I love to eat. I’m not ashamed of it and I never worry about hitting that minimum of 110 pounds so that I can donate blood! As the temperatures fall and the leaves begin to change colors, it seems I (and those around me) start to crave a new variety of temptations. Here in the Petoskey Area, it’s easy to please one’s palate any time of the year, but these are some of my fall favorites.

Apples – I love all kinds, but the sweeter the better. Get ‘em at Bill’s Farm Market along with a pumpkin or two. Or at Coveyou Scenic Farms, where everything tastes even better when enjoyed on their deck. It offers a gorgeous, expansive view of the countryside and Walloon Lake beyond.

Soup – You just can’t go wrong with a hearty bowl of soup or chili (is chili soup?) and boy, do we have the places that know just how to make it. Check out my soup blog for some recommendations, and also don’t overlook the white chicken chili at Forty Acres Tavern at Boyne Mountain. Filling and delicious (and served with blue corn chips), it’s perfect after a chairlift ride or run down the zipline.

Donuts – Of course, donuts are good any time, but this time of the year pumpkin donuts (plain or with that heavenly glaze) can’t be beat. If you’re in a hurry and simply need to feed that donut yearning, a stop at Johan’s Pastry Shop in Petoskey or Harbor Springs will fix you right up. If you have some time, however, a trip to Uncle Frank’s Apple Town for their apple donuts with juusst the right amount of cinnamon sugar is definitely in order. Here, not only do you get to eat the sinfully delightful cakes, but you can watch them being made and wash them down with freshly pressed apple cider. OMG.

Maple Syrup – Yes, I know that maple syrup is made in the spring, but it sure seems like a fall food to me. It’s so versatile in yummy fall recipes and over meats and veggies. Pick up a bottle of pure deliciousness from the folks at Maple Moon Sugarbush and Winery. While you’re there, try Maple Moon’s wines (also made with maple) – their “Gold” has hints of bourbon and really complements fall!

Cheese Board – Or if you’re feeling fancy, we can call it charcuterie. Ask those in the know and they’ll tell you there is certainly a difference between a summer and a fall cheese board. I know it’s trendy now to put together these boards at home and take them as gifts or appetizers, but for my money, I let Katie and the crew at Petoskey Cheese select the best cheeses and accouterments. Why? Because they’re experts and never steer me wrong.

Mac and Cheese – Okay, I am not talking the stuff with orange powder here. I mean REAL macaroni and cheese. It comforts and warms one scrumptious mouthful at a time. At Boyne City Taproom, treat yourself to their grown-up version with brisket, jalapeños, bacon and more in a creamy sauce. Not a fan of the peños? Visit Downtown Petoskey’s Tap 30 Pourhouse for their TapMac with a delectable smoked Gouda sauce. Pair it with Blake’s Flannel Mouth Hard Cider for a fall fabulous taste. 

Coffee/Hot Chocolate – Wrapping your hands around an aromatic cup of joe or steaming hot chocolate is a wonderful feeling all on its own when the cold starts nipping at your nose (and everywhere else!) If you want special in this department, I suggest you follow your nose to Lake Charlevoix Coffee Company in Boyne City, where the beans are roasting on a regular basis. In Petoskey, Roast and Toast has had it going on for years and continues to cater to those looking for great-tasting hot beverages (and a variety of tasty options). My fall splurge is the Butternut – hot chocolate, peanut butter and butterscotch. Dee-lish.

Fustini’s and American Spoon – Stop into both of these downtown Petoskey shops and find out about their fantastic vinegars and oils (Fustini’s) and fruit made delights (American Spoon). Again, these aren’t fall-only products by any means, but there’s so many ways to perk up your fall favorites with these specialty items that you shouldn’t miss out. Try the spiced pear conserve from Spoon Foods on pumpkin bread – yummy!

I love fall – everything about it in fact, not just the food. Think you might like it here? Find a room, bring your fleece and a friend, and explore the foodie options (like the Oktoberfest menu at Side Door Saloon – Plath’s smoked pork chops and/or brats served with sauerkraut, red cabbage and red skin potatoes and served Monday-Thursday; it’s autumn goodness on a plate), the trails and the spectacular scenery we’re known for here. Bear in mind – we’re experiencing an employee shortage – probably like the one you have at home. PLEASE – be kind. Be patient. It will all be worth the wait in the Petoskey Area.

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About the author

Diane Dakins is passionate about all of the communities that comprise the Petoskey Area of Michigan: Petoskey, Harbor Springs, Bay Harbor and Boyne City. As assistant director of the Petoskey Area Visitors Bureau, she has “been there – seen that” when it comes to virtually every area attraction. She strives to create informative content that gives potential visitors the scoop on planning a northern Michigan vacation.