Thanks to Lorraine Austin of “Discover Kalamazoo” for providing this most helpful information
Foliage.org: What are the projected dates of foliage season in the Kalamazoo region?
Typically fall foliage “blooms” in early to mid-October in the Kalamazoo region of Michigan.
Foliage.org: What are the local and regional roads or highways that are favorite scenic routes for Fall tourists?
One of the routes favored by color connoisseurs invites travelers to begin their journey along the beautiful shore of Lake Michigan. Hikers and bikers can travel the 33-mile Kal-Haven Trail from South Haven to Kalamazoo, through spectacular woods and farmland vistas and over a number of picturesque bridges. Motor vehicles can also begin in South Haven and follow M-43 east to Kalamazoo County. Motorists can meander along any number of county roads to explore the glorious palette of autumn and still be within easy reach of major highways I-94 (running east and west) or M-131 (running north and south).
Foliage.org: What festivals or other public events are taking place during the autumn foliage season?
There are a number of festivals and events going on during Kalamazoo’s fall foliage season.
The Kalamazoo River Valley Trail hosts a Senior Citizen’s Golf Cart Fall Color Tour.
The Old Tyme Harvest Festival at Scotts Mill County Park features blacksmithing and farming demonstrations and rides to the pumpkin patch.
Share the Harvest at the Kellogg Manor House (www.kbs.msu.edu/Manor_House) celebrates the life of W.K. Kellogg with a free open house.
The Kalamazoo Nature Center (www.naturecenter.org) features Fall Color Hikes.
And, of course, fall is football season for both Western Michigan University and Kalamazoo College.
For details on these programs, along with a complete list of festivals and events, visit www.DiscoverKalamazoo.com.
Foliage.org: What are some other popular tourist attractions for autumn travelers to Kalamazoo?
From blueberries to apples, Southwest Michigan produces some of the highest quality fruit on the planet. Stroll through the orchards, pick your own fruit, and enjoy a picnic or hayride. Gull Meadow Farms (www.gullmeadowfarms.com) features a corn maze and is just one of the many u-pick orchards in the area.
You can experience the history of aviation and automobiles with visits to the Air Zoo and Gilmore Car Museum. The Air Zoo (www.airzoo.org) is a highly-charged, multi-sensory atmosphere bringing the evolution of flight to life. The Gilmore Car Museum (www.gilmorecarmuseum.org) is hailed as one of the top five automotive museums in the nation by The Fine Living Network – boasting of nearly 200 historical vehicles, a 1930s gas station, an authentic 1940s working diner, and a vintage Disney movie set.
Two other area museums, the Kalamazoo Institute of Arts (www.kiarts.org) and the Kalamazoo Valley Museum (www.kalamazoomuseum.org), bring first-rate traveling exhibitions, interactive galleries for children, educational program opportunities for all ages, and numerous events and programs throughout the year.
Downtown Kalamazoo features monuments to war veterans, an Indian (burial) Mound, and a historical marker commemorating Kalamazoo as the site of Abraham Lincoln’s only public speech in Michigan. Several buildings exhibit the crisp geometry and surface ornaments of an Art Deco design style born during the Jazz Age. Kalamazoo is also home to a cooperative neighborhood designed by Frank Lloyd Wright in the late ‘40s. The National Register of Historic Places includes a number of local buildings and one of the original “safe houses” within the Underground Railroad.
Kalamazoo was the first city in the nation to create a downtown pedestrian mall. The area’s diverse retail district offers a number of unique shops, restaurants and cafes, theaters, and live open-air entertainment venues. Six distinct downtown districts – Kalamazoo Mall, East End, South Town, Haymarket, Arcadia, and Bronson Park – provide a terrific opportunity to wander, shop, wine and dine, all within walking distance from the AAA, four-diamond Radisson Plaza Hotel and Suites, featuring upscale shops, spa, and restaurants of its own.
If you’re looking for wineries, Southwest Michigan’s fertile land produces some of the most consistently delicious wines in America. Visitors can amble through the vineyards and sample award-winning wines and juices. Kalamazoo is also home to some of the largest breweries in Michigan. Experience specialty microbrews and eclectic entertainment or reminisce over a homemade root beer.
And, no matter what time of year you visit Kalamazoo, you’ll find a wealth of cultural entertainment opportunities – from classical music to jazz, avant garde theatre to traveling Broadway shows, and festivals celebrating the area’s diverse cultural heritage. Kalamazoo is also a magnet for big-name, touring artists and musicians.
Foliage.org: What are some helpful resources for discovering local inns, bed and breakfasts, lodges, boutique hotels, and other local lodging and dining?
What great trip would be complete without a comfortable place to lay your head at night? Kalamazoo County prides itself on a wide variety of accommodations for any group, family, or individual. Hotels and motels, rustic lodges, historic bed and breakfasts, conference and golf resorts, and even Monastic lodging are available throughout the area. Whatever it is you’re looking for, we’re sure to have it. Visit www.DiscoverKalamazoo.com for a complete listing.