Fall Color Tour

This has been one of the most beautiful autumn seasons we have seen – did you get to experience it? Enjoy a few of our photos of a very colorful northern Michigan!


Forest Floors


Color Along The Maple River in Brutus


Rainbow in Downtown Petoskey


Waterfront in Downtown Petoskey


Charlevoix Colors Pop Against Bright Blue Skies


Colorful Drive in Alanson


Stafford’s Gallery – Colorful Indoors and Out


Pops of Orange at Stafford’s Bay View Inn


The Crooked River in Alanson


Colorful Walking Paths in Bay View


The Tunnel of Trees on M-119 in Harbor Springs


Vibrant Reds and Oranges

Harbor Springs

Harbor Springs Bluff

Have your own photos of autumn in northern Michigan? Post them to our facebook page to share with our social media family!

Come Sip Along – Northern Michigan Wineries

Crooked Vine Vineyard & Winery

Crooked Vine Vineyard & Winery

It’s harvest season and the wineries of northern Michigan are something you don’t want to miss! Add these stops to your next “must-do” list and sample some award wining wines right here from northern Michigan, along the Northwest Bay View Wine Trail. These include wineries in Charlevoix, Petoskey, Walloon Lake, Harbor Springs, Alanson and Indian River.

“The Bay View Wine Trail region is centered in the exposed shale of the geological Devonian formation which encompasses Charlevoix and Emmet counties. These unique outcrop areas fold and crimp exposed bluffs and river gorges along the Lake Michigan shoreline. Coupled with the warm breezes off of Little Traverse Bay, the Bay View Wine Trail region has unique micro-climates providing for a young but flourishing wine region.”- Bay View Wine Trail Website


Petoskey Farms Vineyard & Winery (Credit: Petoskey Area Visitors Bureau)

Northern Michigan Wineries & Tasting Rooms

Have a favorite wine from these vineyards? Please share with us in the comments. Cheers!

Fall Harvest Events

October Graphic

We know it’s difficult to let go of summer, but when it’s followed by a northern Michigan autumn, all is good and right! It’s harvest time – the season to enjoy the fruits of the land, the amazing colors, the crisp air and Stafford’s signature hospitality. Here are some autumn events & activities we don’t want you to miss!

A Fall Wine Tasting
Friday, October 10, 5:30 to 8:30 pm
A perfect fall event, Stafford’s Gallery is pleased to host an evening of wine tasting! Guests will enjoy a taste of Stafford’s Private Wine Collection:

  • Stafford’s Chardonnay, Russian River Valley (2012)
  • Stafford’s Pinot Noir, Napa Valley (2011)
  • Stafford’s Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley (2011)
  • Stafford’s Sauvignon Blanc, Rutherford Napa Valley (2013)

$12 per guest and includes light appetizers. Guests of the wine tasting can also take advantage of special pricing the night of the event – 10% off art and 20% off all accessories throughout Stafford’s Gallery. We can’t wait to see you! More information can be found here.

Fall Festival Weekends at Pond Hill Farm
Every Saturday & Sunday in October, 11 am to 4 pm
Pumpkins, hayrides, cider, donuts and more! View details and more events here.

1602178_10152736717903844_6093696505157556516_o36th Annual Charlevoix Apple Fest
Friday, October 10 – Sunday, October 12
Fun for the entire family! This 3 day event celebrates local orchards and growers. Events include a parade, arts & crafts show, fall farmer’s market, children’s activities and more! View a schedule here.

Petoskey Restaurant Week
Friday, October 17 – Friday, October 24
Enjoy a week long culinary event celebrating the restaurants of the Petoskey Area. Many restaurants will offer a two for $15 lunch, 3 course dinner for $25 or two for $25. Now is your chance to try out the amazing restaurants that surround us! View more information and menus here.

Murder Mystery Dinner
Saturday, November 1, 6 pm
Local detectives and out-of-town sleuths are invited to join us at Stafford’s Bay View Inn for a four course interactive Murder Mystery Dinner with Murder Mystery entertainment provided by Murder Mysteries Ink with ‘Inspector Russell.’  $49 per guest, inclusive. View our menu here. Please call our friendly front desk for reservations, 866-258-1886.10669231_786130691425806_2408320030759602937_o

Beer vs. Wine Dinner
Saturday, November 1, 6:30 pm
Join Stafford’s Weathervane Restaurant for a ‘head to head competition’ to see which pairs better with Chef Rob’s courses, Short’s Beer and Bowers Harbor Wine. Entertainment by John Archambault Band following the dinner. Four course dinner and pairings, $50 per guest. Visit our website for more details of call for reservations, 231-547-4311.

