Does anything taste better than a crisp, snappy apple when you've been out hiking in the cool autumn air? Longing for a cinnamony-smelling, warm, soothing slice of apple pie fresh from the oven to savor while you watch the wind rip crimson leaves from the trees and float them dizzily to the ground?
Autumn is synonymous with apple harvest time in New England. Don't forget your friends, co-workers, family and neighbors when you pick your own delicious apples. Why not cart apples home as a tasty souvenir of your New England getaway this fall? Here's a round-up of pick-your-own apple orchards in New England.
Massachusetts Apple Picking
Autumn Hills Orchard - Groton, Massachusetts
Pick your own apples at this authentic working farm on more than 70 acres. Autumn Hills Orchard offers more than 20 varieties of apples and pears, spectacular mountain views and a farm stand. The orchard's Ann Harris tells me that though Autumn Hills is near Boston, it's a bit off the beaten path, "but that's the fun of it, as there are no crowds." She also says, "Our fruit is very high quality, as we grow for specialty commercial markets as well as our you-pick customers."
Carver Hill Orchard - Stow, Massachusetts
Carver Hill Orchard offers apple picking, plus cider, baked goods, ice cream, pumpkins and apple gift packages for shipment anywhere.
Nashoba Valley Winery - Bolton, Massachusetts
Nashoba Valley Winery grows a variety of fruits--and not just for wines! The orchard offers apple pickers more than a dozen varieties to choose from in a beautiful, scenic setting.
Red Apple Farm - Phillipston, Massachusetts
Located 60 miles from Boston, in addition to pick-your-own apples, Red Apple Farm offers hayride tours on weekends, farm animals, walking trails, fall weekend barbeques and New England gift packs for shipping.
Riiska Brook Orchard - Sandisfield, Massachusetts
This picture-perfect orchard in the southern Berkshires has a particularly strong crop of my favorite New England apples: Macouns! They have late-maturing apples that are usually available for picking well through November, too.
Shelburne Farm - Stow, Massachusetts
Shelburne Farm is the oldest pick-your-own apple orchard in eastern Massachusetts. Stop at the Apple Shop for New England goodies including sweet cider, warm cider doughnuts, locally roasted coffee, farm-fresh ice cream, caramel apples, New England-made cheeses and other local products. Hayrides are available daily, and additional activities including a new tractor playground are offered on weekends.
Tougas Family Farm - Northborough, Massachusetts
During fall apple picking season, visit the barnyard, shop in the farm kitchen and pick your own apples at this family farm, which offers more than 30 apple varieties including exciting new crops like Honeycrisp and CrimsonCrisp.
Connecticut Apple Picking
Bishop's Orchards - Guilford, Connecticut
This 140-year-old family farm has been an apple picking destination since the 1940s.
Lyman Orchards - Middlefield, Connecticut
If you're looking for an apple picking outing that offers so much more, Lyman Orchards is your ideal spot for a day trip. Get lost in the corn maze, buy fresh-baked cider donuts and other specialty products at the Farm Market and even play golf on one of Lyman's two 18-hole courses or the Apple Nine.
Silverman's Farm - Easton, Connecticut
Silverman's provides a handy chart of apple varieties and offers apple picking in southern Connecticut throughout the fall.
Maine Apple Picking
Apple Acres Farm - South Hiram, Maine
Visitors to Apple Acres are encouraged to do much more than just pick apples. They can picnic, view the fall foliage, eat homemade apple pie and birdwatch, too. They even have a new yoga studio. Their Apple Crackle has been featured on the Rachael Ray Show.
Lakeside Orchards - Manchester, Maine
This apple farm grows many different varieties. Apple lovers are invited to pick their own fruit, visit the farm market and bakery and even order Maine apple gift packs by phone.
Maine Apple Orchards - statewide
The Maine State Pomological Society provides this directory of Maine apple orchards.
New Hampshire Apple Picking
Alyson's Apple Orchard - Walpole, New Hampshire
This pick-your-own apple orchard is part of a 500-acre Connecticut River Valley farm and offers 50 varieties of apples to pick. A farm stand is open daily through Halloween, as well.
