By Christy Walcott
I’ll take any excuse to entice my husband into a day of exploring northern Michigan, Sweetest Day included. Traditionally not considered a “real” holiday, this special occasion gives you the opportunity to make everyday moments more meaningful, simply because you can say “it’s Sweetest Day.” If you happen to find yourself in Gaylord, Michigan for this romantic event, celebrate in a few of my favorite ways!
Keep in mind, I’m an outdoorsy kind of gal. While some might opt for a soothing couples massage at Treetops Resort (don’t get me wrong…that sounds amazing), my preference is almost always to be outdoors and active. My husband, Andy, will generally humor my idea of what is “fun” by being a trooper for at least half a day (that’s not bad considering it is football season).
Sweetest Day falls on the third Saturday in October each year, and fortunately for me, I love autumn. I also love my dogs, so my first thought is to go on a family hike. This season is unarguably our most beautiful, with crimson maples and golden birch contrasted by regal, green pines. Our landscape is a virtual kaleidoscope of colors in every direction you turn.
If you were unable to include your four-legged friends on your visit to the Alpine Village, start your adventure off with a quick stop at the Otsego County Animal Shelter. Located at 256 Fairview Road, right along the North Central State Trail, animal lovers will delight in volunteering to take shelter dogs for a serene stroll along the crushed limestone trail.
Follow the pathway as far as your feet take you (it stretches all the way to Mackinaw City), then head back and grab a quick bite to eat at one of downtown Gaylord’s newest dining options, The Iron Pig. This is where I reel Andy back in with their casual, yet contemporary ambiance and the wafting aroma of BBQ sauce and smoked brisket! Their portions are perfect for our lunch outing, service is friendly and fast, and we continue with our day feeling fully satisfied.
Since this is only a half-day holiday (we’re not talking about Valentine’s Day, after all), I decide on one final way to spend quality time with my hubby and choose something we would not normally find ourselves doing. Travel the scenic, country roads heading west until you find yourself at Fleming Farm, an autumn playground for children and adults alike. Stop in the barn to pet and feed their friendly animals, steal a smooch in the zigzags of the corn maze, and finally, stroll through the plentiful pumpkin patch. It might sound cheesy, but you’ll find yourselves holding hands, smiling at one another, and feeling like this has been the sweetest of days.