An article about me!

Hey everyone, Camping Gear Outlet wrote a nice article about me!

I know, I know. What were they thinking?

Here's the link:
http://www.camping-gear-outlet.com/blog/rick-kessler-talks-with-lost-in-the-woods-about-camping-in-the-midwest/

Celebrate Fall During Aloha State Park’s Harvest Festival

Aloha State Park in Michigan's Cheboygan County will offer campers an opportunity to “GO-Get Outdoors” and enjoy the fall beauty during its annual Harvest Festival taking place Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 1-2, at the park, 4347 Third St. in Cheboygan.

This two-day event, sponsored by Fernelius Toyota-Chrysler-Dodge-Jeep and Black River Customs, will feature a day full of events on Saturday, including pumpkin painting and a haunted site contest with the winner receiving a barbeque grill worth $350 courtesy of Sears.

Chili cook-off judging begins at 4 p.m. on Saturday, followed by a costume contest at 5 p.m. Trick-or-treating in the campground takes place from 6 to 8 p.m.

The winner of the haunted site contest will be announced at the camp host site at 9 a.m. Sunday.

For campground reservations, call 800-447-2757 or visit www.midnrreservations.com. For further details about the event, call the park at 231-625-0211.

Autumn colors beginning to show in Ohio; many weekend events

The first week of autumn is ushering in an array of colors as Ohio begins its fall color transformation, according to Casey Burdick, Fall Color Forester for the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR).

“Many maple and ash trees are welcoming us into this year’s fall color season,” said Burdick. “The white ash are showing dark purples while the green ash are glowing with vibrant yellows and golden oranges. Various maples, especially along the edges of woods and in urban areas, are showing some early color; dogwoods are also showing some awesome dark reds.”

Trees in urban or wet areas, which are more prone to stress are starting to show a little color as well. The stress can be caused by extra heat, soil compaction, irregular watering, or even pollution.

Ohioans and out of state visitors who are waiting for peak fall color are encouraged to head outside and enjoy the crisp fall days leading up to it. Ohio state parks and nature preserves are offering a variety of activities that all can enjoy. The burst of color at the onset of the season provides a perfect backdrop for hikers, bikers or horseback riders who make their way across the hundreds of miles of publicly accessible trails. The brilliance of fall color will add to the excitement disc golf and golf, which can be played on beautiful, award-winning courses at several state parks. Anglers and boaters can also get priceless perspectives of amazing fall foliage as it reflects in the rippling water along miles of shoreline and waterways.

This coming weekend, check out the following events at one of the Ohio State Parks…

Fall Festival, Delaware (C) - Sept. 30 - Oct. 1 at the campground. Welcome fall with fall crafts, games, wagon & boat rides, movies, decorated campsite & costume contests. All reservable campsites are booked for this event; however, a limited number of non-reservable campsites are available on a first-come first served basis. Check campsite availability at www.ohiostateparks.org. For more information about the event, call (740) 548-4631.

Halloween Campout #1, East Harbor (NW) - Sept. 30 - Oct. 1. Get ready for Halloween with scarecrow & decorated campsite contests, kids’ crafts and games, hayrides, a haunted house, bonfire & cookout. All reservable campsites are booked for this event; however, a limited number of non-reservable campsites are available on a first-come first served basis. Check campsite availability at www.ohiostateparks.org. For more information about the event, call (419) 734-4424 ext. 2.

Fall Campout, Findley (NE) - Sept. 30 - Oct. 1. Enjoy seasonal crafts, trick or treating, hayrides and haunted trail. All reservable campsites are booked for this event; however, a limited number of non-reservable campsites are available on a first-come first served basis. Check campsite availability at www.ohiostateparks.org. For more information about the event, call (440) 647-5749.

Halloween Bash, Mosquito Lake (NE) - Sept. 30 - Oct. 1. This family friendly weekend of Halloween fun for campers includes trick or treating, movies, games, a decorated bike & stroller parade, campsite & costume decorating contests, and a potluck dinner. Check campsite availability and reserve your site at www.ohiostateparks.org. For more information about the event, call (330) 637-2856.

Pioneer Days, Beaver Creek (NE) - Oct. 1-2 at the pioneer village & Gaston’s Mill. Enjoy the backdrop of fall color for this heritage event featuring craft displays and demonstrations of pioneer life, including the working grist mill. (330) 382-9227. The nearby Beaver Creek Wildlife Education Center is open from 10 AM-5 PM, with fun duck races held at 3 PM on Sunday. For more information about the event, call (330) 385-3091or visit www.beavercreekwildlife.org.

Apple Butter Festival, Hueston Woods (SW) - Oct. 1-2 at the pioneer farm. Savor the sights, smells and tastes of fall with demonstrations of traditional apple butter making and pioneer crafts. Apples and apple products, pumpkins and decorative gourds are for sale. There is a $2 admission fee for adults; children under 12 are free. Proceeds benefit the Oxford Museum Association. For more information about this event call (513) 524-4250.

Brys Estate Hosts 2nd Annual Harvest Tour – Every Saturday in October

You are invited to experience autumn on Old Mission Peninsula with the Brys Estate 2nd Annual Harvest Tour, running from 11 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., every Saturday in October.

For $5 per person, guests are given a large souvenir wine glass to use as they visit four different wine and food pairing stations throughout the tasting room, barrel rooms and winery cellar giving visitors a glimpse into the inner workings of the winery. Each wine will be paired with a small bite, created by Eileen Brys – including her famous dark chocolate brownies. The last wine sample, at the main bar, is “guest’s choice.”

The patio will be open for guests to enjoy their favorite wine by the glass, while soaking up the fall colors that will be exploding in every direction. Guests may even sneak a peak at the grapes being harvested in the estate vineyards that surround the tasting room.

“This Fall Harvest Tour was a hit last year and we expect it to be just as popular this season,” says Patrick Brys. “This year’s dates are October 1, 8, 15, 22 and 29 from 11am to 5:30 pm. On October 1st the winery will close at 5pm.”

