Best Apple Picking?
I am relatively new to DC, and looking for great apple picking. I lived in New England for several years, so while I'm certainly not expecting the same experience, I'm hoping there is an orchard somewhat nearby with some of the key things I am looking for? I have a car and I'm willing to drive about 90min (I wouldn't want to go much further than that and the closer to DC, the better). I'd like to:
-bring my dog
-have a decent variety to choose from
-great or decent view?
-have some other activities going on at the orchard or (very nearby), like a barbeque, general store, hayrides, picnic area, mazes, wine tastings, etc.
I would LOVE to find great apple cider doughnuts, but I've heard they are hard to get outside New England. An organic orchard or one that didn't spray pesticides all over the U-Pick apples would be ideal. If I could find *most* of these qualities, I would love to plan a trip for next weekend. Any thoughts??
You could just head west on 66. You'll pass a few w/out venturing far off the highway. From the corn maze in The Plains (http://www.cornmazeintheplains.com/) then to Stribling and Hartland (has good apple cider donuts and little bake shop) and Naked Mountain all at the same exit in Markham. Naked Mountain Winery has very pretty views with a tasting room w/ a wall of windows. Hartland has a wide variety but many are not for picking--just ready to go in a bin.
If you want to search for your criteria, try:
Hartland Orchard is my favorite. You drive right up to the orchards and you have a map of what is ripe at the time. You probably can't have your dog down in the fruit trees with you, but he can take a nice nap and then join you for a picnic later. The property is huge.
I go to Jefferson Orchards in Kearneysville, WV. They've got several varieties of apples, lots of baked goods, and they're not far from Shepherdstown, WV. Shepherdstown is a laid back college town with lots of shops and restaurants. I love just walking around there.
I don't know if you can pick apples there, but I'm sure there would be some pick your own places around, but the National Apple Harvest Festival outside of Gettysburg starts the weekend of Oct 6 (appleharvest.com). Lots of apple based foods/breads, crafts, bands, etc.