So this wasn’t really a true “hike”, but rather a walk on a nice day through an apple orchard, so I figured it would be appropriate to write a post about it. We had been anticipating going apple picking for a few weeks now, but with the rainy weather over the past couple weekends, we never had a chance to venture out. However, this Columbus Day weekend was predicted to be gorgeous and we figured it would be perfect for Lylah’s first apple picking event! Along with apple picking, we decided to also get her first pumpkin for Halloween and checkout all the cool things on the orchard.
This year, we chose Cider Hill Farm in Amesbury, Massachusetts. I know what you’re thinking…it’s not New Hampshire! But Cider Hill Farm is really nice and has a lot of cool things other than an enormous selection of apples (and it is right over the state line). There is a very nice barn that is setup like a gift shop on one side. On the other side, there is a small bakery area. Here, they make fresh cider doughnuts, which are absolutely delicious, and you are able to watch the process as they make them.
Doughnut area in Cider Hill Farm's barn
View toward Cider Hill's orchards
Outside, they have many different varieties of pumpkins and gourds as well as a huge selection of mums for sale. For the kids, they typically have a livestock available for viewing and/or petting. One very cool thing they do is a very popular community supported agriculture (CSA) program. This farm is also a huge supporter of renewable energy and is continually doing projects for this green cause. They have multiple large, wind turbines and many solar panels.
We arrived at Cider Hill Farm around 8:30am. It was still a little cool out but the temperature was rising fast. There were no crowds at this time so we thought it would be best to take our photo opportunities then and get some cute shots of Lylah in a sea of pumpkins. I’m sure we looked like tourists with our camera out, but we didn’t care. We found a nice, large pumpkin, grabbed some apple bags, and headed out into the apple orchard.
The orchard path
As the name of the farm alludes, the orchard is a large hill. Climbing this hill was great practice for Jill since we had plans to go on her first hike in over a year that coming Monday! Our targets for the day were Gala, Cortland and Macintosh Apples. Unfortunately for us, the Macintosh apples were just about out of season, and we were only able to find a few on the trees. The Galas were a bit small and probably not mature enough for picking yet, although we did find a few. The Cortland Apples, however, were large and perfect for picking.
Chipmunk snacking on some apples!
After filling our apple bag, we walked back down the hill and did a little exploring. We found some honey bee houses which I tried to get a picture of without getting too close. The layout of the farm was nice. There was corn neatly laid out in one section and smaller vegetables in another. The solar panels were placed in different locations so that they were not an eyesore, but allowed visitors to know that the farm was using renewable energy. The wind turbines were scattered as well, I would assume for the same reason.
Solar panels, corn and some foliage
When we got back to the barn, we paid for our apples and visited some roosters that were in the nearby pen. There were chicken feed dispensers nearby if you felt like feeding them. At one point, the chickens had a lettuce leaf that they fought over for lunch. I think Lylah enjoyed watching them run around trying to get a piece of it.
Finally, we made our way in the barn once again to pick up our favorite part of apple picking experience – the warm cider doughnuts! We purchased a couple and I’m ashamed to say, they didn’t make it back to the house on the car ride home. We couldn’t help ourselves and ate them.
Apple picking was a great time and I’m glad we chose Cider Hill Farm. The farm had a lot of different elements to it and made the morning seem very eventful. I think Lylah enjoyed it too. It was the first time she was able to go in her Baby Bjorn facing front and there was a lot for her to look at and keep her curiosity occupied. I would definitely recommend Cider Hill Farm to anyone in the seacoast area for a morning of apple picking and some time outside.