"Autumn Color"
By Capt. Fred Davis
Published: Saturday, October 23, 2010

The beautiful colors of autumn have surrounded us the past several weeks. This year’s display has been the greatest I’ve seen in several years. This year has also allowed me the most opportunities to enjoy the variety all around the state.

My enjoyment began with a trip to Petoskey in mid-September. I had an assignment to cover the 35th annual International Antique & Classic Boat Society Meeting held in Bay Harbor. The Society has chapters in all 50 states and Canada with about 16,000 members. The event spanned an entire week, with activities that included visits to surrounding harbors and communities. The in-water boat show on the weekend was the climax, and it took place along the dockage of Bay Harbor Lake and Village adjacent to Petoskey.

Bay Harbor Village is a development residing on a location that once held a cement plant. It is known throughout the boating world as the, “Nautical Center of the Great Lakes.”

The bay has pristine waters; the village offers luxurious wonderful shops and accommodations and the marina has amenities to please all boaters. Host for the event were The Water Wonderland Chapter of ACBS, Michigan representatives of the Classic Boat Society. They worked with Bay Harbor to promote and showcase the entire surrounding area.

When we learned the boat show was going to take place in northern Michigan, my wife and I invited our friends from Bad Axe to accompany us. We try each year to make a color tour together and agreed it might be a bit early, but they said, “sure lets go!”

Once we arrived at Bay Harbor my work — (if you can call it that) began with gazing at an array of classic vessels the likes of which I had never imagined even existed. After viewing and enjoying the atmosphere of the event, I got busy interviewing owners of a number of the classics. One fascinating vessel was a 96-foot long 1930 Ted Greary “Canin” Yacht, whose captain kindly invited me to look him up at Harbor Springs where she berths for a tour and cruise next season. Now that will be an invitation I will accept. After interviewing several owners from all over the country and taking enough photos to fill a studio, we decided to take a ride and look for some color.

We continued our trip by crossing into the Upper, Peninsula where we only found a few brilliant displays. People we talked to explained it had been a very dry summer so the leaves fell early. The next day, we started our trip home via I-75 and crossed the Mighty Mac headed through the lower top of our state. There was a splash of color here and there, but it was only beginning. So we encountered leaves already gone and just starting to color in one day. We all agreed it would be two weeks before the lower peaked.

We were lucky enough to take a break from work and team up with our friends near the end of September and head back up north. We started up the coast of Lake Huron and beautiful color was displayed in patches of wooded areas along the highway. When we reached East Tawas, we shopped in a few of the delightful stores along Main Street. It was a warm day so we had an ice cream lunch and headed back up the road.

We had been invited to stay in a cabin owned by our friend’s daughter’s family that was tucked back in the woods in bear country (Alcona County). We were told a big black bear had been spotted in the area and one had been recently shot nearby, but we did not encounter any. We really didn’t try very hard, but we sure enjoyed the tranquil setting. We were reminded of the old days, before 40 TV channels, can you remember when there were only 2? What a relaxing experience and as a bonus when we made our return trip along some lesser traveled highways, we saw color displays beyond description.

It’s now two weeks later and we are thoroughly enjoying our local Thumb color, especially in our friend’s back yard, where they have dozens of maple trees with an array of colors.

As I see it, it will soon be time to get out the rakes.


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