• 2016.11.08
  • Autumn activities around town
The warm Summer temperatures have gone down and days are shorter. Fall has arrived, andas I am told by locals that it doesn’t last very long in Michigan, I intend to enjoy it as much as I can.

Luckily, that is not a difficult thing to do. There is a lot of nature around; there is a lot of green in and around residential areas and there are several big parks where you can easily walk and enjoy nature for hours. And as of a few weeks, all the foliage has started to change color, and it’s beautiful. (In general as well, the colors in Michigan seem brighter, more saturated than back in Amsterdam. It literally brightens up your day.) One of my favorite parks has become Kensington Metropark which is a huge park with a big lake in the center and also a lot of wildlife. Going on a stroll, you are sure to see dozens of squirrels, chipmunks and songbirds and maybe even some bigger animals like deer.


Just like Erika Anderson’s post on pumpkin spice in Portland, also in Michigan pumpkin spice flavored products are popping up everywhere making it very clear that Summer has ended. And it seems people don’t mind at all (whereas in Amsterdam, everyone would simply dread the end of Summer). The outside of stores and homes are decorated with Halloween decorations, pumpkins, scarecrows and corn stalks. I have never celebrated Halloween as is isn’t a custom in The Netherlands, but the decorations and seasonal foods brings out a warm, cozy atmosphere, so I can understand why Americans put in the effort. In a way it is similar to Japan because the change of the season is very obvious and seasonal products seem very popular.


A local custom I was happy to discover is going to buy donuts at the local apple cider mill. (Because the climate in Michigan is relatively cold, the conditions for growing apples are good and apples are one of the largest fruit crops in the state.) The mill I went to makes cider donuts in two variants, cinnamon sugar and vanilla, and sells them alongside other products made with fresh local apples. People come from different towns and line up to buy them. Personally I don’t like donuts very much, but I must admit that these are quite a nice treat. Also, I couldn’t resist buying apple pie and a gallon of cider. Also both, really good. Sitting in the sun, surrounded by trees and leaves, drinking apple cider and eating donuts is a very enjoyable local Autumn custom.



Another thing to enjoy outside are the Halloween decorations in the city of Northville. A lot of people decorate their houses and shops, but Northville takes it to another level with skeletons taking over the downtown area. Literally every shop on the street has a personalised skeleton in front of the store either representing the business in some way or simply acting out a joke. It’s done very amusingly and the amount of them (more than a 100!) makes the drive absolutely worth it if you’re coming from a different area. Additionally, a contest is held who can take the best picture together with a skeleton. I think it is a really nice activity which is easily enjoyed by the community and people around the area. Which skeleton do you like?




  • Martha Hickey
  • JobTeacher, Illustrator

Martha was born and raised in Amsterdam but has lived in Japan for 2,5 years as part of her studies of Japanese language and culture. She is very interested in the connection between culture and communication between Dutch and Japanese people especially. Now relocated to live in Novi, Michigan, she intends to explore cultural differences amongst an even broader range.

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