Apple picking might be an old, traditional pastime, but it’s an activity that has stood the test of time and is still hugely popular in the modern day. From generation to generation, American families have always loved heading out to nearby fruit farms and apple orchards to enjoy some apple picking fun together. Many apple orchards offer fully free admission and low prices on bags of apples, allowing you to stock up on your favorite varieties for less. That way, you’ll always have a lot of tasty snacks at home and can start trying out some new apple-based recipes too. CDC information for travelers. Hours/availability may have changed.


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New York State is known as one of the very best areas for apple picking in all of North America, with plenty of highly rated apple orchards and fruit farms situated throughout the Hudson Valley. The apple is actually the official state fruit of NY, with dozens of different varieties being grown all around the state and lots of super apple picking opportunities for all the family to enjoy. Many of the Hudson Valley’s top orchards open their gates during apple picking season to welcome locals and tourists, and many of them also offer lots of extra activities like hayrides, corn mazes, and special harvest or Halloween festivals.

Best Apple Picking Spots in the Hudson Valley

When apple picking season arrives in New York State, it’s not uncommon for many groups of friends and families to spend their weekends driving out to some Hudson Valley orchards and farms to do a bit of apple picking. Some of the tastiest apples in the country can be found in the Hudson Valley, and there are a lot of different apple picking spots to choose from. Read on for full contact details and overviews of the Hudson Valley’s top apple orchards and farms.

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2.Dr. Davies Farm

Dr. Davies Farm
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Out in Rockland, this Hudson Valley apple picking location opens its gates at the state of September and stays open until there are simply no apples left to pick. With over 55 acres of land and more than 4,000 individual apple trees to enjoy, apple picking season is a real adventure at Dr. Davies Farm. More than a dozen different varieties are grown on this land, including all the classics like Empire, Red Delicious, and McIntosh.

Visitors can choose between two different bag sizes, depending on group size and how many apples you want to take home, and the orchard is pet-friendly too, so if you want to bring a furry friend along for a nice day out, this is a good place to go. Dr. Davies Farm opens up from 10am to 4pm, but the farm store is open a little longer each day and sells apples as well as other fresh produce and treats.

306 NY-304, Congers, NY 10920, Phone: 845-268-7020

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3.Wilkens Fruit and Fir Farm

Wilkens Fruit and Fir Farm
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Wilkens Fruit and Fir Farm is situated in Westchester, with apple picking season starting in August and lasting all the way through to the end of the year. Christmas trees can be found in December, but before we get there, there are a whole lot of apples to pick at this beautiful Hudson Valley location. In fact, more than a dozen different varieties are grown at Wilkens Fruit and Fir Farm.

Peaches and pumpkins can be picked here as well, and the local farm store sells a wide range of country-style gifts and delicious homemade goods like donuts and cookies. It’s definitely worth stopping off at the store before you leave in order to purchase a few scrumptious souvenirs to really make your day extra special, and the staff at this location are incredibly friendly.

1335 White Hill Rd, Yorktown Heights, NY 10598, Phone: 914-245-5111

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4.Harvest Moon Farm & Orchard

Harvest Moon Farm & Orchard
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Also situated in Westchester, Harvest Moon Farm & Orchard is one of North Salem's premier apple picking locations. The likes of Crispin, Golden Delicious, Red Delicious, and McIntosh apples can be picked here, and the site can get very popular due to all the extra activities and special events like live music, harvest festival weekends, pony rides, face-painting for the kids, and more.

This Hudson Valley orchard is open from 10am to 5pm on most days through the apple picking season, and admission is usually free but may come at a small cost if there's some kind of event going on, so it’s a good idea to check the official website in advance or simply call up the farm and see what’s happening before you head out there.

130 Hardscrabble Rd, North Salem, NY 10560, Phone: 914-485-1210

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Best Apple Picking in the Hudson Valley

Attraction Spotlight: Kykuit

Kykuit is a prominent landmark of the Hudson Valley. A trip to the famous estate offers beautiful scenery, history, art, stunning gardens, and amazing architecture. The paradise atop a hill was the home of four generations of the Rockefeller family, starting with John D. Rockefeller, philanthropist and founder of Standard Oil. He became the richest man in the United States through his business acumen, and set the stage for the Rockefeller family to become one of the most well-known families in America. Kykuit is now a historic site under the care of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. The remarkable landmark has been carefully maintained for over one hundred years.

A tour of Kykuit takes guests through the six-story stone house's main rooms. After exploring the building, the tour moves on to the extensive, terraced gardens that contain the exceptional twentieth century sculpture collection of Governor Nelson A. Rockefeller. Artists represented at Kykuit include Alexander Calder, Pablo Picasso, David Smith, Henry Moore, Louise Nevelson, and more. Underground art galleries feature the Governor Rockefeller's collection of tapestries by Picasso, as well as the cavernous Coach Barn, which contains a collection of horse-drawn carriages and classic automobiles. The tour guide shares several stories with visitors that highlight aspects of the daily life of the Rockefeller family, as well as their contributions to business, philanthropy, government, the arts, and conservation.

