Fall is in the air, the leaves are spectacular, and fairs, festivals and quilt shows abound. Join us for a quilters’ road trip through two northern states!
Vermont is, without a doubt, the place to visit for fall foliage. The entire state is bursting with color, and thanks to its small size, it’s easy to cover a lot of ground quickly. Activities abound for the entire family, and quilt shows dot the state. For the ultimate road trip, rent a convertible from Country Driving Tours in Bristol, Vermont, and take in the foliage with the top down.
Definitely spend time at the incredible Shelburne Museum, located less than 10 minutes from the shores of Lake Champlain. Electra Havemeyer Webb founded the museum to preserve her family’s collection of horse-drawn carriages, and thanks to her vision, the 45-acre property now features 39 structures and more than 20 gardens.
Webb relocated unique historical buildings to house numerous collections in a village-like setting that celebrates the arts of America. A rotating selection of quilts from the extensive permanent collection is open for viewing this year through October 31 along with a special exhibit of textile works by Crystal Cawley. Her work is in many prominent public collections, including the Smithsonian and the Library of Congress.
34th Champlain Valley Quilt Guild Show
Two shows in one await you in nearby Essex Junction. The 34th Champlain Valley Quilt Guild show, “Coming Full Circle,” runs October 19–21. The guild partnered with the Green Mountain Rug Hooking Guild, one of the largest guilds of its kind in the world, to produce a combined show of handmade rugs and quilts.
Head to Waterbury and take the free Ben & Jerry’s ice cream factory tour that starts every 30 minutes. And yes, there are free samples of ice cream after the tour! Just minutes up the road is Waterbury Center, home of the Cold Hollow Cider Mill, which makes more than 800 dozen cider donuts daily during foliage season. Gourmet magazine called their cider donuts “one of the country’s four best donuts.” You can also watch as the staff makes apple cider using a press built in the 1920s and enjoy free samples.
Drive a little further and take the Gondola SkyRide at the Stowe Mountain Resort through mid-October for an incredible view of the foliage-covered mountains. Hike, picnic or visit the Cliff House Restaurant at the top.
Billings Farm & Museum’s 32nd Annual Quilt Exhibition
Don’t miss the Billings Farm & Museum’s 32nd Annual Quilt Exhibition through September 16. “The juried exhibition typically has 50 quilts, and this year we are also featuring the challenge quilts from two local guilds,” says Public Relations and Development Assistant Marge Wakefield. The venue is an outdoor history museum in Woodstock, Vermont, featuring a restored 1890 farmhouse and a fully operational Jersey dairy farm. Be sure to sample the organic cheese that the nearby Grafton Village Cheese Company makes using raw milk from the Billings Farm cows.
West Michigan Quilters’ Guild Annual Quilt Show
“The leaves are just fabulous in Michigan in October. You should come and visit us,” says Karen Giles, show chairperson for the West Michigan Quilters’ Guild annual show, “Quilts on the Grand.” The show runs October 5–6 in Grand Rapids, and features more than 250 professionally judged quilts, three special exhibits, a main raffle quilt, 20 raffle quilts from the 33 bees in the guild, and demonstrations.
10th Annual ArtPrize
While in Grand Rapids, check out the 10th annual ArtPrize, an innovative show open to artists worldwide that runs September 19–October 7. Artwork is on display over three square miles of the downtown area, even in laundromats and auto repair shops, and more than 400,000 visitors vote for their favorite piece. Quilter Ann Loveless made ArtPrize history when she won first place in the public vote not once but twice: in 2013 for Sleeping Bear Dune Lakeshore, and then in 2015 for Northwood Awakening, a piece she collaborated on with her husband. Sleeping Bear Dune Lakeshore, a 20-by-5- foot landscape quilt, is on permanent display in the Sleeping Bear Dunes Lakeshore visitor center in Empire, less than a three-hour drive north of Grand Rapids.
Coopersville Farm Museum & Event Center Quilt Show
Just northwest of Grand Rapids is the Coopersville Farm Museum & Event Center. Their 17th annual quilt show, “Quilts and Their Stories,” runs August 2–September 29. More than 125 quilts will be on display, and the director’s choice for this year’s show is Disappearing 9-Patch Quilts. “Our show is non-juried,” says Lee Ann Proia, Museum Director. “We want to know the heart behind the quilt. We also want to get people out of their comfort zone, so come join the Quilter’s Marathon on September 20.” Teams of four start the day with three yards of fabric and can add half-yard pieces while supplies last as they compete to design and complete a quilt in a day. The winning quilt remains on permanent display at the museum.
Another fun detour is the lower east side of Lake Michigan where you can enjoy beachfront towns and breathtaking sunsets. The Lake Michigan Shore Wine Trail runs along the lakefront and comprises 20 wineries that produce a full spectrum of red and white wines for every palate, even ice wines.
Allegan County Fair
Travel south to Allegan and take in the Allegan County Fair September 7–15. “We have it all, even an exotic zoo and a honey bee display,” says Saree Miller, the fair’s executive director. “The arts and crafts building is dedicated to culinary arts and needle crafts, including needlework, crochet, and quilts.”
Dozens of U-pick orchards abound in Allegan County, such as Crane Orchards in Fennville that produces more than 14 varieties of apples and boasts a 200-acre corn maze and an old-fashioned hayride. Stop at the Crane’s Pie Pantry Restaurant for anything apple—fresh apple cider from their own mill, pies, crisps, dumplings, and more.
Be sure to check out the Allegan County Barn Quilt Trail, one of many throughout Michigan. Brightly colored painted quilt blocks adorn the sides of barns and buildings and add to the charm of the area. Barb Bennett of Hopkins, Michigan, got hooked on barn quilts after taking a quilt painting class at the local library and has since donated more than a dozen works to the trail.
Check back on September 2 when we’ll travel to the Ozarks for part 2 of “Fall Foliage, Quilts, and More!”
This feature is included in the September/October 2018 issue of McCall’s Quilting.