We might be a little biased, but we think Western NC is one of the best places to live—especially during the fall season. Now that summer is officially over, it’s almost time to enjoy the cool mountain air, the flaming red, orange, and yellow of the changing foliage, and pumpkins galore.
Another major highlight of fall in Western NC? We’ve got some of the best (and only) apple orchards in the state! If you’re planning a picturesque apple-picking trip, here are the top orchards to check out in the area.
Location: Flat Rock
Hours: 9am – 6pm, open every day
Details: Sky Top Orchard is home to a lot more than apples—you can also pick your own peaches, pears, and grapes, as well! Once you’ve filled your basket with fresh fruit, be sure to grab a hot “made-while you watch” apple cider donut and stock up on fall decor and farmers market-style goods.
You can also say hi to the animals at the barnyard, stroll through some of the scenic nature trails, and enjoy free cider tastings!
Hours: 9am – 6pm, Monday – Saturday
Details: A local institution since the 1950s, the Apple Hill Orchard and Cider Mill has expanded over the years to include not only an orchard, but also a cider mill, a country store, tours, and a bakery. Around this time of the year, you can expect to find Red Rome, Cameo, Stayman Winesap, Fuji, Goldrush, and Granny Smith apples. Check out a few of their recipes while you’re there to get some apple-baking inspiration!
Hours: 8am – 6pm, open every day
Details: A 100-acre, four-generation farm, Grandad’s Apples n’ Such features an orchard, a country store and bakery, pumpkin picking, farm animals, and more. We highly recommend trying some of their apple-based flavors at the bakery, like the new fermented apple cider, as well as the hot cider donuts and apple cider slushies! You can even pick up some apple-related gifts for friends and family, like apple peelers, apple bakers, and apple butter.
Hours: 9am – 6pm on weekdays, hours vary on weekends
Details: What’s better than fresh apples? How about fresh apples and fresh ice cream? In addition to growing apples, Knob Creek Orchard doubles as a creamery, as well. And not only is their ice cream homemade, but so are their waffle cones—it might be some of the best ice cream you’ll ever enjoy!
Location: Spruce Pine
Hours: 10am – 5pm, open Wednesday – Sunday
Details: The Orchard at Altapass is a little different other orchards. Originally purchased as a preservation project, the orchard is now part of the nonprofit Altapass Foundation and works to preserve, protect, and educate on the history and culture of the Blue Ridge Mountains. If you’re looking for an apple-picking trip that can double as a scenic hike, then Altapass is the perfect choice.