It’s that time of year again: the air is getting colder, the days are shorter, the leaves are changing color and the apples are ripe for the picking. If you’ve never been apple picking in the fall, you’ve been missing out on one of the best activities autumn offers. And of all the places you can go to do it, New Paltz has some of the most beautiful views you can get, overlooking the Shawangunk and Catskill Mountains.
The region offers a cornucopia of different orchards, each consisting of a variety of apples to choose from.
Apple Hill Farms is the closest, being just .8 miles away from SUNY New Paltz. This orchard boasts 13 different kinds of apples, either for picking or purchasing and as of Oct. 1, they also have pumpkin picking. The orchard also offers free hayrides on the weekends and rides on fire trucks. It also provides picnic tables for those who’d like to eat lunch surrounded by beautiful mountains and radiant fall leaves.
Jenkins and Leukin Orchards are also nearby, with eight varieties of apples on the trees. When picking your own, you can expect to pay $8 for a quarter bushel. The orchard is picturesque, with views of the mountains and nature for miles. They also have a pond on their property, making it a fun and romantic place to spend some time. In addition to the orchards, vegetables, honey, syrup, jams, cider, gourds and mums are available for sale in their fruit stand. If you’re the type that enjoys hiking, they also have trails that surround the property.
“We also make our own apple cider which is really good, a lot of places don’t do that,” said Eric James, co-owner of Jenkins and Leukin Orchards.
Dressel Farms is another good local option with more attractions compared to other orchards. In addition to the 15 apple types, they have pumpkins, vegetables and chestnuts. They also have cider milled on site, and cider doughnuts made fresh all day. Their farmer’s market has maple syrup and honey for sale, along with fresh baked pies and home-made jams and jellies. Dressel Farms even has an ice cream parlor for when you take a break from the picking. They charge $1 per pound of apples, so you can pick just the right amount you need. Take a few moments to enjoy the free hayrides and petting zoo, or get lost in the corn maze. Tim Dressel, family member and employee at the farms, said it is a mixture of being family run and operated and the scenery that makes Dressel Farms special.
“Well our view is one of our bigger attractions as far as what sets us apart,” Dressel said. “I think we’re a very sincere and personable farm, and we’re family owned.”
Liz Ney, a third-year pre-music therapy major visited Dressel Farms last year and only had good things to say about it.
“It was nice, they had a general store where they sold apple cider doughnuts,” she said.
Apple picking is just a good way to unwind and enjoy the autumn air. When winter is right around the corner, it’s nice to get out and enjoy the last bit of pleasant weather we’ll see until spring.
According the Ney, the best part of apple picking is getting to taste the different types of apples as you’re picking them. Not to mention the fact that apple picking provides almost a full day of fun on a budget that everyone can afford.
“It’s just a really great way to bring in fall and enjoy baking all types of apple desserts,” said Ney. “It’s really fun.Usually the weather’s really great and it’s just a fun thing to do on a Saturday afternoon. It’s really cheap too. I got seven pounds of apples and cider and it was all under $10.”