For now, the most noticeable color in Traverse City is coming, not from foliage, but from late-summer wildflowers -- the light blue of chicory, the white and purple of asters, the airy violet of star-thistle, and above all, the cheerful yellow of goldenrod in all its forms -- and from early fall fruits (gold and scarlet apples, deep purple grapes, bright orange squash and pumpkins.) But there are indeed signs that autumn color is beginning, and the plentiful rains of late summer should ensure a particularly long-lasting display this year.
A great place to observe all this beauty is on the Old Mission Peninsula in the middle of Grand Traverse Bay. Nearly 20 miles long and in some places as little as a mile wide, it’s a beautiful patchwork of orchards, vineyards, forests and villages. Perfect for a morning or afternoon drive that combines fall color with beautiful views of the bay, visits to wineries and roadside fruit stands, and unforgettable meals at several charming restaurants -- not to mention a breathtaking view from the cozy Mission Point Lighthouse at the peninsula's tip.