Talk of The Town: September 2021

Fall Into Fun

Along with cooler temperatures, shorter days and glorious foliage, autumn brings its cozy comforts and seasonal celebrations. From nearby cideries, to the best fire pits, to fall festivals across the Midwest, here are some fun ways to celebrate the season.

And if the changing of the seasons has you contemplating a change of residence, I can help to make your dreams come true.

Great Fall Festivals

Pumpkins, apples, wine tastings and Oktoberfest beer… Here are some autumn festivals you won’t want to miss!

Festival of the Vine in Geneva, IL, Sep 10–12: Just an hour from Chicago, this town on the Fox River celebrates fall with entertainment, arts & crafts, and a sampling from local restaurants and wineries.

Pumpkin Festival in Morton, IL, Sep 15–18: Calling itself the Pumpkin Capital of the World, this town near Peoria hosts this jam-packed festival with a craft fair, pie-eating contest, pumpkin decorating, and more.

Michigan Apple Fest in Sparta, MI, Sep 17–18: Along with a juried artisan show and live music, this everything-apple celebration features fun competitions like apple pie baking, apple peeling and the apple sling shot—plus, of course, lots of apple varieties to sample!

Oktoberfest in Des Moines, IA, Sep 24–25: Delight in a weekend of Oktoberfest celebrations including live music, a stein holding contest, and polka lessons—all highlighted by a huge selection of German and craft beers and delicious German food!

Apple Fest, Chicago, IL, Oct 2–3: You don’t have to travel far to get in on the fall fun. Just head over to Lincoln Square for their 34th annual Apple Fest and enjoy a variety of food, drinks, farm & orchard vendors, and entertainment!

Apple Affair in Galesville, WI, Oct 2: This annual event features their signature 10-foot apple pie along with a craft fair, and dozens of local growers offering apple pie, apple cake, apple cider, and more. Bring your bike for a self-guided 28.7-mile loop ride through the area’s pastoral orchards!

Cranberry Fest in Eagle River, WI, Oct 2–3: Take in the fall colors on the drive up to the Ottawa National Forest, destination—Eagle River! Enjoy arts & crafts, entertainment, cranberry marsh tours, wine tastings and all sorts of cranberry dishes!

Artists’ Studio Tour in & around Decorah, IA, Oct 8–10: Explore the wooded hills and winding rivers of northeast Iowa and visit the studios of 42 regional artists. It’s a self-driving tour that offers a view into how their works are created and a chance to add to your art collection.

Tap These Midwest Cideries

Herald the season with a visit to one of these cideries—and come home with your favorites to celebrate with friends and family.

Right Bee Cider, Chicago, IL: Locally-owned and locally-operated, this urban cidery is located in the old Schwinn bike building in the heart of the city’s northwest side. Many of their brews are enhanced with honey from their own rooftop hives. It’s truly local and handmade!

Tandem Ciders, Suttons Bay, MI: Highlight your fall foliage drive up to Michigan’s spectacular Leelanau Peninsula with a stop by this family-owned cidery, designed to evoke the warmth and charm of the taverns and pubs they discovered while cycling the English countryside.

Island Orchard Cider, Ellison Bay, WI: In the heart of Door County, this decade-old cidery uses Old World traditions to craft their fine ciders. Enjoy a flight or sit down to a full pour chosen from an extensive menu that includes pear, apple-cherry, apple-ginger and apple-lavender ciders!

AeppelTreow Winery & Distillery, Burlington, WI: Surrounded by fruit orchards and offering traditional, small-batch apple and pear ciders, AeppelTreow also uses Wisconsin-grown crops to create and distill their fine whiskies and brandies.

Virtue Cider, Fennville, MI: Founded by a former Goose Island brewmaster, this idyllic cidery is located on a 48 acre farm. You’ll not only enjoy the ciders, but can visit the chickens, rabbits, and pigs that live here. Reservations can be made for picnic tables on the lawn or under the pergola, or for a more private experience book a secluded “outpost,” which comes with basket of provisions.

Cozy Up To The Fire

From wood-burning to propane-powered, here are four fire pits that are ideal for patio, deck or backyard. Be sure to check local ordinances and any homeowner’s association rules before you fire them up!

  1. Real Flame Sedona Propane Fire Pit Table: For a larger space, this 52-inch rectangular option features a stylish natural-looking flagstone top and faux stacked-stone base. And with a maximum 65,000 BTUs of heat, it offers plenty of warmth for those cooler nights. Buy from for $1,350.
  2. Carren Square Propane Outdoor Fire Pit Table: Measuring just 28” wide, this rust-resistant powder-coated iron model is ideal for smaller spaces. Cover the burner with the included lid to use as a small dining table. Buy from for $267.
  3. Yaheetech 22-Inch Wood Burning Fire Pit. Ideal for patio or backyard, this lower-maintenance fire pit comes with a mesh cover and has the classic circular shape of a real camp fire. Buy from for $46.
  4. Bali Outdoors Chiminea Fire Pit: Bring a bit of panache to your backyard with this chiminea-style fire pit. Its traditional shape also funnels smoke away from those gathered around! Buy from for $170.



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