Visitors can choose for a variety of different tour options for their visit to Kykuit. Each tour starts at the Philipsburg Manor's Visitor Center, where tour participants will take a short ride via shuttle bus to the estate. Tour selection vary from regular guided tours, to special tours that maximize time outside in the spectacular gardens of Kykuit to tours that combine a visit to the estate with other nearby landmarks.

One of the popular combination tours is Kykuit and Historic Philipsburg Manor. This tour includes a visit to the Philipsburg Manor and a choice of Kykuit tours. Philipsburg Manor is a water-powered grist mill and working farm from the mid-eighteenth century. The site has been restored and preserved through John D. Rockefeller, Jr.'s generosity. The combination of these two landmarks is great due to the very different subject matter of each visit. Mostly self-guided, the Philipsburg part of the tour is more of an informal and relaxing experience.

Another great choice is Kykuit and Washington Irving's Sunnyside. Sunnyside, the home of Washington Irving, was bought by John D. Rockefeller, Jr. and preserved for generation to come. First-time visitors of the area, especially those who probably won't visit again, will appreciate this tour that combines a visit to both Sunnyside and Kykuit. The charming home along the river of the author of The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, as well as other stories, is one of American history's most famous houses. Both of the houses are National Historic Landmarks that a must-see for any visitor to the area.

639 Bedford Road, Pocantico Hills, New York, Phone: 914-366-6900

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Attraction Spotlight: Val-Kill

Located in Hyde Park, New York, Val-Kill gives visitors an exclusive look into the life Franklin D. Roosevelt’s wife, Eleanor Roosevelt. In 1911 Franklin D. Roosevelt purchased a piece of land near his Springwood home. This piece of land in the Hudson Valley is where Val-Kill now stands.

Almost a decade after Franklin purchased the piece of land, Eleanor began to use the piece of land as the premier location for outdoor activities. She was regularly seen picnicking, engaging in outdoor activities, and hanging out with friends on this piece of land. One of the reasons why Eleanor loved this location was because it was secluded, private, and more naturalistic than the environment at Springwood.

Around this time, Eleanor had an informal picnic with Franklin and two friends, Marion Dickerman and Nancy Cook. During this picnic, Franklin discussed the idea of creating small industries to help keep the spirit of farming alive, regardless of the economy. This idea would essentially keep the agricultural industry alive during specifically difficult economic eras.

Eleanor loved Franklin’s idea. Together, they decided to use the untouched piece of land to create two buildings to make Franklin’s idea a reality. The emergence of Val-Kill Industries allowed traditional handcraft techniques, such as making furniture and weaving, revive and contribute to extra income for families. Val-Kill Industries even became a model for recovery programs that were established within the New Deal.

Since Val-Kill Industries had two parts (the cottage and workshop), Franklin and Eleanor were able to utilize it for professional and personal purposes. Franklin and Eleanor specifically used the cottage as the premier location to host casual and intimate gatherings between family and friends. Franklin and Eleanor continued to use the cottage for this purpose until Franklin passed away in 1945. After Franklin passed away, Eleanor permanently moved into Val-Kill.

Visitors can explore the inside and outside of Val-Kill. Like the Home of Franklin D. Roosevelt, not much is known about what exactly lies inside Val-Kill. Visitors can generally expect to see an exclusive glimpse into the Roosevelt’s private life, especially Eleanor Roosevelt. One of the highlighted areas of Val-Kill is an exclusive permanent exhibit called Eleanor Roosevelt and Val-Kill: Emergence of a Political Leader.

Eleanor Roosevelt and Val-Kill: Emergence of a Political Leader is a comprehensive permanent attraction that explores the personal, political, and profession life of Eleanor Roosevelt from the early 1920s to the 1930s. Throughout this exhibit, visitors will be able to see how Eleanor truly helped shape the New Deal.

There are a ton of educational opportunities available at Val-Kill. If visitors want an in-depth and behind the scenes glimpse of Val-Kill, they should participate in a guided tour. If you want an in-depth experience at Val-Kill, but don’t want to follow a tour guide, you can always take a cell phone tour.

Cell phone tours are a new and innovative educational experience at Val-Kill and the rest of Hyde Park. Accessing the cell phone tour is super easy. All you have to do is call 845-475-3819 and enter the stop number, which is located on various markers throughout the area. Then, you can enjoy a free audio file that gives you in-depth details about that stop. Aside from public guided tours and cell phone tours, Val-Kill offers other educational opportunities such as, workshops, classes, and school field trips.

One of the most popular educational opportunities at Val-Kill is the Courageous Writers program. This program is available for teenagers aged 12 to 16. Throughout this program, teenagers are able to learn about the fundamentals of writing. This program is one week long and occurs each summer. Instructors help participants use the historic setting of Val-Kill to influence and create a foundation for their writing.

