The Gift of Autumn

Because my husband and son have different days off from work, I couldn’t celebrate my birthday (which is next week) with both of them at the same time. So I had a wonderful day celebrating my birthday with JJ on Friday and a wonderful day celebrating my birthday with EJ today.

EJ gave me the gift of Autumn for my birthday. We went on a long drive to enjoy the beautiful autumn scenery. EJ drove north hoping we might see more colorful trees, but the trees won’t reach their peak color for another week or two because September was so warm. However, Northern Michigan is beautiful during every season so we enjoyed the drive. EJ contemplated driving to Hartwick Pines, which contains the largest stand of virgin white pines remaining in the lower peninsula. I have never been there and have always wanted to go. However, we decided to just drive north today and enjoy spontaneous fun. We felt that today’s trip shouldn’t be about a destination but the journey itself.

The day was cloudy and at times it rained, but we loved it. I enjoy sunny days which highlight the vivid colors of the trees, but I also enjoy cloudy days because I think they add drama.

We drove along M-119, which gave us views of Lake Michigan, gave us glimpses of some of Michigan’s sand dunes, and also took us on narrow twisting roads through the beautiful Tunnel of Trees. says, “The Tunnel of Trees has been ranked among the most scenic roads in Michigan and holds its own with the great natural beauties of the entire nation…The Tunnel of Trees is named for the hardwoods and evergreens that crowd up to the edge of the road, their crowns knit into a comforting ceiling over motorists and bicyclists….”

Sign advertising free autumn chairlift rides!
Sign advertising free ski lift rides!

At Harbor Springs we saw a sign advertising free autumn chairlift rides at a ski resort called Boyne Highlands.  Years ago, when EJ and I were first married, I worked at a company that every few years paid for all its employees and their families to stay several days at Boyne Highlands. It’s a beautiful place and it was kind of fun to revisit it.

On the chairlift overlooking Boyne Highlands
On the chairlift overlooking Boyne Highlands

I wasn’t sure that EJ would want to go on the chairlift because he is afraid of heights. I am also a bit afraid of heights, although I thought I was less so than EJ because I’ve had no trouble going on airplane and helicopter rides, and I’d like someday to go on a hot air balloon ride. Surprisingly, he had absolutely no problem going on the chairlift and I was rather nervous. However, I wouldn’t have missed it for the world! It gave us such a unique view of the beautiful countryside. We both said we’d love to go again.

M-119 took us through Wilderness State Park and we eventually ended up in Mackinaw City, where we stopped at a restaurant for a late lunch. After we ate, we drove to a park near Lake Michigan so I could take a picture of the beautiful Mackinac Bridge. We took a different route home, meandering through a lot of towns with names like Charlevoix, Topinabee, Cheboygan and Wolverine.

I took 156 pictures and a couple of videos of our birthday adventure. Here are some of the pictures:

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EJ and I had an incredibly wonderful day. It was an awesome gift.



4 Comments on “The Gift of Autumn

  1. You really had a wonderful birthday gift with this trip. I love the pictures and it mist have be so relaxing for you both to enjoy just the scenery and all the beauty it brings. ❤


    • It really was wonderful! We love living in the North so much! There is so much beauty to enjoy.


  2. So happy for you TJ, all we need is those we love and beautiful times. Happy Birthday again.


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