While taking in the crisp, cool air and admiring the brightly colored foliage, you may be asking yourself, “Where should I go on the East Coast in the fall?” We can’t think of a better way to kick off the season than leisurely romping through a pumpkin patch and harvesting your own apples for tarts, pies and cobblers. Here are our favorite spots along the East Coast to help you plan the perfect pick-your-own adventure. Before you go: be sure to check the farm’s website for COVID-19 health and safety protocols, including wearing masks and social distancing in the parking lot, in the fields and at cash registers.
1. Applecrest Farm Orchards, Hampton Falls
Visit the state’s largest and oldest apple orchard, offering over 40 varieties of apples from 220 sprawling acres, as well as a wide array of other seasonal pick-your-own crops including pumpkins, peaches, sweet corn and more. Scents of fresh-baked pies, biscuits and gooey cookies waft throughout the bakery. The market carries locally produced jams, honeys, hand-pressed cider and made-from-scratch confectioneries, including their hot cider donuts — a local favorite. The farm has no shortage of old-fashioned family fun with their fall festivals and events.
2. DeMeritt Hill Farm, Lee
Take in the magnificent fall foliage as you pick your own apples, pumpkins and more at this dog-friendly farm. Stop by the newly expanded bakery for an assortment of goodies including apple cider donuts, cupcakes and pies, and check their event schedule for upcoming festivals, hayrides and craft fairs. Consistently ranked as one of the country’s top haunted attractions, Haunted Overload features hundreds of lighted pumpkins, movie-quality sets and super-spooky actors. The haunt is also open without actors during the day for younger spectators to enjoy.
3. C.N. Smith Farm, East Bridgewater
Founded in 1920 and spanning over 90 acres, this family-owned and – operated farm is the perfect spot for some classic autumn fun. Pick your own apples and pumpkins this fall (and be sure to return next year to pick from their strawberry, blueberry and peach harvest). Check out their charming selection of Miniature and Fairy Garden Supplies. And be sure to visit the Donut Barn and grab some fresh apple cider donuts for the ride home!
4. Connors Farm, Danvers
Come to pick farm-fresh apples and pumpkins and stay for an endless array of attractions the whole family will love. Navigate your way through their exciting corn maze. Older kids and grownups can get a good scare at their famous haunt, Hysteria at Connors Farm. The farm stand offers hardy mums, freshly squeezed apple cider, hot apple cider donuts, produce and a delectable selection of baked pies. Please contact the farm for closures, restrictions and social-distancing guidelines before you go.
5. Blue Jay Orchards, Bethel
Nestled in the quaint town of Bethel, this picturesque 140-acre farm attracts generations of loyal customers who return each year to make new memories in the apple orchards and pumpkin patch. Located in their signature red barn, the farm market sells everything from maple syrup to maple sugar candy to fresh-pressed cider. You’ll also want to grab some goodies to take home from the bakery including fresh-baked pies, turnovers, dumplings, cookies and, of course, apple cider donuts. As their website states, their recipes, lovingly passed from generation to generation, could almost transport you back to Grandma’s kitchen. And we certainly agree.
6. Bishop’s Orchards, Guilford
Visit the orchards where you can pick from over 20 varieties of apples and take a weekend tractor trailer ride from late August to late October. Mid-September through Halloween is the time to choose fall favorites including pumpkins, gourds, mums and Indian corn. Experience the corn maze, which has been designed in honor of all the amazing front line workers for 2020. The farm market carries a fresh selection of seasonal favorites including world-famous pies, breads, croissants, ice cream, “grab n go” crock pot or grill meals and more. And the edible cookie dough is not to be missed.
7. Fishkill Farms, Hopewell Junction
Family-operated for more than a century and spanning over 270 acres, Fishkill Farms offers so much more than apple and pumpkin picking, including a generous variety of pick-your-own eco-certified fruit and organic vegetables from June through October. For 2020, socially distant picking is available by reservation only. As a precaution against the spread of COVID-19, only a limited portion of the Farm Store will remain open, and guests will be required to wear face coverings. Luckily, the store is accepting orders for contactless pickup of their yummy treats and baked goods.
8. Wilkens Fruit & Fir Farm, Yorktown Heights
Head an hour north of New York City for some serious apple, pumpkin and peach picking. Other attractions include a corn maze, the cozy White Hill Vineyard winery and three country markets carrying fresh-baked pies, pressed apple cider and the Wilkens’ famous apple cider donuts. But the fun doesn’t end in the fall. Come back after Thanksgiving to choose your own Christmas tree.
9. Demarest Farms, Hillsdale
Bask in the breathtaking scenery while picking the perfect pumpkin and choosing from 14 varieties of apples. This year, pick-your-own activities will be by reservation only and private hayrides will be available. While you’re there, stop by their charming farm store and grab some apple cider donuts — a customer favorite. Enjoy pumpkin picking and a family-friendly movie under the stars, or choose from these awesome drive-in movie night options. Return this winter for the Orchard of Lights, where you can take a magical drive through 32 acres of brilliant holiday light displays.
10. Alstede Farms, Chester
Open year-round, this family-owned farm has been a Morris County tradition for years, offering a generous selection of certified organic or sustainably grown fruits, veggies and flowers to pick from June to November. But the family fun doesn’t stop there. Other attractions include pony rides, wagon train rides, hayrides and mazes. Visit the farm store for produce, cider and baked goods.
11. Highland Orchards, West Chester
For the quintessential fall day trip, visit this 200-acre farm. Apple picking begins in August and pumpkin picking in mid-September — both require a reservation. The farm market sells fresh produce from the farm and also partners with other local growers and vendors to bring you an array of bakery and dairy items, jams, coffees, teas, flowers and gifts. Contact-free curbside pickup is available at the Farm Market and Bakery for 2020. Don’t forget to try their heavenly apple cider and cider donuts.
12. Shady Brook Farm, Yardley
Make lasting memories at Shady Brook Farm, where you’ll find fun family-oriented activities including wagon rides and pick-your-own apples, pumpkins and sunflowers. Fall is a special time on the farm, where you can rent a cozy campfire site or take an Eerie Illuminations Wagon Ride.
Supply of pick-your-own apples and pumpkins is based on weather conditions and demand, so be sure to call the farm or check their website before planning your trip.