Fall color information and trip

Even though leaves are already beginning to change, only a few places on the US border with Canada reach peak color in September. The problem is that when trees are ablaze with reds and golds in mid-October the roads are often clogged with what some locals in famed fall states call “leaf peepers.”

Fall is a wonderful time to take a drive. Traverse City Tourism photo

Fall is a wonderful time to take a drive. Traverse City Tourism photo

One way to avoid some of the traffic and find a place to stay is to go during the week, not the weekend. Another, is to go early or late in October instead of the middle weeks.

To help you on your way here are  some sites to check for color and a couple of color drives to take.

 

Sites that monitor fall color

Keep checking these sites for color changes:

Weather fall foliage is at weather maps.

The Federal Forest Service is at Forest Service fall colors

The University of Illinois Extension site has links to several states’ fall color reports and some suggested drives at Extension Illinois

Leaves are just beginning to change color in the Traverse City area of Michigan.

Leaves are just beginning to change color in the Traverse City area of Michigan. Photo by Jodie Jacobs

 

Color drives and wine tasting await in Traverse City, MI

Called TC by residents and frequent vacationers to the  Grand Traverse Bay area, Traverse City is known as the Cherry Capital  in spring and summer. So if you go up there pick up some chocolate covered ones or the preserves.

However, in fall go for the color, the apples and the wine. Michigan, and particularly the Traverse City area, is known for all three.

All the drives around TC are spectacular as you motor north from the city up the Old Mission and Leelanau Peninsulas because much of that area has OMG hill top views of Traverse Bay’s bright blue water.

But this is also an area of wonderful drives west through forested areas across the Leelanau Peninsula over to Lake Michigan and its Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. Among the National Lakeshore routes is the Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive.

A great place to stay in the middle of the National Lakeshore is The Homestead, a full service resort with wonderful views and a great location.

If thinking of staying on the Leelanau Peninsula check out Black Star Farms. Its rooms fill quickly with return guests so try to decide early.

Basically a B&B style inn with gourmet breakfasts and a glass of wine to welcome guests, the place is nicely located to drive north to shop and eat in Suttons Bay, explore Northport further up and the lighthouse up at the point. Black Star Farms also has its own wine and is near several other wineries.

Go west from Suttons Bay to the cute town of Leland and its historic Fishtown.

Stop at the General Store on Old Mission Peninsula

Stop at the General Store on Old Mission Peninsula. Photo by Jodie Jacobs

The Leelanau Peninsual has several excellent wineries so take the wine trail there. Pause to look across the vineyards towards the bay to snap a photo.

Over on the Old Mission Peninsula, two fun places to stop while doing wine tastings there is the old General Store and the lighthouse. Be sure to have the camera or cell phone ready because, well, just go, you’ll see.

 

Thoughts on where to stay

Some of the wineries on Old Mission  have accommodations but there are several good adult lodging choices in TC Including the Wellington Inn B&B  and the Park Place Hotel. Families might like the Sugar Beach Resort Hotel because it has an indoor pool, game room and comp’d breakfast. But the TC area has enough different type accommodations to suit every budget and lifestyle. Same is true for restaurants because the area is a year-round destination.

Start planning now for your fall getaway. Have fun!

 

 

Save eclipse glasses for next big solar event

 

The next time a total solar eclipse crosses the United States isn’t that far off. It’s April 8, 2024

Floor map of eclipse paths at the Adler Planetarium. Jodie Jacobs photos

Floor map of eclipse paths at the Adler Planetarium. Jodie Jacobs photos

If you didn’t have a chance to experience totality on Aug. 21, 2017 you might want to plan where you want to see it next time. Even if you don’t go you might know someone who will. So save those eclipse glasses if lucky enough to have a pair.

Carbondale, IL will again be dead center when the eclipse path crosses the United States. But the path of the 2024 total solar eclipse will cut the opposite direction. It will go from Mexico in the southwest to Maine in the northeast as it moves across Texas, Arkansas, Indiana, Ohio, New York and Vermont.

Consider then, taking a spring vacation in Austin or Dallas Texas, Indianapolis, Toledo or Cleveland, Ohio or the Buffalo, Niagara Falls area or even Montreal. Chicago won’t be in the direct total solar eclipse path until Sept. 14, 2099.

To go now to walk across the map visit Adler Planetarium’s “Chasing Eclipses” exhibit. It has a terrific floor map of the total solar eclipse path for 2017, 2024 and 2099.

The Adler also has a total solar eclipse experience at one end of the exhibit complete with cooler air, expected sounds and a good visual eclipse.

 

Why experience totality

The following quote from Adler Astronomer Larry Ciupik, the Doane Observatory director,  describes what he saw in Capo San Lucas, Mexico July 1991.

“It didn’t matter how much I knew about it or prepared for it, my first total solar eclipse was unexpected and unlike anything I’ve ever seen!” Ciupik said on an Adler web site.

