With the changing of the leaves comes fall traditions, and one of the major ones is cider and warm donuts. The DIVAS were ready, and off we went to the Yates Cider Mill, in Rochester Hills, Michigan. It’s a great place to walk around in the woods and enjoy nature. What really makes it the best is the relaxing nostalgia of enjoying a place like you did when you were a kid.
Yates Cider Mill is a Michigan landmark and a registered historic site. It was originally built in 1863 as a grist mill to grind grain into flour. They have progressed to apple cider, beginning in 1876. Their mill is powered by the Clinton River, and the traditions at Yates have not changed much since then.
You will find the Yates Cider Mill alongside the Clinton River, across from Yates and Bloomer Parks, and it joins with a Shelby Township walking trail. There are more than 1200 acres total. The best time to visit is in the fall, when you can take a tour of the cider-making operation.
There is no longer an orchard on site, they have their apples shipped in on a flatbed truck from Michigan orchards near and far. As each week passes, different apple varieties can be blended to round-out the taste. By mid October, as many as six different types of apples are intermixed. They do press the apples on site, to make their delicious cider. Their cider is made without preservatives and is an excellent source of fiber. Cider isn’t all they do at Yates. They make their own assortment of apple pies, apple turnovers, caramel apples, apple butters, delicious types of fudge, ice cream, jams and jellies. We purchased a hunk of caramel fudge for later, it tasted amazing.
We were able to visit Yates one morning during the week, as we don’t like waiting in lines. Traffic was not a problem and we were able to park close, had no line at the counter, and we walked around and enjoyed the peace and quiet of the river. Weekends are packed with long lines everywhere, but they do move quickly. There are lots of things to do for kids on the weekends. There are pony rides and a petting zoo with goats and other outdoor entertainment. They can enjoy the railroad crossing lights and bells, announcing the Pulp Car hauling its load to the dumping area. The Apple Tent is also open on the weekends, with a great selection of the best fall fruit, meat and cheese snacks, candy, gifts and apparel.
The workers at the inside counter will sell you whatever you might need for a nice picnic snack to take outside. Cider is sold in different sized containers and free plastic glasses are available on the wall by the counter. There are lots of picnic tables and benches outside on the property. But be prepared for the bees, they love buzzing around open cider and they appear instantly when you open your jug.
It is the perfect place to walk the nature trail along the river and enjoy the beautiful fall colors. The cider, the smell of the warm, fresh donuts, the sound of the water wheel… it would not be Fall without a visit to Yates.
The Undercover Divas loved the visit. You will, too!!
Yates Cider Mill’s fall hours are Monday – Friday – 7am – 7pm and weekends – 9am – 7pm. The Mill is located at Dequindre and Avon Roads (23 Mile Rd.) in Rochester Hills. They are just 35 minutes north of Downtown Detroit in Oakland County.