10 Lesser-Known Cider Mills and Orchards across Michigan

Michigan orchards and cider mills bring back nostalgia of playing in leaves and haystacks, eating doughnuts or spending the day with family. Bring those feelings back by visiting a nearby cider mill, while also supporting local farmers! We hope you can use this list of lesser-known cider mills to start your own fall tradition or just try somewhere new! To find even more orchards near you, click here

Diehl’s Orchard & Cider Mill
Holly, MI

Family-owned and operated, Diehl’s Orchard & Cider Mill opened in 1954 to help families have lasting memories together. The mill is open daily through October and on the weekends in November. Located off a dirt road, it gives off an up north vibe in Southeast Michigan. The orchard is the perfect place to create autumn traditions and enjoy time together while viewing beautiful fall foliage. With a corn maze, petting farm, playground, an orchard and a hayride, there are so many activities to keep you and your family or friends busy. Not to mention between all of the apples, cider, doughnuts, jams and honey, it’ll be hard to choose just one item. You might end up bringing them all home!

Anderson & Girls Orchards/Gifts
Stanton, MI

Located in Mid-Michigan, this orchard is complete with a farm market, bakery, ice cream parlor and gift loft. The cider mill operates through Dec. 1. What’s incredibly interesting about this orchard is that there are barnyard animals like reindeer, camels, zebras, lemurs and more! This alone is worth the trip as kids will love to see and interact with these incredibly diverse animals that are rarely seen in Michigan, outside of zoos. Don’t miss Great Pumpkin Day on Oct. 22 where you can pick your own pumpkins, ride in a wagon or on a camel and participate in Kid’s Town.

Hayes Corn Maze & Pumpkin Patch
Rock, MI

Have a great time in the U.P. with your family and friends through Oct. 30 at Hayes Corn Maze & Pumpkin Patch, only open on the weekends. There is no shortage of activities here so you won’t ever get bored! Of course, hit the corn or hay maze, take a hay ride, participate in the photo contest, visit the pumpkin tree house with kids or sit around a campfire and relax. Come home with a huge pumpkin as a souvenir from your visit.

Photo Courtesy of Rowin Mulder

Photo Courtesy of Rowin Mulder

Erie Orchards & Cider Mill
Erie, MI

This orchard is located in the very southeastern corner of Michigan, near Ohio. This is a great place for a family outing. Don’t miss Kids Weekend on Oct. 8 and 9 where there will be child entertainment and magic shows, corn mazes, bonfires, a craft show and pony rides. Approximately 15,000 bushels of apples are harvested annually off 30 acres of apple trees. The varieties include Ida Red, Granny Smith, Northern Spy, Golden and Red Delicious and more. Be sure to check the website for information on each themed weekend in October. And set up a tour today!

Knaebe’s Mmmunchy Krunchy Apple Farm
Rogers City, MI

With a very interesting name, this Northern Michigan orchard is open Thursday through Sunday until Nov. 6. There are a ton of food and drink options, but be aware the bakery tends to sell out! Call ahead and place an order if there is something specific you’re looking to buy on your visit. A few for-sale items include homemade pies, doughnuts with bacon, apple and maple flavorings, apple crisp, apple cream cheese cake and a doughnut sundae! For first-timers, take a self-guided tour of the farm or get on a horse-drawn carriage ride or, for the kids, a pony ride. Don’t miss the tasting room featuring Twisted Roots Cider. Local hot dogs, brats and pizza are served as well.

Photo Courtesy of Amy Lijewski

Photo Courtesy of Amy Lijewski

The Jollay Orchards Farms
Coloma, MI

Jollay Orchards is open daily in Southwest Michigan. The Jollay family has been perfecting the craft of growing fruit since 1857! Jump on a hayride heading to the U-pick orchards which are well-maintained and manicured making it easy to choose your favorite apples among the many varieties grown. You can also visit the Farm Market for apple pies baked in brown paper bags and lots of other Michigan-made treats like jams, BBQ sauces and dumplings. Enjoy a stroll through the Animal Farm or Cornfield Maze, cast your line in the Fishing Pond or let the kids enjoy the playground area. The possibilities are endless!

Sietsema Orchards & Cider Mill
Ada, MI

Based in West Michigan, Sietsema Orchards was founded on the outskirts of Grand Rapids in 1934. Occasionally this location provides Farm to Table dinners, so be sure to regularly check the website to participate in those. They also create four different types of hard cider and just released a new one called Maggie’s Reserve. Proceeds from sales of Maggie’s Reserve will benefit Mercy Health Birth Center at Saint Mary’s. Contribute to a great cause while also having fun! Another reason to visit is to gather an amazing variety of apples and pumpkins.

