8 Ways to Celebrate Fall in Michigan

Today, guest blogger Hayley Serr of The Awesome Mitten gives us 8 ways to celebrate the fall season in Michigan. 

Photo by Instagram user @laurenweber84

As the temperature begins its steady decline and we pack away our swimsuits and beach towels for the year, Michigan embarks on its glorious transition into autumn. Our great state is, without question, the best place to enjoy the splendor of fall. From the beautiful colors of changing leaves to the delicious crisp crunch of Michigan apples to the spectacle of the Thanksgiving day parade, there are so many things to enjoy this fall in the mitten. Here are eight items that should definitely be included on your autumn to-do list.

Take a trip to a cider mill. Cider mill trips are such a staple of the season that it almost seems like this is a given. However, this wouldn’t be a fall to-do list without a mention of cider mills. Many offer much more than cider and donuts, too. Pack a basket and a blanket, pick up some traditional treats, and enjoy a picnic in the crisp fall air. Or head to a cider mill with an apple orchard to pick some some fresh apples for munching. Since many locations also boast hayrides, corn mazes, and more, a trip to the cider mill is much more than just an excuse to eat donuts.

If you fancy something stronger than cider, pick up some seasonal craft beer. Or better yet, host a tasting party! Michigan’s craft beer industry is booming, so there is no shortage of delicious autumn brews. Pick up an Arbor Brewing Company Oktoberfest, a New Holland Ichabod Pumpkin Ale, a Short’s Funkin’ Punkin, a Detroit Beer Company Oktoberfest, or any of the other great seasonal picks from your favorite Michigan breweries and invite some friends over to try them out. Offer assorted cheese options and pads of paper to take notes if you want to make it a more traditional tasting party, or just put out some munchies and enjoy some good conversation and great beer with friends. (For you non-beer-drinkers, remember that it’s harvest time for Michigan wine so you don’t have to miss out on the fun!)

Get into the Halloween spirit with some happy hauntings. With October 31st fast approaching, there are plenty of events to get you in the mood for the holiday. For those in the Southeast Michigan area (especially with little ones), the Zoo Boo is a perennial favorite. Throw on a costume and head to the Detroit Zoo for entertainment, games, and general trick-or-treating merriment amongst the animals. Also in the metro-Detroit area is the Greenfield Village Hallowe’en event; patrons will be surrounded by Greenfield Village spirits, treat stations, colorful characters, and thousands of jack-o-laterns for a 20th century Hallowe’en experience. (Watch out for the Headless Horseman!)

Or for those looking for a little more trick than treat, get psyched for Halloween with a zombie hunt. Taking the interactive experience to a whole new level, locations such as Blake Farms in Armada, Darksyde Acres in Jonesville, the Haunted Farm of Terror in Lenox Township, and TC Paintball in Lansing offer patrons the ability to test their preparation for the zombie apocalypse by taking down the undead. Gear up and take aim with these live action zombie hunts if you dare.

Visit a fall-themed festival. Whether you have a hankering for film, an appetite for chili, or are clamouring for good music, there is a Michigan festival for you. From the Mackinac Island Halloween Weekend celebration, to the Frankfort Film Festival, to the Blues & Brews Festival in Adrian, to the Peak2Peak Mountain Festival at Crystal Mountain there is an event for every taste this season.

Tailgate! Whether you’re a Wolverine or a Spartan, November 2nd is THE gameday for college football fans in the state of Michigan. East Lansing will host the inner state rivals for what is bound to be one of the greatest games of the year. If college sports aren’t your thing, autumn is still chock full of great sporting events. Head to Detroit to tailgate for a Lion’s game, hit a Wings game the Joe, or cheer the Tigers on to ALCS (and hopefully World Series) victory.

Head to Detroit for the Thanksgiving Day Parade. As the theme of this year’s Thanksgiving Day Parade is “Downtown Our Town,” the celebration will not only be of Thanksgiving, but also of the great city of Detroit and of Michigan. Be one of the hundreds of thousands of people who gather to celebrate together and watch one of the nation’s oldest Thanksgiving traditions. For those who’d rather enjoy the spectacle from the comfort of home, tune into the live broadcast on Thanksgiving morning at 9 a.m.

Take a fall foliage tour. Our great state is, without a doubt, one of the most picturesque, beautiful places in the nation. This is especially true when it comes to witnessing the changing of the seasons. Whether you’re heading to the coastline, cruising down I-75, walking the trail, or paddling down one of Michigan’s rivers, the spectacle of colors that autumn brings is best enjoyed from anywhere right here in the mitten.

What will you be doing to celebrate the season this year?

 

 

 Hayley SerrHayley Serr writes for The Awesome Mitten and works for Hour Detroit magazine. Born and raised in metro-Detroit, this Spartan alumna relishes any opportunity to explore and share all of the wonderful things there are to do in Michigan. Aside from exploring the mitten, Hayley loves spending time with her family, cooking, and curling up on the couch with a good book.

