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My Eclectic Fall Color Shooting Season – Part III

Old Mission Peninsula Grand Traverse County, MI Copyright  2014  Andy Richards

Old Mission Peninsula
Grand Traverse County, MI
Copyright 2014 Andy Richards

I grew up in Traverse City, which is the county seat of Grand Traverse County. Grand Traverse County is a geographically unique.  Using the “hand” comparison to the State of Michigan, Traverse City sits near the “little finger,” at the base of a narrow peninsula, which divides Traverse Bay into West Bay and East Bay. These long, narrow, North to South bays are part of Lake Michigan. Parts of Grand Traverse County skirt four different “Lake Michigan shorelines.” There are also many inland lakes in Northern Michigan and Grand Traverse County has its share of them.

Sunrise over East Bay Old Mission Peninsula Grand Traverse County, MI Copyright  2014  Andy Richards

Sunrise over East Bay
Old Mission Peninsula
Grand Traverse County, MI
Copyright 2014 Andy Richards

But perhaps the most spectacular part of Grand Traverse County is the “Old Mission Peninsula.” There are 2 primary roads that go out almost to the Northern tip of the peninsula. Peninsula Drive skirts the West side of the peninsula and the Eastern Shore of West Bay. Center Road goes up the middle of the peninsula, mainly on a ridge, which provides views in many places, of either West or East Bay, and in some instances, both.  I photographed the sunrise, from nearly the same spot on Center Road, at nearly the same time, on both the West Bay and the East Bay.

Sunrise over West Bay Old Mission Peninsula Grand Traverse County, MI Copyright  2014  Andy Richards

Sunrise over West Bay
Old Mission Peninsula
Grand Traverse County, MI
Copyright 2014 Andy Richards

There are some pretty spectacular views from Center Road; particularly at its highest point near the northernmost part of the peninsula, where Center Road and Peninsula Drive come together. There are points here where you have a panoramic view of both of the bays.

When I was growing up, the primary activity on the peninsula was fruit farming, with a major emphasis on tart cherries. There was a time when this area lead the world in tart cherry production. Traverse City took on the title, “Cherry Capital of the World,” and that has remained a claim even today. For example the Traverse Airport calls itself Cherry Capital Airport. For many reasons, the production of tart cherries is also being done in many other areas today and while there is still a significant cherry production in Grand Traverse County, it is neither the sole, nor largest, producer. Times change and today, the fruit production has been largely replaced by a number of large wineries. I read an article in a national wine publication a year or so back that opined that this area was poised to be the next “Napa.” Time will tell.  But it is certainly an area that has both the climate and the soil conditions for growing grapes for wine.  They have done a nice job with some of the white wines. I have heard in years past that the reds – not so much. But lately, I am being told that they are coming on with the reds. I prefer reds to whites, so bring them on!

Vineyard on Old Mission Peninsula; Grand Traverse County, MI Copyright  2014  Andy Richards

Vineyard on Old Mission Peninsula; Grand Traverse County, MI
Copyright 2014 Andy Richards

Off of Center Road, there are many turnoffs and secondary roads that bear exploring. As time goes on, perhaps I will return and find more to photograph.

Old Mission Peninsula Grand Traverse County, MI Copyright  2014  Andy Richards

Old Mission Peninsula
Grand Traverse County, MI
Copyright 2014 Andy Richards

Because of my trip to San Francisco (next week’s topic), I spent some fall foliage “prime time” in California (not known for fall foliage in the same way other parts of the U.S. might be) and my foliage shooting this year was catch as catch can, on a couple of quick weekend trips.  Nonetheless, I thought they were (no pun intended) “fruitful.”  Next year promises at least a short trip to Vermont.  This year, the leaves are off and I will look forward to perhaps some winter scenery shooting.

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