Now that fall is here, New Yorkers will leave their condos and apartments to head to more rural surroundings to pick apples. Farms and orchards are a lot closer to the city than you’d think! Here are our top choices for the best places to go apple picking, all located within two hours of New York City.
Wilkens Fruit & Fir Farm provides more bang for pickers’ buck by offering pick-your-own apples, pumpkins and peaches. The farm’s 13 apple varieties are particularly worth the 80-minute journey from the city, especially in the forms of apple cider and fresh-baked pie at Wilkens’s three markets. After picking, relax with a glass of wine at the farm’s on-site winery. Tip: Keep Wilkens in mind come Christmastime when the farm rolls out its cut-your-own Christmas tree service.
Apple Dave’s Orchards is an ideal destination for family outings and charming day dates alike. Founder David Hull had a reputation for giving. His many contributions included vending machines stocked with fresh apples in local schools. His Warwick, New York, orchard honors his legacy by offering perks like live music and convenient parking free of charge. At Apple Dave’s, you only pay for the apples you pick, though its award-winning cider sweetened with fresh honey is worth purchasing, too.
This farm has 190 years of experience growing superb apples. Family-run Stuart’s Fruit Farm’s 18 apple varieties include winesap, honeycrisp and other uncommon types. Its nontraditional pick-your-own selection isn’t limited to just apples; Indian corn and corn stalks are also available each fall. Best of all, these rarities can all be found just an hour outside New York City.
Pennings Orchard hand-selects products from 30 local vendors to pair perfectly with its 21 apple varieties. After picking from the orchard’s 100-plus acres, visitors can build their ideal picnic lunch at the farm stand. Remember to save room for old-fashioned custard and hard ice cream at Pennings’s on-site ice-cream stand.
Pickers should time their visit to this North Salem spot for a weekend when Harvest Moon Farm and Orchard hosts its famous Fall Festival. Hayrides and farm animals cater to young visitors, while older guests won’t want to leave without firing Harvest Moon’s custom-made apple cannons. The orchard’s hard cider and popular apple cider donuts, not to mention its picking bags holding a whopping 25 pounds of apples, make weekday visits feel festive, too.
Apple Ridge Orchards specializes in rustic fall fun. Riding on tractor-pulled hay wagons and exploring corn fields work up an appetite for fresh-pressed apple cider, apple cider donuts and the farm stand’s other classic autumn treats. Pickers should save some energy to pick their own apples, pumpkins and peaches.
Come hungry to Masker Orchard, a Hudson Valley attraction welcoming picnics, tailgating and sampling its supply. The 200-acre orchard is a picker’s smorgasbord, offering 14 different apple varieties that guests are encouraged to taste as they please. Of course, no autumn meal is complete without cider, which is why Masker sells jugs of its own ‘legendary’ version of the drink.