Fall in Virginia means gorgeous trees in brilliant reds, golds and oranges. It also means it’s time to pick apples!
This year, I took my kids to Carter Mountain Orchard in North Garden, just outside Charlottesville. Since both school and my work were closed on Columbus Day, we picked that day to visit. LOTS of other people had the same idea, as the place was pretty crowded. Carter Mountain has plenty of apple varieties across a large orchard area. We picked Winesap, Stayman, Golden Delicious, Granny Smith and Fuji apples.
At the orchard, there are several barns where you can taste local wines and ciders, shop for cold cider, apple cider donuts and other baked goods, and find local crafts and souvenirs. There was also a small pumpkin patch, a hayride through the orchard and an apple and worm cutout for my goofy kids to pose with.
For lunch after a morning of apple picking, we visited historic Michie Tavern, just down the mountain from the orchard. Built in the late 1700’s, the Tavern likely hosted Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and any other visiting dignitaries. The interior is low-ceilinged, with exposed beams and numerous fireplaces. You feel as if you’re stepping back in time as you enter one of the tavern’s gathering rooms.
A delicious buffet lunch of fresh fried chicken, smoked barbecue, string beans, stewed tomatoes, cole slaw, mashed potatoes, cornbread, fresh-baked biscuits and more was the perfect meal after a long day tromping through orchards. Everything I ate was delicious, and the tavern’s atmosphere made me feel like Thomas Jefferson himself could barge in at any moment to discuss the day’s politics.
If you want to get your apple picking on, you’ve only got a few more weeks! Visit Virginia Tourism’s website for other orchards and festival information.