He went on to explain. “In the last few seconds before totality, the sky darkened to a deep blue, then purple, and faint wavering lines appeared—shadow bands—whisking across the sand of our beachside site. Suddenly, the Sun itself dramatically changed. I took off my special solar viewing filter and saw what looked like a hole in the sky surrounded by a pearlescent glow. The Sun’s outer atmosphere, the corona, resembled outstretched wings several times wider than the hole on each side.”

Also, totality will last longer on its path. It will range from three minutes plus seconds to four minutes plus seconds over most of the United States in April 2024 instead of the two minutes plus seconds it did  in August 2017.  For the 2024 path click here and at Time and Date.

The Adler Planetarium's "Chasing Eclipses" exhibit simulates a total solar eclipse that includes the cooling air and sounds. Jodie Jacobs photos

The Adler Planetarium’s “Chasing Eclipses” exhibit simulates a total solar eclipse that includes the cooling air and sounds. Jodie Jacobs photos

 

Checking locations

To figure the time of the eclipse in the city you want to visit check its latitude and longitude then go to NASA Path.

The information is thanks to NASA and Fred Espenak.  The numbers are in Universal Time so for central daylight time subtract 5 hours and eastern daylight time subtract 4 hours.

Another good resource is Earth Sky. For another map of eclipses see EarthSky Essentials.

 

Adler Exhibit

“Chasing Eclipses”is up now through through Jan. 8, 2018. The Adler Planetarium is on the Museum campus at 1300 South Lake Shore Drive Chicago, IL 60605. For ticket and other information visit Adler Planetarium and call (312) 922-7827.

 

 

 

Where to watch solar eclipse in Metropolitan Chicago

 

Just about everyone in the Chicago area knows that the moon will block out most of the sun midday, Monday,  Aug. 21, 2017.

The different phases of a solar eclipse are on a floor at the Adler Planetarium in'Chasing Eclipses.' Jodies Jacobs photo

The different phases of a solar eclipse are on a floor at the Adler Planetarium in ‘Chasing Eclipses.’ Jodie Jacobs photo

And most of them have heard that they need the certified glasses to watch the event or watch through a hole aimed at the ground where they see the event’s shadow.

Chicago will be in about 87 percent darkness during the height of the eclipse by 1:19 p.m. which is enough to feel the temperature change and that night has come.

So, the question is where to watch. Certainly Chicago’s TV channels, including WGN,  will be broadcasting. But to experience the event with others check the places listed here and your local library, park district, forest preserve district or junior college.

 

 

Adler Planetarium on the Museum campus at 1300 S. Lake Shore Dr, Chicago, provides the best overall experience because along with giving out the proper glasses at no charge, it will have free general admission so visitors can see its “Chasing Eclipses exhibit. The Adler will also have lots of outdoor activities. For details visit Adler Eclipse Fest.

 

Chicago Botanic Garden at 1000 Lake Cook Rd., Glencoe, is holding a viewing party from about 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on the Esplanade and in the Krasberg Rose Garden. The event includes free solar glasses (one per family while supplies last) that will begin distribution at 10 a.m. There will also be other activities. For details visit Botanic Garden Eclipse.

 

Chicago Park District will host eclipse events at 20 parks and include glasses provided by the Adler Planetarium until they run out. For park locations visit Chicago Park District Eclipse.

 

Chicago Public Library will host viewing events at several branches. For the one nearest you click CPL Events.

 

Evanston Public Library, 1703 Orrington Ave., Evanston, will have a viewing party at its main location on Orrington Avenue from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. For more details visit EPL.

 

Lake County Forest Preserve District has a solar eclipse viewing party  at Ryerson Woods, 21950 N. Riverwoods Rd, Riverwoods, from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.. It’s free and for all ages but adult supervisions required for children.. Viewing will be by indirect projection. Viewer supplies and instruction available. Visit LCFP.

 

Naper Settlement, 523 S. Webster  St., Naperville is having a viewing picnic from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.. Naperville residents and members free. General admission is $5. Bring lunch. Limited space so first come basis. Viewing glasses are complementary. More information at NaperSettlement.

 

Park District of Oak Park and Oak Park Public Library will host a viewing party at Scoville Park, 800 Lake St., Oak Park. They will have some solar glasses and instruction on pinhole viewers. If conditions dictate the event will be at the library. For more information visit PDOP.

 

More eclipse information at NASA, ‘Where to be August’ 21‘ and ‘Adler Exhibit.’

 

 

 

 

 

See Perseids meteor shower

Perseid meteor shower. NASA photo

Perseid meteor shower. NASA photo

Just a quick reminder to look up late tonight, early tomorrow morning, late tomorrow night and before dawn Sunday.

The Perseids are streaking across the sky.  Different calculations put them at from 40 to 80 an hour.

But to best see them you need dark – not a well-lit parking lot or town.

And the moon will be a factor because it is waning from the full moon Aug. 7 so the sky can still be fairly bright.

The Perseids radiate from the Perseus constellation. You see them when Earth crosses the orbit of the Swift-Tuttle comet.

Good sites to check out more meteor information are NASA’s Perseids from 2016 and EarthSky.  Also see TravelSmart.

 

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