Saturday, October 2, 2010

Fabulous Fall Activities around NYC

My daughter Siena loves apple picking!
September and October are probably my favorite months of the year - the weather is usually enjoyable and there are so many great things to do outside before it gets too cold and rainy.  My favorite thing to do is go apple and pumpkin picking at local farms.  There is nothing like a sweet, crisp apple picked right off the tree along with apple cider and donuts!  Last weekend we took advantage of the great weather and an early apple season on the East Coast and traveled to Masker Orchard at 45 Ball Road in Warwick, NY.  This was our first time here as we usually go apple and pumpkin picking in early/mid October in NJ.
My son Shea inspecting the apple
Masker Orchard is easy to get to from NYC (and NE New Jersey or SW Connecticut) and it's HUGE!  They have a great selection of apples (14 varieties), a well organized layout (they provide bags with a map on it at the gate) and they also have pony rides, food, places to sit and through October they have a maze and haunted barn!  Because I have been dubbed an Apple Snob, here is a small list of apples and their description to help you select the right apples too:

  • Macintosh - smaller red apples, juicy, slightly tart and softer, best for baking and applesauce; harvest: Sept.
  • Granny Smith - bright green, firm, juicy and tart, perfect for eating, in salads and baking; harvest: late Sept-early October
  • Empire - a NY developed variety is a cross of Macintosh and Red Delicious, semi-crisp, sweet and tart, good for eating, baking and desserts, cider; harvest: late Sept.
  • Red Delicious - dark red, sweet, med-crisp, great for anything, most popular apple sold in US; harvest: late Sept./early Oct.
  • Ida Red - big red apples, juicy and sweet, good for cooking/baking, desserts, applesauce; harvest: early-mid Oct.
  • Mutsu (Crispin) - one of my favs is yellowish-green, crisp and sweet, great for eating, applesauce and cider; harvest: mid-late Oct. for sweeter apples
  • Honeycrisp - my ALL TIME fav is medium red and yellow, very crisp and very sweet, just a little tart; harvest: mid Sept. and have a long shelf life; These are mostly grown in the midwest (Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois and Michigan) as they were developed in Minn.  I have found that these are more expensive than other apples but in my opinion, well worth the price!

    Selecting the best pumpkin at Riamede Farm
    If you are looking to do both apple and pumpkin picking, I highly recommend spending the day in Chester, NJ.  We have done this for years and it makes for a perfect October day!  Our first stop is to Riamede Farm, located at 122 Oakdale Road.  It's very popular so go early or late.  They have a very large pumpkin patch (on a slightly steep hill, so walk carefully with the little ones) and have little red wagons for you to haul the pumpkins.  They also have a hayride from the entrance to the pumpkins and apples which the kids just love!  The orchard is great and has a good variety of apples (bring a bag or two).  There is a small fee but it is worth it.

    To experience a really fun Corn Maze and sample some great baked goods, donuts and cider, go to Hacklebarney Cider Mill at 104 State Park Road, Chester, NJ.  It is off the beaten path and not too big (parking lot gets filled up fast, so car-pool and park alongside the road if you need to).  The Corn Maze is AWESOME (and difficult) and they even hide their aerial on Google Maps so people don't figure out the maze before they go!  They have a fantastic farm market with absolutely delicious baked goods and cider!  There is a little knoll to sit and eat but because of all the cider, there are bees so be warned.  Again, because of it's growing popularity, it does get packed but it's also worth it.

    Corn maze at Hacklebarney Farm
    For much more on great Fall Outdoor Activities in and around NYC, go to Big City Moms (Thanks for the great article, Monica!)

    For an extensive list of places to go apple/pumpkin picking in NY, NJ and CT, check out this great article in TimeOut NY Kids: Click here to go to website

    Now get out there and enjoy the day!


    1. Such an awesome blog! :-) I love it -- great post!
      Neat pics - I love the fall.


      Psst: Come check out my charity blog:
      Please become a follower! ;-) (check out the contest)

    2. Hi! Thanks for stopping in at my blog ... isn't this blog hop fun? I'm so glad to have found your blog and look forward to reading your posts and getting acquainted. I'm following! Take Care!

    3. I love the apple chart! My oldest just started school and they have been learning about apples and tast testing in class...will have to show her that, too cool! Saw that you were on our blog today...thanks for following!
      Lindsey from Little Bambino Children's Wear

    4. Hi! Just wanted to drop back in to let you know that tomorrow (Wednesday) you'll be in the Honor Society! Hope you'll be able to stop by:


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