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I lived in Michigan many years ago. Initially, I didn't want to move to Michigan because I was in the suburbs of Detroit and couldn't imagine anything worse than that. Before I moved there, I envisioned gray - just gray. Well, I ended up loving it. The suburbs of Detroit are like anywhere else - with all the shopping and restaurants you need and nice neighborhoods to walk in - with several parks splattered here and there.
However, my favorite season in Michigan was the fall - hands down. I loved the smell of the crisp air. I loved putting on jeans and having a sweater or comfy sweatshirt on. I loved the chill in the air where you could still have your kids play outside but not sweat profusely through your bra. I loved the trees and all the color on the trees. The yellows, oranges, reds, and browns. I loved seeing all the shade varieties. I loved the piles of leaves that were outside.
My absolute favorite thing was going to the apple orchards that were out in the country; though I did have to travel a little bit out of the suburban area to head out to the orchards. When we got to the orchards, what we found was bliss. There were piles of pumpkins of all sizes on the ground to pick and go through - which we did. We could take a hayride down the field to the apple trees; we got a bucket and could pick any apples we would like. There were so many good apples, too.
When we got back to the main entrance and barn they served hot apple cider, which was so delicious and warm as it ran down your throat. They had cider that was cold as well, and they handed those out to kiddos who wanted a drink. Then, the cinnamon donuts, which were also warm and melted in your mouth when you ate them. Oh, what I wouldn't give to have a warm cinnamon donut with hot apple cider now!
A few of the orchards had apple butter, applesauce, and more for sale. Some had areas for children to play in and some had a few animals to see as well. The trees had started to change colors so the visuals of the beautiful landscape were all around us. These are days where soup tastes better and warm bread from the oven smells fabulous. Football season starts and people gather together. This was all a day well spent - and I looked forward to each fall when I could take the kids out and about to our favorite orchards. Of course, we always left with a few pumpkins and a bunch of apples and if I could sneak out some extra donuts, I would. Nothing is better than the fall and the orchards in Michigan.
Michigan also had great neighborhood activities. Neighborhood parades happened. People went outside to socialize. Everyone seemed to know everyone and enjoyed eating outside and grilling for the last few times. Parents watched their kids play while drinking and eating and discussing football or school or anything. We also lived near the Detroit Zoo; during this time of year the zoo held Boo in the Zoo - where every animal was designed to look like a pumpkin in some sort of way. The air welcomed togetherness and communities.
I know that at times, Michigan and the Detroit area get a bad rap - but it is truly a community that loves and cares for one another. This all happens the most in the fall, before the hard winters hit. How I miss it.