Brys Estate Vineyard & Winery is centrally located in the heart of the Old Mission Peninsula – situated on 80 acres with breathtaking views of East Grand Traverse Bay – in Traverse City, Michigan. This boutique winery began with the planting of 32 acres of European vinifera grapes in 2001 and opened the tasting room in May of 2005. Using the highest quality standards, Brys hand picks its grapes and hand crafts its small batch, single vineyard wines, giving attention to every detail during the crushing, fermenting, aging and bottling process. You are invited to visit Brys Estate's old world-style tasting room and new outdoor patio this summer to sample their International award-winning estate wines.

www.BrysEstate.com

www.Facebook.com/BrysEstate

www.Twitter.com/BrysEstate

Illinois Fall Trout Fishing Season Begins on Oct. 15


Trout Being Stocked at 37 Locations

The 2011 Illinois fall trout fishing season opens on Saturday, Oct. 15 at 37 ponds and lakes throughout the state, Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) Director Marc Miller announced today.

"Fishing is a great family activity and the fall trout season is a great opportunity to take the kids fishing,” Miller said. “Fall is a great time to spend time outdoors, and we want to encourage youth, families and experienced anglers to participate in the fall catchable trout season.”

More than 70,000 trout are stocked by IDNR at the locations listed below just prior to the opening of the fall trout season. Anglers are reminded that no trout may be taken from any of the stocked sites from Oct. 1 until the fall trout season opens on Oct. 15 at 5 a.m.

To take trout legally beginning Oct. 15, anglers must have a fishing license and an inland trout stamp, unless they are under the age of 16, blind or disabled, or are an Illinois resident on leave from active duty in the Armed Forces. The daily catch limit for each angler is five trout.

Anglers are reminded to check the opening time of their favorite trout fishing location if they plan to go fishing on opening day. While regulations allow trout season to open at 5 a.m. on Oct. 15, not all locations are open that early.

For more information on fall trout season and other Illinois fishing opportunities, check the web site at www.ifishillinois.org.

Illinois fishing licenses and inland trout stamps are available at DNR Direct license and permit locations, including many bait shops, sporting goods stores and other retail outlets. Fishing licenses and trout stamps can also be purchased by using a credit card through DNR Direct online via the IDNR website at www.dnr.illinois.gov or by calling DNR Direct toll-free at 1-888-6PERMIT (1-888-673-7648).

Anglers in northwest Illinois are advised that the catchable trout program operated previously at the Coleta Trout Ponds has been relocated due to significant weed problems and public safety concerns due to infrastructure problems at the Coleta ponds. Thanks to the cooperation of the Coloma Township Park District in Rock Falls, trout fishing conducted previously at the Coleta ponds has been moved to Centennial Park Lake in Rock Falls.

For more information about all site regulations, anglers should contact individual sites that will be stocked with catchable-size trout. The 37 locations are:
  • Adams County: Siloam Springs State Park, 217/894-6205 
  • Bond County: Greenville Old City Lake (Patriot’s Park Lake), 618/664-2330 
  • Bureau County: Hennepin Canal Parkway State Park, 815/454-2328 
  • Christian County: Manners Park Pond in Taylorville, 217/824-3110 
  • Coles County: Campus Pond at Eastern Illinois University, 217/345-2420 
  • Cook County: Axehead Lake - Cook County Forest Preserve District, 847/294-4134 
  • Cook County: Belleau Lake - Cook County Forest Preserve District, 847/294-4134 
  • Crawford County: Crawford County Conservation Area Pond, 618/563-4405 
  • Douglas County: Villa Grove West Lake, 217/345-2420 
  • Jefferson County: Mount Vernon Game Farm Pond, 618/547-3610 
  • Johnson County: Ferne Clyffe State Park, 618/995-2411 
  • Kankakee County: Bird Park Quarry in Kankakee, 815/939-1311 
  • Kendall County: Big Lake at Silver Springs State Fish and Wildlife Area, 630/553-6297 
  • Lake County: Banana Lake - Lake County Forest Preserve, 815/675-2319 
  • Lake County: Sand Lake at Illinois Beach State Park North Unit, 847/662-4828 
  • Macon County: Rock Springs Pond - Macon County Conservation District, 217/423-7708 
  • Macoupin County: Beaver Dam Lake at Beaver Dam State Park, 217/854-8020 
  • Madison County: Highland Old City Lake, 618/651-1386 
  • Marion County: Boston Pond at Stephen A. Forbes State Recreation Area, 618/547-3381 
  • Massac County: Fairgrounds Pond at Fort Massac State Park in Metropolis, 618/524-4712 
  • McDonough County: Argyle Lake at Argyle Lake State Park, 309/776-3422 
  • Randolph County: Randolph County State Fish and Wildlife Area Lake, 618/826-2706 
  • Randolph County: Derby Lake at World Shooting and Recreational Complex in Sparta, 618/295-2700 
  • Rock Island County: Prospect Park Pond in Moline, 815/454-2759 
  • St. Clair County: Frank Holten State Recreation Area Lake, 618/874-7920 
  • St. Clair County: Jones Park Lake in East St. Louis, 618/847-7920 
  • St. Clair County: Willow Lake at Peabody River King State Fish and Wildlife Area, 618/785-2555 
  • Saline County: Jones Lake Trout Pond at Saline County State Fish and Wildlife Area, 618/276-4405 
  • Sangamon County: IDOT Lake in Springfield, 309/543-3316 
  • Sangamon County: Washington Park Pond in Springfield, 309/543-3316 
  • Shelby County: Forest Park Lagoon in Shelbyville, 217/345-2420 
  • Tazewell County: Mineral Springs Park Lagoon in Pekin, 309/968-7568 
  • Vermilion County: Clear Lake at Kickapoo State Recreation Area, 217/442-4915 
  • Wabash County: Beall Woods Lake at Beall Woods State Park, 618/298-2442 
  • Warren County: Citizen's Lake in Monmouth, 309/344-2617 
  • Wayne County: Sam Dale Trout Pond at Sam Dale Lake State Fish and Wildlife Area, 618/835-2292 
  • Whiteside County: Centennial Park Lake in Rock Falls, Coloma Park District, 815/625-0272 (New Location for Fall 2011)

Chateau Chantal Announces Harvest Festival 2011

Chateau Chantal announces their 12th annual Harvest Day on Saturday, October 1st from 12 noon to 4pm. Celebrate the wonders of the grape harvest and roam the winery and Bed & Breakfast during this spirited open house. All activities take place at Chateau Chantal, 12 miles North on Old Mission Peninsula. Harvest Day is open to the public and hosts the following activities, including a family fun grape stomp experience:

1 pm: Mini Slurpin’ Seminar – Learn the basics of wine tasting – slurping noises encouraged!

