History groups create fall color tours

Fall is a great time for leaf peepers to visit Clare County .  Now members of the Clare County and Farwell Area Historical Museums have created two new tours that offer visitors and local residents opportunities to experience some of the best fall color the county has to offer, explore some of the area’s businesses and restaurants–and yes, even learn a little about the area’s fascinating history.

“The Clare Chamber of Commerce offers a fall color tour, and while the tour is a good one, I always felt we should also offer opportunities for walking and biking, as well as driving,” said Marty Johnson, Clare County Historical Society (CCHS) newsletter editor.  “Plus, some of the best Clare colors can be found on back roads that takes one through small towns, that skirt scenic lakes and run past Amish homesteads and family farms.”

Last fall, Johnson approached the CCHS and the Farwell Area Historical Museum (FAHM) about cooperating on a tour.  Both groups were supportive and he and Alice Wilson, FAHM president, began drafting tour ideas.  It soon became evident that one tour would take much too long to drive, so they decided on two tours along paved roads that could each be completed in an hour.

“At the same time, we want to encourage people to get out of their vehicles, linger, shop, dine and enjoy themselves,” said Wilson .  She added that limiting the length of the tours meant eliminating many wonderful places the county has to offer–like the impressive coal chute in Lake Station .  At the same time, she expressed hope that people would bike to the structure along the Pere Marquette Rail Trail.

“The tours are a compromise, and a work in progress.  We hope people will enjoy them, and offer suggestions to make them even better in the future,” said Wilson .  “We may even add additional loop tours in the future, since several sections of the county were not included this time around.”

“At some point we’ll add a bit more historical flavor to the tours; although we enjoy the fall color, sharing our county’s fascinating history is what our groups are primarily about,” concluded Johnson.

Download the two tour maps at clarecountyhistory.org (click the “Fall Color Tours” link).  A limited number of copies of the tours are available at the Farwell and Harrison Chamber of Commerce offices and Clare County Historical Museum at Dover and Eberhart Rd. The museum is open Saturdays through mid-October from 1 – 4 p.m.

The Farwell Area Historical Museum (farwellmuseum.com) also houses the Farwell Chamber of Commerce, which is open Mon., Wed. and Fri. from 1:30 – 5:30 p.m.

Questions or comments about the tour are welcome at museum@clarecountyhistory.org.

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