Happy Harvest Season! For a complete list of fall activities in northern Michigan, please visit the Petoskey Area Visitors Bureau or check out our list of 100 Things To Do in Northern Michigan – Fall 2014.

Recipe Box: Michigan Red Apple and Gruyere Bread Pudding


Michigan Apples

Straight from his recipe box, Chef Britt from Stafford’s Pier Restaurant in Harbor Springs, shares delicious fall treat of Michigan Red Apple and Gruyere Bread Pudding with Toasted Pecans. This is the perfect recipe during “apple season.”


  • 2 cups Michigan Apples such as Red Delicious or Fuji diced small
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1 day old French baguette cut in 1/2 inch slices
  • 6 ounces Gruyere cheese, shredded
  • 1/4 ham diced (optional)
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 1/2 cups half and half
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Grated nutmeg to taste
  • 6 scallions thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup toasted pecan pieces


  • Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees
  • Butter a 2 quart baking dish
  • Layer 1/2 the bread in the pan
  • Add cheese and apples to top the bread (ham optional)
  • Cover with remaining bread
  • Beat together eggs, half and half, salt, pepper, nutmeg and scallions
  • Fill the pan with the mixture, covering the bread
  • Bake for about 45 minutes until the custard is set up
  • Sprinkle with pecans


Executive Chef - Britt Beaumont of Stafford's Pier Restaurant in Harbor Springs, MI.

Executive Chef – Britt Beaumont of Stafford’s Pier Restaurant in Harbor Springs, MI.

Fall Drink – Pumpkin Pie Martini

Pumkpin Pie Martini

Pumkpin Pie Martini

We welcome the first day of fall with a popular fall drink – a Pumpkin Pie Martini! Below, please find our drink recipe.


  • .5 oz. Stoli Vanilla
  • 1 oz. Pumpkin Spice
  • .5 oz. Kahlua
  • .5 oz. Butterscotch Schnapps
  • .5 oz. half & half


  • In a cocktail shaker, mix ingredients with ice and shake well.
  • Strain into a martini glass rimmed with graham cracker crumbs.
Crooked River

Fall Color Reflection on the Crooked River in Alanson, MI.

Cheers to a beautiful fall & harvest season!

Things To Do in Northern Michigan This Fall

It’s harvest time, the season to enjoy the fruits of the land, the crisp air and the amazing changing colors that surround us. Northern Michigan offers an array of family-friendly activities throughout the autumn season. We hope you’ll enjoy all that fall has to offer in our neck of the woods!


Uncle Frank’s Apple Town
Sundays, September 14 – end of October, 12 to 4 pm
Visit the Cider Mill and Pumpkin Farm in Brutus for hayrides, corn maze, cider and fresh apple donuts

Annual Taste of Harbor Springs
Saturday, September 20, 12 to 3 pm
Enjoy favorites by local restaurants, delis and gourmet shops

chef britt

Harvest Festival at Friske Farm Market
Saturday, September 27, 8 am to 4 pm
Pumpkin pancake breakfast, tractor-drawn wagon rides, pick-your-own apples and kid games


Fall Festival Weekends at Pond Hill Farm
Saturday & Sunday, September 27 & 28; Saturdays & Sunday, October
Pumpkins, cider, donuts, hayrides and much more

(40) Pond Hill Farm

Harvest Festival at Castle Farms
Sunday, September 28, 11 am to 2 pm
Celebrate fall with cider, donuts and fall-themed activities

Hayrides at Bill’s Farm Market
Saturdays, 2 pm
Enjoy a 30 minute hayride driven by Bill himself

Great Lakes Glass Pumpkin Patch
Saturday, October  4
Boyer Glass Works in Harbor Springs and Three Pines Studio in Cross Village create a spectacular patch of hand-blown glass pumpkins

Apple Festival at Friske Farm Market
Saturday, October 4 & 11, 8 am to 6 pm
Homemade apple streusel pancakes, tractor-led wagon rides, family activities and all things apple

Apple Fest in Downtown Charlevoix
Friday – Sunday, October 10 – 12
Family activities, arts & crafts show, pony rides, petting zoo and more

What’s your favorite fall activity? For a complete list of fall activities in northern Michigan, please visit the Petoskey Area Visitors Bureau or check out our list of 100 Things To Do in Northern Michigan – Fall 2014.