Aside from the educational opportunities available for general visitors, children, and teenagers at Val-Kill, there are a ton of educational programs for teachers. These programs are designed to encourage teachers to utilize more history within their lessons and activities. In addition to encouraging teachers to utilize history to the best of their ability, these programs demonstrate how history can be taught and utilized in a fun and engaging way. Some of the educational opportunities available for educators at Val-Kill include an educational blog titled, “FDR, Eleanor, and Teddy: Teaching the Roosevelts”, and Teaching with Historic Places, which are specially designed lesson plans.

For more information about guided tours, Courageous Writers, educator programs, or any other educational opportunity at Val-Kill, be sure to check out the landmark’s official website, or contact or visit them during their hours of operation.

Back to: Things to Do in the Hudson Valley, Things to Do in New York

56,Valkill Park Rd,Hyde Park,NY,12538-2348, Phone: 845-229-9422

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Attraction Spotlight: Vanderbilt Mansion

Located in Hyde Park, New York, Vanderbilt Mansion is one of the oldest estates in the area. Between its gorgeous architecture and unique history, Vanderbilt Mansion should be on everyone’s list for top attractions to see in the Hudson Valley.

The earliest origin of Vanderbilt Mansion dates back to 1764. In that year, Dr. John Bard purchased the land where the Vanderbilt Mansion currently sits. Bard built his home, known as Red House, near the eastern area of the overall property. Bard also created and maintained the agricultural significance of the land. From 1799 to 1821, the property was under the supervision of John’s son, Samuel.

The land stayed in the Bard family until 1828. That year, the president of the New York Horticultural Society, Dr. David Hosack, purchased the land and worked alongside Andre Parmentier to bring a new era to the land. Almost twenty years later, John Jacob Astor purchased the land as a gift to Dorothea, his daughter, and her family.

Dorothea Langdon’s family owned the property until May 1895, when Frederick W. and Louise Vanderbilt purchased it. The Vanderbilt family purchased the estate with the intent to use it as a vacation home, as it was along the Hudson River and was located in close proximity to their New York Central Railroad.

When Frederick passed away in 1938, the estate was granted to his niece, Margaret “Daisy” Van Alen. President Franklin D. Roosevelt neighbored the estate, and urged Van Alen to donate the property to the National Park Service. Two years after Vanderbilt’s death, Van Alen donated the estate to the National Park Service.

Preisdent Roosevelt used parts of the home for the Secret Service, staff, and friends throughout 1941 to 1943. Since then, Vanderbilt Mansion has been open to the public.

There are two main attractions at Vanderbilt Mansion: the home and the gardens. To maintain the charm and surprise of Vanderbilt Mansion, there are not a lot of details about the interior design of the Mansion available. In order to give you an idea of the details of Vanderbilt Mansion, you can expect to explore:

· North and South Foyers

· Halls, notably the Elliptical Hall

· Dining Room

· Living Room

· Lobby

· Den

· Gold Room

· Lavatory

· Bedroom, boudoir, and bathroom that Mrs. Vanderbilt used.

· Bedroom and bathroom that Mr. Vanderbilt used.

· Guest bedrooms and bathrooms

· Linen room

· Servants’ Hall

· Italian inspired gardens

Vanderbilt Mansion offers a variety of educational opportunities for the general public. The interesting thing about the educational opportunities at Vanderbilt Mansion is the array of programs for educators and students.

One of the most popular educational programs at Vanderbilt Mansion is the field trip program. During a standard field trip, a school will have the opportunity to explore Vanderbilt Mansion and get a behind the scenes glimpse into the daily operations of Vanderbilt Mansion, and what life was like when the Vanderbilt family lived in the Mansion. Tour guides will attempt to incorporate as much information as possible about the Gilded Age. Thus, students will be able to connect the curriculum they learn in the classroom to what they learn at Vanderbilt Mansion. For more information about field trips at Vanderbilt Mansion, contact Kevin Thomas at 845-486-7751.

Parks as Classrooms is one of the few educational opportunities for educators. The employees at Vanderbilt Mansion and the National Park Service understand the true importance of education, especially the importance of teaching and understanding history. That’s why Vanderbilt Mansion has an array of resources for educators to use to get their students excited about history, especially the Gilded Age. As a part of Parks as Classrooms, Vanderbilt Mansion has worked alongside the National Park Service’s National Register of Historic Places to create a variety of comprehensive lesson plans. These lesson plans are divided among theme, time period, and age level. Each lesson plan adheres to curriculum objects, as well as provides new insight and context into the materials.

For more information about field trips, Parks as Classrooms, and any other educational opportunity at Vanderbilt Mansion, head over to the landmark’s official website, or contact or visit them during their hours of operation.

Vanderbilt Mansion regularly hosts special events throughout the year. Since the special events are continuously changing, be sure to check Vanderbilt Mansion’s official online calendar. Here is a glimpse of a few of the most anticipated special events at Vanderbilt Mansion:

· 2017 Great Backyard Bird Count from February 17 to February 20, 2017.

· Every Kid in a Park Welcomes 4th Graders until August 31, 2017

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119 Vanderbilt Park Road, Hyde Park, NY 12538, Phone: 845-229-9115

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