2 pm: Grape Stompin’ – Put Lucille Ball to shame and get in line for your chance to crush grapes the old fashioned way; with your feet!

3 pm: Mini Distillation Seminar – get an up-close view of our copper pot still and learn the basics from the winemakers about our distilled ports and brandy.

Additional benefits to the day include:
  • Exclusive case discounts of 20% off a full case of any one wine 
  • Wine Aroma Challenge & displays 
  • Winery founder, Nadine Begin, signs copies of her cookbook memoir from her open house residence (above the tasting room) 
  • Sign-up for the Wine Club 
  • Register early for Wine and Cooking Seminars 
  • Bed & Breakfast reservations & packages 
  • Private label wines (order before the holiday rush!)
Wine Tasting 11 am-7 pm 
We have several wine tasting areas (to relieve congestion) with the same wines for sampling, as well as a separate Wines by the Glass with Michigan Cheese Plates bar.

Chateau Chantal is a unique development that combines a winery, vineyards, bed and breakfast, residence, six private home sites, and winding roads, all of which combine to create a “retreat into the Old World.” The 65 acre site sits high atop a ridge 12 miles north of Traverse City, Michigan on the beautiful and historic Old Mission Peninsula. Chateau Chantal crafts many styles of wine, allowing the grape to dictate the style. The location’s unparalleled views and outstanding staff play host to B&B activities, cooking classes, wine education opportunities, Tapas Tours, conferences and meetings, small weddings, and friendly regional wine events.

Fall RV Show: If money were no object...

So let's play make believe.

You win the lottery and you've got $100,000 burning a hole in your pocket.

But you can only spend it at the 22nd Annual Fall Detroit Camper & RV Show.

So what do you get?

Green Lake Boat Launch Site and Campground to Close for Repairs Oct. 10-21

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources has announced that the Green Lake boat launch site and campground in the Waterloo State Recreation Area near Chelsea will close temporarily on Monday, Oct. 10, for an improvement project. The construction project, which is the second phase of improvements at Green Lake, includes installing a new concrete boat ramp, restoring the parking lot and completing road improvements. The campground and boat launch are expected to reopen on Friday, Oct. 21.

During the temporary closure, anglers can explore the fishing opportunities at any one of the other nine boat launch sites in Waterloo, visit www.michigan.gov/waterloo for further information. For those wishing to camp, Sugarloaf Lake and Portage Lake Campgrounds are open.

The Green Lake boat launch site improvement project is funded through the Michigan State Waterways Fund, a restricted fund derived from boat registration fees and the Michigan marine fuel tax, which is used for the construction, operation and maintenance of recreational boating facilities, harbors and inland waterways.

For more information about the Green Lake boat launch site improvements, contact Waterloo Recreation Area Park Manager Gary Jones at 734-475-8307.

Covert/South Haven KOA Hosting Halloween Harvest Festival

Two Special Weekends Offer Campers Unique Way to Celebrate Fall 
 
Campers looking for a fun fall Halloween experience for their families have two weekends to choose from this year at the Covert/South Haven KOA Campground, 39397 M-140 Highway in Covert, Michigan.

The Covert/South Haven KOA Harvest Festival and Halloween Fun Weekends will be held Friday, September 30 through Sunday, October 2; and again on Friday, October 7 through Sunday, October 9.

Events will celebrate the harvest season with pumpkin decorating contests, a haunted hay ride, campsite-to-campsite treat or treating, as well as crafts and games.

For more information on these special event weekends, or to book your reservation call 269-764-0818, email southhavenkoa@yahoo.com or visit koa.com/camp/covert.

Kampgrounds of America, founded on the banks of the Yellowstone River in Billings, Montana in 1962, is now the world’s largest system of open-to-the-public family campgrounds. KOA has 475 locations in the United States and Canada.

Bumper-to-bumper coverage of the Fall Detroit RV Show

So many RVs, so little time...

The 22nd Annual MARVAC Fall Detroit Camper & RV SHow is coming Oct. 5-9 to the Suburban Collection Showplace in Novi, MI. As always, the expo center will be jam-packed with over 200 motor homes, fifth-wheels, toy haulers, travel trailers, hybrids, tear drops, pop-ups, truck campers ... pause, take a breath ... and all the other RVs the people from Indiana are rolling out.

I'm trying to set my work schedule so I can get to the RV show every day. Weekdays the show is open from 2-9 p.m., so I'm thinking I can get there after work pretty easily. Sunday, the show is open 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., so, that, too, shouldn't be a problem. Saturday might be the tough one. My son has a baseball game at 11 a.m. and I'm sure there's going to be other things that day we have to do. But, the show's open from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. so there will be plenty of opportunity.

My normal routine at the RV show is to start on one end and go up and down the rows until I exit out the other end. Just a quick run-through to get a lay of the land, then decide which RVs to go back to for more detailed inspection.

Oh, and I always grab as many brochures as I can everywhere I go. Good reading material to make it through the long winter.

Here's my question for you though: What RVs do you want me to take a look at and report back on?

Weekend-Long ‘GO-Get Outdoors’ Geocaching Event at Hayes State Park (MI) Sept. 30-Oct. 2

Take part in the latest high-tech treasure hunting craze during Lazy Hayes Days Friday through Sunday, Sept. 30-Oct. 2, at Hayes State Park, 1220 Wamplers Lake Rd., Onstead, in Lenawee County, Michigan.

