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10-10-10 in the car
The main thing on the agenda for today was a trip to a cider mill with my mom and a friend of hers. Cider mills are a pretty big deal in Michigan in the fall. I have no idea whether this is so in other states. It seems as if states like Wisconsin and Washington might be big cider states, whereas it seems Indiana isn't. (Not that I've done exhaustive research.) We're talking regular cider, freshly pressed from apple mash, in case you're thinking hard cider. The trip to a cider mill is a decidedly family affair.

Our usual choice for the last couple of decades has been Blake's Cider Mill in Armada. They have two locations, and we usually end up at both of them though the one west of Armada is our favorite. Not only is it a good excuse for cider — and donuts, freshly made too — but it's a good excuse for a drive in the country.

The problem today, though, was that the temperature and conditions were ideal for August, not October: temps in the upper 70s and bright sunny skies. That meant everyone and I mean everyone was out getting their cider and donuts. The two-lane roads were backed up for a mile at all the four-way stops. It was worse than a Tuesday morning commute on I-696, frankly. I got to exercise some lateral thinking skills on the backroads avoiding most of the back-ups. We couldn't avoid the crush of people at the mill itself, though we persevered and got our gastronomic treasure. We were definitely done after the one mill, so we headed back home in a very roundabout way visiting the "old neighborhood" in New Haven and Chesterfield Township.
10-10-10 at the cider mill

I mentioned a couple of days ago that Flickr was celebrating the tenth day of the tenth month of the year (20)10 by asking people to post photos to document the date. I posted three photos to Flickr from the cider trip along with two indoor self-portraits, which I might write about later this week (or might not; you know how these things go).


( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
Oct. 11th, 2010 11:31 am (UTC)
The hat and the beard together make you look like a rabbi, you know. Or maybe Amish, though I think they usually shave the mustache.

Yes, cider mills are a sacred Michigan tradition. Here in Illinois it is apparently illegal to sell unpasteurized cider, so I haven't had a taste of the good stuff in years. My favorite is the one in Franklin Village, out in Oakland County. It was originally built as a grist mill back in the 1840s or thereabouts, and still had a working water powered press the last time I was there. Good doughnuts too. ;p My great-great-grandfather Harvey Lee (1798-1877) lived in a stone house just up the road from it. The house is gone now, but the place is part of family tradition.
Oct. 11th, 2010 08:32 pm (UTC)
Rabbi or Amish is almost OK. I'm most worried about the Santa Claus references that may come the closer the holiday season gets. :P

The thing about the ban on unpasteurized cider is, I'm sure the law was well-intentioned, but had (wait for it) unintended consequences.

I can't remember if I've been to Franklin; might've once because it would be the closest one to work for a work outing. Being eastsiders, my family liked Yates up near Stony Creek Metropark, which is real pretty. But the crowds are hard to handle on very nice days. Blake's is in the middle of farm country with no scenery to speak of and it's not located in a historic mill building. It has a pretty nice retail outlet attached with vegetables, jams and jellies and sauces, and the sort of soup and baking mixes you find in country-touristy spots.
Oct. 11th, 2010 09:08 pm (UTC)
Well, I can't recommend Franklin strongly enough. Cider season or not, the mill is picturesque as are many of the surroundings. Autumn color just adds to the picture postcard quality. I have a whole flock of ancestors, right down to my father, who are buried in the village cemetery. Some of the houses they lived in are still standing too.

Sometimes called "The Town that Time Forgot" I'd say Franklin is really "The Town the Railroad Skipped." The area was settled partly in hope that the railroad would come through there, as speculators bought up land that might in turn be purchased at high prices by the company. As it turned out, though, the tracks went to Birmingham instead, leaving Franklin high and dry. Bad as it may have been for the folks who lived there in the 1870s, it gave me some happy childhood memories of beautiful country scenery when I was trapped in the suburbs. My father's uncle, George Lee, was still living when I was little, and we'd trek out there with my grandmother (already 80+ years old) to see her brother and his wife. I only vaguely remember Uncle George and Aunt Ella, and the house they lived in (a converted barn, actually) but I remember playing with their dogs and running in the grass and the neglected apple orchards.
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