Even though I know that the official start of winter isn't until the end of December, it might as well be winter right now (i.e. it snowed last week, and it's dark before dinner). So now is the time to look back and reflect on all of our great fall memories like the smell of crisp autumn leaves, the blur of those crazy football tailgates, and of course, the taste of fresh donuts from Uncle John's Cider Mill.

I love going to Uncle John's. Since starting at Michigan State two years ago, I have made sure to visit every fall. There are tons of activities to do there from hay rides and corn mazes with friends to finding the best pumpkin in the pumpkin patch to eating a freshly-baked slice of apple pie while listening to a live band. Since Uncle John's is a family-based business, it has a certain charm, and they always keep it fun for families and students.

There are other cider mills relatively close to campus, so what makes Uncle John's so special? Here are the top three reasons that keep MSU students coming back every year.

1. Convenience and Variety

Maya Giaquinta

Uncle John's Cider Mill is only located 30 minutes away from the MSU campus, which makes it one of the closest cider mills to us. You do need a car to get there, but it's easy to find, since it's just right off of the highway Route 127. 

Also, Uncle John's is good at keeping up the buzz around it by offering a variety of items to buy from taffy to t-shirts and by actively promoting their events like live bands and wine tasting.

2. Pumpkin Patch

James Jabara

Everyone loves pumpkin patches because who doesn't like posting a basic fall pumpkin picture? I should know because I'm basic as charged, and I have a pumpkin pic on my Instagram.

If you're actually looking to buy a pumpkin to carve or just for decoration, you can't go wrong with these. They are only .40/lb, and there's many to choose from. You can also buy some cute little gourds to go along with your pumpkin family.

3. Cider and Donuts

Maya Giaquinta

Since Uncle John's is a cider mill, their cider is obviously delicious. You can watch them press the apples right before your eyes. Uncle John's also offers cider slushies, hard cider, and fruit wines.

They also sell some of the best freshly-made donuts that I've ever had to go along with their cider. These donuts come out still warm and hit your taste buds just right. They come in four flavors: Buttermilk, Cider, Cinnamon Sugar, and Pumpkin. Personally, I think the Buttermilk donuts are the best, but that might be an unpopular opinion.

Even though the fall season is winding down to an end, you still have a chance to go to Uncle John's. It is open every day from 9:00 am - 8:00 pm until December where they will have their wine tasting room open on the weekends. If you have a chance, bring your family and your friends for a chance to eat and drink some of the best donuts and cider around.