Sunset at the Cloud Factory

Sunset at the Cloud Factory by Charles Bonham

Sunset at the Cloud Factory by Charles Bonham

Charles took this photo on Friday evening at Midland’s Whiting Overlook Park. See more on his Flickr.

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December 1st … Back into the Woods Day

Sit for a Spell

sit for a spell, photo by Doug Jonas

Longtime readers may know that I celebrate December 1st as “Back into the Woods Day” because for my money, the hardest 15 days for the year for the non-hunting lover of the outdoors in Michigan are November 15-30th. Enjoy as you will – orange clothing not required!

The photo was taken in Michigan State University’s W.K. Kellogg Experimental Forest in Augusta, midway between Kalamazoo & Battle Creek:

Established on abandoned agricultural land, the 716-acre Kellogg Experimental Forest is known worldwide for research on tree breeding and genetics, planting techniques, and plantation establishment and management. Much of the research that developed the Spartan spruce, a hybrid that combines the color and drought resistance of a blue spruce and the softer needles and rapid growth rate of the white spruce, was done at the Kellogg Forest. The forest is open to the public for biking, hiking, horseback riding and cross-country skiing, and has several interpretive trails.

Click for visitor information and there’s also some videos of what researchers are up to that show some of this beautiful spot.

Doug says this was an enchanted afternoon in the woods, with sun, shadow, snow and reflected sky. View his photo background bigilicious and click for more of his great Michigan photos.

More winter wallpaper and lots more parks & trails on Michigan in Pictures!

Battle Creek Holiday Balloon Fest hosting National Hot Air Balloon Championships!

Awesome Aerials
Awesome Aerials, photo by StacyN – MichiganMoments

The Holiday Balloon Fest in Battle Creek takes place August 22-27. This year’s Holiday Balloon Fest is also the site of the 2011 US National Hot Air Balloon Championships! Holiday Balloon Fest began in 1998 at Kellogg’s Cereal City USA in Battle Creek and has grown from just 13 pilots that first year to over 70 balloonists, drawing over 25,000 people to enjoy this graceful spectacle.

You can check them out on Facebook and see more in their photo gallery and a few video slideshows as well.

See this photo bigger and in Stacy’s Hot Air Balloon slideshow!

Phototherapy, breakfast cereal and the Battle Creek Sanitarium

Phototherapy Department at the Battle Creek Sanitarium

Phototherapy Department at the Battle Creek Sanitarium, courtesy Willard Library

The Willard Library has an amazing collection of photos from the Battle Creek’s history. Prominent among these are of course photos from the Battle Creek Sanitarium. The Battle Creek Sanitarium Years from the Battle Creek Federal Center is a good companion article and explains:

Dr. John Harvey Kellogg (1852-1943) took charge of the Institute for the Seventh-day Adventist Church in 1876 and changed the name to the Battle Creek Sanitarium. He came up with the word “sanitarium” to reflect his idea of a sanitary retreat for health restoration and training (“a place where people learn to stay well”) rather than “sanitorium,” which meant a hospital for invalids or for treatment of tuberculosis. The San, as the place was familiarly known, prospered under Dr. Kellogg’s direction…

Dr. Kellogg’s medical treatment embraced all branches of medicine, including surgery, but with emphasis on fresh air, sunshine, exercise, rest and diet. The SDA dietary practices eliminated meats, condiments, spices, alcohol, chocolate, coffee and tea. Nutritious substitutes were created for “harmful” foods. Dr. Kellogg invented some 80 grain and nut products.

Somewhere amidst all of this, flaked cereal was invented and John’s brother William Keith Kellogg and C.W. Post began a breakfast bowl battle that basically created the breakfast cereal industry. There’s much more at the link above (including some more great photos) and you can also see Wikipedia’s entry on the Battle Creek Sanitarium, the entry on John Harvey Kellogg from the Battle Creek Historical Society and Mr. Breakfast’s Early Days of Breakfast Cereal.

Union City history and the Flood of 1908

Union City Flood, 1908

Union City 1908 Flood, photo from UC1960

This photo is one of hundreds of historical postcards from Union City, Michigan posted to a site called Footnote to which I was recently referred. The site has an interesting interface and is one of a growing number of sites that try to leverage the power of social networks (and of course clicky-draggy stuff) to provide a richer experience. In Footnote’s case, they’re focusing on history and the result is pretty cool.

Union City is located south of Battle Creek, where the Coldwater River joins the St. Joseph River (I swear I didn’t plan that tie-in!). In an effort to prove that they have everything about everything, Wikipedia has an entry titled Floods in the United States: 1901-2000 which has this to say about the Michigan Flood of March 1908:

In February, snowstorms had deposited a significant snowpack across the region. Then, in early March, heavy rains and warmer conditions set in, setting the stage for a flood. The Kalamazoo River flooded Albion when the Homer Dam broke around 3 p.m. on March 7. By midnight, the bridges surrounding town were underwater. Six buildings in Albion collapsed, which caused over US$125,000 in damage (1908 dollars).

Union City lost its bridge in the flooding – here’s a photo. You have to see this great photo from the same flood in Battle Creek.

Fall Color Tours: Lansing – Grand Ledge – Hastings – Battle Creek – Eaton Rapids

maplepath by Aunt Owwee

maplepath, photo by Aunt Owwee

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.

Thornapple River by hansendmThen 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.

Kalamazoo river from the Nature Center bridge by cathieContinuing 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!

Don’t miss our Michigan Fall Wallpaper series and see more of Travel Michigan’s Fall Color Tours.