, 1400 S. Euclid Ave., Benton Harbor. Giving donations to the shelter would be spook-tacular! Oct. 28
- Boo Ball: ”BOOgie” to the music of Expo ‘76 and The Shams Band at The Acorn. It’s just the tip of the witch’s hat of the fun you’ll have! Oct. 28
- Halloween Trick-or-Treat: Bring your ghouls, goblins, princesses and superheroes to the Benton Harbor Arts District & Downtown St. Joseph for treats. Oct. 31
Fall Color Report: Oct. 12-18
Mother Nature has spent the last few weeks splatter-painting our green forests with yellows, oranges, reds and rusty browns. This week and the next, expect her to start roller painting our landscape with broader swashes of brilliant jewel-toned hues. Southwest Michigan will be about 25% of peak color this weekend. In two weeks, our region should reach its peak.
We expect our temperatures to reach nearly 60 degrees over the next few days. It’s perfect fleece and sweater weather for hiking or biking our scenic trails or paddling on our tree-lined lakeshores and rivers. Plan to stay over — you can easily delight all five senses for days.
Favorite fall color hikes
Nature has begun its yearly transformation and the best way to get up close and personal with its beauty is by hiking one of the area’s many trails. Each has a unique landscape. Join us for the best color in the next week or two.
Scenic bike rides
Whether you want a leisurely or white-knuckle ride through beautiful fall scenery, visit Southwest Michigan now! Mountain biking families especially enjoy Lakeview Trail’s flowy beginners’ or intermediate loops that wind through Whirlpool Corporation’s campus. If you prefer to mix your bike ride with shopping, craft beverage tasting and delicious fall foods, pedal the flower- and tree-lined streets of our top 10 towns to visit this fall.
Paddle below gorgeous leaves
Rise early for a misty morning paddle on Lake Michigan, our rivers or inland lakes. Launch your craft as the afternoon sun streams through gold and crimson canopies. Or cruise at sunset when wildlife gathers along the banks and shores. This will become your favorite time of year to kayak, SUP and canoe in Southwest Michigan.
Fall Color Report: Oct. 5-11
We are eagerly awaiting the burst of fall color hues, but so far, we are only seeing a sneak peek of the masterpiece in Southwest Michigan. Bursts of orange continue to speckle the treetops; and occasionally a gust of wind sends leaves dancing through the air but the real color will come once we get cooler temperatures. Luckily, they are expected to drop this weekend into early next week. That chill and the rain it comes with will help to turn our greenery into golden yellow, vibrant red and deep brown. Peak fall color could arrive by the end of next week! Until then, check out some of our riverfronts, they’re full of color upstream.
Embrace autumn events and harvest happenings playing Creative Connections
Just because you are waiting for fall color doesn’t mean the festivities haven’t begun! Check out our rich arts, culture and history scene by playing the Creative Connections game. The more destinations you visit, the more fun, artsy prizes you earn. And it’s FREE to play! Here are some of the upcoming happenings this fall at our locations:
With the long weekend ahead, plan to stay an extra night and explore as many of our game locations as possible! This is just the start of all the fun events and activities they have to offer this fall. Stay tuned for next week’s update!
Fall Color Report: Sept. 28-Oct. 4
Despite celebrating the first official day of fall last weekend, our colors aren’t quite reflecting that seasonal status change just yet. Several of our leaves are still sticking green, although you will see pops of color on treetops occasionally as you drive throughout Southwest Michigan. That being said, it’s predicted that our gorgeous, peak-colored hues will arrive within two to three weeks. Now is still a great time to grab local produce from our farm stands and U-pick farms as the harvest season is in full swing!
Stop to celebrate Oktoberfest on our Makers Trail
Prost! Several of our craft beverage Makers have special menus, drinks and festivals planned in the coming weeks to celebrate Oktoberfest in Southwest Michigan. Embrace the German culture by visiting some of these stops. Plus, when you download the Makers Trail Passport app and scan a location code, you’re that much closer to earning Makers Trail merch! Then, you can keep coming back to visit more locations until May 31, 2024. Here’s where to celebrate this year:
- Arclight Brewing Company - Oktoberfest Beer
- Ghost Isle Brewery - Märzen Vaders & Oktoberfest food menu
- North Pier Brewing Company - Oktoberfest Märzen Lager and large pretzel
- Round Barn Brewery & Public House - Oktoberfest Party, Sep. 29
- Silver Harbor Brewing Company - Das Gute Zeug “The Good Stuff” menu through Oct. 15
- Seedz Brewery - Third Annual Oktoberfest Celebration, Oct. 7
- Tapistry Brewing Company - Oktoberfest on tap
- The Livery - “You’re the Wurst” pizza special, Märzen Bier and big pretzel with beer cheese and mustard sides
Fall Color Report: Sept. 20-27, 2023
Southwest Michigan’s leaves are still green as you drive from Lake Michigan to the vineyards along our region’s eastern border. But it’s fun to spy an occasional maple tree ablaze with bright red leaves along our fall color tour trails. This week, our weather predictors call for sunny to partly sunny days and temperatures in the mid-to-upper 70s. This is perfect weather to see our other source of amazing fall colors. Our autumn harvest hues are ready to fill stew pots, pies, casseroles and salads or decorate your home or porch.
Feast your eyes on colorful fruits, vegetables, grains and flowers.
Southwest Michigan is nationally renowned for its beautiful apple, pear, nectarine and plum orchards. But the magic of stopping at our orchards and farm stands is in the burst of fresh-picked flavor you get with each juicy bite.
From now to October, our farms offer hayrides to their u-pic orchards, corn mazes, outdoor games and harvest festivals. Their markets have row after row of plump orange and white pumpkins, purple and white cauliflower, eggplant, beets, cabbages, kale and beans. There are boxes of traditional and heirloom tomatoes, onions, peppers and cilantro to make salsa. Bring home rainbow carrots and brown, red and purple potatoes. Snack on fresh donuts and cold or hot cider. Find decorative gourds, bales, corn stalks, wreaths and a gorgeous array of mums.
This is what’s available now and where to stop and get it.