Colors of Fall – Harbor Springs, Michigan

It is no wonder that Michiganders seldom feel the need to go beyond the state borders for some exciting action. There are always new places to discover, numerous lakes and trails to be explored and four beautiful seasons to enjoy. In this post, we take you through a fall ride along the coast of Lake Michigan to a beautiful resort community – the Harbor Springs.


With its clear blue water lakes, the charming waterfront community of Harbor Springs lie nestled along the deepest harbor in Great Lakes.

When you are in Michigan, watch out for the deers!

The route to Harbor Springs along I-75N is a vision of colors when fall is at its peak.


The freeway is lined by trees that are in shades of crimson and gold with their sharp contrast set off against the blue skies on a clear autumn day.

We chanced upon this beautiful rest area on the way to Harbor Springs in I75N near Gaylord.
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Bordered by a lake, this place had an amazing park and benches – great place for a short break
The maple trees all along the way showed off their beautiful autumn hues ranging from yellow, gold, orange to red

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Harbor Springs Township is every boat owner’s delight. The boat clubs and the resort community sets the atmosphere in this little town on charge.


The clear blue waters glisten in the sunlight and ducks paddle in the water. The very well maintained lake shore walkways are ideal for cycling, walking or jogging, or if nothing, just sitting by the lake and watching the light waves crash on the shore lined by silky smooth pebbles.

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The downtown is dotted with numerous galleries that would be every art enthusiasts dream come true. The small boutique shops, bakeries and even the mini theater that appears to be set in a colonial era welcomes every guest to discover their best.


The Boyner Glassworks has a display of jaw dropping collection of glass-blown artifacts that attract a great number of customers. We watched in awe while with a few swish and flick of tongs, he worked to create a bird out of steaming hot molten glass. We recommend everyone to go watch one of the free demos if it is happening while you are in the town.

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Food hopping in Harbor Springs to taste a little of everything!

Think food, hop to the numerous little restaurants, pizzerias and bakeries and savor the flavors that delight anyone’s taste buds. Most of the cafes provide seasonal custom baked pastries, muffins and syrups that are a must buy while you are here.

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If you think you want to get away for a long drive, take the scenic M-119N scenic drive through the much famed “Tunnel of Trees”. For some serious retirement destination goals, take the lower shore drive along the level of Michigan lake and then connect to the Upper Shore Drive for the elevated views with Lake Michigan spanning endlessly to one side of the road.

The scenic roads of M-119 upper shore drive
The drive from harbor springs to Little Bay region

Head on to the Stutsmanville road and take the scenic drive through the roads that rise and fall with the valleys on the hills bordered by maple trees showing off their deep crimsons and golden yellow hues interleaved with the deep shades of evergreens.

Fall colors along Stutsmanville road
Fall colors on a rainy sunday evening

It is hard to say good bye to Harbor Springs and head south and probably that is why numerous people choose to retire into Petoskey and Harbor Springs area, boat,swim or kayak in the deep blue waters of Lake Michigan and golf in the many lustrous green golf courses. We do hope to return to Harbor Springs in the next spring and discover its many more hidden treasures. We shall follow up soon with some exciting food options we discovered while we traveled through these places.

Where to stay : We stayed at the beautiful Colonial Inn during our stay at Harbor Springs. The place is well kept and the numerous windows in the room allow you to truly enjoy a stay close to the downtown. Did I mention this is right next to the lake shore drive! Beautiful rooms with fireplace and room heaters. More details of this place can be found here. Highly recommended.

What to wear : Harbor springs has cool temperatures and it can really get cold in winter and fall like most of Michigan. Even if the day is sunny, the proximity to Lake Michigan makes it quite a windy place. So remember to carry your woolens in December and wind breakers during other colder months. In summer, go easy and wear your light and bright summer tunics with those flip flops and enjoy the sunshine.

Nearby destinations : Charlevoix, Beaver Island, Mackinac Island, Little Traverse Bay

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