Area cider mills offer thrills and chills for all ages

Wiard’s Orchards

 

 

Apple Charlie’s South Huron OrchardsApple Charlie’s South Huron Orchards

By COURTNEY DITTO

What: Apple Charlie’s South Huron Orchards
Where: 38035 S. Huron Road, New Boston, MI
When: Open daily 8 a.m. – 8 p.m.

Fall has come around again in Michigan, and is more beautiful than ever, the leaves are rich with colors of red and orange and the weather is just perfect for apple picking and pumpkin carving. The famous Apple Charlie’s is in full swing, and offering more great attractions than usual.

This family-run cider mill offers a wide variety of activities, from apple picking to pony rides. Families that come out to this orchard are known regulars and have been coming for years to enjoy the Apple Charlie’s maze during the day, and for the brave ones, a haunted house at night. Apple Charlie’s is open to the public every day of the week, and even has indoor activities for the rainy days, such as drinking warm cider with ice cream and doughnuts.

 

3 Cedars FarmThree Cedars Farm

By SOFIA LYNCH

What: Three Cedars Farms
Where: 7897 Six Mile Road, Northville, MI
When: Sun-Thurs 10 a.m.- 8 p.m.
Fri-Sat 10 a.m.-10 p.m.

Three Cedars Farm offers all the fun fall activities that one could want in one place. Though best known for their cider mill, there is much more in store for attendees of Three Cedars. Next to the entrance into the expansive farm, there is a “Upick pumpkin patch,” with the gourds ranging in sizes and prices. The main red barn houses the old-timey general store which offers old-fashioned candy, as well as country and fall decor.

For the kids, and animal lovers of all ages, there is a free “Barn Yard Play Land” with live-barnyard animals and feed available in coin-operated machines. There are hayrides, as well as a 7-acre corn maze both available for $5 and for people of all ages.

There are also bonfire sites for rent. For $8 per person, attendees purchase a hayride, a trip through the corn maze and admittance to their rental group’s bonfire site. Site renters must have a minimum group of 30 – or at least pay the full group fee due to the cost of firewood. Those interested in booking a bonfire site can call 248-909-3200.

This family-owned business is open late, and brings together everything michiganders love about fall in a one-stop shop.

 

Wasem Fruit FarmWasem Fruit Farm

By TAYLOR ROBINSON

What: Wasem Fruit Farm
Where: 6580 Judd Rd., Milan, MI
When: Open daily 9 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Limited hours after Nov. 1

Nestled between Ypsilanti and Milan, family-owned and oriented, Wasem is an all-natural, quiet fruit farm with friendly employees and friendly faces.With rows and rows of trees, people can pick apples right from the branches. The farm also offers plums, pumpkins and gourds, varying in shape and size.

Before even getting out of the car, the scent of homemade doughnuts wafts out of the front doors, enticing guests to come inside and buy one of every kind. They can choose from blueberry, apple, pumpkin, and plain, accompanied by a variety of frostings.

At the front door, a map is provided, directing apple-pickers to their favorite kinds ranging from Red Delicious, Golden Delicious, to Jonathan apples and more. Prices start at $15 for a half-bushel bag, allowing for more than enough apples to bake some fresh apple crisp or pie. Guests can also top off their visit by purchasing some of the farm’s knick knacks and freshly brewed apple cider.

 

Wiard’s OrchardsWiard’s Orchards and Country Fair

By TAYLOR MABELITINI

What: Wiard’s Orchards and Country Fair
Where: 5565 Merritt Road, Ypsilanti, MI
When: Closed Mondays. Tues-Sun 9 a.m. – 6 p.m.

Allen Wilson, known colloquially as “Al,” to his coworkers, looks over the hundred acres that make up Wiard’s Apple Orchards as he speaks. Wilson has been the Operations Manager at Wiard’s for the past 28 years and oversees all of its happenings, from the Country Fair that runs during the day, to the onsite haunted attraction, Night Terrors, in the evening.

The business moved to its current location in 2006, and to this day, Wiard’s attracts patrons of all kinds, from sorority groups to colleagues to families, with nearly two dozen daytime activities, including a corn maze, hayrides, petting zoo, and a Learning Barn, designed specifically for school tours. Wiard’s six different haunts — the Haunted Mindshaft, Haunted Barn, Asylum, Alien Caged Clowns, Splattertown, and Haunted Hayride — collectively make up their Night Terrors, which markets itself as “Michigan’s Only Thrills and Chills Park.”

“We really, really play on some phobias. So I mean it’s really a thrill park, because you can come in and we have monsters that walk around live and jump out and scare you as you’re walking through the grounds,” Wilson said.

The grounds of Wiard’s are covered by eight acres of pumpkins and approximately 4200 apple trees. Patrons can go through and pick apples for themselves, making it one of the only orchards left that allow for such things, according to Wilson. The Country Fair is  $15.50 all-day admission fee, making it, as Wilson says, considerably cost-effective.

“The value they get for their dollar is incredible. What we offer for what you pay, it’s an all-day thing. you could spend all day here and just enjoy everything.”

Wiard’s also features the highpoint of apple orchards’ existences everywhere: cider and doughnuts. The Country Store is open during both Wiard’s Country Fair and Night Terrors, making the fall staples available to customers no matter when they come to visit.

“Make it a tradition to come to Wiard’s, to share the fall with us,” Wilson said. “It’s a place that people come to make memories.”

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