...a little red apple up in the tree. I looked up at it and it looked down at me.
We picked our fair share of apples last weekend. With the babe in tow, we ventured to Princeton's Terhune Orchards, an hour's drive from Essex County. It was The Orchard's super duper family fun weekend. I added the 'super duper' cause honestly, it really was. Apples galore, pumpkins for the picking, haystacks for the babes to maze thru, cider, warm donuts and wine. Terhune has pretty much hit the nail on the head with their fall lineup.
I run a Playgroup in Montclair, NJ with upwards of 250 members. That means I plan multiple 'events' -- reasons for stay-at-home moms to get out and about with their babes. Scratch that...good reasons for families to get out, socialize and explore. Summer was filled with backyard playdates, trips to beaches and lakes, kid-music concerts. It was outdoor galore. And now...woah...wooaaahhhh...fall has creeped in on us and planning a day trip to an Orchard was our top priority.
TOP 5 REASONS TO VISIT TERHUNE ORCHARDS?
- It's full of family friendly activities -- literally something for everyone
- You love apples and want to eat them all day
- Pumpkin patches make for the perfect kiddo-photos
- Wine and donuts. Well, thats two things but they go together swimmingly
- Lots of memories to be made
First things first, the little kid-centric, farm animal-filled, John Deere-riding outdoor extravaganza area. Playgroup friends met us along the way. The babes all had their memorable moments -- Shep rode a horse, Noah chewed on some hay, Jack fed a goat, Siena rode a tractor. The baby squad was in full effect.
Next up was the hayride and lunch. The hayride was fun but uneventful as most rides are. Free with the $5 admission to the days activities so go ahead and do it. The BBQ was the bomb -- we chowed down on chicken, pulled pork, mac n cheese, cornbread and watermelon, as we listened to a live bluegrass band! Food wasn't included in the admission price but it was so freaking good - go ahead and buy their BBQ. The kids loved the music...and the watermelon.
A quick break before apple and pumpkin picking for a mini-wine tasting session was a gret way for the parents to connect over more than just babies. Something I find key when making mom-friends. $5 more to try as many of the Orchard's 12 varieties of wine as you like? Um...yes, please. Babes relaxed in their strollers and we cleansed our palettes. Great way for Terhune to appeal to kids and adults. Terhune Wine is made on premisis and sold for $16/bottle. They even have 3 fruit wines made from the orchards apples, which was good enough for our friends to buy a bottle.
For our final act, we picked pumpkins and apples! It was the first time these babes had done either activity AND the first time for some of the adults had picked apples. All of this equaled pure joy for all! Lots of "firsts" along the way for my son Shep -- from running through the pumpkin 'maze' to plucking the apples from the tree and eating them like a 'big boy.' My hubby carried Shep in a hiking backpack -- perfect for his size at 18 months. If you can handle it, I suggest babywearing at the Orchard. Friends used jogging strollers but lots of people were babywearing. We picked McIntosh, Empire, Granny Smith and Macoun. The Macouns were on point.
I really loved this place. There are a lot of small farms in Essex/Bergen/Morris counties but Terhune is the real deal. I think we might make this a yearly tradition. Now if only I could figure out what to make with all these apples...