Grandpa's Cider Mill in Coloma, MI proved to be a must-see attraction on our recent trip to Michigan. Right off of 94 (less than 2 hours away), this mill in an unassuming red building is home to a large apple pressing operation, and some of the best cider we've ever tasted.
Walking in, you are greeted by a 50-foot glass wall on the left that allows you to see the entire pressing process. (Grandpa's presses apples from early Sept. through November, so we missed the season). On the right, there is a free cider tasting bar, which my daughter (and my husband and I) most enjoyed. You are given a cup and given, I think, about six sample pours, from friendly cider bartenders. Grandpa's has more than 30 different flavors of cider to choose from. The variety of mix-ins is a little mind-boggling: caramel, fudge, ginger, maple, kahlua, lemon, pumpkin, ... horchata (!). My daughter loved the strawberry best; my husband and I most liked the almond. They can blend up your preferred flavor to take home: $2.75/pint, or $4.99/half gallon.
If you're hungry, there is a fresh country bakery here that creates fresh fruit pies and apple cider donuts. And there is a gourmet market section selling lots of jams, jellies and preserves in addition to a cute selection of gifts: serving platters, spreading knives and trays (many manufactured by local artisans).
Grandpa's is nearby several other attractions: Jollay Orchard (which supplies the apples to the cider mill), Jollay Market (where you can stop for a bite to eat, and also pick up more cider), and Chocolate Garden, a chocolatery where I - of course - had to check out the offerings. Grandpa's Cider Mill is open 7 days a week, from 9:30-5:30; their website is www.grandpascidermill.com
I want to go back during apple-picking season.