There's nothing better than fall. The trees are exploding with color as if we were living in a Dr. Seuss book, and the air is as crisp as the leaves that litter the soon-to-be frozen ground.
With winter right around the corner and the sun setting sooner, a beautiful fall day is a bit like a gift! You never know if it'll be the last one of the year.
A few weekends ago, we got one of those days. The cool fall air was still and peaceful in a way that made each ray of sun feel like the warm embrace of an Oliver Charles Sweater.
It was the perfect opportunity to take my 100% Yak Wool Cardigan out for a spin.
Clydes has been operating exactly the same way since its founding over 131 years ago and is still run by the same family. Today, it’s the 5th generation of Clyde’s that’s operating the centuries-old press.
The machine that presses the apples has gone completely unchanged since its opening. Not so much as a gear has ever been replaced. The only change is that the apple press's steam engine now burns oil rather than coal.
It's a simple process that starts with 350 pounds of apples being deposited onto a big canvas sheet. That's enough to make about 75 Gallons of sweet golden apple cider.
The mill operators carefully wrap the apple slurry, its own version of a sweater. the wrap keeps any rouge apple bits from sneaking into the cider. However, I like to think it also keeps the apples warm in the cool fall air.
When the apples are comfortable and cozy in their canvas sweater, the giant contraption rotates and positions itself beneath the ancient press.
It takes about 30 minutes for the machine to squeeze every last ounce of juice from the apples. The cider is drained beneath the press, where it's flash-pasteurized and immediately ready for drinking.
It's the sweetest thing you'll ever taste. It's as if someone was able to distill the feeling of the warm sun on a cool day into liquid form.
The cider they produce reminds me a lot of our sweaters. It's incredibly versatile yet so simple. The mill sells all manner of cider-based goodies, but nothing beats their fresh apples with a hot cup of fresh cider on the side.
Pair that with a 100% Yak Wool Cardigan and your best friend that's not Jack (i.e., my girlfriend Maggie. Notice her favorite Undyed All-season V-Neck); You'll be hard-pressed (pun intended) to have a better day.
After filling up on hot cider, donuts, and slices of apple pie, we figured we better get some light exercise. Emphasis on light.
So we headed to the Connecticut coast for a leisurely stroll. Naturally, I was pretty excited about the old boats in the harbor. Since Stonington is an old seaport, there's a plethora of antique ships to ogle.
From there, we headed inland, hoping to see what was left of the vibrant fall colors. Sadly, we'd missed the peak of the leaves, but there was still plenty of beautiful flora to be enjoyed.
As we walked, the overgrown brush that hid the coastline from wondering eyes grew taller and taller.
Along our saunter, we made many friends, most of them furry. This was no mistake. The best thing about our 100% Yak Wool Cardigan is that the pockets are perfect for storing dog treats. You never know when you will come across a four-legged fellow looking for a snack. Luckily, I was prepared and made a few friends for life.
I mean it when I say friends for life. Our new furry friends decided they'd rather walk with us, leaving their owners baffled at their rapid allegiance change. I'm sure it had nothing to do with the treats I had in my cardigan pocket.
Finally, as the sun began to set on the longest day of the year, we decided a late lunch was in order. We laughed as we reminisced on the apples, the boats, and our new friends.