Less than five miles from Charlottesville is a largely undiscovered gem, Carter Mountain Orchard. Open now through Thanksgiving, this family-run business sells, as the name suggests, apples, pre-picked, or for even more fun, you can pick your own. With over 15 varieties of apples to choose from, you can also buy apple pies, apple cider, apple doughnuts, pumpkins, wine, and country crafts.
This past weekend, October 12 and 13, marked the orchard's Apple Harvest Festival, complete with live music and plenty of other old-fashioned fun. Families had a big time, with kids in tow, hefting apple-picking poles and bags bulging with apples.
When one parent told her son he could pick one more apple, I heard him say, "Okay, I'm gonna pick the best one in the whole orchard!" I bet he did.
While the festival is over, you can still go up to Carter Mountain and get your delicious apples or Halloween pumpkins any day of the week, or take a hayride on the weekends through October.