By Paul Beachnau
While the days are getting shorter and everyone is basking in the first few days of fall, there is still plenty of time to get “all outdoors” and enjoy the beauty that surrounds Gaylord and the Otsego County area. Fall travel has grown tremendously over the past few years and it is the perfect season for those who are looking to leisurely explore new experiences. It is also a perfect time for us locals to get out and do some of the things we just didn’t have time for over the summer. What a splendid time with glorious fall colors! Here are a few ideas…
Get out and enjoy the new trail extension that heads south for 11 miles to Waters. This new gem is undoubtedly one of the nicest trails in Michigan, traversing along the east banks of Otsego Lake. The trail officially opened in July and is in excellent condition. This was a herculean effort to get completed by a number of agencies and the trail is now in prime condition. It has quaint seating areas and many places to stop and explore. There are also some great lakeside restaurants along the trail to try, including Porter Haus, Bennethum’s Northern Inn and the Belle Iron Grille.
If you are like me, your kayak has probably been sitting next to the garage upside down for a few weeks. Now is the time to turn it over, brush the leaves off and take it out for a final spin on one of our 5 rivers or 90 lakes in Otsego County. Looking for some new lakes to try? Stop by the Visitor Center on Main Street, which is run by the Tourism Bureau, and grab one of our new lakes brochures. It provides access sites with amenities, size and a general description of what each lake offers. If you don’t have a kayak, look up our new rental company, Up North Paddlesports! They will conveniently drop off and pick up kayaks.
Now is also the best time to view our elk herd. With the cooler temperatures, the elk are moving around more, the bulls have full racks and you may even hear them bugling. A nice drive in the Pigeon River State Forest with a stop at the new discovery center will provide a relaxing morning or afternoon of leaf-peeping with numerous chances to spot elk. For a sure-fire way to see these impressive creatures, take a leisurely stroll over to Aspen Park, check out the new trail enhancement along Scott’s Pond and head to the north loop where the elk hang out this time of year. We are blessed to have this amazing asset in our backyard.
Fall is also a great time to grab your favorite sweatshirt or fleece vest and go hiking. The Tourism Bureau just produced a beautiful trails brochure that highlights 11 of our best pathways in Otsego County. They range from short, 30-minute jaunts to all-day excursions and virtually everything in between. We have some amazing scenery here in Otsego County and there is no better way to experience it than out on the trail.
For all of you golfers dreading the thought of putting your clubs away for the season, get out for a final round or two. There is no better time in Gaylord to golf than in the fall. The conditions are spectacular and the green grass framed by the fall colors is like a scene out of a travel documentary. Virtually all our courses have golf holes with amazing views. For some of the best views check out Otsego Resort, Treetops Resort and The Loon’s Lake course.
Otsego County is blessed with four seasons of fun. Fall is no exception and offers plenty of unique recreational opportunities to get out and enjoy the community we love.