What’s fall without a little apple-picking adventure?
It’s a great excuse to scope out some fall color with the turning leaves, and you’ll head home with enough apples to make pies and preserves galore.
Bookmark these top spots for future travel.
Bring your dog along to this sprawling 210-acre pup-friendly apple oasis, about 90 minutes outside the Big Apple. With apple picking available from Labor Day until early November, stock up on fan-favorites like Macintosh, Fuji, Empire, Red Delicious, and Cortland apples, before moseying over to the property’s Brooklyn Cider House, the craft maker of award-winning natural hard ciders.
Owned by siblings Peter Yi and Susan Yi, there are also wood-fired pizzas and burgers by the pond with live music on weekends.
With roots as a small family homestead, this farm—still family-owned— has expanded to over 1,000 acres (without losing its mom-and-pop lure). In the fall, there’s also a pumpkin patch, and year-round, you can expect U-Pick options ranging from table grapes, cherries, blackberries, raspberries, black raspberries, blueberries, and strawberries to a motley assortment of garden-grown veggies.
Bring Toto along and head to the 60-acre U-Pick Hidden Acres Orchard, a part of the Green Bluff Growers Association—a collection of family-owned farms in Spokane. The only wind-powered, solar-powered, and bio-diesel-powered farm of the bunch, the orchard also peddles quail eggs, morel mushrooms, flowers and more – plus 23 different apple varieties.
If you want to make a proper outing of it after hitting up the tire maze, narrated hayride and soak up the live music. Glamp or camp overnight for a starry-skied dream.
Mercier Orchards is a family-and veteran-owned orchard, founded in 1943. It’s one of the largest apple orchard in the Southeast offering some of the best fried apple pies, apple cider, apple butter and apple fritters around. The Merciers grow over 50 varieties of apples, along with strawberries, peaches, blueberries and blackberries. It also brews up hard apple cider for adults.
Crane counts more than 17 apple varieties on its ground (along with 10 varieties of peaches and cherries) and the panoramic views don’t disappoint. Before winding down the festivities, enjoy a meal at Crane’s Pie Pantry Restaurant & Winery and pick up a few pies to enjoy back at home (you can also order them online here; the cherry cheese strudel and rhubarb raspberry pie are top picks).
Bonus: In September and October there’s a 20-acre, over-the-top corn maze (the design changes annually) and a cow train for kids.
Nearby Omaha, you’ll find the bucolic oasis that is the 260-acre Arbor Day Farm. Thanks to the favorable orchard climate, you’ll be blown away by Preservation Orchard, one of our country’s few collections of heirloom apple varietals dating back to the 1600s. After tasting and learning about the 150+ antique apples, wander the national historic landmark that’s also home to America’s second-largest hazelnut research field.
If hiking and wine tasting appeal to you, they offer a “tree adventure” and “treetop village,” complete with 11 treehouses spread across three acres and connected by bridges and netted walkways. For a place to rest your legs are 140 guest rooms on-site. Fun fact: This farm is the birthplace of Arbor Day—celebrating its 150th anniversary in 2022—inspired by Nebraska’s once tree-less prairie landscape.
At 20-acre, family-owned MacGregor Orchard (formerly Perdeux Fruit Farm), new owners Stephens and Julia S. Gregory grow 11 different fruits in some 100 different varieties. The orchard gets its name from agriculture guru Stephens, who has spent 30+ years in the field, and is a proud descendant of the Scottish family MacGregor.
Don’t leave without sipping on some fresh apple cider and purchasing some fruit preserves, apple butter, honey, and fresh apple sauce.
Bowling Green may be known for its amazing cave tours, but above-ground fun is ideal for autumn entertainment. On top of apple picking, they’ve got wagon rides, a corn maze, barbecue, a pumpkin patch and more. The fresh apple cider and caramel apples here are a must. Try their apple crumble pie recipe and thank us later.
Situated in the Apple Capital of Georgia (yes, it’s a thing), chase your U-Pick experience of Pink Ladies, Yates, Fuji and more delectable varieties, with mountain views. Then head to the market and bakery to load up on jams, preserves, syrups, hand-pressed ciders, and of course, apple cider doughnuts and fried pies. For the kiddos: wagon rides, cow milking, pig races, and a giant slide are also on the premises.
Family-owned and operated for more than 100 years, this orchard sits on a dreamy sliver of land with valley vistas and Blue Ridge mountain etchings along the horizon. A short drive to downtown Charlottesville and Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello, gather U-Pick apples before feasting on freshly made pies and cookies, apple cider doughnuts and hand-dipped ice cream at their bakery.
Pre-picked apples are also yours for the taking if your arms would rather reserve their strength for picking up bottles or slinging back tasting flights at the wine shop. Carter Mountain Orchard is also home to ample grapevines’ acreage.