Destination: Cold Hollow Cider Mill
Come for the donuts, stay for the show
No motorcycle season is complete without a donut run to Cold Hollow Cider Mill on VT-100 in Waterbury Center. Their unique cider donuts are the perfect balance of crispy outside, tender inside -- not too sweet -- and always warm and fresh: perfect for restoring my core on a cold fall ride.
While the donuts draw me to Cold Hollow, they are only part of the reason to go. The mill is the largest producer of apple cider in New England and they have an onsite bakery.
The apple cider is pressed using the rack and cloth method from fresh, hand-picked apples from Vermont and New York. No drops or damaged apples are used. You can watch them press your cider and then draw a sample directly from the tank. The time from apple to glass is only an hour. You can't get any fresher!
To see them press cider, it is best to visit in the fall during the apple harvest when the presses run daily. The typical harvest begins in August and ends in late September or early-October. The cider is available hot, cold or - during the summer - in Slushie form.
If a tour bus stops at the mill while you are there, blend into the tour group and listen. Owner Paul Brown is equal parts entrepreneur, educator and entertainer. Paul's impromptu tours are entertaining and informative. He obviously loves his job and is rightfully proud of the products they produce.
The onsite bakery makes treats for those who prefer pie, breads or turnovers. The apple crumb pie, country apple cakes, banana bread and ginger snaps are just some of goodies they make in small batches. The bakery also makes a selection of gluten free items.
The gift shop has free tasting stations where you can try cider barbeque sauce, maple mustard, pumpkin butter and cider jelly. In addition to food items, the gift shop has books and hand-made craft items. If you buy something you would rather not carry, Cold Hollow will gladly ship it home for you.
The Mill is only two and half miles north of Ben & Jerry's and is a perfect stop for breakfast, lunch or mid-ride snack. You can get a hot dog and a hot apple turnover, finished with a fresh cold apple cider for $5. There is seating indoors at their café, or in Adirondack chairs on their covered porch (a perfect place to get out of the sun or rain).
My favorite times to stop at the Mill are early morning before heading to the Northeast Kingdom or late afternoon after a central Vermont ride. Or, make Cold Hollow your destination - it's the perfect stop for those who "live to ride and ride to eat."
Free samples! And you can get goodies shipped home so you don't need to carry them!