Geocaching is an outdoor activity in which the participants use a Global Positioning System (GPS) receiver to hide and seek containers, called "geocaches."

Hayes State Park and the Michigan Geocaching Organization are hosting the weekend of camping and caching with Rodney “Rockin’ Roddy” Holbrook and the Cachestalkers. The annual event brings cachers from across the state to enjoy all the beauty the Irish Hills area and Hayes State Park have to offer.

New caches are hidden each year specifically for this event. This year’s weekend includes a night hike, a new kayak cache and several traditional “hides.”

The weekend kicks off on Friday evening with a fire pit hot dog social. Saturday is the main event day when cachers have time to find the area hides and mingle with fellow cachers. The Michigan Department of Natural Resources will offer a Recreation 101 program on Saturday titled “Geocaching 101” for those who want to learn more about the activity. For information on the program including time, contact the park office at 517-467-7401. The event concludes with a camper’s breakfast on Sunday. For further details, email Rodney Holbrook at roddyville65@comcast.net.

A Recreation Passport is required for vehicles entering Hayes State Park. The Recreation Passport has replaced motor vehicle permits for entry into Michigan state parks, recreation areas and state-administered boating access fee sites. This new way to fund Michigan's outdoor recreation opportunities also helps to preserve state forest campgrounds, trails, and historic and cultural sites in state parks, and provides park development grants to local communities.

Michigan residents can purchase the Recreation Passport ($10 for motor vehicles; $5 for motorcycles) by checking "YES" on their license plate renewal forms, or at any state park or recreation area. Nonresident motor vehicles must still display a valid nonresident Recreation Passport ($29 annual; $8 daily) to enter a Michigan state park, recreation area or state-administered boating access fee site; these can be purchased at any state park or recreation area, or through the Michigan e-Store at www.michigan.gov/estore. To learn more about the Recreation Passport, visit www.michigan.gov/recreationpassport or call 517-241-7275.

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources is committed to the conservation, protection, management, use and enjoyment of the state's natural and cultural resources for current and future generations. For more information, go to www.michigan.gov/dnr.

MI DNR organizing volunteer stewardship opportunities in Southwest Michigan

Southwest Michigan residents will now have more opportunities to get involved with their favorite state parks and learn about native ecosystems by volunteering for stewardship workdays with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources.

The DNR’s Stewardship Unit in the Parks and Recreation Division works with volunteers, scouts, community groups, Master Gardeners, students, and others interested in habitat protection in state parks and recreation areas. The Volunteer Stewardship program is a great way to spend time outdoors while helping to preserve and protect Michigan’s unique habitats, such as the freshwater dunes that line Lake Michigan, prairies, prairie fens and other habitat that supports rare and endangered species.

The DNR Volunteer Stewardship program in southwest Michigan will kick off this fall by collecting native grass and wildflower seed from prairie and oak savanna ecosystems. Nearly eliminated by development, remnants of this important habitat still exist in Michigan’s state parks and recreation areas. Seeds will be used in state parks to restore prairie habitat to support rare species. Seed collection days will begin in October at Fort Custer Recreation Area in Kalamazoo County and Grand Mere State Park in Berrien County.

“Volunteers have been an important asset in our commitment to improving habitat at our state parks and recreation areas. Through their efforts, we’re helping preserve natural ecosystems for future generations,” said Ray Fahlsing, DNR stewardship unit manager.

Other volunteer opportunities will include invasive plant and shrub removal, seedling planting and habitat monitoring at nine state parks and recreation areas including: Warren Dunes State Park (Berrien County), Warren Woods State Park (Berrien County), Grand Mere State Park (Berrien County), Saugatuck Dunes State Park (Allegan County), Muskegon State Park (Muskegon County), P.J. Hoffmaster State Park (Muskegon County), Yankee Springs Recreation Area (Barry County), Fort Custer Recreation Area (Kalamazoo County) and Ionia Recreation Area (Ionia County).

Volunteer opportunities in October will focus on local native seed collection for ongoing habitat restoration efforts. The fall work season will also include invasive shrub removal from November through December at Fort Custer and Yankee Springs Recreation Areas. A complete schedule of seed collection dates and other volunteer opportunities in southwest Michigan, including meeting times, locations and a registration form are available on the DNR website: www.michigan.gov/dnrvolunteers then click on the “Calendar of Volunteer Stewardship Workdays” link.

For more information on seed collecting or the volunteer stewardship program in southwest Michigan parks, contact Heidi Frei, Southwest Michigan natural resources steward, at 269-685-6851 x147 or freih@michigan.gov.

The Department of Natural Resources is committed to the conservation, protection, management, and accessible use and enjoyment of the state’s environment, natural resources, and related economic interests for current and future generations. To learn more, go to www.michigan.gov/dnr.

Conneaut Resident Captures Judges’ Favorite in 2011 “Life on Lake Erie” Photo Contest

Conneaut resident Richard McBride caught the judges’ attention and received the overall favorite award in this year’s “Life on Lake Erie” photo contest. McBride’s black-and-white image, entitled “Cleveland Tall Ships”, depicts two Tall Ships sailing through the Cleveland Harbor. McBride was recognized for his winning photo along with nine other “Judges’ Favorites” by the members of the Ohio Lake Erie Commission at their September 15th meeting in Bay Village. The Ohio Lake Erie Commission sponsors the contest annually and encourages camera aficionados to submit photos that convey the “Life on Lake Erie” message as they enjoy Ohio’s Great Lake year round.

This year’s photo contest winners are from all along the Lake Erie shoreline from Toledo to Conneaut. The winning photos can be found on the Ohio Lake Erie Commission website, http://www.lakeerie.ohio.gov/.

The photo contest, which drew more than 100 entries this year, is aimed at capturing the day-to-day lives of people, plants and animals that live and thrive in the Lake Erie watershed. Winning photos are featured in the Commission’s traveling Lake Erie Photo Gallery that will be exhibited at the Lake Erie Nature & Science Center in October as well as other destinations along the shoreline in the coming months.

