"Summer Will Continue"
By Capt. Fred Davis
Published: Saturday, September 5, 2015

Some vacations and long weekends that marked the summertime fun in the Thumb are drawing to a close. Lots of college kids are back in classes, although those attending campuses close by will still get weekend breaks if their studies allow.

Families that have cottages will get in a few visits before the final winterization. But for most, this is the last big weekend. All the time here won’t be spent having fun: tasks that were skipped during the summer, but must be done before the snow flies, need to be completed. Many chores, like storm windows, outside water lines, yard cleanups and setting up snow fencing needs to be done now. I mentioned “some” vacations are over but for others they are just beginning. All those people who worked so hard in the stores, at the harbors or for the many private communities around the Thumb can begin planning to enjoy the fall season. Some of the stores will remain open but reduce their hours. Some restaurants may close a day of two a week after experiencing seven-day weeks. Various tourist-targeted businesses will likely close after Labor Day, so visitors will have to check with them. Owners of those businesses will be looking for some R&R themselves.

Cooler days may call for sweaters or jackets ready to grab. But the forecasts are calling for a real warm up to the high 80’s this week. September has been downright hot some years and the heat lasted right into October. Our trees will soon start changing colors. Some have already, presenting nature’s very own rendition of “art.” When color tours begin, shoreline roads often offer some of the best color with peeks at wildlife thrown in.

Speaking of wildlife, as traffic slows and evenings cool, the animals dart back and forth across the roads. So keep a sharp eye out and use extra caution. In my travels, I have sadly seen some not-so-lucky critters who did not make it to the other side. The fall practice flights for our geese have begun and the white swans will be grouping together soon. Depending on your taste, the sights of Mother Nature can be very entertaining. If you take a color tour ride, be sure to take your camera along.

Local golfers usually enjoy this time of year because all the courses stay open and tee times are very obtainable. Fall fishing off the piers and shoreline locations is often productive and very relaxing. A walk down a wooded lane can be enjoyable. But if walking’s not your choice for exercise, try riding a bike if the trail is smooth.

Another great thing about the late summer is: the grass actually slows down and doesn’t need cutting as often. All those landscaping folks can catch a break and get out to enjoy some of their favorite activities. If you take a trip to Port Austin or Harbor Beach, you will enjoy a look at some of the largest cruisers traveling the lakes. They are en route to their home marinas or south to warmer climes.

If you head down M-25 toward Port Huron you will often see freighters offshore hauling what’s left of their summer loads. Once in Port Huron, a trip via Canada could take you on to Niagara Falls, which is beautiful in the fall. I know because I used to stop there often on my way out east to visit family. You can also visit the Welland Canal and watch the freighters go through the locks. It’s hard to believe those gigantic ships pass through only inches from the walls. Now that’s a sight to see!

Remember Mackinaw Island stays open right on into October on weekends. You will need to check out accommodations and ferry schedules. Be sure to take the hoodies and jackets along for that trip.

For those who are not interested in traveling down the roads and byways -— travel to your local shops and start enjoying end-of-season sales. The crowds are gone and the price is right, so shop on.



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