Sipping on a crisp cider is a fall must-do for many, especially while in one of the best apple-growing states in the country. At Virtue Cider in Fennville, local apples are at the heart of creating exceptional ciders; starting with products from local farmers, the apples are hand-pressed on location, as well as fermented and barrel-aged. Bundle up at the location’s outdoor space and try out a classic like the Michigan Apple Semi-Dry Cider or something a little different, like The Mitten Bourbon Barrel-Aged Cider — made with notes of vanilla, charred oak and caramel.
If you close your eyes and think of fall, you might imagine the feeling of a picking a smooth-skinned pumpkin or perhaps a bumpy, wart-covered gourd. Bethke Farms in Grand Haven opens its pumpkin picking season on Sept. 26, which runs through Oct. 30. Take a hayride through Spooky Woods — a family-friendly adventure — or, get lost in the 2-acre corn maze. At Bethke Farms, memories will be made with the touch of prickly hay barrels, crinkled aging corn stalks and the finished surface of a staple fall vegetable.
See the vibrancy of fall colors come alive while hiking through Saugatuck Dunes State Park. The 1,000 acres of land includes a tree-covered forest with maple, birch, red oak and beech trees, just to name a few. The park provides a number of trails and loops, ranging from 2.5–5.5 miles. In the fall, the park is less populated, meaning the sighting of wild animals is much more likely. Trek through the brilliant autumn hues in the early morning or early evening, and you just might spot white-tailed deer, woodchucks, turkey vultures and even great-horned owls.
Saugatuck Dunes State Park 6575 138th Ave., Holland 269-637-2788 michigan.gov/dnr
Little compares to the distinct scent of baked goods with notes of cinnamon, nutmeg, pumpkin and other fall smells wafting through our noses. DeBoer Bakkerij & Dutch Brothers Restaurant in Holland makes a number of unique doughnuts and sweet baked treats, some of which will have you relishing in (and drooling for) this fall. Try out some of deBoer’s doughnuts like the maple bacon, butterscotch hazelnut-fried cinnamon, chocolate-fried cinnamon or the apple fritters. Stop into either the south side or north side location and ask about what other seasonal treats are available.
While out and about on the south side of Zeeland, the brisk autumn wind might just circulate the sound of a horse neighing or a chicken clucking at Critter Barn on Adams Street — home to over 200 farm animals. Hear and see sheep, goats, hogs, pigs, a horse, hens, cows, ducks, cats, rabbits, geese, turkeys and a donkey. Get a chance to hug baby animals and feed hay to others. Bring along a picnic lunch and relax at one of the tables by the front pasture and listen to the quacks of a duck and the dairy cows mooing while enjoying the cool fall weather.