Friske Orchards Farm Market
Ellsworth, MI

Since 1962, Friske Orchards Farm Market has been a family tradition in Northwest Michigan. The orchard grows and harvests approximately 5.5 million pounds of fresh Michigan fruit and produce annually and about 50,000 gallons of premium apple cider blends. It is open year around, bringing you their high-quality fruit and handcrafted specialty food products. Be sure to check out the Fruit Stand, Orchard Cafe, Old World Bakery, General Store, Country Haus Gift Shop, the seasonal children’s Orchard Playland and Barnyard Animal Petting Zoo, presenting options for everyone. Apple Fest Days are occurring Oct. 8 and 15 and are full of fun activities.

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Uncle John’s Cider Mill
St. Johns, MI

Located in Mid-Michigan, Uncle John’s is a local favorite. Back in the 1900’s the mill was used as a cattle barn, but now has been converted into a cider press and doughnut shop. Uncle John’s has won awards for their fresh cider and hard apple cider. Go visit and explore the five-acre corn maze, take a free wagon ride, visit the pumpkin patch or walk the nature trail. There are a ton of fun festivities happening this fall including Food Truck Friday, live music, inflatables and young children amusement rides. Don’t forget about their Cidery and Winery Tasting Room where you can try hard ciders, fruit wines and apple-flavored spirits. Note that they do not offer pick-your-own apples. A visit to this cider mill will be the trip of the season for your family or friends.

The Fruitful Orchard and Cider Mill
Gladwin, MI

This Mid-Michigan orchard will make for a perfect day trip. Open Monday through Saturday, the location offers cider slushies, made-from-scratch baked goods like cinnamon rolls, salsa and sauces as well as candles and gifts. Visit the observation area to see cider pressing in action. Be sure to call ahead to see what time the next press will occur. There are hay ride tours on Saturdays and a pumpkin patch where you can choose your next jack-o-lantern or to make pumpkin pie at home!

Where is your favorite cider mill or orchard? Let us know in the comments!

9 of the Best Golf Destinations for Leaf Peeping in Pure Michigan

Soon, Michigan will transform itself into one of the best fall golf destinations in the country, blending immaculate courses with brilliant fall color. What better time to hit the links than with a view of scarlet, rust, gold and orange?

The Great Lakes state boasts fantastic fall views, and golf destinations, in every region. Read more on a few of our favorites and visit michigan.org/golf for ideas and packages.

1. The Hills Course at Boyne HighlandsHarbor Springs, MI

Boyne Highlands has plenty of options for fall golf, but nothing tops the view from the 13th tee on the Hills course, which is one of the best sights looking out over 40-miles of northern hardwoods. In addition to the immaculate golf scene, the resort offers deluxe hotel rooms, condos, and cottages perfect for a weekend getaway meaning you’ll have more time to play and explore the many acres surrounding the area.

Boyne Falls, Photo Courtesy of Kevin Frisch

Photo Courtesy of Kevin Frisch

2. The Legend at Shanty Creek ResortBellaire, MI

Named one of the top four resort courses in the United States by Golf Magazine readers, this Arnold Palmer-designed beauty was built with all levels of golfers in mind. “If you’re a 12 in Detroit, you shouldn’t be a 20 here,” Arnie stressed. Located at Shanty Creek Resort, this course offers unbeatable views from the 3rd tee and 4th green overlooking beautiful Lake Bellaire. Golf Digest gives The Legend an enviable four-stars, and a trip in the fall allows for more flexible tee times.

3. Greywalls at Marquette Golf ClubMarquette, MI

If you’re aching to see fall colors, make your escape to Greywalls soon. This spectacular course, located high above Lake Superior, offers some of the best fall color and lake views from the 1st and 7th tee boxes and the 9th green. This dramatic course had a banner year in 2005 (the same year it opened!), as it collected several highly acclaimed national awards from publications such as Golf Magazine, Golf Digest, and most recently, Travel + Leisure Golf and Golfweek. With the course being located in Marquette, the fall colors will begin to change during the first week of October.

Photo Courtesy of Kevin Frisch

Photo Courtesy of Kevin Frisch

4. Jones Masterpiece at TreetopsGaylord, MI

The Masterpiece course offers several spectacular views that stretch for 40-miles overlooking the Pigeon River Forest. The 6th hole, from which Treetops was named, and the 15th tee, offer great backdrops for tee-shots. With numerous courses in the area receiving national rankings and hotels and resorts offering spectacular packages, Gaylord is known as America’s Summer Golf Mecca – and it only gets better in the fall.

5. Shepherds Hollow Golf ClubClarkston, MI

Located just north of bustling Detroit, this Art Hills course, on its massive rolling land, looks like it could be set in northern Michigan. With 27 tour-caliber holes to challenge you and 350 rolling acres to inspire you, Shepherd’s Hollow golf course is truly a thing of beauty during the autumn season. Designed by Arthur Hills, this course has full practice bunkers, full service locker room with showers, and dining facility.

