Apple picking seems to be the quinessential start to all things fall. What a great excuse to escape the city and enjoy nature with the kids! There are so many orchards it’s hard to pick the right one for your family. So, we created a great list of orchards in New York and New Jersey – perfect for a day trip and each with a quick description and tips to plan your trip. Now, onto some fall fun!
(Photo courtesy of Sono Bella Photography)
New Jersey Locations (all about an hour from Manhattan):
Alstede Farms (84 Route 513 (Old Route 24), Chester) – Alstede Farms is the whole shabang of farm fun so it’s worth the drive out to Chester. They even sell wrist-bands! They have hayrides, a hay pyramid, wagon rides, a corn maze, a corn kingdom, pony rides, moon bounce, a farm store and a large variety of pick-your-own. Click here for their list of family fun activities. Don’t forget to go home with their homemade fudge.
Demarest Farms (244 Wierimus Road, Hillsdale) – You can’t beat this location. Hello apple picking in Bergen! Homemade donuts and apple cider are also offered at the farm store. Click here for apple picking times and prices. *Note, pumpkin picking doesn’t start until September 21st.
Riamede Farm (122 Oakdale Road, Chester) – This farm has more than 34 varieties of apples on 35 acres of land. Hayrides are available (on weekends) but not necesary to pick apples. In October, the hayrides will bring you to the pumpkin patch (which is “walkable”). This farm boasts that the “apples are well within the reach of children”.
Ripple Hill Farm (181 Mountain Road, Basking Ridge) – For those that want a low key apple picking experience, Ripple Hill Farm is a small family-owned farm. No hayrides or other activities are offered. According to their site they are family and stroller friendly as the, “trees are arranged on a relatively flat stretch of land and our trees are trellised for easy picking.”
Sun High Orchards (19 Canfield Ave., Randolph) – This farm seems to be a bit of a hidden gem. Complete with a variety of pick your owns, a farm store, animals, farm tours, pickable flower garden, and hayrides. It doesn’t seem to have the hoopla of the bigger farms out in Morris County but offers enough to make the drive worth while. Curious too? Check out their photos.
Wightman’s Farm (1111 Mount Kemble Ave., Morristown) – Playground Talk’s full review.
New York Locations (all about an hour from Manhattan):
Applewood Orchards and Winery (82 Four Corners Road, Warwick) – Enjoy wagon rides and puppet shows, relax by the ponds or visit the country store for old fashioned pressed apple cider. Oh and don’t forget to sample the wine!
Masker Orchards (45 Ball Road, Warwick) – This 200 acre orchard is celebrating 100 years! There are plenty of attractions for the kids (barnyard baby animals, pony rides and wagon rides) but don’t miss the country store and the breath taking views of the entire Valley. We like that admision, parking and bags are all FREE. Click here for hours and pricing details.
Ochs Orchard (4 Ochs Lane, Warwick) – Best known for their spectacular views, be sure to pack a picnic lunch and eat at the gazebo at the top. You can also find a small petting zoo, pick your own flower garden, farm market with tables to eat at and homemade ice cream. Bring a wagon for the kids or be prepared to walk a bit to the orchard. Check out Andi’s post on strawberry picking at Och’s and photographing your kids.
The Orchards of Concklin (2 South Mountain Road, Pamona) – Although they open at 10am, this orchard has a lot for the kids to do from 12pm to 5pm on the weeknds – bouncy house, haunted house, a slide, and Jurassic Adventure. Be sure not to miss their famous apple cider donuts! No pets or picnics permitted.
Pennings Orchard (Route 94 & Warwick Turnpike, Warwick) – This orchard is packed with things to do – a farm market and bakery, garden center, Harvest Grill & Brew Pub, ice cream stand and barn yard buddies for the kids. Pennings is the perfect place to celebrate fall for children both young and old.
Warwick Winery (114 Little York Road, Warwick) – This winery is a great way for the entire family to enjoy a fall day. Picnic in the orchards or eat at the bar/restaurant while listening to live music and sampling their wines. Bring a football and toss it around in the open fields. $5 per car parking on the weekends, click here for more pricing information. Plus, it’s pet-friendly, so bring your dog! (This is a big hit every year for Lauren’s family).
Weed Orchard (43 Mount Zion Road, Marlboro) – There is so much to do at this orchard you could spend the whole day. Take the old-fashioned wagon through the orchards, eat at a picnic table near the lake, taste the hot apple cider donuts in the bakery section of the farm market or get lost in the pirate themed corn maze. Plus, don’t miss the kids activities – petting zoo, face painting, craft tables, sand art and hay maze.TIPS – FIND OUT BEFORE YOU GO
1. Prices – Each farm charges differently (admission per person, bags, apple pickers, wagon rides – some even sell wrist bands for attractions).
2. Check hours – Some farms are closed during the week or have specific hours for pick-your-own.
3. Check on specific apples – Not all types of apples will be ready to pick, call if you’re looking for a specific type.
4. How close are the pick-your-own? – How far away are the picking spots? If you bring a wagon, will you be able to pull it to the picking spot? Do they have a “shuttle” to the picking spot and if they do, is it a hayride?
5. Do they allow pets?- Many do not.
6. Can you bring food into the farm? – Many do, just be sure before you pack a whole picnic!
This list was created by Playground Talk – “Beyond the town newsletter, local paper and word of mouth, Playground Talk is Bergen County’s online resource for keeping families informed and fostering community involvement. Join Us! www.playgroundtalk.com