Other Photo Winners Were:
  • Jeff Jelinger of Toledo for his picture entitled, “Lonely” of a picnic table sitting on the beach at Maumee Bay State Park.
  • Lorie Wilber of Oberlin for her photo entitled, “Happy Hour” of two filled glasses reflecting the sunset at Marblehead.
  • Jarrod Will of Westerville for his two photos entitled, “Day at the Beach” of a family strolling near the Fairport Harbor Lighthouse and “Sunset Sail” a sailboat sailing into the sunset in the Cleveland Harbor.
  • Patricia Healey of Toledo for her picture entitled, “Perry’s Monument View” of Perry’s Monument taken from Middle Bass Island.
  • Richard McBride of Conneaut for his photo entitled, “Cleveland Lighthouse” of the frozen lighthouse taken from the Cleveland Harbor.
  • Julie Oglesbee of Marblehead for her photo entitled, “Beyond the Storm” of a Lake Erie sunset with a storm passing.
  • Michelle Guerra of Port Clinton for her photo entitled, “Big Bird Watch Week” of visitors watching the migration of birds at Magee Marsh.
  • Martha Huepenbecker of Toledo for her photo entitled, “Great Blue” of a beautiful Blue Heron at Side Cut Park in Maumee Ohio.
  • Hazel Bonnough of Curtice for her photo entitled, “A Family Affair” of a family of five fishing in the sunset at Maumee Bay State Park.
  • Rich Ruess of Norwalk for his photo entitled, “Leisurely Life of a Squirrel” of a squirrel resting on a rail at Sheldon Marsh State Nature Preserve. 
The Ohio Lake Erie Commission was established for the purpose of preserving Lake Erie’s natural resources, protecting the quality of its waters and ecosystem, and promoting economic development in the region. The director of the Ohio Department of Natural Resources serves as the commission’s chairman. Additional members include the directors of the state departments of Transportation, Health, Development, Agriculture and the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency.

The Commission also oversees the Ohio Lake Erie Protection Fund, which is the source of grant money for projects that benefit the lake’s watershed economically and environmentally. The fund is supported by Ohioans who purchase a Lake Erie license plate displaying the Marblehead Lighthouse or Toledo Harbor Lighthouse designed by Ohio artist Ben Richmond.

Detroit Camper & RV Show runs Oct. 5-9 in Novi

Typically, RV dealers offer end-of-season sale prices at the
Fall Detroit Camper & RV Show, which is Oct. 5-9 at the
Suburban Collection Showplace in Novi.
RV dealers reporting higher-than-predicted sales

With the 22nd Annual Fall Detroit Camper & RV Show coming Oct. 5-9 to the Suburban Collection Showplace (formerly Rock Financial Showplace) in Novi, the latest sales statistics indicate that the recreation vehicle industry remains on the road to recovery.

Semi-annual sales reports show that the RV market continued to rise through the first half of 2011. The total wholesale shipments of 144,000 units reflected an increase of nearly six percent more than last year, with only 136,000 units shipped in the same time period.

RV shipments are now slightly ahead of the year-end projections by Dr. Richard Curtin, director of the Survey of Consumers at the University of Michigan, who predicted shipments would rise to 260,200 units in 2011, a 7.4 percent increase over last year of 242,300 units.

So why are more consumers choosing to purchase an RV? Ask any RVer and their answers will usually include such terms as affordability, convenience and just plain old family fun.

According to a study by PKF Consulting, RV vacations are more affordable than travel by personal car, commercial airline or cruise ship. Even when factoring in RV ownership costs, and considering tax benefits, a family of four can spend up to 61 percent less when traveling by RV.

RVs also offer people convenience and flexibility when traveling. RVers can go where they want, when they want — without the worry and stress of strict schedules, advance reservations, airport waits and luggage restrictions. RVers can also decide on a moment’s notice to pack up and move on to the next stop — or stay longer wherever they’re at — without restrictions or travel fees.

Besides traveling, camping and outdoor recreation, RVs can be used year-round for events such as tailgating at sporting events, weekend shopping trips, festivals, picnics or holiday gatherings. RVs also allow you the comforts of home—fully equipped kitchen and baths, comfortable beds, TV and stereo entertainment—while on the road or at the campground.

Of course, nothing brings a family closer together than camping and RVing. But if you haven’t been inside an RV lately, then you’ll be pleasantly surprised at how spacious and comfortable these campers on wheels have become. Such things as slideouts and flat screen televisions have truly maximized the interior space of today’s RVs, so even if a rainy day keeps you inside the camper there’s still plenty of room for everyone.

There’s no better place to explore the world of RVing than at an RV show. Fortunately, the 22nd Annual Fall Detroit Camper & RV Show will be held in Novi at the Suburban Collection Showplace (formerly Rock Financial Showplace), Oct. 5-9. The show is open weekdays 2-9 p.m., Saturday 11 a.m.-9 p.m. and Sunday 11 p.m.-6 p.m. Adult admission (ages 13 and up) is $8, senior admission is $7, and children 12 and under get in free!

A special $1 off coupon is available at www.marvac.org, southeast Michigan Tim Hortons Café and Bake Shops, Big Boy restaurants and in area newspapers. The “2011 RV & Campsite,” a guide to camping and RVing in Michigan, will be available free at the show. Your RV show ticket will also get you into the Fall Remodeling & Design Expo in an adjacent arena, Thursday through Sunday.

The show is sponsored by the Michigan Association of Recreation Vehicles and Campgrounds (MARVAC), a member organization representing all aspects of the camping and RV industry. Call 517-349-8881 or visit www.marvac.org for more information.

Usher in a New Season with the Return of Fall Flavor Weekends in Greenfield Village, Sept. 24-25 and Oct. 1-2

Greenfield Village celebrates the fall season with a bustling Farmer’s Market and a schedule chock-full of cooking demonstrations both in the homes by presenters in the village and by our own Executive Chef Michael Trombley during Fall Flavor Weekends, September 24-25 and October 1-2. Fall Flavor Weekends are free with membership or admission to Greenfield Village. For more information, call (313) 982-6001 or visit our website www.thehenryford.org/fallflavor.

