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autumn

Fall leaves.
user - Charity Duncan / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

September 22 marks the official first day of fall, which means the summer heat will soon give way to everything pumpkin, cider and colored leaves.

Pumpkin is already here (in the form of a pumpkin spiced latte at Starbucks), and your local grocery store will almost certainly have cider.

But what about the leaves? When will they change color?

SmokyMountains.com has released a nifty prediction map that estimates when leaves peak in each state, giving Michigan residents foresight of when to look for leaves. 

Great Sphinx corn maze on Jacob's Farm near Traverse City.
Jacob's Farm / screen shot YouTube

Each year, tens of thousands of Michiganders flock to nearby farms to make their way through mazes made of corn stalks.

The idea of a maze made of maize began in the early 1990s in Pennsylvania.

According to Lebanon Valley College, farmer Don Frantz created the first American corn maze to attract visitors to his farm:

Honeycrisp apples are explosively popular.
University of Minnesota

In our little informal apple poll, Michiganders agreed: Honeycrisp apples are the tastiest apple to eat.

Unfortunately, your love for Honeycrisp apples could be the reason why they are so pricey.

Up until 2008, farmers had to pay a royalty on Honeycrisp apple seeds to the University of Minnesota, where they were first developed.

flickr user Kenny Louie / http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

The first day of autumn is less than a week away, but if you’re planning to take a trip up north to marvel at the fall colors, MLive and farmerweather.com meteorologist Mark Torregrossa tells us you might want to wait.

He says rain and warm weather are keeping the trees lush and green.

User: Angelina Earley / Flickr

 

Michigan's fall colors are in full glory right now.

And more and more people are discovering a new way to view all of that autumn glory: by being right up there at the top of the trees on a zipline!

Detroit Free Press travel writer Ellen Creager looked into the booming business of ziplines and adventure parks in Michigan.

Creager says there are a number of Halloween-themed zip adventures that feature glowing courses at night. She also suggests these zip tours:

User: Raul Lieberwirth / Flickr

A bad movie gets a bad review. But a bad bottle of wine? Not so much.

Critic Chris Cook of Hour Detroit magazine was recently asked why he doesn’t write about bad wine. 

"I just think there's too much out there that's good these days to be concentrating on a lot of the bad stuff. In the wine world in particular, the technology has gotten so good that the wines are much much better than they used to be," Cook responded.

He also says judgment on wine could be questionable when personal tastes come in. 

As the fall gets underway, Cook is excited about the lighter style red wine such as pinot noir. 

For Thanksgiving, Cook is looking forward to inky wines instead, like Malbec.

*Listen to the full interview with Chris Cook above.

user:yooperann / Flickr

Early bursts of autumn color have been seen across Michigan. Are the leaves trying to tell us something?

MLive and farmerweather.com meteorologist Mark Torregrossa said what we are really seeing is the stress in trees. Torregrossa spoke with some experts about it. Though dryness can cause early autumn colors, experts say the wetness we’ve experienced can cause stress in trees.

“Basically, what I’m hearing from the tree experts is that the early color we are seeing is the stress caused from a drought a couple of years ago, the heavy flooding we’ve had, and maybe even the cold snowy winters,” Torregrossa said.

Torregrossa said, as he looks at weather patterns, he is seeing an early autumn and winter.

He added that the progression of El Nino will have a big implication for what's to come for our winter, but we still have to wait about a month or two.

*Listen to the full story above. 

user: James Jordan / flickr

The autumnal equinox happened today at 5:05 a.m. ET. It marks the beginning of autumn in the northern hemisphere and spring in the southern hemisphere.

It’s the time of year when temperatures start to drop and the days start to get shorter.

Every year there are two equinoxes, one in March that marks the beginning of spring and one in September that marks the beginning of fall.

National Geographic explains:

The autumnal equinox and vernal equinox are also the only days of the year when a person standing on the Equator can see the sun passing directly overhead. On the Northern Hemisphere's autumnal equinox, a person at the North Pole would see the sun skimming across the horizon, signaling the start of six months of darkness. On the same day, a person at the South Pole would also see the sun skim the horizon, beginning six months of uninterrupted daylight.

Equinoxes explained: