New England

It’s Time: The Best Apple Picking in New England

Posted by
Sarah Lamagna
September 27, 2023
Updated October 05, 2023

A kid bites an apple in the middle of a field
Photo: Sarah Lamagna

As summer comes to a close, apples reach their peak ripeness. That’s when we know: it’s apple pickin’ season.

It’s not your typical New England autumn morning with crisp air and locals wearing their flannels and Bean Boots. Instead, the humidity is high on this September day, as are the temperatures. Checkered patterns are replaced with tank tops and layers of sunscreen as the sun beats down on the fruit farm. As I approach Applecrest Farm Orchards, I take note of the signs for ice cream. I know where our stop will be after we pick apples.

Although it might be unseasonably warm, the orchard is bustling with  MacIntosh, Jersey Mac, and Paula Red apples. I set out with my five-year-old in tow, peck bags in hand, and strut over to the tractor that will bring us to the correct orchard rows. Smiles abound as the tractor revs up and I glance at my happy child who is experiencing his first “pick-your-own” adventure.

I was born and raised in New England and look forward to this season every year. I’ve meandered through all the corners of the region to find the best apple orchards, no matter the state. So hold tight, take note, and don’t forget the flannel when you head out to one of the farms below.

Lyman Orchards, Connecticut

This place is huge – multiple buildings, multiple properties, and multiple activities. Whether you’re there for golf, the market, the corn maze, or apple picking, Lyman Orchards has something for everyone. The pick-your-own fruit is what brings visitors and locals alike to the area, though. Starting in early June, tourists come from all over to pick honeyberries, strawberries, raspberries, jostaberries, blueberries, and eventually peaches, pears, and—you guessed it—apples.

Lyman Orchards has 27 varieties growing on over 30,000 apple trees. Favorites include Pink Lady, Fuji, Honey Crisp, and McIntosh. For those wanting to get a head start in apple pie season, Paula Red, Sunrise, and Ginger Gold apples are ready in mid-August. But if you want a true New England autumn feel, pick Golden Delicious, Fuji, Braeburn, and Granny Smith in October. Pick up a few pumpkins while you’re there too!

Hours of operation

  • Farm Market & Bakery: Open year-round, Monday – Sunday from 9:00 am to 6:00 pm
  • Pick-Your-Own Orchards: Open during the season, daily from 9:00 am to 4:30 pm

Contact information

  • Farm Market & Bakery: 32 Reeds Gap Road, Middlefield, CT 06455; 860-349-6000
  • Pick-Your-Own Orchards: 105 South Street, Middlefield, CT 06455; 860-349-6015

Best place to stay nearby

  • You can find plenty of hotels in nearby Hartford, but we recommend an accommodation fit for royalty. When you stay at the Silas W. Robbins House, you’ll feel as if you’re in the French countryside awaiting a visit from the Duke and Duchess. 
  • Check out one of Connecticut’s many cabin rentals, which let you stay right in the middle of the state’s beauty. Complete with rustic charms and tons of history, it’s a great way to fully immerse yourself in the New England experience.  
A kid points to towards an orchard of apple trees
Lamagna’s son points towards the apple orchard – Photo: Sarah Lamagna

Dame Farm & Orchards, Rhode Island

Donald Dame, Dame Farm & Orchards‘ namesake, purchased this property back in 1890 where he made a living as a dairy farmer with an apple orchard. Throughout the years, the farm and orchard has grown into a thriving business. Visitors can come to the farm stand and purchase vegetables and fruit grown on the property.

But the apples are the big draw to this place. Apple varieties include McIntosh, Gala, Red Delicious, Jonagold, and Fuji. Along with the incredible apple picking, you can also pick blueberries and your own flowers when they are in season/bloom. 

Hours of operation

  • Hours are Monday thru Friday, 8:30 am – 5:30, pm and 9:00 am – 5:00 pm on Saturday. They are closed on Sundays.

Contact information

  • 91B Brown Avenue, Johnston, RI 02919; 401-949-3657

Best place to stay nearby

  • There are a few places to stay nearby due to the farm’s proximity to Providence. If you want old-world class, head to Graduate Providence. The Art Deco architecture will make you feel as if you’ve fallen into a Gatsby soiree. 
  • Or check out one of Rhode Island’s Airbnb rentals, many of which are within easy driving distance of Providence. From lakeside retreats to cozy woodsy bungalows, America’s smallest state is loaded with a surprisingly robust array of options. 

Honey Pot Hill Orchards, Massachusetts

Sitting only 45 minutes from Boston, Honey Pot Hill Orchards attracts thousands of visitors each year.. Visitors can pick from several types of apple varieties over its 186 acres. 

Once the picking is done, try your luck finding your way through the hedge mazes or take a hayride. At certain times throughout the season, the orchard serves their own hard cider complete with live music. If you’d prefer some non-alcoholic choices, you can top the day off with caramel apples and regular hot cider, too.

Hours of operation

  • Open mid-July through December
  • Hours are Monday thru Friday, 9:00 am – 4:00 pm, and 9:00 am – 6:00 pm on the weekends.

