Best Apple Orchards in New England
Autumn is a magical time of year for many reasons, but one of our favorite fall traditions is the annual trek into the orchard to gather up as many apples as we can carry. Looking for a few good places to pick? Yankee senior lifestyle editor, and author of the The Apple Lover’s Cookbook, Amy Traverso, shares her list of best apple orchards in New England.
Poverty Lane Orchards — Lebanon, NH
Steve Wood and Louisa Spencer operate two businesses on this beautiful hilltop farm overlooking the Connecticut River Valley: Poverty Lane Orchards, where they grow dozens of antique and unusual apple varieties, and Farnum Hill Ciders, where they make complex ciders from the aforementioned apples. Both are worth exploring for their nuance and quality, whether in the pick-your-own orchards or in the farm stand/tasting room.
98 Poverty Ln., Lebanon, NH, 603-448-1511, povertylaneorchards.com
Gould Hill Farm — Contoocook, NH
Is this the most beautiful orchard setting in New England? We certainly haven’t seen another one that matches its 75-mile view, which can spread as far as the White Mountains. It’s worth coming back just for that. You can also make a project of tasting the seventy-plus apple varieties that Tim and Amy Bassett now grow. One varity particular is worth noting: Hampshire, a tree that sprang up from seed on this very farm and, with its abundant juice and rich flavor, makes a great pie. There’s also live music, a pumpkin patch, a farm store with cider donuts, and a charming little nature museum.
656 Gould Hill Rd, Contoocook NH, 603-746-3811, gouldhillfarm.com
Nashoba Valley Winery — Bolton, MA
Set in the heart of America’s first fruit bowl, this beautiful winery/restaurant/wedding destination is also home to acres of pick-your-own Cortland, McIntosh, and Roxbury Russet trees, as well as a spectacular antique apple orchard stocked with rare finds like Pink Pearl, Ashmead’s Kernel, and Esopus Spitzenburg—nearly 100 in all. Tack a wine tasting and dinner onto your day and you have a make-your-own harvest festival.
100 Wattaquadock Hill Rd., Bolton MA, 978-779-5521, nashobawinery.com
18th-Century Purity Farms at the Hall Homestead
Paul and Jo-Ann Desrochers grow vegetables, peaches, plums, and nectarines, but they have a special love of heirloom apples—nearly 90 varieties, all grown without pesticides. You’ll find ‘Westfield Seek-No-Further’ (a Massachusetts native), ‘Newtown Pippin’, and the wondrous ‘Hidden Rose’, whose bland green-brown skin gives way to bright fuchsia flesh that tastes of raspberries. Open Saturday afternoons in the fall.
156 Plainfield Pike Road, Plainfield, CT, 860-564-2154,
Alyson’s Orchard — Walpole, NH
The view from Alyson’s hilltop orchards is a close second to the one at Gould Hill Farm, with long views to the west toward Vermont. The orchard is run by Homer Dunn, a true-blue New Englander who takes tremendous pleasure and pride in his fruit. He grows all the regular favorites but has a soft spot for rare heirlooms like Ashmead’s Kernel, Hudson’s Golden Gem, Belle de Boskoop, Reine des Reinettes, and Esopus Spitzenburg. The orchard (which also grows peaches, plums, nectarines, and berries) spreads over 450 acres and there’s a seasonal farm stand, plus family-friendly entertainment on weekends.
57 Alyson’s Ln., Walpole, NH, 800-856-0549, alysonsorchard.com
Scott Farm — Dummerston, VT
This 626 acre property, owned by the non-profit Landmark Trust USA, produces 70 varieties of “ecologically grown,” low-spray heirloom and unusual apples, such as Roxbury Russet, Belle de Boskoop, Winter Banana, and Hidden Rose. It also served as the primary location for the filming of the movie Cider House Rules. There are classes on pruning and grafting, apple pie baking, hard cider making. And you can rent any of several historic structures on the property for a weekend getaway—including Rudyard Kipling’s estate, Naulakha, where he wrote “The Jungle Books.”
707 Kipling Rd., Dummerston VT, 802-254-6868, scottfarmvermont.com
Please Note: This information was accurate at the time of publication. When planning a trip, please confirm details by directly contacting any company or establishment you intend to visit.