We've mentioned that back-to-school nostalgia that sets in like clockwork after Labor Day, a reminder that we've said goodbye to certain fall rituals (no more new trapper keepers, shopping sprees at Gap Kids, or freshly decorated classrooms...sigh) -- but there are a few fall traditions that hold up better than the first day of school jitters. For us, apple picking happens to fall at the very top of that list.
We decided to map out some of our favorite orchards along the East Coast--places we discovered while at college in Vermont, Virginia, Rhode Island, Connecticut and Pennsylvania, growing up outside of Boston or in DC, and on family leaf peeping trips around New England. Find whichever one is closest to you, break out your Barbour and new boots, and spend an afternoon climbing trees and drinking cider. You might not be packing the apples in your new lunch box or placing them on your homeroom teacher's desk on Monday morning, but you can spend Sunday afternoon baking pie and watching football, which is really almost just as good. Oh, and don't forget to send us your #Tuckernucking photos of it all.
Virginia: Carter Mountain Orchard was a regular target for Caroline and her friends while at college in Virginia. Just over two hours outside of DC and nestled in the countryside near Charlottesville, a visit to this orchard can also make for solid day-long country escape for those of us in the Capital.
Maryland: Homestead Farm is a forty-five minute drive from DC and an even shorter trip from Emily's hometown in Maryland, making it her go-to orchard growing up.
Pennsylvania: Brecknock Orchard in Pennsylvania is just an hour away from September, Maddy, and Sophie's alma mater, making it one of their favorite escapes during college.
Connecticut: Belltown Hill Orchards is just a hop, skip and a jump away from Emily's alma matter in the countryside of Connecticut.
Rhode Island: Dame Farm and Orchards in Rhode Island was a favorite escape for Jocelyn during her days as a student in Providence.
Massachusetts: Bolton Orchards, just about an hour north of Boston, was a regular (and favorite) field trip destination for Molly as a kid.
New York: For those who need an ironic escape from the Big Apple, head to Greig Farm in Red Hook, NY. Since it's a two hour drive north of the city, make a day of it and enjoy lunch in nearby Hudson or Rhinebeck, both known for farm-to-table fare and antiquing.
Vermont: Happy Valley Orchard, just a five minute drive from Middlebury College, was an easy and favorite destination for Molly and her friends during college.
New Hampshire: Emily has fall memories of leaf-peeping at Apple Crest Farm in New Hampshire, one of her favorite spots for apple picking.