Our next fall color tour from Travel Michigan, Lansing – Grand Ledge – Hastings – Battle Creek – Eaton Rapids, starts where the above photo was taken: at the Fenner Nature Center in Lansing (once known as the Fenner Arboretum). The park is named after biologist Carl G. Fenner and has 130 acres with 4 miles of trails winding through maple groves, pine forests, swamp forests, old fields and 3 different ponds. This weekend (Oct 20 & 21) they’re having an Apple Butter Festival. Aunt Owwee (Shirl) has a cool four seasons view from here and lot more great shots of autumn in Michigan.
If you’ve got the nature center bug, you can stop at the Woldumar Nature Center, located along the Grand River not far southwest of Lansing. From there, head out M-43 to Grand Ledge. Fitzgerald Park aka “The Ledges” are absolutely gorgeous in the fall, as evidenced by this photo from Rein Nomm of Fall at the Ledges that appeared last year on Michigan in Pictures. Not convinced? Search fall at Grand Ledge on Flickr. Last weekend, the city of Grand Ledge held their annual Color Cruise, but there’s still plenty of color to be found.
Then it’s on to Hastings and Historic Charlton Park, a re-creation of a 19th century town. The structures are open only Memorial Day to Labor Day but you can certainly enjoy strolling along the river. For a little more exercise, jump on the non-motorized vehicle only Paul Henry – Thornapple Trail (see photos of the trail on Flickr). When complete, the trail will be a 42-mile route from Grand Rapids to Vermontville. The photo to the right of the Thornapple River was taken by hansendm.
The it’s on to Gull Lake and the W.K. Kellogg Bird Sanctuary. The sanctuary is one of the North America’s pioneer wildlife conservation centers and offers a chance to see birds in the wild, bird displays and birds of prey enclosures featuring rare and common raptors including a bald eagle, red-tailed hawks and eastern screech owl.
Travel Michigan suggests a possible detour to the Fort Custer Recreation Area, located between Battle Creek and Kalamazoo. It features three lakes, the Kalamazoo River and an excellent trail system that includes 16 miles of mountain bike trails. The 3000+ acre area was farmland that was acquired by the federal government to establish Camp Custer, an induction and military training center for the US Army during WWII.
If it’s raining or all this outdoor stuff doesn’t sound fun, consider stopping at the Gilmore Car Museum in Hickory Corners which features almost 200 vehicles spanning over 100 years of automotive heritage from a 1899 Locomobile to the muscle cars of the 60s and 70s.
Continuing south, we come to the city of Battle Creek where recommended stops include the Sojourner Truth Monument (check out this set of photos of the Monument), Binder Park Zoo, the Leila Arboretum and Children’s Garden and the Battle Creek Linear Park. The park is a walkable, bikeable and billed as “the world’s largest classroom,” featuring signs that tell about plant, animal, cultural and historical points-of-interest along the park.
If you’re hungry as you head out on Old 27, consider Cornwell’s Turkey House aka Turkeyville USA. A bit further south is the town of Marshall. In addition to being a shopping mecca, Marshall’s downtown is designated as a National Historic Landmark District and features a wealth of historic attractions including the American Museum of Magic.
The photo to the right is of the Kalamazoo river from the Nature Center bridge by cathie and it’s just one of the places you can stop as you ease on down the road back to Lansing through the towns of Albion, Springport & Eaton Rapids. They recommend a stop at The English Inn of Eaton Rapids for dinner. Having eaten there before, I can only say “got room for another?”
Just so it’s clear, these fall color tour entries are produced by Absolute Michigan & Michigan in Pictures using the great information compiled in Travel Michigan’s Fall Color Tours as a starting point. We’re trying to add to what they’ve put together – not rip them off! As always, if you have links to information or photos that we missed, comments or reports, post them in the comments below!