I’m starting this new, little series “2 Under 3” as an expansion of my NYC Staycation series. Instead of day trips around New York City, these posts will include the surrounding states and highlight day or weekend trips that are completely kid-friendly! You won’t be required to have children under three to participate, just think of it as I’m offering you the most challenging perspective. If these days out can be seamless with really little ones, it will all come even easier with some bigger guys!
So, to kick it all off is our adventure in apple picking this past weekend!
Being from a very rural area of Connecticut, this type of fall activity is nothing new to me, and I consider myself rather particular on the subject. If you want a taste of where I’m from, visit an orchard like Ellsworth Hill in Sharon, Connecticut. Authentic and no fuss. Beautiful. If you want the opposite, visit Harvest Moon in Croton Falls, where we went last year. Overcrowded, too commercial, and inauthentic. Now, living in New York City, I knew it would be tough to find something as quaint as that farm near my old home, but needed to find a change from the latter, so, after a little googling, I stumbled upon Apple Ridge Orchards in Warwick, New York!
I’ve said this before, and I’ll say it again. The early bird gets the worm. Our goal was to be first in and first out of the orchard, and, boy, did it pay off. My husband picked up our ZipCar down the street at 7:00AM, and we were on the road a few minutes after 7:30. Two kids, two carseats, two parents. Tons of snacks. Back up clothing. Diapers. You know the drill.
The drive was a breeze. About an hour and fifteen minutes of driving got us to Apple Ridge Orchards just in time for their 9:00AM opening. We got to park in the main lot, right next to the entrance, with a handful of other early birds. Our first stop was to get breakfast which was as many apple cider doughnuts as we could consume in that sitting. I had three. (They’re small.) Not the best I’ve ever had. My favorites are always very moist and served warm. Very important. Nevertheless, they were tasty and it was nice to sit on a picnic table with my family, look out at the nice day over the farm, and watch the lunch crew prepare a grill and giant racks of ribs. It felt like home. When we purchased our doughnuts we also bought our hayride tickets, petting zoo animal feed, and apple bag. Once our bellies were full, including the baby’s, we hopped on the hayride.
The driver was a little cranky, I’m not going to lie, but he was probably annoyed that since it was so early, he had to do a run for just my family. We had the entire cart to ourselves! It was so lovely and peaceful. Bonus: kids were free.
Once off the hayride, we walked down the hill to the petting zoo. We stopped quickly to play on a large wooden playground train, and continued to where we had allllll the animals to ourselves. There weren’t even workers overseeing that area, just a few signs that said “Careful, horses bite,” and “No outside food.” We viewed the horses from afar, and then fed the feed we purchased to adorable sheep, llamas, goats, and bunnies. After taking lots of videos of my daughter’s first petting zoo experience, and sanitizing our hands, it was time for the main event–apple picking!
My biggest issue with this entire orchard was the price. It was $29.00 for a half bushel of apples, but, seriously, who needs a half bushel?! My favorite orchard allows you to pick in smaller peck bag increments. Much more reasonable. It was still fun skipping around the orchard, watching a toddler use all her muscles to pull apples off the branches, and trip on uneven terrain because she’s a city kid and tall grass is a very foreign material. There were a decent amount of varieties, all of which will be in my home for a very long time because, as mentioned, who needs a half bushel??
Before heading to find goodies in the farm shop, we stopped and picked two pumpkins. One little guy for my daughter, and a larger one for a future Jack-o-latern. In the pumpkin patch there was a tractor to play on, a little kid-sized house, a few photo op cut-outs to stick your head through, and some scarecrows. We paid for our pumpkins in the farm shop and picked up some apple butter, raspberry jam, apple cider, and New York maple syrup. We were finished and ready for lunch at around 11:15AM. At this time, Apple Ridge Orchards was really filling up, and cars had moved to the back overflow parking lot. We had an amazing morning and we were very happy to be leaving when we were.
For lunch, we drove the ten minutes to Warwick’s Main Street. We parked for free in the CVS parking lot and walked to a dog-themed bar and grill, Fetch, that offered a Sunday brunch menu. It seemed kid-friendly and I thought my daughter would get a kick out of the dog decor, so there we were. I wouldn’t recommend the place, though. The eggs florentine was lacking flavor, and the pancake was just bizarre. The fries, however, were outstanding. It was nothing but a quick, cheap meal, and it had us on our way back to New York City by 12:30. This was just in time for nap time, so we had one child snoozing all the way home. We got back to the our house around 2:00PM and I’ve been making apple recipes ever since.
Moral of this story? Go apple picking. It builds amazing memories and offers several different experiences all in one go. Visit Apple Ridge Orchards, it’s cute. Avoid Fetch, but check out one of the manyyyy other restaurant options that can be found in Warwick, New York. And, if you have time and are not trying to sync up with baby naps, stop in the artsy town of Sugar Loaf, it looked amazing.
Apple picking, check.
Hope you have an exciting fall with your little tribe!