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UPDATE 9/18/15: This post is from 2013. There have been several changes at The Old Cider Mill since that time, so this post may contain some outdated information. It will, however, still give you a good overview of the area and some of the things you can expect to see on your visit. Please be sure to check The Old Cider Mill Facebook Page for schedule info and the latest information on their seasonal offerings.
You may have been driving down Main Street in Glastonbury lately and noticed an odd sight: The Old Cider Mill. Now, The Old Cider Mill has been there for ages, so that’s not news. But you may have noticed something different about it. For one thing, it’s open…right now. Normally The Old Cider Mill festivities are reserved for the fall season–pumpkins and hay rides and apple fitters–oh my! But not anymore. After changing hands a couple times over the past couple years, a new proprietor has settled in–the local Gorman Farms–and they have big plans for one of Glastonbury’s most beloved institutions.
Now, in the interest of full disclosure, I’ll tell you that I happen to be personally acquainted with the new folks who have recently leased the property from the town of Glastonbury (the mill is actually owned by the town), which is how I know so much so soon. But that’s great news for you, our readers, because it means you’ll get the whole scoop here before anyone else does!
We headed over there a couple Sundays ago to see what was going on. First of all, let me say that the place looks beautiful. I don’t think I’ve ever seen it looking so spiffy in the seven years we’ve lived in town.
There’s still plenty of parking on both sides of the building (the entrance is to the right of the building–pretend you are facing it–and the exit is to the left). There are a bunch of spots right up the hill from where you enter the property, but you can also keep driving around the back and down to the other side for more parking (which may also be more convenient if you think you’ll be purchasing plants.)
Our first stop was the new and improved (but still FREE) petting zoo. If you want to make your visit even more hands-on, you can purchase food for the animals right outside the building at the cashier’s stand. It’s $1 for a cone filled with food.
After we picked up our animal food, we headed straight across the parking lot to the petting zoo area where we found lots of friendly animals.
We were advised to bypass the goats at first (they’ll eat all the food), so we headed for Mocha the donkey. How can you resist that face? 🙂
Next we ventured over toward the rabbit hutch. It was a little muddy, so we had to walk the plank, so to speak. But that only added to the fun. (FYI- the rabbits’ former owner was visiting that day, so that’s who you see there opening the cage; it’s not something the general public gets to do.)
Next up, Boo’s favorite: Chelsea the pig.
On the way out we passed the rooster and (I think) some chickens. They were all huddled in their hutch there. Probably trying to stay out of the sweltering midday sun. Smart birds.
And finally, we came back around to the goats who are oh-so-appropriately named Larry, Moe, and Curly. Just watch them for a moment and you’ll agree.
Then it was time to find some shade and maybe something to drink. Fortunately, there is hand sanitizer right at the entrance to the petting zoo area so you can clean up a little after letting all the animals nibble at your hands.
We headed back to the covered area to see what we could find. There was lots!
You can treat your sweeties to some sweets.
One of the really nice things about this new set-up is that folks are encouraged to bring their own picnic lunch with them and hang out. How nice is that? Visit with the animals, enjoy your packed lunch, maybe get the kiddos a little treat. What a great little outing for the preschool set!
As a special treat, Boo also got to snuggle with The Old Cider Mill’s new unofficial mascot–the new proprietor’s guinea pig. I can’t promise that you will also get to cuddle with this little fuzzball, but he does live in the mill building now so you can definitely visit.
After the guzzling (of lemonade) and the snuggling (with the guinea pig), we headed back to the cashier’s stand to check out another FREE activity: bean planting. That’s right, you can let your little sprout plant a couple of bean seeds in a cup that he or she can watch sprout at home. Boo enjoys anything that involves dirt these days, so he was all over this one.
And let me tell you, those things really SPROUT. Here it is just two weeks later and trust me, I have done nothing for this plant. I maybe give it a little water if I happen to remember.
Speaking of growing things, The Old Cider Mill is also featuring a wide array of beautiful plants for sale.
And of course, there’s the (nonfunctional yet historical) old cider press, which the town fires up once a year so that it can keep its title as the oldest, continuously operating cider mill in the country. Now you can actually go inside and see it.
There are some ideas being tossed around about actually restoring the press and having the mill make cider again, which would be really cool. But a lot of that will depend on fundraising (it will cost tens of thousands of dollars) and health department inspectors (currently the mill doesn’t meet standards for any kind of food production).
But in the meantime, there is more than enough to enjoy at the newly spruced up Old Cider Mill. And now that it’s going to be open nearly all day every day, it’s always a good time to stop by for a low-key outing with the kids.
The Old Cider Mill
287 Main Street, Glastonbury, CT
Facebook page coming soon!
(For official information on The Old Cider Mill you can consult the Glastonbury town website.)
Get directions here:
Hours (summer season):
Tuesday through Sunday, 8:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. (closed Mondays)
Tips & Things to Bring:
- FREE activities include petting zoo, planting a bean, use of the picnic tables (bring your own lunch).
- The property is hilly and can get a little muddy. If you need to bring a stroller, bring one of the sturdy variety. Got an infant? A wearable baby carrier is even better.
- Hand sanitizer is available near the petting zoo, but there isn’t any place to wash your hands so you may want to bring some extra wet wipes just in case.
- Currently there is no restroom, but plans are being made to add a porta-potty in the near future. In a pinch, you can head down Main Street to the Glastonbury Library in the town center or pop into the Whole Foods (also in the town center).
- Drinks and sweet snacks available for purchase
- Plants for sale include perennials, annuals, herbs, vegetable plants, cut flowers, and more (and FYI, the new proprietor used to own a landscape company so he knows his plants!).
- Watch for new local products; the selection will always be changing.
- Major credit cards accepted (no American Express); no minimum charge.
- The plan is to keep The Old Cider Mill open all year ’round, and its offerings will change with the seasons (and the traditional fall activities–including the fritters–will still be offered).
Meet Our Sponsors!
- Bright Horizons Early Education and Preschool – Visit their newly renovated center in Glastonbury. Now enrolling infants, toddlers, preschoolers and pre-k children for their fall programs.
- Kathryn Deane Photography – Kathryn is a natural light photographer specializing in maternity, newborn, child, family, and senior portrait photography.
Are you interested in becoming an Out and About Mom sponsor? Click here for more info.
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