Fall Color Tours in Northern Michigan

Mother Nature's Color Tour

Mother Nature’s Color Show

We know it’s difficult to let go of summer for another year, but when it’s followed up by an incomparable northern Michigan autumn, all is good and right! Enjoy the amazing colors and crisp air that are the essence of fall in northern Michigan. Be sure to visit some of our favorite spots listed below!

M-119 – The Tunnel of Trees
Drive north and enjoy a scenic car ride through the Tunnel of Trees from Harbor Springs to Cross Village. Take the tour on your own or purchase a narrated CD for a guided tour – available at any one of our hotels.


Bear River Valley Recreation Area
Strap on your walking shoes and head to the Bear River Valley Recreation Area in Downtown Petoskey. The rushing waters and rich fall colors will knock your socks off. You may even spot fish swimming by.

bear river trees

Bay View Area
Take a walking tour of the Bay View Association. The changing leaf colors combined with the historic buildings and architecture make for an exciting adventure.


Inland Waterway
What’s makes a more beautiful backdrop for the Inland Waterway and Crooked River than rich fall colors of a northern Michigan fall? Nothing! Hop in a boat and tour the Inland Waterway (boat rentals available at Ryde Marine, Windjammer Marina and Indian River Marina). When you are finished, the nature trails, fish pond and swings at Stafford’s Crooked River Lodge await you.

Crooked River

Harbor Springs Bluff
Head to higher ground in Harbor Springs for a view that cannot be beat – no matter the season! No words can express the beauty in the landscape paired with the vibrant and changing colors of fall.

Harbor Springs

Little Traverse Wheelway
Take a bike ride along the Little Traverse Wheelway, a 26 mile bike trail extending from Charlevoix to Harbor Springs. You will enjoy views of Little Traverse Bay paired with the autumn landscapes of northern Michigan.


Lake Charlevoix
Take in all the sights with a 35 mile drive around Lake Charlevoix! See driving directions below (provided by the Petoskey Area Visitors Bureau).

Depart Boyne City North on Lake Street (c-56) to US-31. Turn left at US-31 and continue for about 1 mile. Turn right at Mercer Boulevard and continue to the last street. Take a left at the end, and then another left. Continue to Mount McSauba Road and turn right at the stop sign, return to US-31. Continue on US-31 straight into town. Depart Charlevoix on US-31 to M-66. Take a left into Ironton. Turn left and board the ferry (nominal fee). Continue straight along Ferry Road to Boyne City.

We’d love to hear about your favorite northern Michigan fall spot! For complete driving tours in the area, visit the Petoskey Area Visitors Bureau Fall Color Guide.

Ten Things To Do This Labor Day Weekend

Crooked Lake Nov 19

Crooked Lake – Part of the Famed Inland Waterway

It’s hard to believe Labor Day Weekend is upon us. Here is a small list of  our “Top Ten Things To Do Over Labor Day Weekend” in the area – for visitors and locals, too!

1. Hit The Beach Or Cruise The Inland Waterway
Ahhh, toes in the sand, and waves splashing in the background. Need we say more? The Petoskey State Park, Sturgeon Bay, Harbor Springs City Beach and the Michigan Beach in Charlevoix are among our personal favorites, here’s a full list of local beaches. We also recommend cruising the famed Inland Waterway. Boat rentals are nearby.

2. Listen To Local Musicians

  • Catch the last of Harbor Springs’ popular Street Musique on Thursday. Stroll the streets and listen to performances by outstanding musicians from 7 to 9 pm.
  • The Noggin Room Pub at Stafford’s Perry Hotel features entertainment nightly Thursday – Sunday, 8:30 to 11:30 pm. Get a full entertainment schedule here.
  • Enjoy some Friday night entertainment by Michelle Chenard in the Wheelhouse Lounge at Stafford’s Pier Restaurant. Bring your friends!

Little Traverse Wheelway

3. Bike
The most scenic bike trails are right here in northern Michigan. The Little Traverse Wheelway spans from Harbor Springs to Charlevoix and offers breathtaking views of Little Traverse Bay. The North Western State Trail can be accessed on M-119 and continues on a newly paved trail all the way to Alanson.

