Lining up: When it's apple-pickin' time

Carter Mountain Orchard, that mountain-top fruit farm towering over Monticello, has blossomed again into an outdoor mecca for family fun.

Obvious attractions are hay rides, apple cider donuts at the bakery, and a plethora of apple varieties to pick. But the view is truly the biggest draw. To the west is one of the most breathtaking views of Charlottesville back-dropped by the Blue Ridge Mountains. Looking east down Carter Mountain provides a wide expanse of pristine Virginia farmland.

The weekend of October 11 and 12 was the Orchard's annual Apple Harvest Festival. The usual apple offerings were on hand at the Apple Barn, but there were also some extra treats, including Kettlekorn, pork barbecue, hush puppies, and hot dogs.

A bluegrass band jammed out some classics behind the Barn as kids ran around and got into hay fights. Locals of all ages milled around admiring the views or waiting in line and there was a lot of waiting: a wait for the hay ride; a wait for the bakery; a wait to get your apple picker; and a wait to pay for your apples.

But the weather was warm and sunny, and complaints– if there were any– weren't loudly uttered.

Carter Mountain Orchard is open daily for the season, 9am-6pm. It's a steep climb up and down the mountain, so make sure your brakes are in good shape. If you've never had an apple cider donut, if you need a pumpkin for Halloween, or if you just want some fresh air, it's worth the trip, wear and tear on the car notwithstanding.

Kids getting their pumpkin pickin' on.

Carolina Sisters pop up some korny goodness.

Bluegrass on the mountain, the way it should be

A hayride with a view: priceless

Gatuitous apple shot!

Throngs of cars and people cover Carter Mountain.