Hello everyone! I know I’ve already mentioned it, but fall is my absolute favorite time of year, especially living in the Hudson Valley, where the cider donuts are sweeter, the apple orchards more plentiful, and where a drive from any one destination to another means being in awe of the ever-changing leaves.
I particularly love October, especially because there are so many fun things to do here! Darren and I have been adventuring and having day dates since we both requested some time off from work and we’ve been having so much fun. I wanted to share with you guys where to get the best cider donuts, where we’ve been picking apples from to make apple crisps and pies and caramel apples too, and why I would recommend checking out The Angry Orchard Cider House, or going to a fall festival!
First things first, fall is all about cider donuts. I buy a dozen, I eat several in one sitting, and put them in the microwave for breakfast the next morning. Anyone else thinking Liz Lemon right now, “You ever put a donut in the microwave?” It seems like every apple orchard that does apple picking also sells cider donuts, and while I wouldn’t turn down any donut – like ever, my absolute favorite cider donuts come from Golden Harvest, in Valatie, New York. Not only is Golden Harvest kind of your idyllic roadside farm stand, with cute signs that say things like “Bakery,” all the twinkle lights, and adorable mustard awnings galore, but they have incredible cider donuts too! Darren and I stopped here the last Sunday of September and picked up some donuts, a dutch apple pie, and some cold pressed ciders and everything was amazing, not to mention the length of the line at the cash out should be a testament to just how amazing their donuts are. While Valatie seems kind of in the middle of nowhere, somewhere between Rhinebeck and Albany, I do think that Golden Harvest is that picturesque Hudson Valley stop that you would see in a Hallmark movie and would definitely recommend stopping and getting a half-dozen donuts, or maybe a whole dozen, or maybe multiple dozen!
Darren and I have gone apple picking every year since we first started dating, at this point, it is absolutely our tradition and one we really love. We also have gone to the same place every year since we first started our tradition, Wilklow Orchards. It’s a tiny place, there’s rarely a crowd, but we love it because of that and because of the views! They also recently added a Bad Seed Cider stand, which makes it Darren approved too.Wilklow’s orchard goes up a hill, so if you make it all the way to the top in search of Red Delicious apples, when you look down it’s absolutely breathtaking. There are picnic tables to enjoy the scenery from and honestly, when you look down the hill you’ve slowly apple picked your way up it’s a wash of all the fall colors as you look down at trees below, reds, oranges, yellows, and browns, the perfect fall horizon.This year, Darren and I went late in the day, right before they closed actually, and were lucky enough to be in the apple orchard during golden hour, that beautiful moment before the sun sets where everything has a soft, natural glow. It was absolutely perfect!We got mostly Golden Delicious apples and I’ve already made several apple crisps, and am ready to make another! We ended this day date with a stop at Schatzi’s New Paltz for pretzels with bier cheese and pirogies, the perfect end to any day in my opinion.
Another thing that I can’t recommend enough if you’re visiting the Hudson Valley, or are a local looking for things to do, is to take a drive to Walden and check out The Angry Orchard Cider House! Darren and I go here once or twice every fall and it’s always a fun day. This year we decided to do a treehouse tour, and although we’ve been a handful of times, it felt like the first time there all over again!We got a lot of information about their apple trees, where apples originated, and the process of making cider, not to mention a gorgeous view once inside the treehouse, and some samples! I really liked the Ginger, Rosé, and the Knotty Pear!They also have fun souvenirs like candles, pins, and t-shirts, so I grabbed one of those too!
Another place we went this year was Weed Orchard and Winery! My friend, Marina, invited us to their Harvest Festival and we had so much fun! Admittedly, the day didn’t have a great start, as the parking situation was complicated, to say the least, but countless apple sangrias, hard ciders, and wine slushies did the trick and before we knew it, we were having the best time!
This place is also a very picturesque Hudson Valley orchard, they have a pumpkin patch, wildflowers, veggies, and of course all the apples! There’s also a pond on site and plenty of places to sit, or snap a cute Instagram, including a winery and cider house.
They also have a bakery, which we were lucky enough to hit right before close, as someone shouted all pies were officially buy one get one!
I love these pictures that Marina got in the countless rows of apples, honestly, I think an apple orchard is such a nice place to get some cute pictures and a place that Darren and I have always said reminds us of our very beginning – Darren’s official review was that he’s never picking apples without an apple sangria in hand ever again!We also had a quick stop to check out The Brooklyn Cider House at Twin Star Orchards near New Paltz. We tasted their cider and picked up a bottle to take home, snapped some pictures in front of their “Ugly Apples Taste Better” sign and also decided that maybe next year we’ll pick our apples there because they had the biggest apples I’ve ever seen and a pizza pavilion that they fire up on weekends. We’ve had so much fun this fall, and admittedly, as much as I love taking time off for a summer vacation, I think next year I’ll try and convince Darren to take mostly time off in September and October, as it truly is the best time of year to live in the Hudson Valley! What do you like to do for fun in the fall? Any recommendations for the Hudson Valley? Let me know in the comments!