By Christy Walcott
As autumn approaches each year, you can’t help but feel excited when you see the first leaves melding from their usual green state to varying shades of red, orange and gold. It’s those peek-a-boo moments through the lush greenery and the sudden crisp air filling your lungs that truly signal the beginning of fall.
I will always be a summer girl through and through, but I don’t mind when October rolls around and the landscape transforms into an intricate mosaic of colors. Northern Michigan is in its glory during this season…there’s no way around it.
While I am blessed to call Gaylord my home, others flock to the area just to view our leaves. And while I will soon be complaining about them as I begrudgingly rake them from my backyard into the thinning tree line, I have to agree, they are somewhat mesmerizing before they fall to the ground.
Gaylord is stunning this time of the year, and it doesn’t matter which direction you travel in. Take a kayak along one of our glassy shorelines, hike or bike any trail of your choice or just turn down a dirt road and explore…you will not be disappointed.
But we all have favorite places and I’m happy to share my top 5 scenic fall vistas with you:
The Pigeon River Valley and Sturgeon River Valley: Technically, yes, these are two different locations. But my point is simple – VALLEYS MAKE FOR STUNNING VIEWS! Visit Treetops Resort or Otsego Resort for two of the most breathtaking views in our county.
The Gaylord Golf Mecca: Ok, the Mecca encompasses 15 different locations, but who’s counting? I am no golfer, but I had one of the most enjoyable fall days ever riding from hole to hole at The Ridge in mid-October. This is a no-brainer for golfers, but if you’re like me, give it a shot, take your camera and don’t worry about it if you can’t hit the ball.
Groen Nature Preserve: This lush preserve is east of town on over 700 acres set aside for you to explore by foot, bike or even horse (set days only). Convenient and frequent maps will guide you throughout your adventure. My favorite section is through the heavily wooded trails that lead to peaceful Johannesburg Lake.
Aspen Park: This 100 acre park just minutes from downtown may not have the sweeping views of a lush valley, but you’ll love being encompassed in colors from every angle. As an added bonus, Aspen Park is lit after dark, so don’t hesitate to head out for a sunset stroll.
Dead Man’s Hill Overlook: The crown jewel of our area is undoubtedly Dead Man’s Hill. This overlook is a stunner in every season, but autumn gets full bragging rights. An easy walk uphill will treat you to views of the Jordan River Valley you will remember for a lifetime. This has been my must-do fall outing every year since I was a wee little one coming here with my family.
Wherever you happen to end up in the Gaylord area, just take a few minutes to survey the beauty around you. This canopy of crimson and amber will only be here to dazzle you for a short time.