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Travel Michigan: Michigan Fall Color Report.

U.P. Ablaze in Fall Color

LANSING, Mich., Oct. 4 /PRNewswire/ --

The entire Upper Peninsula is ablaze in fall color this week, reports Travel Michigan. Excellent viewing areas include Newberry, Copper Harbor, Tahquamenon Falls, St. Ignace, and Cedar River, where color is 75 to 100 percent. Dramatic shades of yellow, red, and orange dominate Maples, Aspen, and Oak trees. Areas just slightly past peak include Sault Ste. Marie, Calumet, Ishpeming, and Ontonagon.

In the Lower Peninsula the northeast region has turned quickly with reports of 80 to 100 percent of color staining the leaves. Peak is taking place this weekend in Cheboygan, Rogers City, and Onaway. Beautiful shades of red and orange adorn the trees in these areas. Mackinaw City and Grayling should peak within the next few days with hues ranging between 80 and 85 percent currently.

Fall color is picking up speed in the northwest region. Throughout Traverse City, Frankfort, Manistee, and Cadillac leaves are turning at a rate of 25 to 30 percent this week. Peak should hit in these areas mid-week or next weekend. Maple trees are sporting the best color show of red and yellow. Best viewing in the northwest is taking place around Gaylord at Otsego Lake State Park where color is at 70 percent, and Young State Park in Boyne City where Poplar and Sugar Maples sport 50 to 60 percent of vibrant hues.

Good color is starting to move across the middle of the state this week. Leaf peepers will find 25 to 30 percent of color change taking place around Grand Rapids, Muskegon, and Ludington. In the Thumb area, 25 to 50 percent of the leaves have changed in Bay City and Caseville.

In the southern regions, peak is still one to two weeks away. Best color is noticed at the Holland State Park where leaves are turning at a rate of 40 percent. Golds and reds are brilliant. More than 15 percent of the leaves around Jackson, Holly, Port Huron, and Kalamazoo are radiant with splashes of yellow and orange.

For a recorded message about Michigan fall-color conditions, travelers may call 888-78-GREAT (784-7328), 24 hours a day. Information is updated weekly by AAA Michigan during the fall-color season.

Travelers may also get fall-color updates on the Travel Michigan web site at www.michigan.org , or they may call 888-78-GREAT, to talk to Michigan travel advisors about vacation planning, weekend getaway opportunities, and to request a free copy of the 2000-2001 Michigan Fall/Winter Calendar of Events & Travel Guide, which provides more than two dozen fall-color tour routes and hundreds of fall festivals and events. Advisors are available Monday through Friday 7:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. (EDT), and 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

Autumn Festival Highlights

Weekend of October 5-8, 2000

October 6-8

BOYNE CITY

Harvest Festival

231-582-6222

This family-oriented festival welcomes autumn with color tours on Boyne City's famous trolley, an arts and crafts show, pumpkin sculpting, a Scarecrow Ball, and live entertainment.

October 7-8

DOWAGIAC

Ciderfest

616-782-7306

Savor the season at Wick's Apple House where cider is made at a century- old cider mill. Enjoy fresh-baked treats; a restaurant serving breakfast, lunch and dinner; and gift shop.

October 7-8

GRAND RAPIDS

Heritage Hill Weekend Tour of Homes

616-459-8950

Delight in a self-guided walking tour of one of the largest urban historic districts in the United States. Included in the tour of 13 historic buildings are a Frank Lloyd Wright commissioned home and an ornate 1882 American Craftsman-style home. Fee charged: $15

October 7 & 8

HOWELL

Lake Central Rail Tours

810-638-7248

Hop on the train for a fall-color tour this weekend. See the sights and the colorful fall leaves between Howell and Cadillac. Train leaves from Howell and returns each day (Saturday and Sunday). Ticket prices range from $45-$85; lunch in Cadillac included. (October 14-15, Mt. Pleasant to Cadillac each day; October 21, Owosso to Cadillac and back.) Call for more information.

MICHIGAN FALL COLOR

GETAWAY PACKAGES

Fall color season is just beginning in Michigan, and getaway packages offer a great way to experience the state's most colorful season! Following are just two examples of many unique ways to view Michigan's brilliant autumn hues.

Fall Mushroom Mania!

As the area bursts into fall colors, the forest floor explodes with exotic fungus! A Fall Mushroom Mania outing at Springbrook Hills Resort in northern Michigan has expert guides leading the hunt and assisting in identification, handling and preparation of Michigan's many safe, delicious fall mushrooms. Package includes:

* two nights' lodging in one of Springbrook Hills Resort's comfortable vacation homes

* all meals - including the Saturday evening dinner featuring various mushroom dishes and wine sampling

* mushroom seminar, guided hunting

* souvenir "survivor" t-shirt

Package is $169 plus tax, per person; $114 per person if no lodging is required.

(October 13-15 only -- last mushroom hunt of the season.) Subject to availability.

Contact: 231-535-2227

Fall Colors at the Park Place Hotel in Traverse City

Enjoy either a one or two nights' stay at the Park Place Hotel, a landmark located in the heart of Traverse City; complimentary breakfast at Minerva's Restaurant; and your choice of either a fall-color tour via hot air balloon or scenic dinner train. Enjoy the view of the fall canopy from up above in a hot air balloon sponsored by Grand Traverse Balloon, Inc., or you can sit back, relax, and enjoy the kaleidoscopic color on the Grand Traverse Dinner Train as it ambles through 65 miles of northern Michigan countryside. Packages start at $295 plus tax, double occupancy (for one night's accommodations including one activity); or $395 plus tax, double occupancy (for two nights' accommodations including one activity).

Contact: 231-946-5000, or 800-748-0133

Travelers may visit Travel Michigan's website at www.michigan.org , for additional fall travel packages.
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