At the Farmer’s Market, The Henry Ford’s connection of local producers and growers bring only the best in home-grown, homemade products to the Village Pavilion, Saturday, September 24th and Saturday, October 1st, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. From fresh seasonal fruits and vegetables, honey, spices, meats and breads, nothing compares to these Michigan-made goods. Pick up some aromatic mint products from the Crosby Mint Farm or locally-produced meat at the Ernst Farms booth. Get swept away with handmade brooms from Tschetter Brooms or purchase delicious baked goods from the Dearborn Animal Shelter to support a great cause.

Follow the aroma of harvest cooking as presenters, at the homes and farms in the village, cook up traditional fall recipes. Stop by the Susquehanna Plantation for stuffed planked fish, baked apple pudding and scalloped tomatoes, and at the Daggett Farmhouse see how beer brewing and bread making go hand in hand. The ladies at the Adams Family Home will prepare apple rice pudding, rabbit pie and fried cabbage with bacon, while at Firestone Farm catch the men pressing cider from heirloom apples and the women baking bread, making a hearty soup and preparing apple butter.

On Sunday September 25 and October 2, the newest member of our award-winning culinary team, Executive Chef Michael Trombley, will prepare two of his creations right before your eyes. At 12 noon, its corn flake crusted pork tenderloin with root vegetable sauté, Michigan apple cider and dried cherry sauce and at 2 p.m., Great Lakes Walleye with great northern bean and root vegetable stew, oven dried tomato and wilted greens

About The Henry Ford
The Henry Ford, in Dearborn, Michigan, is the world’s premier history destination and a National Historic Landmark that celebrates American history and innovation. Its mission is to provide unique educational experiences based on authentic objects, stories and lives from America’s traditions of ingenuity, resourcefulness and innovation. Its purpose is to inspire people to learn from these traditions to help shape a better future. Five distinct attractions at The Henry Ford captivate more than 1.5 million visitors annually: Henry Ford Museum, Greenfield Village, The Ford Rouge Factory Tour, The Benson Ford Research Center and The Henry Ford IMAX Theatre. The Henry Ford is also home to Henry Ford Academy, a public charter high school which educates 485 students a year on the institution’s campus and was founded in partnership with The Henry Ford, Ford Motor Company and Wayne County Public Schools. For more information please visit our website thehenryford.org.

American Institute of Architects Detroit 2011 House Tour showcases 'Generations of Residential Design' Sept. 25


Bloomfield Hills/Bloomfield Township home tour features homes by local AIA member architects, Frank Lloyd Wright Eliel Saarinen, and more

The American Institute of Architects Detroit Chapter (AIA Detroit) will be holding its popular AIA Detroit House Tour on Sunday, September 25 in the Bloomfield Hills/Bloomfield Township area. This year’s tour, themed ‘’Generations of Innovative Residential Design” will include homes by local AIA member architects as well as houses designed by internationally renowned architects including Frank Lloyd Wright, Eliel Saarinen and more.

The purpose of the AIA Detroit House Tour is to advance the public’s understanding of how architecture impacts our daily lives by showcasing the way that innovative structures not only provide shelter, but also contribute to our quality of life. The Bloomfield Hills/Bloomfield Township tour provides visitors with the opportunity to see some of the area’s most cutting-edge homes, from post-industrial through mid-century modern to contemporary. In addition to Wright and Saarinen, other homes on the tour were designed by Gunnar Birkerts, McIntosh Poris, Fanning Howey, and Michael Wolk & Associates.

“AIA Detroit loves to put this event on for the public because it offers a unique opportunity to connect people to architecture in a forum that most people can relate to: the residence, said Scott Courtney, AIA, LEED AP, BD+C, AIA Detroit House Tour Committee chair. “Tour participants have the opportunity to view these distinctive residential projects from the inside out, meet with project designers, explore housing trends, and discover unique design solutions that inspire residential living.”

The tour starts at 11 am, rain or shine, on Sunday, September 25 at the Bloomfileld Township Public Library, Telegraph Road at Lone Pine Road in Bloomfield Township, with buses running at regular intervals throughout the afternoon until 5 pm. Tickets are $25 the day of the tour, and $20 in advance. Tickets may be purchased in advance at several local businesses including Blossom’s and McQueen’s Carpets & Rugs in Birmingham; Bright Ideas Furniture in Royal Oak and the Bright Ideas Clearance Center in Southfield; and Russell Hardware in Bloomfield Hills. Tickets also may be purchased by visiting www.aiadetroit.com or calling AIA Detroit 313-965-4100. No refunds, cameras, personal vehicles or children under 12 are allowed.



About AIA Detroit/AIA Michigan: The purpose of AIA Detroit and AIA Michigan is to serve its membership, advance the values of the profession, and improve the quality of the built environment. For more information on the American Institute of Architects Michigan and AIA Detroit, visit www.aiami.com and www.aiadetroit.com.

“Ordinary History, Extraordinary Women' at Fort Meigs Sept. 24-25

PERRSYBURG, Ohio- Dive into the history of the women who made our country great! From women on the home front to women on the battlefield, Ordinary History, Extraordinary Women will show you how women have contributed to help make America what it is today.

Ordinary History, Extraordinary Women will include a small living history encampment from several time periods. In addition there will be hands-on activities and demonstrations. Historical interpreters will discuss roles of women in history as well as provide demonstrations of skills and trades women provided at home and on the battlefield. Meet a German nurse from WWII, talk to a teacher from the Civil War, see a demonstration of ladies side saddle riding, and more. Activities will take place throughout the weekend. War of 1812 soldiers will demonstrate how to fire muskets and cannons throughout the day.

Fort Meigs is open from 9:30 – 5:00 p.m. on both days of the event. Event admissions is $8 for adults, $7 for seniors, $4 for children (6 – 18 years), OHS members and children five and under are free.

