If it’s fall, it’s apple time. And it is fall, so it is apple time. Some would say (rather unhelpfully if you ask me) that apple time is not that big of a deal because in today’s world with it’s social networking sites and stain-resistant fabrics and all, it’s possible to buy an apple at a grocery store 24-7. Which is technically true. But the produce department of your local grocery store doesn’t have cups of hot apple cider, bales of hay you can sit on, or opportunities for picturesque rustic fun. For that, you’ve still got to go to an orchard.
Getting to an orchard, though, can feel overwhelming. Because it’s a family road trip and family road trips include things like packing a lunch, missing your exit, and listening to arguments over who dropped the orange crayon under the seat. But I’m here to tell you it doesn’t have to be this way. You can just get in the car and go. Remember that time in junior year when you and your roommate were talking about how awesome the beach is and you suddenly decided to blow off the next day’s classes to drive to the beach that same night? It can be like that.
Maybe not quite like that: you’re still a parent with all the attendant responsibilities —— keeping your children fed, raking leaves, managing your DVR, and whatnot. But you can still have spontaneous fun. One afternoon this week, our family ventured out on an impromptu apple picking expedition to Carter’s Mountain Orchard near Charlottesville, VA.
And as we picked apples, looked at the valley spreading out below us, and drank cups of cider, we didn’t regret the fact that we hadn’t spent a week planning every detail of this little excursion one bit.
An Impromptu Fall Road Trip 1 of 11
Fall adventure doesn't have to be a major undertaking; this fall, just jump in the car and see where the road takes you!
The Mountain Road 2 of 11
This sign about covers it.
At the Orchard 3 of 11
It's the prospect of seeing beautiful red apples set against a gorgeous blue sky like this that get you into your car and out into the country.
Orchard Path 4 of 11
Wandering through the trees is required.
Apple Bin 5 of 11
Of course, we were eager to get to the cider and donuts, so after we picked a few apples, we hit up the bins for the rest.
Cider 6 of 11
With the apples out of the way, we could get down to the important things, like cider.
Donuts 7 of 11
And the really important things. Like donuts.
Pumpkins 8 of 11
We selected a few gourds and tiny pumpkins for a little fall decorating.
Mountain Views 9 of 11
As the sun set, we bundled up, hopped back in the car, and started heading home.
Sunset on the Road 10 of 11
A perfect golden sunset lit up the mountain road.
The Road Home 11 of 11
Driving home, we had a gorgeous view as dusk fell (and even made it home in time for dinner!).