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Best Cider Mills in Metro Detroit

Posted by Lisa LaGrou September 22, 2013 Cider Mills, Fall Fun

If you’ve tripped around this website for a while, you’ve noticed that I have an affinity for our local Michigan cider mills. Born and raised in Michigan, I’ve seen my fair share. In fact, I’ve visited every cider mill in the OCM Cider Mill Directory at least 2 times with the exception of Wiards (I swear I’ll make it there, it sounds awesome).

I started piecing together the Cider Mill Directory a couple of years ago. I guess I’m a lousy critic. I love all of these mills. Some are better than others and beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but each have there own charm and reasons why I enjoy them. People have asked me for recommendations and I have to ask them the return question  “well, what are you looking for?” In an attempt to break down the best attributes of OCM Cider Mill Directory, I’m presenting the Michigan Cider Mill Awards!

Most Educational Cider Mill in Metro Detroit, Michigan
Winner: Westview Orchards and Cider Mill of Romeo/Washington Twp
Westview in Macomb County welcomes huge groups and schools with open arms and features a school house on its premises to educate children about the farm, the cider, the recipes and Michigan history. You’ll be seeing Westview in these awards more. Trust me.

Best Cider Mill to take a small child in Metro Detroit, Michigan
Winner: Parmenter’s Cider Mill
Parmenter’s of Northville has plenty of playscapes. Parmenter’s isn’t on a huge lot so you don’t have to worry about lugging diaper bags and kids too far. The ducks cruising along the Rouge River in the back of the mill is great entertainment for the under 4 set.

Most Touristy Cider Mill
Winner: Blake’s
This is not a backhanded compliment. I love Blake’s in Macomb County! It’s the Cedar Point of Michigan Cider Mills. They have everything. Sometimes campy (they serve corndogs & pizza); Blake’s has entertainment, rides and lots of open space. They know how to market the cider mill experience. Leanne Rhymes was recently spotted at Armada, Michigan‘s Blake’s on a recent trip to Detroit. I’m guessing she wasn’t staying in Armada and made the special trip to go to Blake’s. That says it all.

Best Cider Mill to take your parents or grandparents
Winner: Miller’s Big Red Apple Orchard
Miller’s in Macomb County is a full-service cider mill experience but what I like the most about Miller’s is how “laid back” it is. You don’t have to park and walk very far to enjoy the cider and relax with. I always remember my late grandmother when I go there and think “God, she’d love this place.”

Cleanest Cider Mill in Metro Detroit, Michigan
Winner: Westview Orchards and Cider Mill of Romeo
Usually a trip to the cider mill inevitably results into a breath-holding trip to a remote port-o-potty. Throw in an infant needing a diaper change or a toddler in the midst of potty training and it becomes a nightmare. Westview in Macomb County has a vast bathroom facility fitting of a Dave & Busters restaurant complete with changing tables. In addition to the bathrooms, the paths and stops at Westview are well-manicured and taken care of. Top notch.

Best Mill to take a child over 4 years of age in Metro Detroit, Michigan
Winner: Erwin Orchards and Cider Mill
Erwin’s is huge and the kids love bouncing around in the hay-mazes. Extra points to Erwin’s for their “Trike Trail.”
Runner-up: Blake’s

Most Sophisticated Cider Mill in Metro Detroit, Michigan
Winner: Franklin Cider Mill
The scenic Franklin Cider Mill is charming. Their open market has a Birmingham shopping feel to it. It’s a beautiful, almost romantic place that features fresh-cut flowers and a friendly staff. It’s 2 minutes from Telegraph but it feels like it’s hundreds of miles away from big city stress.

Most Romantic Cider Mill in Metro Detroit, Michigan
Winner: Yates*
Yates has an asterisk by it because I think it’s the most romantic cider mill. I love the streams, the rolling hills and the beautiful park across the street. BUT, you have to go when the crowds are small. Yates might win least romantic on a busy Saturday.
Runner Up: Franklin Cider Mill

Best Looking Cider Mill in Metro Detroit, Michigan
Winner: Paint Creek Cider Mill
Paint Creek Cider Mill used to be a faux cider mill. The Paint Creek Trail Cider Mill used to be an old restaurant that currently houses the Oakland Township office and Paint Creek Trailways Commission. They even used to import their own cider from other mills. That all changed this year and Paint Creek makes their own cider now in addition to many other delicious treats (even a year-round deli-style lunch restaurant). Don’t let its faux past ruin your experience. The building is impressive and the Paint Creek Trail and scenic stream add to the ambience and wonderful scenery.
Runner Up: Yates Cider Mill has so much charm.
Runner Up: Franklin Cider Mill. Over 173 years old and as beautiful as ever!

Best “Hit-n-Runs” Cider Mills in Metro Detroit, Michigan
Winner(s): Middleton Cider Mill, Ashton Orchard and Cider Mill, Rochester Cider Mill, Goodison Cider Mill
Need a quick cider/donut fix? These are your Macomb County and Oakland County cider mill hotspots. These places are perfect for driving right up, ordering and then hitting the road. Each of them offer many different things but these are the places to hit when you’re in a hurry. They’re extraordinarily convenient and their cider and donuts are all delicious. Just because I don’t spend a lot of time at 7-11s doesn’t mean I don’t love 7-11s.

Scariest Hayride in Metro Detroit, Michigan
Winner: Miller’s*
I’ve got to go with the classic here. It was my first haunted hayride and I’ll always have a special, blood-curdling scream induced love for it. Sadly, Miller’s Big Red have cancelled their 24-year tradition of the haunted hayrides.. They were awesome, though! Miller’s has an asterisk because I won’t go to Blake’s. I refuse. I’m too chicken! I’ve heard Blake’s in Macomb County is the scariest but you won’t get me to review it.

Most Underrated Cider Mill in Metro Detroit, Michigan
Winner: Westview Orchards and Cider Mill of Romeo
Westview is located very close to cider powerhouses like Miller’s & Blake’s. There is so much to do and so much to like at Westview that I think it deserves more recognition.
Runner-up: Erwin Orchards

Best “up north” feel Cider Mill in Metro Detroit, Michigan
Winner: Diehl’s Orchard and Cider Mill
Located in Holly, Diehl’s has just enough to do to make it worth the trip without having a tourist-trap feel. Diehl’s has a Traverse City feel without all the driving. If you can’t make it up north or don’t want to leave Oakland County, try a trip to Diehl’s.

Best Cider in in Metro Detroit, Michigan
Winner: All
I’m not trying to punk out with this answer. I haven’t had a bad cup of cider yet. The reason for my answer is that the cider tastes different batch to batch. It depends on the crop of apples. For instance, the dry summer of 2010 produced a “sweeter” crop of apples than previous years. I’ll say this… I’ve found that Erwin’s cider tends to be unusually sweet and Hy’s tends to be the least “sugary.”

The Golden Donut Award/Best Cider Mill Donut in Metro Detroit, Michigan
Winner: Erwin Orchards and Cider Mill
Let the controversy begin! The donuts from this directory are top-notch but I’m giving the coveted Golden Donut Award to Erwin Orchards because they go above and beyond. Their donuts are HUGE! It’s not just the size; it’s the way they’re cooked. They’re crisp and have a nice crunchy texture. The pumpkin spice donuts at Erwin’s are also delicious. Another “no-lose” category but Erwin Orchards won me over.
Runner Up: Spicer Orchards and Cider Mill.

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