The Best Places to Go Apple Picking Near NYC (If You’re Into That Sort of Thing)
Apple picking is the cilantro of fall activities: You either love it (so rustic! so seasonal!) or hate it (please keep me as far as possible from the sweater-clad masses). But you happen to live smack-dab in the middle of apple country, so if filling a basket with fruit straight off the tree is your jam, you’ve got more than a few options. Here, the best orchards for apple picking near NYC (plus a few pumpkin patches, for good measure).
1. TWIN STAR ORCHARDS (NEW PALTZ, NY)
Less than two hours from the city, you’ll find a little slice of apple-scented heaven in the form of this idyllic spot, the upstate sibling to Bushwick’s Brooklyn Cider House. The orchard grows several sustainably farmed varieties, including Macoun, Jonagold and Empire. After filling an “ugly apples taste better” tote bag, stick around for wood-fired pizza and free hard cider tastings.
155 N. Ohioville Rd., New Paltz, NY; twinstarorchards.com
2. Harbes Family Farm and Harbes Orchard (Mattituck and Riverhead, NY)
There are pumpkin patches and then there’s Harbes Family Farm in Mattituck. Here, you actually pick your gourds (some still on the vine) straight from the patch, as opposed to simply selecting your favorite from a patch of grass, as per usual. For apples, head to the Harbes Orchard in Riverhead; current offerings include lesser-known varieties like Crimson Topaz and Shizuka.
Multiple locations; harbesfamilyfarm.com
3. GOLDEN HARVEST FARMS (VALATIE, NY)
A bit farther than you might think to go—it’s just south of Albany—Golden Harvest is worth the trek. The 60-acre orchard offers lots of Instagram opportunities, but more important, it’s blissfully uncrowded. Head inside to grab a jug of cider (freshly pressed, not boozy) and some doughnuts hot off the machine. And if you like pie, you’ll find nine homemade varieties here, including apple nut caramel. Afterward, take in all the Capital District has to offer by checking out the governor’s mansion, hitting a museum or heading to bustling, historic Lark Street for window-shopping and restaurant hopping.
3074 Rte. 9, Valatie, NY; goldenharvestfarms.com
4. APPLE DAVE’S ORCHARDS & APPLEWOOD WINERY (WARWICK, NY)
You’ll find all the makings of a perfect fall day at this charmer in the Warwick Valley. Choose from 11 varieties of apples (McIntosh and Cortland are especially good now) or head to the pumpkin patch for some pre-Halloween decor for your stoop, window or desk. The winery, located on the same property, offers more than a dozen wines ($6 for a tasting of five), plus a lovely outdoor area—complete with picnic tables, corn hole and often live music—overlooking a pond. Round out your trip with an applewood-fired pizza or a cheese board.
82 Four Corners Rd., Warwick, NY; applewoodorchards.com
5. WILKENS FRUIT & FIR FARM (YORKTOWN HEIGHTS, NY)
This year marks the 103rd harvest season for this Westchester homestead, so yeah, you could say the Wilkens family (which still runs the place) knows a thing or two about apples. Along with pumpkins and many local-favorite varieties like Winesap and Northern Spy, the farm is known for growing another season-specific crop: “choose-n-cut” Christmas trees. Don’t leave without a visit to the winery and the corn maze—in that order, if you like a challenge.
1335 White Hill Rd., Yorktown Heights, NY; wilkensfarm.com
6. HARVEST MOON FARM & ORCHARD (NORTH SALEM, NY)
A family-friendly favorite, Harvest Moon goes full-out fall festival on weekends in October. As of this week, most of the trees have been heavily picked over, but you’ll still find plenty of apples in bins (which counts as a plus if you’re lazy). Regardless, you should still stop by for seasonal festivities like a corn maze, hayrides, face painting, bounce houses and something called “apple cannons.”
130 Hardscrabble Rd., North Salem, NY; harvestmoonfarmandorchard.com
7. DEMAREST FARMS (HILLSDALE, NJ)
Home to more than 14 varieties of apples, this orchard—just 30 miles from the city—charges only $10 for a huge bag to fill on your way through the trees. You’ll also find a pumpkin patch, a peach orchard (not currently in season) and a petting zoo (whose residents include a handful of piglets, baby goats and alpacas). There’s also an on-site café that serves homemade soups, freshly baked pies and apple cider doughnuts so good, they made the cover of Bergen magazine.
244 Wierimus Rd., Hillsdale, NJ; demarestfarms.com