In fall, Door County's many apple orchards, pumpkin patches and vineyards provide eye candy for tourists, who flock in on weekends.
Past fast plans: Fall in Decorah, Art in Mineral Point, Fall on the St. Croix, North Shore in fall, Swiss in New Glarus
Pumpkin Festival in Highwood, Ill. Every year, this northern suburb of Chicago tries to break the record for most lighted jack-o-lanterns. In addition to all-you-can-carve stations, there will be costume, pie-eating and carving contests and a parade at noon Sunday. Oct. 911.
Oktoberfest in Cedarburg, Wis. There will be music and food plus goofy contests: best lederhosen/dirndl, sauerkraut-eating, a German spelling bee and a live Glockenspiel show. Oct. 1011.
Madison County Covered Bridge Festival in Winterset, Iowa. This town offers bus tours to its famous covered bridges, horse-drawn wagon rides to John Wayne's house, Old West shootouts, live music and a parade at 2 p.m. Sunday. Oct. 1011.
Galena Country Fair in Galena, Ill. There's a juried fine arts/arts and crafts fair, farmers market, wine garden, bake shop, music and children's games in Grant Park. Oct. 1011.
For more events, see our Events Calendar.
On a crisp, sunny fall day, we all get the urge to go for a drive.
The countryside is alight with color, and there's a lot going on art-studio tours, corn mazes, hay rides and harvest festivals in every little town.
And you'll be chasing the colors, of course.
You probably could throw a dart at the map and find a pretty spot, but here are 15 routes that we think are especially beautiful.
In the Dells, when the children go home, the adults come out to play.
Autumn is a quiet time in Wisconsin Dells. The outdoor water parks are closed, many attractions are shuttered and the water-ski show performers are in Florida for the winter.
In the rush of summer, many tourists spend a whole week in Wisconsin Dells and never see the dells that drew tourists in the first place.
These sandstone formations, left when an apocalyptic rush of of water created a 15-mile gorge at the end of the last Ice Age, are especially striking in the warm light of fall. So are the forests.
In Mount Horeb, Wis., trolls are revered, not reviled.
The little town west of Madison calls itself the Troll Capital of the World, for its many mascots most wooden, but one live and Norse traditions.
It doesn't have the medieval Norwegian stave church that has been the town's pride and joy since 1937. The ornate wooden building has gone back to Orkdal, Norway, whose residents built it for the 1893 Columbian Exposition in Chicago and will reassemble it as an attraction for Orkdal.
Many of the original trolls also have retreated, having turned black with age. But new ones are appearing, along with new wineries, galleries and artisan farms.
Today, Mount Horeb is a 21st century town for 21st century tastes.
In fall, the birders come out to watch the annual migration of hawks, waterfowl and swans.
The rest of us come out to watch the birders, because they see things the rest of us don't.
At the annual Hawk Weekend on Duluth's Hawk Ridge, renowned author and ornithologist Laura Erickson had eagle eyes trained on the sky, as usual.
"There's a sharp-shinned hawk with a songbird in its crop,'' she noted to anyone who cared to listen. "Since it's just eaten, it probably won't fly any closer, but it might if it sees easy pickings.''
But we didn't need to see one closer, because soon two young naturalists walked over from the banding station, holding newly banded sharpies.
An autumn Saturday dawns, sunny and mild. Its a perfect day for hiking but where?
This time of year, you could walk down the street and see something nice.
But if you're looking for the kind of hike that makes you marvel at nature and feel glad to be alive, you'll probably have to look a little farther afield.
Here are 30 of our favorite fall hikes. A few require a little huffing and puffing, but most are easy strolls. And they all showcase fall at its finest.
As anyone whos ever planned a fall trip knows, peak leaf color can be elusive.
Betting on a burst of spectacular color is like plugging nickels into a slot machine. To win, all of the figures have to line up: the right number of warm days and cool nights, the right levels of sugar produced, the right amounts of moisture.
Get our weekly stories, tips and updates delivered a day early directly to your Inbox. Wondering what you'll get? Take a look at our newsletter archive.