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Michigan Cider Mills: Fall in the Apple Orchard

Autumn means one thing to a lot of Michigan families: apple cider. More specifically, a weekend jaunt to any of the 100 – yes, 100 – apple cider mills throughout the state. To make the trip even sweeter, most cider is non-alcohol- ic, something I didn’t know until I visited the Disney World of Michigan Apple Ci- der farms: Yates Cider Mill in Rochester, dubbed the most popular in the state.

The designation might have a lot to do with what else is there. You can see the water-powered double- table press in ac- tion – first installed in 1876 – and today produces 300 gallons of fresh cider per hour. An added bonus is you can buy cider September to October, along with Franken-muth fudge, 20 flavours of ice cream, mini apple cinnamon doughnuts, and apples. So. Many. Apples. Six generations of Yates have harvested 16 apple varieties on this site that’s also home to a petting zoo (penned farm animals) and pony rides on weekends.

The main attraction (other than food) is the one-half mile long river walk winding along the Clinton River Creek. The flat paved trail is easy to walk or push strollers along, and you can veer off down stone stairs to hike along winding dirt paths leading to the water’s edge (www.yatescidermill.com).

However, if you’re looking for lunch, head to Paint Creek Cider Mill (4480 Ori- on) a tourist stop along the 9-mile Paint Creek walking trail. There’s a full-menu counter service restaurant and patio sub-let by a different cider company each season. Down the road, find Goodison Cider Mill (4295 Orion). It’s a smaller, traditional family-run stop with kids play area and balloon animals available on weekends.

Sherri Telenko is a freelance writer and blogger living in Southern Ontario. Sign up for travel ideas at www.dogtrotting.net or follow her on twitter @SherriTelenko.


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