Yates Cider Mill: Generations of Tradition

A trip to a Michigan cider mill for some apple cider and donuts is a true sign of fall in Pure Michigan. As Rochester Hills-based Yates Cider Mill celebrates their 150th anniversary, owners Mike and Katie Titus take us on a trip back in time to learn how Yates Cider Mill came to be a fall favorite in Michigan. 

Celebrating 150 years of operation, Yates Cider Mill was born in the days of Lincoln, years before the electric light bulb made its debut.  Six generations later, Yates continues to be a gathering place for many in and around the Rochester area.  Yates is a place where people come to share traditions, memories, and a special sense of community.

The Yates mill operation spans six generations.  Three generations of the Yates family and then three generations of the Posey family, have continued to keep the original turbine water wheel and machinery running, which operate the Mill to this day.

A Look Back at Yates’ History

Only a few pioneers attempted to venture to the Michigan wilderness until the mid 1820′s when the Erie Canal was complete and provided a dependable route from New York City to the Great Lakes.  Thanks to the canal, travel time from New York City to Detroit fell from one month in 1800 to two days in 1860.  By 1863 Michigan had more than 800 lumber mills and was also producing 3/4 of the Nation’s copper.

First Known Photo of Yates Cider MillIt was during this time in 1863, William Yates from New York, purchased an 84-acre tract of land and constructed a wooden dam across the Clinton River and built the original Yates Mill. The Yates family began the Mill as a lumber mill and soon after expanded as a grist mill, grinding grain into flour for local farmers.  As William’s client customer base began to grow, he recognized the need for a cider press.  Around the year 1876, Yates began to press apples for cider; first for local farmers who brought in their own fruit and paid a pressing fee, and then for the general public. Even grapes were pressed at the Mill.  Cider production continued to increase and with the demand, Yates needed to grow.

In 1894, the larger, existing Mill was built.  A 26-inch water turbine wheel from James Leffel and Company in Springfield, Ohio was installed with this construction and to this day, provides the Mill’s pressing power for cider production. The existing water-powered cider press was installed in 1924.

Today, Yates Cider Mill enjoys visits from thousands of people annually and is known all over the country for its rich history, premium apple cider, and delicious bakery products, including Yates very own legendary donuts.  In a world that seems to be changing faster every year that goes by, Yates Cider Mill remains a place to many where the clock seems to tick a little more slowly.  Where friends and families come together and make memories.

Have you been to Yates Cider Mills? Tell us about your experience.

Pure Michigan Cider Mills

One of Michigan’s most popular fall activities is attending cider mills.  Between the cider, doughnuts, apple picking, hayrides and corn mazes, cider mills are sure to provide a fun-filled fall day for you and your family.  Below we have featured five cider mills located throughout the state.  Grab your family and friends, and enjoy this Pure Michigan fall at one of the many Michigan cider mills or orchards.

For a complete list of Michigan cider mills, visit michigan.org.

Blake Farms – Armada  

Voted the number one apple orchard in Michigan by AAA authorities, Blake Farms was one of the very first “Pick Your Own” orchards in Michigan. Currently, Blakes has three locations that are comprised of 500 acres of orchard and farmland.  Whether you pick-your-own apples, sip on some of their award winning apple cider, enjoy a hayride, or wander their cornfield mazes, there is plenty of fall fun to be had at Blake Farms.

Robinette’s Apple Haus & Winery – Grand Rapids

This Grand Rapid’s Apple Haus features apples, as well as peaches, nectarines and cherries. Fall attractions include a corn maze, horse-drawn hayrides, and u-pick apples. In addition to their apple haus, Robinette’s has a winery, a 5.25 biking trail, and cross-country skiing. There is something for every member of the family to enjoy at Robinette’s.

Uncle John’s Cider Mill – Saint Johns

Uncle John’s is well known for its cider mill, which serves fresh cider and doughnuts. Already picked apples are also available for purchase. Uncle John’s has many activities for families to take part in, such as a pumpkin patch, fruit fling, wagon rides, corn maze and even a mining company where visitors are able to mine their own gemstones.   

Friske Orchards – Ellsworth

In 2011, Friske Orchards was voted the number one “U-Pick” farm in Northern Michigan by Traverse Magazine.  While at Friske’s you can choose to pick your own fruit, shop the general store, or attend one of their many festive events such as the Apple Festival or Fall Fun Saturdays. Other activities include: guided wagon rides, orchard walks, farm animal petting zoo, large kids playground and an old-world bakery.

Yates Cider Mill – Rochester Hills

Yates Cider Mill, which is located in Rochester Hills, has been featured on the Food Network for its apple cider.  While at Yates, visitors can choose to visit the cider mill, ice cream shoppe, fudge shoppe, or all three! Family activities include pony rides, a petting zoo and river walk. Enjoy cider, donuts, caramel apples, homemade and jarred goods at Yates this fall.

Which Michigan cider mill is your favorite? Share with us below!