This time of year, people are touting "pumpkin" everything, am I right? But let's not forget about some of the other important delicacies of the season: chili, hot cocoa and, of course, the almighty hot apple cider.
A traditional drink served in the fall and winter seasons, apple cider is best served fresh and, well, hot! For us Lawrencians, that means making the trek southeast of town to Louisburg Cider Mill, where you can see the entire apple cider process unfold before your eyes.
We recently made the one-hour drive to Louisburg with a group of buddies to enjoy the fall festivities. Beyond hot apple cider and some serious cider donuts, the Louisburg Cider Mill offers a country store, pumpkin patch, corn maze and hay wagon ride.
First things first: hot cider and cider donuts. Now I'm not one to oogle over hot cider, but let me tell you, this is hot cider to oogle about! The rich sweetness is thick and appelicious; the freshness can't be beat. Unless, of course, you want to pair it with a warm cider donut, covered in sugar. It's a winning pair, but I'm sure I don't have to convince you.
After we had our fill, we took a little walk around to see the cider-making process. It starts with fresh apples being rinsed as they enter a barn on a conveyor belt. Once in the barn, the apples are sorted and rinsed again. Then, the apples enter a hammermill to be pulverized and made into pumice. From there, the pumice moves through tubes to be pressed. During the pressing process, the pulp is separated from the juice, which results in fresh cider! The cider then enters a cooling and reheating process that pasteurizes the cider to make it safe for drinking. Most of this process is visible to visitors.
We completed our visit with a successful trek through the corn maze and walk through the (slightly barren) pumpkin patch. It was a little late in the season to find any perky pumpkins; fortunately, none of us were looking to make a last-minute purchase.
Overall, our trip to the Louisburg Cider Mill was the perfect activity to launch us into the festivities of the season. While the pumpkin patch, corn maze and wagon rides are finished for the season, you can still make a visit for fresh cider and donuts. Make sure you don’t skip out on the Country Store, either -- they have some lovely gift baskets that are perfect for the holidays.
— Jessica Pauly, aka Mrs. Mass., gives her thoughts on shopping, urban living and what’s new in Lawrence in CheckOut weekly and on her blog, mrsmass.com.