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Western Michigan leaf and apple tours

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Michigan’s most valuable fruit crop is the apple; those red, golden, and green beauties are worth over $100 million dollars to Michigan growers annually. If your family is like mine, we spent our share of time and dollars at orchards, picking our favorites and munching on cinnamon donuts and sweet cider on pretty weekends in the fall.

We would typically trek out to Wiard’s in Ypsilanti, Blake’s in Armada, or Miller’s Big Red Apple in Washington Township, but rarely, if ever, made the orchard event a day trip as well.

This year, the West Michigan Tourist Association is advertising five fall tours intended, not only to provide a juicy apple harvest for day trippers, but leaf peeping excursions as well. If you live in the Detroit-metro area, consider venturing off for one of these trips:

1. The southwest route travels 131-miles, beginning and ending at the South Haven Convention & Visitor’s Bureau. This trip takes tourists through Van Buren and Berrien counties with stops in Bangor, Coloma, Eau Claire, Niles, Baroda, Berrien Springs and St. Joseph.

2. The route through central west Michigan is about 68-miles long, starting at the Coopersville Farm Museum. It travels through a heavily populated growing region known as “The Fruit Ridge,” which includes Conklin, Casnovia, Kent City, Sparta and Grand Rapids.

3. The 92-mile northwest route starts at the Traverse City Visitor’s Center and travels north through Williamsburg, Kewadin, Atwood/Ellsworth and Bellaire before heading back to town. Side trips along the Old Mission and Leelanau Peninsulas are also spotlighted.

4. The central east tour is the longest on the site, at 280 miles and nine counties, starting and ending at Uncle John’s Cider Mill in St. Johns. Traveling as far as Flint and Saginaw to the east and Greenville to the west, the route includes 10 farms in Clinton, Ingham, Shiawassee, Genesee, Saginaw, Bay, Midland, Gratiot and Montcalm counties.

5. In the southeast region, begins and ends at Cobblestone Farms in Ann Arbor, covering 225 miles. This trip skirts the Metro Detroit area as it travels through Washtenaw, Livingston, Genesee, Oakland and Macomb counties with stops at 13 destinations.

Western Michigan Tourist Association. Sept. 4, 2009. <http://www.wmta.org>
 

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