Monday, September 23, 2013

Where Have We Been #1: Honey Pot Hill Orchards

I had originally started this blog 2 years ago as a place to store all of our memories and give a mom's opinion on different place to go and things to see in New England.  We took so many day trips when Mr. No was little and found so many great places. There are so many great (and a few not so great) places that we've been that I've decided to feature a new place every Monday.  It's great way for me to go through old photos, record our memories and just maybe I'll end up helping a mom or dad in the area find a new place to try out with their little ones.

In honor of fall and our yearly apple picking tradition, this first week is our current apple picking destination Honey Pot Hill Orchards in Stow, MA. We've been to a few pick your own apple places over the years.  There are so many around in MA and CT that I'm sure we could try 2 every year until Mr. No graduates High School and still not have tried them all.

We first went there for Mr. No's friend Noodle's birthday party.  We didn't see too much of the place that day and I don't really remember it making an impression one way or another.  We decided to go back for apple picking because they had hay rides during the week.  It doesn't seem like that big of a deal but it's actually really hard to find places with weekday hay rides.  We actually skipped that hay ride this year because Mr. No just wanted to get to the apples.  Or maybe he remembered last year's death defying rollercoaster of a hay ride last year where we all flew from our seats as the tractor slammed to a stop so latecomers would not have to wait for him to come back again and then flew off down the bumpy trail where we held on for dear life.  We all loved it but he tends to remember things differently!

The hay ride isn't necessary.  The apples are a 2 minute walk away from the check in but is so much fun!  There are ropes and signs that let you know where to go so it's easy to find your way.  We tend to just wander quietly at our own pace and enjoy the gorgeous apple tree view.

The best part is the ladders. None of the other places we've been to have had ladders out.   I'm surprised that they even have them out with out employees monitoring you with the way things are now but I love it.  You can actually climb up and reach those great apples on the top.  Mr. No is always wary of climbing them but does it every time and is so proud of himself.

Mr. No always has to taste test the apples before we can put them in the bag. I have to admit that I am not an expert on apple varieties and, while I adore everything made with apples, I do not like raw apples.  I have no idea what kinds of apples make their way into our bag every year.  We let Mr. No do his thing and I make applesauce, apple muffins, apple crisp, etc. out of them and they are always delicious.  H and Mr. No devour them so they must be tasty considering how picky those 2 are!

The apple trees always look healthy and beautiful.  There are always a lot of apples available to pick.  As is the case in most places, the further back you walk in the open rows, the more apples that will be available. We take our time unless the sun is roasting like this year and enjoy the quiet picking time.  We went during the week on a half day this year so it was still nice and quiet even with 2 busloads of teenagers in the orchard with us.  When picking is done, we drop our apples in the car and head to the little store.  Can't go home without our apple cider or cider doughnuts! The doughnuts are delicious and so soft and moist even 2 days later! Yum! And, of course, restrooms including a family one. Plus there is a place to wash our hands by the picnic tables so we don't have to trek back to the restroom after we enjoy our tasty doughnut (or other treat).

 We have never tried the large hedge maze and Mr. No has no interest in the tunnel maze but those are also available. Tunnel maze and little hedge maze for kids is open during the week.  Large hedge maze is only open on weekends.  With H's work schedule, we never go anywhere on the weekends.  Mr. No loves the little hedge maze though.  He has to go through it every time we're there. During the week, $2 gets Mr. No into both the tunnel and hedge mazes, if he ever chose to do the other one.

All in all, it's a perfect place for families.  The staff is very nice.  We've never had a bad or even semi unpleasant experience there and come home with a bag filled with delicious apples. The prices are comparable to most places around.  There is plenty to see and do.  We pick our pumpkins from the patch somewhere else but they do also have already picked pumpkins available and barnyard animals to look at and feed.  Mr. No especially loves the bunnies.  He wants a bunny so badly.  Sorry but he'll just have to settle for Fuzzy the hamster.

Maybe one year we'll try another place again but for now Honey Pot Hill is our go to place for pick your own apples.

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