Friday, October 3, 2014

Fall in Northern Michigan is a Special Time


Now that fall is officially here, we asked our team members what they love most about fall. Gwen Porritt, an MSR in our Atlanta branch, was happy to share her story.

Gwen Porritt (center) with Atlanta Branch team members
To quote a line from Kid Rock's song All Summer Long, "Now nothing seems as strange as when the leaves began to change, or how we thought those days would never end."

Summertime in northern Michigan is a short-lived season. But when it ends, Mother Nature puts on quite a show in the form of the season we call autumn. Now, anyone who has ever spent time in Northern Michigan during color season knows what a splendor it can be – by the way we call these people “Leaf Peepers” up north!

One of my favorite things to do when I lived in Lapeer was to go to Past Tense Country Store and Cider Mill and look at their awesome fall displays and haunted house. If you ever decide to go, they are located on Farnsworth Road in Lapeer. It's a great family-owned business with homemade doughnuts and fresh pressed cider. They feature Cooks Farm Dairy ice cream from Ortonville, hay rides, a great corn maze and they make their own homemade pies. What a yummy place to visit. If you decide to stop by, please tell Lucy and Mark that Gwen says hello!

One of Northern Michigan's "hidden treasures" is the Tunnel of Trees. I've yet to check this out because it's so hidden (just kidding!) but I have heard it is very beautiful. People say that it is located on a road that runs along Lake Michigan and Little Traverse Bay in Petoskey called M-119. This highway lacks a centerline and is known for its scenic beauty and heritage. When I check it out I'll be sure to give you all an update!

Another great thing about fall is the food! What is better during the fall than a bowl of chili? When the weather starts getting cool I get out the big stock pot and start dumping in the necessary ingredients. I cook like my mom did – no measuring. I like my chili thick, so over the years I experimented with several ingredients and found good old fashioned tomato paste works best. One can for a smaller pot and two for the bigger pot. My advice - make sure you stir it in really well or someone will get a mouthful of tomato paste, and they won't be very happy with you. My other go to chili ingredient is a kick of cayenne pepper to spice things up a bit. I also like to make pumpkin rolls in the fall. Although pumpkin rolls are not the best for you, they are delicious and provide comfort to the soul. We all need some of that up here in the Great White North when winter rolls around, but that's a subject for another blog.

My favorite fall memory is going to Cross Roads Village in Flint with my family in the 90’s. We all had those little orange plastic pumpkins and went to each of the buildings in the village begging for candy. I heard my dad chuckling, and I look over and he was practically cracking up.

“What's so funny Dad?" I asked.

He said to me "Gwen, I haven't trick or treated in over 50 years!"

Although my dad's been gone for over a year now, I will always have that awesome gift of seeing him laughing and carrying an orange plastic pumpkin filled with candy.

Take a good look around you, look at all the blessings in your life. There are so many things to be grateful for. Fall is one of those things for me! As the saying goes, autumn is a second spring, when every leaf turns into a flower.

Wishing you all a lovely fall, my friends,
Gwen Porritt

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