What better way to celebrate the beginning of fall than to get out of the city and enjoy New York’s state fruit right from the tree? We’ve rounded up 17 apple orchards within a two-hour drive of Brooklyn (barring any traffic, of course) for you to enjoy this fall — great for a romantic date, a solo adventure or a family outing. Got any favorites that aren’t on this list? Let your neighbors know by sharing suggestions in the comments!
No car? No problem, we’ve started our list with two places you can get to via public transit. Expect to pay $15 or more for a cab from the nearest LIRR station to the apple orchard of your choice.
1. Hank’s Pumpkin Town is the place to go if you’re interested in farm entertainment. Hay rides! Wagons! Corn maze! Five acres of off-street parking! Oh, you can also pick apples. (Drive time: 2 hours. 240 Montauk Highway, Water Mill, NY, 631-726-4667. Open Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays, 9:30am to 6pm.)
2. Wickham’s Fruit Farm has been a family apple-picking favorite for many years, though they recently got some bad press following allegations of discrimination against special needs kids, which they have tried to explain. (Drive time: 1 hr, 10 min. 28700 Main Road, Cutchogue, NY, 631-734-6441. Open Monday to Saturday, 9am to 4pm.)
Check out some of these Jersey gems (see? It’s not all trash and smog across the river!) just past the Goethals Bridge, in sprawling and green Monmouth County, or further west into the stately college town of Princeton.
3. Terhune Orchards has been called a “miracle of Mother Nature.” Meander their one-mile farm trail taking in the bucolic landscape. After picking apples, stroll around Princeton University then into Princeton for ice cream. (Drive time: 1 hour, 30 minutes. 330 Cold Soil Road, Princeton, NJ, 609-924-2310. Open weekdays, 9am to 6pm; weekends, 9am to 5pm.)
4. Battleview Orchards, like most of the orchards, is open on Columbus Day. Take advantage of the holiday to pick from a huge variety of apples, near the hometown of Bruce Springsteen. (Drive time: 1 hour, 15 minutes. 91 Wemrock Road, Freehold, NJ, 732-462-0756. Open Tuesday to Sunday and Columbus Day, 9am to 6pm.)
5. Melick’s Town Farm has four locations, each focusing on a different aspect of agriculture. Take a hayride then watch how cider is made at the Cider Mill and Orchards location. Apples are within arm’s reach at the Califon Farm location. (Drive time: 1 hour, 30 minutes. 472 County Rd. 513, Califon, NJ, 908-439-2955. Open daily, 9am to 6pm.)
6. Eastmont Orchards historically sold their produce to supermarkets in New York City and Philadelphia. They recently changed their business model and now sell directly to the consumer, but call ahead to see if they’re open for apple picking. Call for pricing. (Drive time: 1 hour, 15 minutes. 169 County Road 537 East, Colts Neck, NJ, 732-542-5404. Open Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm; Saturday and Sunday, 9am to 6pm.)
7. Alstede Farms takes the supplemental sale of apple cider donuts one step further by offering creamy, homemade ice cream, with fall flavors like pumpkin pie and apple pie. $6.99 admission on the weekends, includes hayride; $1.99 per pound of apples. (Drive time: 1 hour, 30 minutes. 1 Alstede Farms Lane, Chester, NJ, 908-879-7189. Open daily, 9am to 6pm.)
North Of The City
Budget about two hours to drive to orchards north of the city, but the longer drive is worth it for a glimpse of the beautiful Catskill mountains. After apple picking, make a day of your trip by visiting beautiful towns like Beacon, New Paltz and Woodstock.
8. Fishkill Farms is starting apple picking season with wagon rides, donuts, live music, hard cider tasting, and of course, great pick-your-own apples. This week’s varieties include Cortland, Fuji, Gala and Jonamac. $5 admission fee (free on Tuesdays), (Drive time: 1 hour, 35 minutes. 9 Fishkill Farm Road, Hopewell JCT, NY, (845) 897-4377. Open daily, 9am to 6pm.)
9. Wilken’s Fruit & Fir Farm celebrates its 100th season this year, offering seasonal pickings of peaches, apples, pumpkins, and even coniferous trees for Christmas. There’s also a bakery packed with homemade pies, apple-cider donuts jams, syrups, honey and more. Apple prices vary, but there’s no admission, wagon ride or parking fee. (Drive time: 1 hour. 1335 White Hill Road Yorktown Heights, NY. (914) 245-5111, Open Daily, pick your own from 10am to 4:30pm.)
10. Harvest Moon Farm & Orchard runs a complete fall festival every Saturday and Sunday, with apple and pumpkin picking, hayrides, bouncy castles, pony rides, face painting, ‘apple cannons’, live music and freshly-made baked treats. $20/medium size apple bag and $30 for a large, $5 festival admission fee. (Drive time: 1 hour, 30 minutes. 130 Hardscrabble Road, North Salem NY, 914-485-1210. Festival is Saturday and Sunday from 10 am to 5 pm.)
11. Outhouse Orchards, named for the family’s surname and not for a lack of indoor plumbing, is an easy drive just north of Westchester. The orchard is small enough that preteen kids can enjoy freedom to roam, and Outhouse also has a corn maze. $25.00 for a pre-pay apple bag plus $5 for parking. (Drive time: 1 hour, 30 minutes. 139 Hardscrabble Rd, North Salem, NY, 914-277-3188. Open daily, 9am to 6pm.)
12. Maskers Orchard’s website is one of many that has the ripening schedule of different apple varieties. One DPC reader says this Orchard makes a great day for the family! This week, the tart (but getting sweeter each week on the branch) Mutsus are prime for picking. (Drive time: 1 hour, 45 minutes. 45 Ball Road, Warwick, NY, 845-986-1058. Open daily, 9am to 5pm.)
13-15. There are a few apple orchards around New Paltz, including Apple Hill Farm (open Friday to Sunday, 10am t0 5pm), Jenkins-Lueken Orchard (open Monday to Friday, 9am to 6pm; Saturday and Sunday, 9am to 7pm), and Dressel Farms (open for you-pick on weekends, 10am to 4:30pm). After picking your apples and pumpkins, stroll through downtown New Paltz, which is one of the first settled towns in New York, and check out the SUNY New Paltz campus. (Drive time: 2 hours.)
16. Wrights Farm may have the best web address name: Eat Apples. They also include recipes for applesauce and apple butter for the ambitious pickers who need to process their apples before they go bad. They also link to nearby hotels if you want to make a weekend of it. $12 for adults and $6 for kids includes 1 bag of apples, parking, and access to hiking/biking trails. (Drive time: 2 hours. 699 State Route 208 Gardiner, NY, 845-255-5300. Open daily, 8am to 4:30pm.)
17. Wilklow Orchard allows kids to have a ton if fun. Activities outside of apple picking include a petting zoo, hay ride, tunnels, and crafts. $22 for a large bag, $13 for a small. (Drive time: 2 hours. 341 Pancake Hollow Road, Highland, NY, 845-691-2339. Open daily, 9am to 6pm.)
Farmers Bringing Apples To You
Families who can’t fit apple picking into their schedule can still enjoy crispy apples from one of our Greenmarkets. I recommend the sweet Empires that were developed by Cornell University.
Happy apple eating!
Additional reporting by Amber.