Eli was a great cheerleader too!
Afterwards we decided to unofficially start Autumn a little earlier than Sept. 22nd by heading out to the mountains to find an apple picking spot.
Doing some quick research online I found that there were a couple off of I-66 about an hour from where we live. This is what I refer to as NOVA wine country, since when driving through here before I noticed that there are several exits in a row, exits with as many as four signs for the local wineries. In earlier days of our marriage we would have been stopping there for a taste, but with two boys in tow we went to the more family friendly apple orchard instead.
There are two orchards here to choose from. One charges a fee to come in and has many activities, corn mazes, and a festival feel; the other has apples. We chose the simpler one today (Stribling Orchard), and weren't the only ones that did. The place was pretty full of families, but we still felt like we were the only ones there and enjoyed some peaceful family time in a beautiful setting. Pictures can't really do justice of how beautiful it really was to be in such a calm, quiet place in the middle of the rolling hills.
When you arrive here, you can drive right up to the check-in station where you can get bags, pickers, and a map. Then you can either park there near the store, or drive out into the orchard and park nearest your favorite tree. If you choose to walk like we did, you could probably use a stroller for your non-walker if you wanted, but we chose just to carry him today. It was a little warm for a carrier.
The McIntoshs were ready, so we picked those (though they did say you could pick other varieties if you really wanted to). Like most places, they placed ribbons on these trees so you would know which ones were ripe.
Once done, we headed up to the shop to pay. The shop contained many different types of canned products, as well as some local products like eggs, cheese, and peanuts. Here Theo learned the difference between jam and jelly (we call everything jam around here for some reason).
Plans for apples: Apple Salsa, Applesauce, a pie or two, and fruit salad