Fort Meigs, the largest reconstructed, wooden-walled fort in the country, is located one mile west of downtown Perrysburg at 29100 W. River Road (S.R. 65). For more information on this event or all of the other events at this National Historic Landmark, visit us on-line at www.fortmeigs.org or call 800-283-8916.

Boyne Mountain’s Skitoberfest Features Gold Medalist Seth Wescott and Oktoberfest-Style Fun

Boyne Mountain Resort is hosting its 3rd annual Skitoberfest on Saturday, October 1. The event celebrates the coming snowsports season with a summit featuring Olympic gold medalist, Seth Wescott, as well as an array of family fun, Michigan beer, wine and spirit tastings, and gourmet food in an Oktoberfest-style setting.

The Snowsports Summit takes place from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. in the resort’s Civic Center and admission is free. The Summit is hosted by Olympian and U.S. Ski and Snowboard Hall of Fame inductee, Cary Adgate, and showcases equipment, technique and physical conditioning tips, and features special guest, Seth Wescott! Wescott is an accomplished athlete having won Olympic gold in men’s snowboard cross in 2010 and 2006 and is also a nine time X-Games medalist. Outdoors, skiers and snowboarders can strap on their boots and compete in a Rail Jam at 5 p.m. near the base of the slopes.

Beginning at 2 p.m., children and family activities include a petting zoo, horse-drawn hayrides, bonfires and sing-alongs, antique cider press demonstrations, a juggler, bounce house, balloon artists, pony and horse rides, parade of decorated golf carts and spontaneous dance routines performed by Crooked Tree Arts Center and Boyne City High School students. Many activities are free of charge and continue until 8 p.m. in the Village at Boyne Mountain. Attendees can also take in views of fall foliage with Twin Zip Rides, two excursions for $20, and free scenic chairlift rides to the top of Boyne Mountain.

A tasting tent is open from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. with more than 50 Michigan beers, wines and spirits, plus area restaurants, markets and farms serving up specialty dishes for sampling. Admission is $25 and includes a Skitoberfest pint glass and 10 tasting tickets good towards food and beverage. Participating breweries include Atwater, Arbor, B. Nektar Meadery, Bell's, Cheboygan, Dark Horse, Founders, Mount Pleasant, New Holland, North Peak, Short's and more. Featured Michigan wines include Black Star Farms, Bowers Harbor, Cascade Winery, Chateau Chantal, Chateau Fontaine, Chateau Grand Traverse, Good Harbor, Lake Effect Winery and Mackinaw Trail. Michigan spirits are also available for sampling. Festival goers can balance the libations with edibles from Alpine Chocolat Haus, Bella Vita, Cafe Santé, Kitchen Angel, Lake Street Market, Red Mesa Grill, Shaleen Millard and Tannery Creek Market. At 8 p.m., good times continue as the tent is energized with a DJ, dancing and a cash bar until midnight. Admission is free after 8 p.m.

Nightly hotel lodging starts at just $72 with condo lodging from $138. For complete Skitoberfest details and to reserve lodging at Boyne Mountain Resort, visit www.BOYNE.com or call 800.GO.BOYNE (462-6963).

Pittsburgh Happenings

Ehhh… What’s Up Doc? This!
The ToonSeum, billed as one of only a few museums in the nation dedicated to cartoon arts, will be tripling its space by November 2011. The 6,000-square-feet ToonSeum will continue to draw visitors from around the world to Pittsburgh. Its upcoming schedule includes exhibits on 9/11, Warner Brother Cartoons, African American Animation, Disney Animation, Batman and new exhibits every two months. A partnership with the Wyndham Grand hotel resulted in the creation of the “Toon Room,” a guest room that is decorated with works from the ToonSeum, which includes passes to the museum. www.toonseum.org

Vulture Awareness Day
Vulture populations around the world are in dramatic decline, and many species could face extinction within the next 10 years. To draw attention to their plight, conservation groups have established Sept. 3, 2011, as the third annual International Vulture Awareness Day. For its part, the National Aviary in Pittsburgh will hold a full day of activities and vulture programming. The day will include a trainer-led feeding in the outdoor Andean condor exhibit, talks, a vulture biofact table and more. The National Aviary will also formally launch a fundraising campaign to build a new exhibit area for its Andean condors. www.aviary.com

New Rachel Carson Homestead ‘Pop-Up’
While the Rachel Carson Homestead is undergoing renovations, a new Rachel Carson “pop-up” Community Environmental Center and exhibit will open the weekend of Sept. 10. The exhibit will move to different locations throughout Pittsburgh in an effort to raise awareness about Rachel Carson’s life and legacy. The exhibit includes panels that tell Rachel’s story and features an area where children can learn about environmental responsibility. In addition, the Annual Rachel Carson Sustainable Feast takes place on Oct. 1 in her hometown of Springdale. Local and sustainable food will be prepared by top chefs in the region.

Pittsburgh Biennial – Gertrude’s/LOT
Once home to such cultural luminaries as Mary Cassatt, Willa Cather, Martha Graham and Gertrude Stein, today’s Pittsburgh continues to produce and play home to some of the most talented women artists in the nation. For the Pittsburgh Biennial 2011, The Warhol assembles an exhibition dedicated to these artists whos work aims at transgressing boundraries in a nod to Stein and her important life’s work. Artists included in the show either currently live or work in Pittsburgh, or have spent a period of many years here. Sept. 17, 2011 – Jan. 8, 2012.

A ‘Wicked’ Return Engagement
After breaking box office records and selling out in record time in 2005 and 2008, WICKED, Broadway’s biggest blockbuster, returns to the Benedum Center on Sept. 7-Oct. 2, 2011, as part of the PNC Broadway Across America – Pittsburgh Series. Based on the best-selling 1995 novel by Gregory Maguire, WICKED, winner of 35 major awards, including a Grammy and three Tony Awards, is the untold story of the witches of Oz.

