The apple-picking season overlaps the foliage season, so do both; start your day with a scenic drive to an apple orchard.
The apple harvest begins in September and extends through late October.
Many apple orchards are family-owned with a strong sense of tradition, which makes them a great place to spend a wholesome day, figuratively and literally.
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Most all apple orchards are now offering pick-your-own apples. The most popular pick-your-own varieties are McIntosh, Cortland, Granny Smiths, Gala, Red Delicious, Yellow Delicious, Empire, and Rome. Other varieties of apples can usually be found at the farm stand along with a variety of apple products, cider, jams, pies, honey, maple syrup, vegetables, pumpkins, flowers, local crafts, and other in-season fruits.
In addition to the family fun that you will experience picking your own apples, many apple orchards now offer additional activities. Some activities offered at various orchards are weekend festivals, hayrides, playgrounds, and petting zoos.
Just nine miles over the New Hampshire border, a half hour from North Conway , is the town of Cornish, which annually presents its apple festival the last weekend in September. This year's 25th fest is set for Sept. 27. Take Route 5 from Fryeburg, Maine, and look for the signs to Cornish. Featuring apple produces, local artists, crafters, food vendors, apple pie baking contest, entertainment and much more. Hours are 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. For more information call Scott Rowley at (207) 625-4993.
The Bartlett Community Preschool (374-6803) Autumn Fest returns to the White Mountain Cider Co. (383-4414) in Glen Sept. 27 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Visit the cider press and enjoy the apple bobbing and more.
If you visit an orchard that crafts its own cider, you may have the opportunity to witness an apple-pressing demonstration.
During a visit to an apple orchard on a warm day, you may want to enjoy a light picnic lunch. Depending on the orchard, they may offer meals on-site, or you may need to pack your own. Most orchards will have a nice picnic area with majestic views, where you can relax while you eat. After your picnic, a tasty ice cream treat to help keep everyone cool maybe offered at the farm stand.
Pick-your-own orchards in or near Mount Washington Valley include:
* Apple Acres — operated by the Johnson family since 1949 — offers pick-your own apples. It is located at 63 Durgintown Road, South Hiram, Maine 04041. For further information, call (207) 625-4777 or visit www.appleacresfarm.com.
* Hollow Hill Farm, Hollow Hill Road, Tamworth (323-7456). Apples and pumpkins, pick-your-own. Apple picking in a small, well-groomed orchard situated in a rural area with serene atmosphere and mountain views. Handicapped accessible.
• Deer Cap Orchard, Route 16, Ossipee; 539-6030.
* Pietree Orchard (formerly McSherry's; 803 Waterford Road, Sweden, Maine; Tel.: 207-647-9419; www.pietreeorchard.com). Open daily, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The orchard is a great place for a family outing. Golf carts are available for those with mobility issues. Kitchen open weekends, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., featuring donuts, pies, apple brownies and signature strawberry chocolate chip muffins. Jesse's brick oven baked apple bread and pizza are also available. Hayrides on weekends.
Fresh apples are available at Weston's Farm Stand on River Street (207-935-2567) in Fryeburg, Maine and at their West Side Road location, and at Sherman Farm ( 939-2412) on East Conway Road.
UPDATED BY TE 5-14-14