ANN ARBOR - Fall is by far my favorite season.
It means changing leaves, brisk mornings, spiced drinks and all the joys that come with cider mill, orchard and pumpkin patch season.
Michigan sure does know how to celebrate fall, so I've rounded up a few of my favorite things to do in the area.
Dexter Cider Mill
3685 Central St., Dexter, Michigan
A trip to this spot, located on a bank of the Huron River, is a must if you love apples.
The mill is over 130 years old, and it still makes cider using an oak rack press, similar to the one used there in the 1800s. If you're lucky, they'll let you see the process.
Locals and outsiders alike travel to the mill to enjoy a variety of homemade goods, including:
- Apple cider slushies (weekends only)
- Old-fashioned doughnuts
- Caramel apples
- Apple strudel, apple turnovers and apple fritters (weekends only)
- Cinnamon roll with apple cider glaze (weekends only)
- Hard cider
- Hot spiced cider (at the end of the season)
Go for a spin on the Huron River Drive
When the leaves start to change, go for a ride on this scenic route that features a canopy of trees and breathtaking river views.
There are parks and bridges along the way with free parking, so if you're feeling adventurous (or want to up your fall game on Instagram), stop and explore some nature areas.
I recommend the western Ann Arbor-Dexter stretch.
Sip a fall-themed spiced drink
For coffee lovers, nothing says fall quite like a fresh pumpkin spice latte.
I know this because I am one of them. That's why I contacted every cafe in town to get the scoop on their fall-flavored offerings this season.
5565 Merritt Rd., Ypsilanti, Michigan
This place is the real deal.
If you have one weekend free the entire season, Wiard's is your one-stop-shop.
It features a pumpkin patch, cider mill, apple orchard, hayrides, corn maze, apple cannon, pony rides, petting farm, country store/bakery and more.
I know what it's like to have a little one in tow. This is definitely a spot where you can spend lots of time with the entire family.
Now through Halloween, Wiard's transforms into a haunted thrill park at night. Want to know more? Check out its Facebook page.
Take a stroll in The Arb or Matthaei Botanical Gardens
Nichols Arboretum: 1610 Washington Heights
Matthaei Botanical Gardens: 1800 N. Dixboro Rd.
Each time I go to one of these places, I'm blown away by the beauty and the fact that they're always available at no cost to visitors sunrise to sunset seven days a week.
They provide the perfect opportunity to escape the hustle and bustle and simply enjoy nature.
Add changing leaves and the crunch of fallen leaves under your feet, and the experience is a whole new level of wonderful.
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