Spiced cider, apple picking and haunted fun attract students

George Salazar, an employee of Yates Cider Mill in Rochester, Michigan distributes chopped apple mash into the cider press.

Wednesday, was the first official day of fall and the season of autumn also means the season of cider mills. Each year, students look forward to hanging out with friends, along with the apple picking, hayrides, donuts and spiced cider.

Thankfully there are two cider mills close to campus.

Wiard’s Orchards & Country Fair has been around since 1853 and has a variety of events and activities for everyone to enjoy. It is the closest cider mill to EMU and the one most students choose to visit when they are craving cider and donuts or just looking for something fun to do.

They have a country fair, country store, cider mill and also the apple orchard and pumpkin patch where people can pick their own apples and pumpkins. They also provide free parking.

“I love being able to pick my own apples,” said Sarah Bartnicki, a frequent visitor of Wiard’s, as she munched down on one of her fresh picked apples.

Wiard’s Fair has quite the selection of entertainment which includes hayrides, orchards, a corn maze, petting farm, haunted barn, cider mill and a labyrinth. They have something fun for everyone to do. Entry to the fair is $8.50 on Wednesday-Friday and $11.99 per person on the weekends.

The Country Store and Bakery also seems to be pretty popular among the customers. They have tons of tasty treats and old-fashioned goodies to choose from. “There’s cider, donuts, baked pies, and cinnamon rolls that are all made fresh,” said Bartinicki, “But sometimes it’s hard to choose just one thing.”

One of the main things students look forward to is Wiard’s Night Terrors which had its grand opening on Saturday night. Screams could be heard while standing outside of  The Asylum, one of the haunted attractions, most people would be scared to even go in.  

There are a total of six attractions that make up Night Terrors: The Ultimate Haunted Barn, The Asylum, The Labyrinth, Alien Caged Clowns, The Mind Shaft, and The Hayride of the Lost.

“I don’t think I’ll go in the clowns one because they freak me out a little, but I’m all about the free cider and donuts you get on the Hayride,” said Jim Boice, one of Wiard’s yearly customers.

Wiard’s is located on 5545 Merritt Road in Ypsilanti, a 10-15 minute drive from campus. The country fair, country store and cider mill are all open from 10 a.m.-6 p.m. every Wednesday-Sunday, from now until Oct. 31.  Wiard’s will also be open from 7-11:30 p.m.  Fridays and Saturdays and 7-11 p.m. the last 4 Sundays, during the month of October for Night Terrors
Plymouth Orchards and Cider Mill is the next closest cider mill to EMU. Plymouth is more of a traditional cider mill than Wiard’s and the place to go if you enjoy a simpler and more peaceful environment. They have a cider mill and the Ann Arbor Road Market.

The Plymouth Cider Mill has a selection of apples, hot cider, fresh pies, caramel apples, and other goodies. They also offer a picnic area, petting zoo and wagon rides for $2 during the weekdays and $3 during the weekends. They have a pumpkin patch where people can pick their own pumpkins, but the apples are pre-picked and bagged.

“I’ve been there,” said Boice, “It’s a cool little place but I prefer Wiard’s. It’s closer to campus, there’s more to do, and my buddies and I have been coming here for years.”

Plymouth is located on 10685 Warren Road. in Plymouth, about a 20-25 minute drive from campus which is a little further than Wiard’s. The Cider Mill is open 9 a.m.-7 p.m. everyday from Sept. 4-Nov. 7. The Ann Arbor Road Market is open 10 a.m.-6 p.m. everyday from Sept. 4-Nov. 24.

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