Photo Courtesy of Kevin Frisch

Photo Courtesy of Kevin Frisch

6. Elk Ridge Golf Club – Atlanta, MI

Located just east of Atlanta, Elk Ridge offers stunning views throughout the tree-lined course. The best spots are on the 10th tee with its spectacular view in the distance and along the 16th hole as the fall foliage wraps around the short risk reward par 4. Elk Ridge was selected by Golf Digest as “one of America’s top 75 upscale public courses” and selected as the 2nd best public course opening in 1991

 7. Stone Hedge Courses at Gull LakeAugusta, MI

Located between Kalamazoo and Battle Creek, both the north and south Stone Hedge courses at Gull Lake offers a variety of great fall color views. The new Stoatin Brae course also offers several spectacular views. These courses, situated near the coast of Lake Michigan, make for perfect autumn days as crisp fall temperatures keep you feeling refreshed while on the greens.

Photo Courtesy of Kevin Frisch

Photo Courtesy of Kevin Frisch

 8. Thoroughbred Golf Club at Double JJ ResortRothbury, MI

This Art Hills designed course meanders in and out of wetland and bog areas with spectacular color spots, such as the 2nd tee, as well as some great sports on the back nine along holes 15 and 18. Here, four sets of forward tees (forward tee at 4,851 yards) allow you to choose the test that best suits your game. This quiet west Michigan region is perfect for a relaxing weekend as you take in the brilliant scenes around you.

9. Pinecroft Golf CourseBenzonia, MI

Pinecroft might not get the attention some of the bigger courses do in the region, but it is a fun golf course with views that rival any place in northern Michigan overlooking Crystal Lake. An 18-hole championship course situated just 30 miles southwest of Traverse City, Pinecroft is nestled in the gently rolling hills perfect for an interesting game of golf.

Check out michigan.org/golf for more ideas, locations and packages.

 Why do you love to play golf? Let us know in the comments!

Falling for Michigan: Five Ways to Enjoy the Fall Foliage

Another fall color season in Pure Michigan is about to begin! When the days begin to get shorter and the crisp fall air arrives, Michigan’s 19 million acres of woods turn to shades of red, gold and orange.

The new season offers new vacation experiences, and whether you take a long weekend, or a short day trip, there is no better place to see the dynamic fall foliage colors than along Michigan’s highways, trails and coastlines.

Here are five great ways to “fall” for Pure Michigan this year.  

Take a Fall Color Tour

From the Keweenaw Peninsula to the Sunrise Coast to Southeast Michigan, there is no shortage of beautiful places to take in the fall foliage.  Starting in the Upper Peninsula in Mid-September to Michigan’s Sunrise and Sunset coasts in Mid to late October, let our fall colors report guide you toward the best time to take a Pure Michigan fall vacation.   For a listing of fall color tours, visit http://www.michigan.org/fall-color-tours/ or sign up for the Fall Color Update newsletter.

Enjoying a beautiful Fall day. Photo Courtesy of Todd Reed.

Enjoying a beautiful Fall day. Photo Courtesy of Todd Reed.

By Land…or By Lake

During the summer, boat cruises take vacationers out onto Michigan’s lakes, but many of them offer color cruises or private charters for those wanting to enjoy the fall foliage from the nation’s longest freshwater coastline.  Check out cruises and charters near you here.

Want to get in some outdoor recreation?  Bundle up and take a fall paddling trip on one of Michigan’s lakes or rivers, enjoying the peace and quiet of a fall morning or afternoon.  Michigan is blessed with more paddling opportunities than any other state.  {Related:  Michigan’s Seven Best Paddling Trips}

Peshekee River in Marquette. Photo Courtesy of the Michigan DNR.

Peshekee River in Marquette. Photo Courtesy of the Michigan DNR.

Blaze Your Own Trail

Michigan has hundreds of miles of trails and pathways, and nothing beats a biking or hiking trip than one with a colorful backdrop of fall foliage and the crunch of fallen leaves beneath your feet.

Looking for something unique? Saddle up and enjoy the beauty of fall with a horse ride.  Michigan has several horse-friendly trails and stables perfect for an afternoon adventure.

Michigan Trails Week  is September 17 – 24, which is a weeklong celebration of Michigan’s extensive trail network.  Find your favorite trail.

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A View from the Top

We are often times looking up to see the fall colors, but you can get a bird’s eye view of Michigan’s thousands of trees with orange, red and yellow leaves.

Take a scenic chairlift ride at participating ski resorts throughout the state such as Boyne Mountain Resort, Mount Bohemia,  Mont Ripley and Crystal Mountain, among others.

Feeling more adventurous?  Many of Michigan’s hot air balloon companies have fall schedules that will give you the view of a lifetime.

Mt. Bohemia Lift Rides. Photo Courtesy of Katy Kass.

Mt. Bohemia Lift Rides. Photo Courtesy of Katy Kass.

Fall “Fore” Michigan Golf

Michigan is consistently named among the best places in the country to play golf with more than 650 public courses throughout the state.   The fall season is a great time to enjoy a round of golf and the fall colors with many courses offering packages and deals.

Where is your favorite place in Pure Michigan for fall colors?