By Micaela Williamson
While enjoying the scenic drive out to Shenandoah, there are several stops along the Apple Trail that include pick your own apples and not-to-be-missed apple-related seasonal events.
The September harvest at this pick-your-own farm boasts popular varieties such as Ginger Gold, Gala and Honeycrisp. Marker-Miller’s Farm Market is stocked with fresh produce, baked goods, hand dipped ice cream, sweet apple slushies and the famous apple cider donuts. Kids of all ages will love letting their imaginations run wild in “Kiddie Land” with large playgrounds, climbing structures and cow train. Plus, be sure to take a deep breath of fresh mountain air on a weekend wagon ride.
For 43 years, this third generation orchard has focused on harvesting apples grown in the region, including Ida Reds and Golden Delicious. Besides relishing the delightful scenery and pick-your-own options, Rinker produces an amazing, 100-percent natural apple cider with no added sugar, water or preservatives. Sip some at the farm, and buy some to take home to enjoy throughout the season.
Skyland Resort Apple Butter Celebration
Shenandoah National Park
Saturday, Sept.20, will be the official day to celebrate all things Apple Butter with the Annual Apple Butter Celebration. The event includes cooking demonstrations, pony rides, children’s crafts, live entertainment and fun to be had by all. Featured food includes Apple Smoked Pork BBQ, Grilled Chicken with Apple Salsa, Granny Apple Cole Slaw, Apple Cobbler, and Hot & Cold Apple Cider. Virginia wine and cider tastings will also be available. Throughout September, guests at Skyland Resort and Big Meadows Lodge are greeted with an apple at check in. See the monthly dining and travel specials and activities featuring this delicious fruit here.
Showalter’s Orchard & Greenhouse
With over 26 varieties of pick-your-own apples throughout the fall, Showalter’s is sure to have an apple to please every palate. They also bottle their own famous apple cider and host a fun-filled Apple Harvest Festival in October. The whole family will love picnicking on Old Hill, and those over 21 can taste the Old Hill Cider, an artisan hard cider. Not only is it made 100 percent apple juice, but also it is all gluten-free. Visit the website for more information and upcoming festival announcements.
Winchester Rotary Apple Harvest Festival
Visit the festival on Sept. 20-21, to taste apple themed dishes or just enjoy the natural flavor of the dozens of varieties of locally grown applies on display. Those feeling more ambitious can enter the Apple Pie Eating Contest. For families, a special Kid’s Zone will feature activities, live entertainment and giant inflatables. Plus, many fine made in Virginia crafts will be for sale such as unique artwork, hand spun Alpaca wool, artisan jewelry and hand-blown glass, just to list a few.
Micaela Williamson is a co-author of local travel guide, Kid Trips Northern Virginia, an extraordinary resource that provides descriptions, useful information and insider tips for hundreds of local destinations. Micaela is also an award winning blogger who enjoys supporting area businesses and scouting out family-friendly venues with her two young sons.