Contact information

  • 18 Boon Road, Stow, MA 01775

Best place to stay nearby

  • If you’re hoping for some more glamor and amenities, you can also stay at Concord’s Colonial Inn. You’ll love their accommodations and on-site restaurant – not to mention its important role in American history. The first major battle of the Revolutionary War was fought while the British were trying to seize the weapons stored within the inn.
  • Why not turn your apple-picking adventure into a romantic date activity with a stay in one of Massachusetts’ romantic getaways, perfect for turning up the romance after a day of enjoying the orchards. 
A giant barn sits in a green field underneath a blue sky
Many orchards also have shops and cafes where you can drink apple cider and snack on apple cider donuts – Photo: Sarah Lamagna

Applecrest Farm Orchards, New Hampshire

A list of the best apple orchards in New England isn’t complete without a mention of Applecrest Farm. It is New Hampshire’s oldest and largest, continuously operated apple orchard. Over a century ago, residents in Boston could take the “Apple Train” to Hampton Falls which began thanks to the farm’s owner in the 1920s.

Nowadays, the farm has expanded its “pick-your-own” fruit from not just apples but also blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, and pumpkins. Their farm stand is chock full of other fruits and vegetables that they grow on their property along with their famous apple cider. The 1804 barn on the property now houses a creamery and a trailer dishes out hot apple cider and donuts. On top of the apple picking, visitors can also try their luck in the corn maze or simply munch at their new bistro.

Hours of operation 

  • Open year-round
  • Summer hours are 8:00 am – 6:00 pm every day
  • Winter hours are Monday thru Friday, 10:00 am – 6:00 pm, and 9:00 am – 6:00 pm on the weekends.

Contact information

  • 133 Exeter Road, Hampton Falls, NH 03844; 603-926-3721

Best place to stay nearby

  • Since you’re visiting the oldest apple orchard in New Hampshire, stay at a historic colonial inn built in 1740. The rooms at Lamie’s Inn & The Old Salt Restaurant are tastefully decorated with four-poster beds, exposed brick, and classic quilt bedspreads.  
  • Make your apple-picking experience even more exciting by lodging in one of New Hampshire’s awesome glamping locales. Stay in a canvas tent, a rustic treehouse, a yurt, and more. It’s the perfect way to get back to nature. 

Scott Farm Orchard, Vermont

As one of the oldest working farms in the state, Scott Farm Orchard is a staple in southern Vermont. It’s registered on the National Register of Historic Places and was the setting for the 1998 film, The Cider House Rules. The farm is now owned by The Landmark Trust whose mission preserves historic properties through sustainable uses. 

As a certified EcoApple farm, the heirloom apples you pick here are ones that have been sustainably grown with the most ecologically friendly pest management practices out there. There are over 130 varieties of apples that you can choose from at the Farm Market. There’s also a café to enjoy some hot cider and savory foods. For locals, you can join their CSA and grab bags of fruit every week while the season lasts. Most people grab a peck bag and head to one of their many orchards to pick Cortland, Macoun, and McIntosh apples.

Hours of operation

  • Usually opens in early- to mid-August until apple season is over. 
  • The Farm Market is open every day from 10:00 am – 6:00 pm

Contact information

  • 707 Kipling Road, Dummerston, VT 05301; 802-579-1720

Best place to stay nearby

  • Fortunately for visitors to Scott Farm, there are several properties nearby for you to stay in. The Dutton Farmhouse is for larger parties and a perfect basecamp for all your apple-picking needs.
  • You can also stay at The Sugarhouse, a rustic cabin, ideal for a romantic getaway, or one of Vermont’s many resorts that all deliver a classic New England charm. 
  • For an even bigger treat, consider booking Rudyard Kipling’s Naulakha next door. Guests are greeted with many of the original furniture from when the famous author lived here. Maybe you’ll get some inspiration for your next great novel as you sit at the same desk he wrote The Jungle Book.
A family enjoys a wagon ride through the apple orcahrd
Many orchards offer tractor rides or other experiences – Photo: Sarah Lamagna

Libby & Son U-Picks, Maine

Libby & Sons is an herbicide-free farm is a must-see attraction when visiting southwestern Maine. The farm lies southeast of the White Mountains and only an hour from Portland, making it an easy place to get to for most folks in the area. Visitors can pick their own blueberries, raspberries, and apples. 

Their small store also offers blueberry, pumpkin, and apple cider donuts as well as kettle corn and caramel apples. On the weekends, there is always something going on like live music, food trucks, and family activities like balloon twisting. The farm consistently makes the top lists for best apple picking due to its small, family-owned culture and incredible variety of apples.

Hours of operation

  • Open whenever there is fruit to pick. Hours vary depending on the season. Check their “Picking Today” website for the most up-to-date information.
  • General fall hours are Tuesday thru Thursday, 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m., and Friday thru Sunday, 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Contact information

  • 88 Sawyer Mountain Road, Limerick, ME 04048; 207-793-4749

Best place to stay nearby

  • In the quaint village of Limerick resides a cozy bed and breakfast called Jeremiah Mason House. It’s a few minutes down the road from the farm and the ideal spot to call home while visiting the area. 

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