Crisp weather, crunchy leaves, changing colors - could you imagine a more perfect autumn hike? Well, the promise of sweet apple cider, a warm donut, and maybe even a caramel apple waiting at a cider mill will make any fall aesthetic dream come true! Grab your flannel and hiking boots: let's look at 3 destinations where you can live your perfect fall day.
The 'Ber months have arrived in Michigan! Call me basic, but fall has always been my favorite season. That fresh but earthy scent in the air, bonfires and football, spooky season and soup. There's a sentimentality that comes with this change of season - memories of childhood trips to the cider mills, jumping and climbing all over those hay bale piles. Riding a tractor through the orchard to pick apples, gathering colorful leaves while hiking bright wooded trails.
There are many states that boast of beautiful scenic foliage, but let's be honest - I've yet to find a place that feels like Michigan and brings all the colors and the idyllic fall activities together! There's truly no place like home, especially when home consists of bluebird fall days spent hiking to a cider mill.
So let's look at some local autumnal hotspots for a memorable (and delicious!) fall adventure to Metro Detroit's favorite cider mills.
1. Island Lake Yellow Trail Loop + Blake's Lyon Orchard | South Lyon, MI
First on our list is a tried and true classic - Island Lake State Recreation Area's famous Yellow Loop Trail! This trail has been well explored and documented by our fearless trailblazer and founder, Dan Cooke. Check out our #TrailTuesday feature article to get all the details on exploring this Detroit region favorite.
After 5+ miles of hiking, you will be certainly ready for some seasonal refreshment! Make your way just 4 miles down the road to Blake's Lyon Township cider mill and orchard. Previously known as "Erwins Orchard," this is a recently opened location of the well known Blake's Orchard in Armada, Michigan. If you're in the mood for a harder cider option, you may recognize their hard cider flavors that are distributed nationwide. You will also find many fun attraction for kids, like a petting zoo, tractor rides, U-Pick orchard, corn maze and straw mountain.
VISIT BLAKE'S ORCHARD Sunday - Thursday | 8am - 7pm Friday & Saturday | 8am - 8pm
U-PICK Open Daily | 9am-6pm
Phone: (248) 437-0150
2. Hudson Mills Metropark + Dexter Cider Mill | Dexter, MI
Dexter is a charming town to explore, offering many opportunities for hiking, biking or floating on the Huron River! Looking for a day trip? Check out our #TrailTownSpotlight feature on Dexter for a good overview of all the possibilities that this quintessential Trail Town has to offer!
The true beauty of Dexter, however, is its immediate access to top tier outdoor destinations, including one of our favorites: Hudson Mills Metropark and its Acorn Nature Trail! This 2 mile trail gently guides hikers on a loop showcasing Hudson Mills' best natural features. From marshes to wildflower fields, dense oak forests to sweeping Huron River vistas, this short hike under the changing leaves will provide an ideal excursion to pair with your cider mill visit!
Now we know Michigan boasts countless cider mills spread all over the state, and we are lucky to have this historical gem right in out backyard! I present to you, The longest continuously operating cider mill in the state: the Dexter Cider Mill. Dating all the way back to 1886, this cider mill is one for our Michigan history lovers and can not be missed! The Dexter Cider Mill presses their cider the old fashioned way, using an oak rack press. In my humble opinion, their donuts are the absolute best version of a good cider mill donut: crunchy on the outside with a warm gooey center. The owners are passionate and committed to preserving the history and tradition of this special place, and as such it earns are full endorsement for that coveted post-hike donut and cider!
VISIT THE DEXTER CIDER MILL Open: Wednesday - Sunday, Closed Monday and Tuesday
Hours: 8am - 5pm
Address: 3685 Central St.
Dexter, Michigan 48130
3. Maybury State Park + Parmenter's Northville Cider Mill | Northville, MI
We could say we've saved the best for last, but we may be biased here at Expedition Detroit since Maybury State Park undoubtedly holds a special place in our hearts. Why? Well, you can check out our #TrailTuesday feature on Maybury's beloved Hiking Trail for a quick refresher on why we adore this special place. The family-friendly hiking trail guides visitors through the heart of the former sanatorium's grounds. A 3.1 mile adventure under hardwood forests, moraine ridge lines, and a panoramic view of the park's most sought-after gem: Maybury's magnificent pond and its surrounding wildlife.
Our Northville cider mill pairing is Parmenter's Northville Cider Mill! Here you will find another charming mill that boasts a rich history - this year they are celebrating 150 years! On certain days of the week you can watch the cider pressing process in action. After grabbing your cider and bag of donuts, stroll down to Mill Race Creek and visit the large community of resident ducks.
But wait, there's more! Especially if you planned an afternoon hike, then also be sure to top off your cider and donut with a visit next door to the Northville Winery and Brewery Co. Their menu offers a large selection of hard cider, beer, and wine options. Throw in a dog and family friendly environment, live music, and food trucks - what more could you ask for in topping off your small town hike and cider mill adventure?
VISIT PARMENTER'S NORTHVILLE CIDER MILL Open daily 10am-8pm
Address: 714 Baseline Rd. Northville, MI 48167
Do you have any favorite places that you visit every fall? Let us know in the comments, and enjoy all the sunshine, colors and fresh air of the season!
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