Popularized in the 1920s by sporting journalist, John J. Fitzgerald, the ‘Big Apple’ is now heralded as New York City’s most notorious term of endearment. But if you’re in search of actual apples, a day trip away is a sweet escape from the city’s grandeur. Trade in the Big Apple for something a touch quainter when heading upstate to one of New York’s many orchards. Apple picking has grown to become a popular tradition for New Yorkers and their little ones, with the arrival of the seasonal snack officially marking the end to summer.
Here are our top five apple picking destinations for the fall.
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Located in the gorgeous Hudson Valley, Lawrence Farms Orchard has become a New York staple having offered its “pick your own” services for over 30 years now. With three generations working the family farm the orchard is well looked after and has plenty of apple varieties to suit your sweetest needs.
Lawrence Farms Orchard: 306 Frozen Ridge Rd, Newburgh, NY 12550
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With roots tracing back to the 1950s, Applewood Orchard is admired by many because of its rich history and legacy. Apple Dave—who passed away during the winter of 2014—was the owner of the orchard and planted the very first trees right behind the farmhouse (they’re still there today). Puppet performances, donuts, and (of course) apple picking are well enjoyed by families from all around the world.
Applewood Orchard: 82 Four Corners Road Warwick, New York 10990
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Masker Orchards prides itself as being one of the only orchards in NY where you can literally drive up to the tree and enjoy a dreamy day of apple picking and picnicking with the family. Their “orchard ripening schedule” will tell you exactly which of their fourteen varieties of apples are ripe for the picking.
Masker Orchards: 45 Ball Rd, Warwick, NY 10990
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Known as one of the oldest apple orchards in the Hudson Valley, Fishkill Farms is famous for being founded by family friends of President Franklin D. Roosevelt. Sustainability and carbon neutrality form much of the farm’s backbone, making an extended effort to organically grow as much of their produce as they can. Aside from apples, the farm also allows for peach, nectarine, pear, sunflower and veggie picking.
Fishkill Farms: 9 Fishkill Farm Rd, Hopewell Junction, NY 12533
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If you’re after a day jam-packed with activities look no further than DuBois Farms. Aside from an assortment of “pick your own” favorites, the farm also houses a corn maze, children’s village, bakery, farm market and cafe, and even a tavern selling local hard cider, craft beer and wine for that essential mommy/daddy late-afternoon time.
DuBois Farms: 209 Perkinsville Road, Highland, NY 12528
North Salem’s Harvest Moon Farm & Orchard is a renowned spot for those seeking a day plump with activities. The fall festival picking season kicks off post Labor Day, continuing each weekend in September and October. With pony rides, live music, farm animals and added options for wine and cider tasting, this is your best pick for the entire family.
Harvest Moon Farm & Orchard: 130 Hardscrabble Road, North Salem, 10560
With a farm-fresh market, an antique appliance display, a picturesque sunflower field and what’s dubbed the world’s third largest garden gnome (be sure to pose with ‘Gnome Chomsky’), Kelder’s Farm offers a well-rounded source of merriment. Located in New York’s Kerhonkson, Kelder’s is two hour drive along the pristine Hudson Valley.
Kelder’s Farm: 5755 US-209, Kerhonkson, 12446.
Start Halloween deliciously early this year with a visit to Barton Orchards. “Are you brave enough to enter?” warn the orchard’s owners, referring to ‘Rotten Core Manor,’ the orchard’s haunted house. Open from August through October, it’s sure to evoke a hearty scream. After, eat your feelings at the Barton Bakery with ample offerings of apple dumplings and freshly baked pies.
Barton Orchards: 63 Apple Tree Lane, Poughquag, NY 12570.
If you’re an exceptionally picky apple enthusiast searching for the ripest of the bunch, Wilkens Fruit & Fir Farm is sure to satisfy. Nurturing dozens of apple varieties on their farm, Wilkens lists each with associated picking dates to maximum the fruit’s flavor and crunch.
Wilkens Fruit & Fir Farm: 1335 White Hill Rd Yorktown Heights, 10598.
And for those in need of something a little stronger than strudel, Beardley’s Cider Mill & Orchard allows guests to bring their own containers (or barrels) to be filled with their untreated cider for the production of hard cider. The owners are happy to answer questions or give sage advice on the methods and madness for preparing your newfound favorite adult beverage.
Beardsley’s Cider Mill & Orchard: 278 Leavenworth Rd, Shelton, CT, 06484.