MYSTIC - The Cider House Rules are clear: give visitors a look back in time and a taste of sweetness.
"We are the last original steam powered cider mill in the United States," says Amy Miner, as she works the press at B.F. Clyde's Cider Mill, operating since 1881. This National Historic Mechanical Engineering Landmark is also a family tradition. Believe it or not, 6 generations of the Clyde family have worked the press with pride. "To us, it means a lot," says Miner. "There’s not a lot of people who can go to work and say, 'I’m doing the same thing my great-great-grandfather did. His hands were on these levers.'"
For sure, this is a fruitful place. "The press is capable of making 500 gallons an hour if we have to," says Miner. Apples are conveyed into the building, washed and dropped into a grinder. Then, the real work begins. Thick sauce drops out of silver canister, raked in cloths and placed in a rack. Once four racks are stacked, the contraption is swung around and pressed until amber liquid is flowing. "It smelled wonderful to see the juice coming out of the apples," says Linda Maerker who was sure to make a stop at the mill during a road trip from Ohio. "You know where it came from."
The pulleys and gears glean power from the Engine Room. Every fall, the demos are packed with folks who want to take-in this unique experience. "I worked where we had a lot of automatic machinery and it’s great to see the stuff that’s - not primitive - but so old and still works and works well," says Maerker.
Head to the nearby store and find all sorts of seasonal treats like apple cider donuts. "Jams, jellies, pastries, pumpkin bread, pies," says Miner, pointing out a new spot for spirits. "The Tasting Room was new last year. It’s open everyday. You can go up and taste any of our wines."
The picturesque mill is off the beaten path in a town brimming with tourism. "We’re close enough to everything so people can come here, then go to the Seaport or the Aquarium, go downtown and have lunch - make a day of it," says Miner.
Free cider making demonstrations take place Saturdays and Sundays through November. Click here for more information.