Cider and doughnuts! Who doesn't love them? And yeah, of course you can just go up to the grocery store and grab a gallon and a dozen, but it just isn't quite the same as heading out to the cider mill. Warm doughnuts and fresh cider with the smell of leaves in the air and the country atmosphere, it pretty much is the ultimate way to enjoy fall. There are a ton of cider mills in the area, so we wanted to share a few of our favorites with you and let you know what they have to offer.
Yates Cider Mill - This is probably my favorite cider mill, but mostly for nostalgic reasons. I grew up going here and it's super close to home, which makes it nice if I'm not looking for an all day outing. Yates has been around since 1873 and has made their cider from a press powered by a water wheel since 1876. They don't have any self pick areas, but they do have small petting farm, pony rides on the weekends, and an awesome trail that runs along the Clinton River. Yates is located at 1990 E. Avon Rd. in Rochester Hills, but it's right on the edge of Shelby Township off of Dequindre near 23 Mile Rd.
Franklin - Franklin Cider Mill is a fan favorite for those a little more on the South West side of the 'burbs. Located on the corner of 14 Mile and Franklin (just west of Telegraph) this mill is a little smaller in size, but is genuine and takes pride in their cider. They've been around since 1914 and this was the first mill in Oakland County.
Rochester Cider Mill - Located just outside of Downtown Rochester, this Cider Mill not only features great cider and homemade pies, but also some free activities for the kiddos. They have a hay bale pyramid that kids can climb, a petting farm and tractors to play with. They are located at 5125 N. Rochester Rd. in Rochester.
Paint Creek Cider Mill - This is probably one of the more lavish looking cider mills around. When you are driving up, the sun just shimmers off of their endless windows and although you are right outside of Rochester, you feel like you are up north in some fancy woodstown. Not only is Paint Creek known for their cider, but also their pizza and barbeque. For that reason, we're going to call this more of an adult cider mill. They're open 7 days a week and are located at 4480 Orion Road in Rochester.
Blake's Big Apple - If you feel like going for a drive up Van Dyke, which I feel like many people do when they are looking for a cider mill, Blake's is pretty much the full experience. They have U-Pick apples and pumpkins, hayrides, a train ride, hay bales to play on, a petting farm, and a bunch of robot/mechanical people and animals that sing songs and dance. Some are a little old and on the creepy side, but would you have it any other way? There are additional fees for some of the attractions, ranging from $3-10, but this is definitely a cider mill that you can spend the entire day at and have a ton of fun. Blake's Big Apple is located at 71485 North Avenue in Armada. They also have a smaller location at 17985 Armada Center Road in Armada. There are still fun attractions at this location as well, but not quite as many as at Big Red. On the other hand crowds and lines aren't quite as big either though.
Hy's - Hy's is a smaller, family owned cider mill located in Bruce Township at 6350 37 Mile Rd. They have a great Pick Your Own Apple area and also feature BBQ catering sometimes! Hy's is only open on the weekends and is only open through October. So time is running out if you want to check this one out!
Westview Orchards - Located in Washington Township, but pretty much in Romeo, this one is located at 65075 Van Dyke just north of 30 Mile. They have a great petting farm and including ramps for the billy goats where they can climb up to the clouds. Westview actually is celebrating their bicentennial (that's 200 years) this year! That's pretty amazing! So you can experience a piece of history while having fun on their hay rides, apple picking, and going down their 40 ft. Apple Shoot Slide. There are fees for some of the attractions and although Westview is open 7 days a week, there are different prices and attractions during the week and on the weekends.
Goodison - This hidden gem is located just north of Paint Creek Cider Mill on Orion Rd. in Rochester at 4295 Orion Rd. Not only do they feature cider and doughnuts, but also Pistachio Nut Bread, which I haven't tried yet, but it sounds delicious! They are open 7 days a week through Thanksgiving and then on weekends through Christmas. So this is the place to get your cider fix all season long! Until Halloween, they often feature bounce houses and pony rides on the weekends. They also have a swing set that is available to play on all week long!
Miller's Big Red - Miller's features a U-Pick area with apples and pumpkins this time of year. Make sure you keep them in mind for the summer months though as they also have U-Pick strawberries and raspberries. Although it has also been around for years, with this being the oldest U-Pick in Washington Twp., Miller's is a little more modernized with greenhouses on site. But, it is just as fun with pets to pet, hay to climb, and a wagon to take you back on the trails where you can pick your own produce. There's even a corn maze too! Miller's Big Red is located at 4900 32 Mile Road in Washington.
Past Tense - I had to save this one for last because I just went recently and it was so much fun. Past Tense is a cute country store located in Lapeer. They have 2 stores on site; one that sells antiques and the other that sells home decor type items and has a whole floor dedicated to whichever holiday is happening that season. When I've been there in the past it was usually Christmas, but this time around it was Halloween. They had some of the coolest Halloween decorations ever, and even if you aren't looking to buy any you have to go up there and check it out. The displays are awesome. There was still a whole Christmas room too for those of you that are already in the spirit. So, if this is a store why am I bringing it up? Well, there is also a cider mill on site. It may be a little smaller than some of the others, but their treats and cider are just as tasty. Also, through Halloween, they are featuring a Fall Festival every weekend. There are bounce houses and a tractor pulled train ride for the kids and hayrides for the whole family too. There is a charge for most of these activities, but it was extremely reasonable (like $1-3). There are pumpkins for sale, live music, and many of the kids that attended wore their costumes. It was just like a fall day from the movies. Also, quite a few people had their dogs with them, so that may be a plus for some of you!
Obviously there are more Cider Mills in the area that aren't on the list, but these are some of the best in our opinion and the ones that we are most familiar with. If you have another favorite, feel free to tell us and others about it in the comment section below. This is a wonderful time of year, so head out and enjoy some time with family & friends and some cider & doughnuts too!