DeMeritt Hill Farm - Lee, New Hampshire
In addition to more than 25 varieties of apples for you to pick, this apple farm offers a bakery, children's play areas, family hiking trails, a farm store and free hayrides on weekends. Dogs are welcome if they're kept on a leash.
Gould Hill Farm - Contoocook, New Hampshire
This orchard is located on land that has been farmed continuously since the mid-1700s. You'll find more than 80 varieties of apples here, available for picking from early August through early November. First-time apple pickers are welcome--orchard personnel will show you what to do.
Poverty Lane Orchards - Lebanon, New Hampshire
Uncommon apples thrive at this New Hampshire orchard, which grows a range of unusual and heirloom varieties. Pick your own apples, visit the farm stand and sample the orchard's Farnum Hill Ciders line of hard ciders, too.
Riverview Farm - Plainfield, New Hampshire
Pick your own fresh apples straight from the trees at this 11-acre orchard. A corn maze to explore is an added bonus.
Rhode Island Apple Picking
Steere Orchard - Greenville, Rhode Island
Established in 1930, this orchard is one of the largest in Rhode Island. Apple picking is available every day from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. from August through October, and the farm stand stays open through January. On weekends, free hayrides are an added attraction.
Rhode Island Orchard Locations - statewide
Here is a list and map of Rhode Island pick-your-own apple orchards, from Farm Fresh RI.
Vermont Apple Picking
Adams Apple Orchard - Williston, Vermont
During harvest season, you can choose from several varieties of apples including Cortland, McIntosh and Empire to pick yourself at this Vermont orchard and farm market.
Champlain Orchards - Shoreham, Vermont
You'll have views of Lake Champlain and the Adirondack and Green Mountains as you pick your own juicy apples. This family-owned farm grows more than 100 intriguing and classic apple varieties including McIntosh, Empire, Cortland, Gingergold, Honeycrisp and Gala and also presses its own sweet cider. Grown-ups will want to try the hard ciders made on-site, too.
Vermont Orchards - statewide
From Orange Pippin, here is a map and directory of orchards throughout Vermont.
Neighboring New York Apple Picking
Apple Hill Farm - New Paltz, New York
Homegrown apples are yours for the picking, and you'll also find weekend hayrides, fresh-pressed cider and mulled apple cider donuts at this Ulster County farm.
Apple Dave's Orchards & Winery - Warwick, New York
Formerly Applewood and now renamed to honor the farm's founder, Apple Dave's is in the heart of Macintosh Country. This multifaceted destination offers gardens, a farm store, old-fashioned pressed cider by the glass, hard cider and wine tasting and, of course, pick-your-own apples.
Greig Farm - Red Hook, New York
Located not far from where I grew up in New York's Hudson Valley, Greig Farm has always been one of my favorite places to go apple picking. Don't miss the chance to shop and dine at the Hudson Valley Farmer's Market, now open daily, and to feed the pygmy goats while you're there.
Masker Orchards - Warwick, New York
A drive-through apple orchard? Masker claims to be the only apple orchard that lets you drive right up to the tree, which would make it a wonderful spot to take older relatives or small children. Special weekend activities include live music, pony rides, a haunted house, trivia contests and more.
Prospect Hill Orchards - Milton, New York
Pick your own apples and picnic by the pond at this scenic orchard that grows more than a dozen apple varieties.
Weed Orchards & Winery - Marlboro, New York
The sign that reads, "Weed Farm U-Pick" may make you laugh, but when you arrive at Weed Orchards and Farm Market in Marlboro, New York, you'll soon be marveling at the lushness of this beautifully manicured farm, located just about 70 miles north of New York City. There might not be any weeds to pick, but you will find acres of ripe, red apples and other produce.
Wilklow Orchards - Highland, New York
This Ulster County orchard is open for apple picking daily in season. You can savor fresh apple cider donuts or head out on a hayride, too, and on weekends, there's a greenhouse of fun activities for the kids.