Apple picking is not much of a thing where I’m from. As you creep closer to North Georgia you may find corn fields and hay rides, but in the Lowcountry that stuff is a bit harder to come by and apples are not one of our major crops…which would make picking them nearly impossible for a weekend activity. But here in the Northeast it’s all anyone does in the Fall. I have become so jealous of all the cute Instagram pics that invade my feed in September/October. All the girls look so great in their cozy flannel, and I can’t resist a small child standing next to an oversized pumpkin. I had to get in on the action. At this point the activity has become cliché, but I don’t care; I had a blast.
On a cool autumn Saturday I headed to New Paltz, NY with some girls from book club. I was a bit hungover but I could not miss my last chance to go apple picking before my 30th birthday so I grabbed a large iced coffee and a bacon egg and cheese and headed to Port Authority for the hour and a half ride upstate. Side note: this was the first time I’ve ever gotten to use the phrase “I’m going Upstate” and I liked how it sounded.
A short cab ride from the bus station took us to Jenkins & Lueken Orchards and dropped us off at their general store. Here, you can buy apples and pumpkins that you didn’t pick yourself (but…why?) as well as local goodies like homemade peanut butter (I picked up some of the chunky monkey variety with chocolate chips for Matt), apple butter (got a jar of this for Matt’s bday as well), jams, pies, sausages, and ciders. We immediately grabbed some apple cider doughnuts (a specialty) to share. Like everything else there, they were very inexpensive, just $1.25 for three. They are the airiest cake doughnuts covered in cinnamon sugar. We held of on the rest of the shopping until after the other activities. Most people must drive up there on their own (vs. the bus/taxi method we used) because there were no paths to get to the orchards and fields. We looked like silly city girls trying to cross the small highway. We first walked through the corn maze (not much of a maze…more like…just…corn, but cool, nonetheless) and then took a little hayride. It was finally time for the main event! We went back to the store to pick up our apple bags and pickers and were warned that it was the end of the season so there wouldn’t be much left on the trees. We were not deterred. We were mostly in it for the experience and only needed a couple bags to make a few pies. It’s not like we were stocking up for the winter.
After getting enough apples and some extra items from the store we had a taxi (that we called in advance) take us back into town. New Paltz looked like a town right out of an ABC Family tv show. Very quaint with a hippy skew. I would definitely recommend an apple picking excursion combined with a bed and breakfast stay and a tour of a nearby vineyard.
Apple picking was a success and definitely something I would do again next fall!
Date of Completion: 10/18/14