One of my favorite things about fall is the delicious New York apples. Throughout the state, you can find local apples and apple products at many great shops and orchards.
If you find yourself in the Thousand Islands region of the state, one spot you definitely won’t want to miss is Burrville Cider Mill.
The Burrville Cider Mill is one of the oldest buildings in Jefferson County, dating back to 1801. Originally, it was used as a sawmill and gristmill and utilized the 30-foot waterfall adjacent to the mill for power. While the waterfall is no longer used for power, it’s still an incredible spot that really adds to the beauty of the mill.
Shortly after being built, the mill was purchased by Captain John Burr. Burr was the namesake for the community of Burrville and is rumored to have been a pirate on Lake Ontario.
While making cider was not the mill’s original purpose, it has been making cider since the 1800s, and was converted to only a cider mill in the 1940s.
Today, the Burrville Cider Mill is one of the best autumn destinations in Upstate New York.
Open daily September through November, the mill makes its own apple cider, bakes apple cider donuts, and sells apples and all manner of delicious foods (both made of apples and not). This is an incredibly popular spot in the region, which was evident by the long line and full parking lot I encountered on my visit on a Monday morning in October.
While Burrville Cider Mill doesn’t grow its own apples, it receives regular shipments of fresh apples from nearby orchards. Visitors can purchase a wide variety of seasonal apples for great prices from bins outside the mill.
Inside the mill, there is a small store that has locally produced products ranging from sauces to crafts. The highlights, however, are the donuts and the cider.
The apple cider donuts are made fresh every morning and offered both with cinnamon sugar and plain. Cooked right in front of you, these donuts are incredibly delicious, especially when warm. If you are looking for a great spot for a tasty autumn breakfast near Watertown, you can’t go wrong with these incredible donuts.
The star of the show, not surprisingly, is the amazing apple cider. There is a large refrigerator in the shop that has cold apple cider in sizes ranging from single-serving pints to gallon jugs. Burrville Cider Mill also offers apple cider slushies and hot apple cider for sale.
Honestly, I was shocked at how good the cider was here. It was, without a doubt, some of the best apple cider I’ve ever tasted.
The cider press is located in the basement of the building, which can be accessed from the back deck. When they are pressing cider, typically on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays, and Sundays during the season, visitors are invited to step into the area and take a self-guided tour of the cider-making process.
Sadly, since I visited on a Monday, I was unable to see cider production, but I’d imagine it would be quite neat to see this historic mill in operation.
If amazing apple cider, apple cider donuts, and the historic mill aren’t enough, the 30-foot waterfall behind Burrville Cider Mill makes this a perfect spot to visit.
The deck behind the cider mill makes for the perfect vantage point from which to view this beautiful waterfall. The only thing that could make it better would be a few tables so that you could enjoy your cider and donuts while viewing the waterfall.
Burrville Cider Mill Falls (or just Burrville Falls) features one large drop that’s about 10-15 feet tall and a series of smaller drops that make the entire waterfall about 30 feet in total height according to the mill.
While this stream doesn’t seem to carry a ton of water, it is a very picturesque spot, especially during the fall thanks to the beautiful autumn colors that surround the mill and the waterfall.
When the mill isn’t open, I would also assume that its deck is closed. Fortunately, the waterfall can also be easily viewed from the road.
There is a good size pull off adjacent to the bridge to park your car and the shoulder is wide enough that you should be able to enjoy the waterfall from there without too much of an issue (though obviously use caution).
Even when the mill is open, this is a nice spot to check out in addition to the back deck as you can get photos of the waterfall with Burville Cider Mill in the foreground.
In my opinion, if you are visiting the Watertown, New York area in the fall and you don’t visit Burrville Cider Mill and its waterfall, both of which sit just a few minutes from the city, you are missing out on a seriously amazing place.
The combination of the historic structure, beautiful waterfall, and, of course, amazing cider and donuts make this one of my favorite spots in the area.
According to its website, Burrville Cider Mill is “open for the season each year ‘in time for’ Labor Day and close(s) ‘in time for’ Thanksgiving.” If you are visiting close to Labor Day or Thanksgiving, it might be best to call ahead to see if they are open. During the season, they are open daily from 9a-7p.
The mill can be found at the following address: 18176 County Route 156, Watertown, NY 13601.