Truly a unique place, Shawano Country is home to two Native American Nations, and Amish Community. Our driving and self-guided cultural tours showcase historic attractions, pristine picnic and recreational facilities, charming craft and antique shops, wildlife viewing, and a glimpse of a much simpler way of life.
Fall Driving Tour
Shawano Country is a special place to enjoy autumn's kaleidoscope of colors and cultures. Mid-September to Mid-October is generally considered fall peak season, but it varies from year to year. Choose from a variety of cultural tours including the Amish Country Tour, Menominee Nation Cultural Tour, Mohican Nation Cultural Tour, and Walls of Wittenberg Murals Tour. You can enjoy these driving tours any time of the year, but fall provides a relaxing and colorful backdrop to your travels.
Why Leaves Change Color
Over the centuries, many explanations have been offered as to why leaves change color each fall. According to a Native American legend, celestial hunters slew the Great Bear in the autumn and his blood dripping on the forests, changed many leaves to red. Other trees were turned yellow by the fat that splattered out of the kettle as the hunters cooked the meat. Actually the colorful splendor enjoyed by both visitors and residents is the result of some complex coordination by Mother Nature. First, she chills the air to just above freezing to start the coloring process. During the growing season, the leaves are filled with green chlorophyll and other pigments. When temperatures drop, chlorophyll production stops and the colored pigments are revealed. Next, Mother Nature adds an abundance of bright sunny days, then a pinch of rain and presto - a brilliant natural palette has been created.
The crisp yellows found in poplar, some beech and most birches mean the leaves have few tannins. An abundance of these brownish compounds will cast a brownish-yellow color in certain species of oak and beech trees.
Vibrant reds depend on sunshine. Sunlight coverts sugars that have been trapped in certain leaves into anthocyanins. The more anthocyanins a leaf has, the deeper the red and purple hues. Maples and sumacs are noted for these brilliant shades.
Not all trees shimmer with color in their autumn transitions. Giants like the willow alder, elder and some oaks are relatively colorless. However, their neutral shades add a rich dimension to the entire spectrum of natural color.
Why Trees Lose Their Leaves
When leaves begin to fall, it's more than gravity that brings them swirling down. At the end of each leaf, where it connects to the tree's stem, are abscission cells. When the growing season ends and the leaves begin to dry out. These cells shrink and release the leaf from the stem. Of course, some trees do not conform to the norm. Oaks, for instance, never develop abscission cells, Their leaves hang on into winter until they are weathered off their stems.