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Sip The Season: Our Guide To New England Apple Cider

If an apple a day keeps the doctor away, then a gallon of cider might just be the elixir of life (full disclosure, though: we’re not doctors — just apple evangelists). Fall in New England not only sees the return of vibrant oranges and reds, but also marks the long-awaited kick-off of apple cider season! While hard cider might be en vogue, simple, fresh-pressed apple cider is a seasonal staple for adults and kids alike. Take a sip of New England’s most cider-centric attractions from apple orchards to rousing fall festivals.

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young boy in apple orchard with bag full of apples
Photo: Massachusetts Office of Travel & Tourism

Start At The Roots: Orchards

Woman in Fleece holding basket of hand-picked apples
Credit: Connecticut Office of Tourism

Whether breaking a news story or scouting for cider, we find it’s best to start at the source. Make your way to a New England orchard and wander through branches filled to the brim with ripe apples. For apples as delicious as they are unique, head to Scott Farm in southern Vermont, home to 120 (and counting) heirloom varieties and taste their legendary heirloom cider. If you’re looking for a more traditional (but just as tasty) apple cider experience, Jaswell’s Farm, located in Rhode Island’s Apple Valley, has been operating for four generations and features an on-site bakery alongside its trees. Once you’ve picked a few apples to take home, stop by the farmstand and bakery to taste fresh-baked apple cider doughnuts or candied-apples alongside your cider.

Watch The Process: Cider Mills

After heading out on a limb to New England’s apple cider orchards, follow the apples through the cider-making process with a visit to a traditional mill. As it turns out, making apple cider is a bit more challenging than squeezing oranges to make juice. The process involves grinders, pumps, and a powerful press to extract every last drop of nectar from the apples. While many orchards, including Jaswell’s Farm, feature cider mills, we recommend a visit to Cold Hollow Cider Mill in central Vermont, where you can witness the cider-making process in their Press Viewing Room.

Celebrate Cider: Apple Festivals

Photo: Alisa Anton on Unsplash

Fall is festival season around these parts, so corral your crew and for a one-stop-shop of fantastic food, themed-games, and of course, plenty of cider. Over 400 crafters, live music and an annual 5K make Dover, New Hampshire’s Apple Harvest Day a popular stop for nearly 50,000 visitors every year — just be sure to save your apple pie eating for after the 5K. If you’re searching for some education alongside your fun, Great Maine Apple Day gives festival-goers the opportunity to explore the history of Maine apples with hands-on kitchen workshops and speakers on a variety of topics.

Do It Yourself: Cider-Making Workshops

Whether your visit to the orchard left you with more apples than you know what to do with or you’ve simply caught the cider bug, put on your Johnny Appleseed hat, roll up your sleeves, and try your hand at making your own New England apple cider. Get a guided lesson at the Northeast Organic Farming Association in Massachusetts, whose workshops not only offer tips and recipes for cider-making but also share methods for growing your own apples. With a little help and a lot of determination, you’ll be sipping your own homemade New England apple cider in no time.

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