Sweater weather is upon us. Don’t let winter come before you take in the autumn sights.
Whether you’re coming into Battle Creek on M-89 or following Old US Highway 27 into Marshall, here are some stops for your fall color tour:
Enjoy the fall colors
If you can’t hear the crunch of leaves under your feet, then it’s not really autumn. So get out of your car to take a walking tour in Battle Creek
Leila Arboretum is a carefully cultivated park. Two great vantage points are the steps of the old museum building and the Fragrant Hill Pavilion. See the trees spread out in all their colorful glory.
Historic Bridge Park is the home of truss bridges that have been relocated next to the Kalamazoo River. Admire the river or go for a walk in the woods on a paved trail.
Oak Hill Cemetery might seem like an unusual pick, but the old cemetery has beautiful golden foliage. It’s also a chance to see a little Battle Creek history, as famous citizens are remembered here: the Kellogg brothers, C.W. Post, Sojourner Truth, Junior Walker, Ellen White and more.
If you want more of an adventure, try kayaking the Kalamazoo River. The tree-lined river is beautiful in the fall, with the colors reflected in the water. If you don’t have a kayak, Marshall Recreation rents them out or make a reservation with Better Together Floats.
It’s not unusual to see people shopping with a glass of wine in hand at Horrocks Farm Market in Battle Creek. There’s a small bar in the back, if you can get there without being distracted by the large selection of wine bottles and craft beer. Samples and flights are available, too.
Sage Creek Winery has a storefront in downtown Marshall. Wine tastings are available every day. They have some bold dry wines, but it’s the sweet and semi-sweet wines where Sage Creek really has fun. Try the new Green Apple, in honor of fall. Or if you’re looking for something that would pair well with a charcuterie board, the Amarone is a dry red with notes of dried cherries, plums, mocha and fig.
What would fall be without fresh doughnuts coated in sugar? Station 66 serves up pumpkin doughnuts and apple cider at its small cafe. They also host hay rides on the weekends in October, from 1 p.m. to dusk. Station 66 right on M-66, which connects Battle Creek with Ionia and Nashville.
Pick a pumpkin from the patch at Bosserd Family Farm in Marshall. The working farm also has a gift shop and other fall activities, such as a corn maze, haunted forest, obstacle course and more.
EBMY Farm in Albion invites you to try their corn maze, if you dare. There are twists, turns and hidden scarecrows to discover. There are also sweet treats and warm snacks, with a gift shop selling fall decor.
Go for a drive
Country roads take you to Gilmore Car Museum in Hickory Corners. It’s usually a nice drive no matter the season, but when the leaves turn color it’s worth taking the backroads. Gilmore is hosting a fall color tour on Oct. 16 and, if you own a German car, you can drive in for Oktoberfest and a tour for only cars from Germany.
For a nice Sunday drive, try Gorsline Road, N Drive North, L Drive North, Verona Road and 9 ½ Mile Road. You’ll go through tree tunnels and find roadside farm stands, such as ZEMR Family Farm.
Be ready for Thanksgiving
When the leaves turn colors, that means Thanksgiving is right around the corner.
Cornwell’s Turkeyville has the advantage of being right off of N Drive North, one of the area’s best fall drives. Haunted Adventure has fun for the kids every weekend, including a spooky hay ride.
The restaurant serves up a classic turkey plate. If you don’t think you’ll have time to cook this Thanksgiving, you can also reserve a take-home turkey meal for the holiday.
Once November hits, lots of people start gratitude journals to remind themselves of what they have to be thankful for. In Marshall, you’ll find a super cute stationary store called Paper & I. You’ll find not only journals but lots of things to help you decorate the pages. Or pick up your bookish supplies at New Story Community Books.