Step Back in Time to 1896 and experience life in a Logging Camp at Hartwick Pines State Park (MI)

Hartwick Pines State Park visitors can journey back to 1896 and meet members of the Salling, Hanson and Company’s “Section 9 Camp” as they prepare for the coming winter logging season during an event planned from 7 to 9 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 17. Costumed interpreters will portray a saloon keeper, a railroad surveyor, the landlooker, the camp clerk, the camp cooks, a teamster, and some of the shantyboys, the men who cut down the trees.

The Logging Museum will be transformed into the “Section 9 Camp,” which was located in what is now Hartwick Pines, for the night. Visitors will take on the role of new employees of the Salling, Hanson and Company and journey from the “Grayling Train Depot” (the visitor center) to the logging camp. The lantern-lit, one-quarter mile walk between the visitor center and the logging museum will represent the eight-mile journey to the camp. There the newcomers will learn first hand about life in the bunkhouse, the search for tall timber, the huge appetites of the lumberjacks and the dangers of lumbering.

The campfire on the “camboose” will round out the evening. Visitors should plan on spending approximately an hour, but are invited to stay longer. Doors of the visitor center will open at 6:30 p.m., with tours starting at 7 p.m. The last tour will leave at 8:30 p.m.

Hartwick Pines State Park is located at 4216 Ranger Rd. in Grayling, Michigan. Hartwick Pines Logging Museum is part of the Michigan Historical Museum Family. It is administered by the Michigan Historical Center and the Parks and Recreation Division of the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. For more information about this event or other programs at the Hartwick Pines Logging Museum, please call 989-348-2537 or visit www.michigan.gov/loggingmuseum.

There is no charge for this event; however a Recreation Passport is required for vehicles entering the park.

The Recreation Passport has replaced motor vehicle permits for entry into Michigan state parks, recreation areas and state-administered boating access fee sites. This new way to fund Michigan's outdoor recreation opportunities also helps to preserve state forest campgrounds, trails and historic and cultural sites in state parks, and provides park development grants to local communities.

Michigan residents can purchase the Recreation Passport ($10 for motor vehicles; $5 for motorcycles) by checking "YES" on their license plate renewal forms, or at any state park or recreation area. Nonresident motor vehicles must still display a valid nonresident Recreation Passport ($29 annual; $8 daily) to enter a Michigan state park, recreation area or state-administered boating access fee site; these can be purchased at any state park or recreation area, or through the Michigan e-Store at www.michigan.gov/estore. To learn more about the Recreation Passport, visit www.michigan.gov/recreationpassport or call 517-241-7275.

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources is committed to the conservation, protection, management, use and enjoyment of the state's natural and cultural resources for current and future generations. For more information, go to www.michigan.gov/dnr.

Local Artist Brings Copper Bowl Workshop to Porcupine Mountains Folk School Sept. 17

Join the Michigan Department of Natural Resources at the Porcupine Mountains Folk School from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 17, as Keweenaw area artist and gallery owner Ed Gray teaches students how to make and decorate a copper bowl using the ancient methods passed down from his ancestors.

Working in copper is part of Gray’s heritage. Thousands of years ago the Anishinabe, American Indians living in the Upper Peninsula, discovered outcroppings of a very pure form of copper and forged tools from the metal to fit their needs. Evidence of the ancestral work is found in tools, pits, and burial sites preserved by their descendants. Gray comes from such a heritage; his grandfather was a copper worker.

Workshop participants will form a copper bowl using primitive tools. The copper bowl will be annealed by fire until the forming process is completed. The bowls, which measure approximately six inches in diameter, will be embellished with beads and found objects.

Cost of the class is $95 per person. The Folk School is located next to Union Bay Campground, about four miles west of Silver City, on Engineers Memorial Highway 107.

Pre-registration is required and can be done by calling Beth Allen, weekdays at 906-884-4188.

The instructor and artist owns and manages the Ed Gray Studio and Gallery in the historic Vertin Building in downtown Calumet and publishes the Miskwabik Press, a periodical featuring various artists' works. For details about Ed Gray and his art, visit www.edgraystudio.com.

Friends of the Porkies, a non-profit organization dedicated to enhancing the visitor’s experience and educational experience in the Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park, sponsors the Folk School and its classes. Discover more about the Friends and its programs by visiting the web site www.porkies.org.

The Recreation Passport has replaced motor vehicle permits for entry into Michigan state parks, recreation areas and state-administered boating access fee sites. This new way to fund Michigan's outdoor recreation opportunities also helps to preserve state forest campgrounds, trails, and historic and cultural sites in state parks, and provides park development grants to local communities.

Michigan residents can purchase the Recreation Passport ($10 for motor vehicles; $5 for motorcycles) by checking "YES" on their license plate renewal forms, or at any state park or recreation area. Nonresident motor vehicles must still display a valid nonresident Recreation Passport ($29 annual; $8 daily) to enter a Michigan state park, recreation area or state-administered boating access fee site; these can be purchased at any state park or recreation area, or through the Michigan e-Store at www.michigan.gov/estore. To learn more about the Recreation Passport, visit www.michigan.gov/recreationpassport or call 517-241-7275.

Traverse City brightens autumn vacations Affordable Fab Fall specials

TRAVERSE CITY – Autumn is an enchanting time in Michigan’s beautiful Grand Traverse Bay region -- perfect for a visit to the Sleeping Bear Dunes (just voted “Most Beautiful Place in America” by viewers of Good Morning America) or a dining adventure in one of the country's top "foodie towns." It's a wonderful time for a round of golf on a championship course, or a tour of the region's beautiful wine country.

And it’s also the perfect season to save money and receive great value on a vacation getaway. From Sept. 9 through Dec. 19, the Traverse City Convention & Visitors Bureau will offer its “Fab Fall” getaway special, available at two dozen participating resorts and hotels.

Fab Fall rates start as low as $45 per night midweek and $60 per night on weekends (plus tax, based on double occupancy). In addition, they include extras like discount offers on shopping, dining, wine purchases, movies, spa services, and $10 in casino e-credits.

The specials must be directly booked through hotels. (Just make sure to ask for the Fab Fall special.) For a list of details, including participating hotels, check out the Bureau’s web site at http://www.traversecity.com/fab-fall/