Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Family Apple Picking at Carter Mountain

While Chuck enjoyed the weekend in New York City with his college buddies, I spent some time apple picking with my family in Charlottesville. My parents and I were visiting one of my brothers at JMU (the best school ever). Rather than spending another day walking around campus, we thought apple picking would be the perfect way to spend some of quality family time (how every college freshman wants to spend a Saturday afternoon). We found Carter Mountain Orchard online, hopped in the car and started our adventure.

The journey to the orchard and festival area is mildly treacherous, one must drive their car up a windy, narrow busy road which follows the steep contours of the mountainside.  My mother isn't a big fan of "potentially dangerous" activities (she would categorize this as one of them), so the ascent to the orchard ended up being a less than pleasant experience for her and a rather hysterical experience for the rest of us.

The peak of the hill was GORGEOUS. Picture a cute country cabin overlooking rolling hills of apple trees and grape vines as evident in the pictures below. This would be a beautiful place to get married, and apparently it is often used as such a venue. (Chuck's note: people on Megan's Facebook newsfeed, please stop getting engaged)

The most eligible bachelor at JMU

We parked the car, got our apple bags, and started picking. Carter Mountain Orchard currently offers Granny Smith, Fuiji, Jonagold, Stayman, and will soon offer Pink Ladies. The Fuiji and Granny Smith were large and plentiful. My mom and I went to town, knowing all the goodies we could bake this week. My dad and brother served more as "bag carriers" and "long arms to reach high-up apples." I'd love to go back next summer, they also have peach trees!

In the main area, Carter Mountain Orchard had a festival with crafts, apple cider donuts (and other apple treats that I do not find as important as the donuts), pumpkins, and WINE TASTING. For $2 each that went to charity, my mother and I were able to sample 12 different Prince Michel wines in the Carter Mountain Wine Shop. Prince Michel Vineyard and Winery has used grapes from Carter Mountain for many years to create their award-winning wines. They also sold wine bottle holders which looked like intoxicated animals drinking straight from the bottle. I found the signage especially funny, so I've included the picture below. The large porch attached to the wine tasting room would be a perfect spot to open that bottle of wine you just bought and take in the scenery.

I bought some apple cider donuts to bring home for Chuck and a beautiful 22-pound pumpkin. Stayed tuned for pictures of carvings closer to Halloween.

The point of this post is to warn you that you will be seeing a lot more apple recipes the next couple weeks. We've already posted a few good ones, so check those out too if you haven't already.

If you are looking to enjoy a day of apple picking and fun, check out Carter Mountain Orchard.

Carter Mountain Orchard
1435 Carters Mountain Trail
Charlottesville, VA
Follow them on Twitter: @CarterMountain


  1. I have SOOO many fond memories of the Carter Mountain Orchard. I used to drive up there even in the off-season just to enjoy the view! -CN

  2. i think that boy is pretty hot