4. Browse The Boutique Shops In The Historic Gaslight District Of Downtown Petoskey
A little something for everyone can be found in the quaint Gaslight District. While you’re there, hop on the Historic Trolley for a tour, available Thursday – Saturday. You can find a Trolley Schedule here.

Michigan Mojito on Jeff's Deck in Charlevoix

Michigan Mojito on Jeff’s Deck in Charlevoix

5. Enjoy Al Fresco Dining
Whether it’s lunch, dinner or cocktails with friends, you won’t want to miss your chance to enjoy the last days of Al Fresco Dining! Dudley’s Deck in Harbor Springs is a summertime favorite. The Rose Garden Veranda at Stafford’s Perry Hotel offers exquisite views of the picturesque Little Traverse Bay or try Jeff’s Deck in downtown Charlevoix to watch the boats cruise by on the Pine River Channel.

6. Explore And Hike New Trails
Northern Michigan is surrounded by hiking trails. Discover a new one at the Little Traverse Conservancy Nature Preserves. Or visit Stafford’s Crooked River Lodge & Suites and discover our nature trails through the wooded areas and along the Crooked River.

7. Watch Lake Charlevoix’s Regatta
The 46th Annual Red Fox Regatta happens this weekend and it’s fun to watch. More details found at the Charlevoix Yacht Club.


Brunch at Stafford’s Bay View Inn, Petoskey

8. Indulge In Sunday Brunch at Stafford’s Bay View Inn
A tradition since 1962 and voted Northern Michigan’s Best Brunch! Our Sunday Brunch is served 8:30 am to 1:30pm. Enjoy chef-carved meats, homemade waffle station, breakfast favorites, lunch entrees, traditional sides, salads and a sweets table! $20.95 adults, $11.95 children. Reservations encouraged, 231-347-2771.

9. Harbor Springs Street Sales & Celebration
Downtown Harbor Springs merchant’s will be hosting the annual Street Sales & Celebration. Find some great “end of season” deals! More information can be found here.


The Mackinac Bridge Walk is in it’s 57th Year

10. Walk The Mighty Mac
The best way to view the Mackinac Bridge and the Straits of Mackinac! The 5-mile span welcomes thousands of visitors each year to participate in the walk. Head to St. Ignace where the walk begins (bussing is available in Mackinaw City). More details can be found here.

Recipe Box: Smoked Salmon Croque Monsieur

Corque Monsiuer

Smoked Salmon Corque Monsieur

Straight from his recipe box, Chef Britt from Stafford’s Pier Restaurant in Harbor Springs, shares a simple and delicious appetizer of Smoked Salmon Corque Monsieur.


  • 1/2 pound smoked salmon (we prefer John Cross Fisheries of Charlevoix)
  • 8 slices of rustic bread, preferable sourdough
  • 2 cups high quality grated Gruyere cheese
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter


  • Layer the smoked salmon and Gruyere between slices of bread.
  • Butter the outside of the sandwiches. Toast the sandwiches over medium heat slowly so that the outside is golden brown and the cheese is thoroughly melted on the inside.
  • Cut the sandwiches in ¼ sections and serve immediately.
  • Optional: Serve with a side of Béchamel or Mourney sauce for dipping.


Celebrate Summer – August Lodging Special

Petoskey Sunset

Petoskey Sunset

Relax in an Adirondack chair. Sip on your favorite wine. Listen to the waves. Walk, hike or bike. Sleep in. Eat a delicious breakfast. Enjoy time with loved ones, family or friends. Sound good? Head to northern Michigan for an August getaway filled with unforgettable memories at Stafford’s Bay View Inn, Crooked River Lodge & Perry Hotel. Our lodging package includes:

  • Two nights lodging
  • Breakfast vouchers each morning of your stay
  • $40 in Stafford’s Dining Dollars (redeemable at any Stafford’s location)

    North Western State Trail

    North Western State Trail

Stafford’s Crooked River Lodge
Available Sunday – Thursday, August 17 – 21 and August 24 – 28, 2014
Reservations: 866-548-0700 or 231-548-5000

Stafford’s Perry Hotel
Available Sunday – Thursday, August 17 – 21 and August 24 – 28, 2014
Reservations: 800-737-1899 or 231-347-4000

Stafford’s Bay View Inn
Available Sunday – Thursday, August 24 – 28, 2014
Reservations: 800-258-1886 or 231-347-2771

Starting at $280, based on two guests per room (plus tax and gratuities). Please mention Celebrate Summer when booking. More information can be found here.


Relax In Our Garden Areas


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