$HappinessUnite Tour, #HappinessUnites, Apple Cider, Pamela Gail Johnson, SOHP.com

Author’s Note: I’ve made a list of 100+ events, places and experiences that happily unite people.  I’m taking a tour to see and experience as many of them as possible, and also meet up with Society members and friends. Of course, I’ll be sharing these #HappinessUnites moments with you. Or find out more of the why’s of the #HappinessUnites Tour in my article: 3 Reasons I’m Hittin’ the Road. Or find where my #HappinessUnites Tour has taken me so far – and what I’ve had time to write about. If you want to meet up with me, check out my #HappinessUnites Tour schedule.

#HappinessUnites Tour – Stop 18: Apple Cider

When I posted on Facebook about where my #HappinessUnites Tour should visit, Chisa quickly responded, “Come to Michigan.”  Since I’d never been to Michigan I was thrilled about the opportunity to visit. She suggested that I come for the best apple cider I’d ever have. Since I’d never been to an apple orchard or had fresh apple cider, but liked the apple cider from the grocery store, it seemed like a perfect tour stop. Also, there’d be another perk to a September Michigan visit – fall – something that’s missing in Dallas based on the pictures of fall that I’ve seen.

Fresh Pressed Apple Cider – Plymouth Orchards, MI

Chisa kindly invited me to movie night at her home with her wife, Melanie, and another girlfriend when I arrived on Saturday. However, since I planned to visit Lake Huron — #HappinessUnites Tour Stop 17 — then, we agreed to meet on Sunday around noon at Plymouth Orchards. She also invited her family to join us since they visited this Orchard every fall together.

Chisa & Melanie – Plymouth Orchards, MI

When I arrived, I met Chisa, Melanie, and her younger brother Jake who had gotten there before I did. They were sitting in a large dining hall that was filled with long wood tables. They already had their apple cider and homemade doughnuts, so I quickly went to the store in the next room to get mine. Tables were filled with more beautiful apples than I’d ever seen in one spot. Shortly after I returned, Melanie took Jake outside to enjoy the activities which gave Chisa and me a chance to visit.

I was eager to try the freshly pressed apple cider. It was mouth-watering delicious. The first thing I noticed is that it wasn’t too sweet like the apple cider I’d drank before. It was like drinking the bite of a perfectly flavored apple. Chisa was right – it was the best apple cider that I’d ever drank. I even pondered if it would be worth it to check my luggage on the flight home so I could take some with me. In the end I opted not to because I was worried it might leak in my suitcase.

When I get to meet a Society member in-person it’s always exciting. Even though Chisa and I’ve been connected on Facebook for quite some time, and you know things about each other, it’s not the same as knowing someone. Although I value my online relationships, it’s heartwarming to actually meet people. During our short visit Chisa and I shared a little more with each other about our lives, philosophies, and families.

Although texting, social media, and even face time are wonderful ways to stay in touch, it doesn’t replace the experience of an in-person conversation where you have an exchange of ideas in real time, hear the fluctuations in someone’s voice, and see all of their expressions.

A few minutes into our visit, eight more of her family members arrived. Like all families that meetup from time to time they did the initial meet-and-greet hugs and kisses, then caught up on what’s going on. Their interactions showed the genuine love this family feels for each other. It was unseasonably warm, actually Plymouth was in the running for record high temps that day, so everyone commented on the heat. Instead of me going to fall temps it felt like I’d brought the Texas fall heat to them. However, despite the heat, the beautiful fall leaves reminded me why fall is my favorite season of the year.

Plymouth Orchards MI

After everyone had their fill of doughnuts and cider we went outside for the kids to play and enjoy the fall activities. There were cute baby goats and calves. There was a hay ride but we all agreed it was too hot for that since the sun was beaming bright. There was also live music that people sang and swayed too.

After spending some time outside we decided to call it a day — mostly because of the heat. When I said goodbye to Chisa and her family, my heart filled with gratitude for being invited to share in share annual family visit to the Plymouth Cider Mill and Orchard. It’s a place where families unite to create happy memories and traditions.

Next fall, I may have to order some of the best apple cider I’ve ever drank. Once you’ve had the good stuff it’s hard to settle – thanks Chisa for introducing me to a new favorite.

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