Your Guide To The Best Hudson Valley Apple Picking
Last weekend it seemed like everyone in my Facebook and Instagram feed went apple picking. Which reminded me: I LOVE apple picking! Road tripping somewhere new, lots of big vistas of hills and trees, kids running around having a blast, excellent snacking opportunities, and, of course, arriving home with a crazy amount of apples that you just "have" to eat, possibly baked into some sort of buttery, brown-sugary crumble? Please? Always a pleasant way to spend a crisp Fall afternoon.
Cider Donuts, Farm Animals, Corn Mazes and More!
Anyway, it's been a few years since I've ventured into the wild orchards of upstate New York (when my kids were younger, we went at least twice every fall), so I poked around for some suggestions. Hudson Valley Mag's Apple Picking Guide seems to be the ultimate primer for city-goers looking to venutre on an "up north trip" for Apple delights. Plenty full of "pick-your-own" options and directions, the overall experience varies from doughnut-and-cider stands, baby- animal petting, pumpkin picking, amazing maize mazes, tractor rides, or some variation on all of the above. Bottom line, its all about the apples – here's a list of farms and orchards where you can find everything from McIntosh to Macouns, Granny Smiths to Golden Delicious.
If the fall foliage has brought you to the Hudson Valley then Jenkins-Leuken Orchards is THE place to pick some apples, a pumpkin or two, and enjoy some of the best views in the area! Located at the foot of the Shawangunk Ridge just outside of New Paltz, This family-owned orchard is your one stop shop. With a wide range of sweet selections, from the classic red delicious to the sweet honey crisp you are sure to find an apple you love. On your way out, make sure to pop into the orchard's store and warm up with a glass of hot spiced cider and for the over-21 crowd – a bottle of their new Yankee Folly Hard Cider.
Masker Orchard in Warwick, NY, located about an hour's drive from the George Washington Bridge, is the place I've been most often over the years and, unless things have drastically changed, can personally recommend as a solid NY apple-picking spot.
Hurd's Family Farm
Open daily, Hurd's Family Farm is a majestic, sprawling orchard with all the fixins'. For the kids, there's a four-acre corn maze shaped like a pine tree, a petting zoo, a cornstalk teepee and pony ride. You'll practically have to pry the kids away to get them back in the car. The scenic orchard in Modena also has a picnic site so if you're making this a day trip – pack a lunch!
Dubois Farms is an orchard, farm market & cafe located in Ulster County in Highland, NY just south of the beautiful Hudson River Walkway. Every weekend through November 2nd, Dubois Farms offers plenty of FREE family fun activities; pony rides, tractor pulls, and let's not forget their delicious BBQ treats -all providing plenty of fun for those looking for apple picking alternatives. Dubois' picks aren't only limited to only Apples – their in-season fruit & veggie varieties include pick-your-own tomatoes, eggplant, pears and pumpkins.
The Dressels have been growing apples in New Paltz for over 90 years. With three active generations working side by side, Dressel Farms backs up the down-home county feel with numerous handmade offerings. Fresh cider, pumpkins, pies, hayrides and mind-blowing views of the Shawangunk ridge are all easily had while the locals know that the line for piping-hot cider donuts are well worth the wait. The newest offering, hardcider, is currently the fastest-growing sector of alcoholic beverages in the US and Dressel's Kettleborough Cider House tasty offerings are in high demand and usually sell out.
More Information on the Hudson Valley
Several regional tourism offices offer great lists for where to find apples…and places to stay, where to eat and other activites: