Light Your Fire

Autumn’s color changes are best savored around a bonfire // Photograph by Jeff Garland // Styled by Birch Design Associates
Fire Up A Gaylord-area cottage owner’s bonfire is inviting.

A look at the history of bonfires reveals that the tradition goes waaaay back, and was — and is — prevalent in many parts of the world. For example, these “festive fires” were lit in certain parts of Europe as part of an ancient Celtic custom of building large ceremonial fires to honor the sun. Beyond spring and summer fires, winter solstice flames were said to be lit on Christmas Eve in certain parts of France.

Centuries later, we still cherish a robust fire in the great outdoors and the fire-pit industry is alive and well, creating everything from modern stools on which to perch fireside to stainless steel eco-smart sticks (for logs) and cutting-edge fire-pit cooking utensils.

Northern Michigan cottage owner Michelle McShane enjoys bonfires amid autumn’s colorful hardwoods in Gaylord, at Treetops Resort. “I just had a group of sorority sisters up for a mini-reunion,” she shares. “We had the best time making use of the bonfire pit and my Adirondack chairs. To see the stars so clearly up here is just wonderful. It’s so peaceful and relaxing. We’re all about bonfires and s’more-making.” She says her husband and his golf pals also like to gather around the flames after their golf rounds. McShane’s State of Michigan-shaped Adirondack chairs, shown here, were handmade by a craftsman in Vanderbilt. “I found him through Facebook Marketplace, and ordered (the chairs) through his daughter,” she recalls.

Whether it’s a rustic cottage-style fire pit similar to McShane’s or a mod-luxe fire table setup, these attractions inspire relaxation and peace of mind. And whether your flames come from a multilevel fire pit or a simpler in-ground design (or even a cute little chiminea for tighter spaces), they’re sure to be just the ticket for relishing autumn’s colors and the great outdoors. From steel and aluminum to copper and concrete, an abundance of material choices is available.