You hate to see it, but Summer is almost over and the cool nights of Autumn will be here before you know it.  We've been seeing Apple Spice popping up in the grocery store for weeks now.

Fall is one of the most popular times here in the Granite State and all over New England.  We see people from all over the world, literally, coming here to see the turning of the leaves.  Something that natives probably take for granted.  (Oooh... red leaves!  Look at the yellow.... ooooo....)  Native New Englanders see these trees and are so familiar with them, that they don't realize that not many other places in the country are this pretty.

Many of the people who come here ("leaf peepers") are not sure what to do as they drive around.  Well, a family tradition for many families, mine included, is apple picking at our favorite orchards.  What a great outing for all ages in your family this will be!  Even that moody teenager that you have will secretly love apple picking.  They'll never tell you though.  (Darn teenagers....)  The smells of the orchard, the fresh air, the family time are all ingredients for a day you will not soon forget.

Here are the five favorite orchards up and down the Seacoast as decided by me, a Native New Englander who LOVES being outside in the Fall eating donuts and picking apples:

The Orchard at Chase Farm, Wells, Maine:  1488 North Berwick Rd, Wells, Maine

Happy large family with children in garden.

Opening on September 1 for apple picking, the Orchard at Chase Farm is really easy to find, right off of Route 9 in Wells, Maine.  It is a working farm year-round, so you can go any time of year to get farm-raised beef, pork, produce, baked goods, etc.  The Orchard at Chase Farm has been family-owned since the 1600s.

Applecrest Farm Orchard, Hampton Falls, NH   133 Exeter Road (Rt.88) | Hampton Falls, NH

Apple orchard

Because Applecrest is located near to where I live now, this is the orchard that I make a plan to visit every year for the smells of fall, the cider donuts, and the live music.  Yes, Applecrest will sometimes have live musicians to entertain people as they wait in line for hot cider.  It's just charming.  It's also family-owned for four generations.

DeMeritt Hill Farm, Lee, NH:  20 Orchard Way Lee, New Hampshire

apple cider in gallon jugs

Another beautiful farm is located in Lee, NH.  DeMeritt Farm picking season is already open.  There is so much that they offer at DeMeritt!  Hay Rides, Farm Animals, you can even get your Christmas Tree at DeMeritt!  Let us not forget the baked goods you can get at the farm.  Diana's Bakery has the most delicious baked goods you can imagine!  They even have gluten-free options every Thursday!

Apple Annie, Brentwood, NH: 66 Rowell Road East, Brentwood, NH

Cider Makers Enjoy A Bumper Harvest

This one is a little off the beaten path, so if you're looking for a place that is a little quieter than the busier orchards, Apple Annie is it.  The Orchard has 270 trees on 90 acres of land for you to pick your own.  Enjoy apple cider, fall veggies, jams, and jellies from the produce stand, and yes, of course... APPLE CIDER DONUTS!  They are planning to open on September 16, 2021.

Cider Hill Farm, Amesbury, MA:  45 Fern Avenue, Amesbury, MA

Homemade Sugared Apple Cider Donuts

I used to work in Haverhill and this farm was on my way home.  I first fell in love with the place as an oasis from the busy city that resides not far from its beautiful trees, homemade pies, and friendly service.  I would go in to pick out what I might want for dinner and I always felt better walking in. (Shout out to Tendercrop Farm in Dover, NH that also makes me feel that way, but they don't have PYO Apples....)  This is a big, busy farm.  They have many types of pick your own produce, for instance, right now is Peach Picking.  Click here for details on how/what you need to know.  Since this is a bigger farm, be advised to check with them before you head out for the day.  You may need to make an appointment to pick.

Wherever you go in New England this fall, no matter what orchard, apple picking has been a part of my life for decades.  (I'll refrain from telling you how many)  It is near and dear to my heart and I'm betting you'll love it too.

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