Apple picking with kids? These family-frienly New England apple orchards are sure to be a hit!
By Kim Knox Beckius
Sep 26 2022
Treworgy Family OrchardsPhoto Credit : Courtesy of Treworgy Family Orchards
At these New England apple farms, the bounty doesn’t come just by the bushel or the peck. It’s measured in smiles and family memories.
While you’re picking tangy-sweet Macs and other traditional New England apples, feeding grain to the resident goats, and savoring a scoop of Gifford’s pumpkin ice cream with a pumpkin (or chocolate or cider) doughnut fresh from the doughnut robot, you’ll sense something else is unfolding. Gary and Patty Treworgy bought these Maine acres not merely to grow apples, but also to grow closer as a family—and now, their daughters and sons-in-law are doubly committed to creating an atmosphere where every family who visits knits a tighter bond. To that end, even nighttime events in Maine’s longest-running corn maze are little-kid-friendly. Make this the fall when you see loved ones’ faces lit up by moonlight, flashlight, and sheer delight. treworgyorchards.com
From the moment September hits until Halloween is a wrap, there’s a free, themed festival every weekend at this fourth-generation Seacoast farm. The Wagner family is on a mission to keep your day’s outing affordable. Tractor shuttles rumble out to the trees while bands play on the cornhusk-bedecked stage, and you won’t spend a dime until your kids plead to feed the barnyard flock or tackle the confounding corn maze. There’s also a good chance you’ll succumb to the tantalizing aromas of roasted corn, grilled fennel sausage, hand-pressed cider, scratch-baked pies, and apple cider doughnuts. Of course, bringing home a healthy haul of fruit is an essential part of the experience, and if you visit in early September, you might score a pick-your-own quadruple-header of blueberries, raspberries, peaches, and apples. applecrest.com
In a Vermont region known for cheese making and craft brewing, this relatively young orchard’s hot, sugar-crystaled cider doughnuts are so popular, new machines have been purchased to keep up with demand. You won’t have to reach for your wallet to meander through the small corn maze, make playground memories, or use a slingshot as a stress-busting weapon of inedible apple destruction. At this kid-centric destination that awakens adults’ inner child, too, even the hunt for apples is a fun quest. Not only will you discover little-known varieties such as SnowSweet and Pixie Crunch in addition to New England classics, you’ll win a coveted doughnut for harvesting a golden apple or a grand prize for finding the orchard’s single, well-hidden wooden apple. burttsappleorchard.com
Only a handful of America’s family-owned businesses are older, yet Lyman Orchards is remarkably spry at 281. Sure, there are horse-drawn wagon and pony rides for nostalgia’s sake and 45 holes of golf including the learner-friendly Apple Nine, but you’ll also find a day’s worth of 21st-century agritainment on this hilltop as two dozen pick-your-own apple varieties ripen. Recently introduced: a line of hard ciders for grown-ups and an interactive haunted orchard for the brave. But most activities appeal to the whole family, from problem-solving your way through a corn maze that raises funds to fight cancer to aiming apple cannons at Sasquatch and relishing the shuddering blast and satisfying splat. Lyman keeps families well fed, too, with picnic fare, soft-serve ice cream, indoor-outdoor seated dining, and the Apple Barrel’s produce, gourmet goods, and legendary high-dome apple pies to take home. lymanorchards.com
Three generations of the Rose family and their team keep operations humming at Massachusetts’s most complete destination for fall family fun. Reserve a time to pick apples: More than 50 varieties flourish at this sun-and-wind-powered, ecologically managed, high-elevation farm. Purchase an Open-Air Bundle, and it’s easy to treat your crew to a full day of meeting animals, digging up potatoes, hiking forest and field trails, and picking pumpkins. The year-round country store in a mid-1700s barn will tempt you with made-on-site treats like fudge, peanut butter, glazed cider doughnuts, and apple dumplings. Fall weekends feature outdoor barbecues and live music outside the Brew Barn. Notice all the ways this orchard both reveres its past and incessantly innovates: meticulously maintained stone walls and hard cider in cans, century-old apple trees and solar cells, old-fashioned hospitality and a hashtag that captures it. This is #yourfamilyfarm. redapplefarm.com