Pick Apples with the Family at a Local Orchard

Maine is known for its rocky coast and proximity to the ocean, but travel a few miles inland and you'll find no shortage of rolling countryside and serene apple orchards. If you've already explored the beaches and coastline of the state, take a drive through the idyllic Maine countryside. Such drives are perfect and calming weekend excursions and reveal a different side of Maine: the silent, robustly green countryside of a state with a diversity of natural landscapes.

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The Pleasures of Fall

It’s only natural to want to pull the covers over your head, hit your alarm’s snooze button repeatedly, and draw the curtains tight on a cool, autumn Sunday morning. But resist the urge! Maine’s autumn season is unrivaled. Not only does autumn bring with it to the state crisp air and sweatshirt-weather breezes, but it also sets our treetops ablaze with a palette of the most electrifying red, orange, and yellow hues. With its colorful canopy to seaside villages and rural back roads, Greater Portland has countless breathtaking leaf-peeping views.

Travel by car down U.S. Route 1, renowned for providing attractive views of the rugged Maine coast and heartland from Kittery to Fort Kent; bike along Route 77, which gently outlines the salty marshland and sandy beaches, or Route 88, one of the most beautiful stretches in America that edges Falmouth Harbor and overlooks a beautiful view of Sturdivant Island Ledges; grab a seat on the Amtrak Downeaster to catch a glimpse of some of the best sights connecting Portland, Freeport, and Brunswick; or, if you really want to capture the quintessential Maine experience, hop aboard one of Casco Bay Lines’ scenic round-trip cruises and take in the healing and soothing qualities of the ocean’s salty breezes and lulling motions while you witness some of our lovely archipelago’s pristine landscapes.

The multicolored-brushed foliage in Greater Portland constitutes a large part of what makes autumn in Maine truly unparalleled. So let your leaf peeping adventures begin!

Nearby Apple Orchards

Apple orchards thrive here in Maine and are best visited during the fall months when apples are ripe for the picking. A trip to any of these orchards give visitors the opportunity to view the gorgeous Maine foliage, the reds, yellows and oranges decorating the trees. The rush of color is memorable, and it's worth making the trip to any of the orchards to view this once-a-year and short-lived fall iridescence that lines the backcountry roads.

Hansel's Orchard

Most of the orchards are located outside of Portland and require a short (or long) drive. Visit Hansel's Orchard in North Yarmouth, (about a 30 minute drive from Portland), to pick your own McIntosh and Cortland Apples. If you're feeling a bit lazy, you can always purchase apples by the bag and skip the hand-picking (most orchards offer picked apples in paper bags for those who aren't feeling like picking themselves). If you do feel like picking, you can choose a basket size (measured by bushels and pecks), and venture out into the colorful orchard.

Brackett's Orchard

Brackett's Orchard, located in Limington, about 40 minutes from Portland, is one of Maine's oldest family orchards. This orchard isn't just about apples and apple picking; visit on the weekends in September and October for a hayride through the hillside and buy a pumpkin for Halloween while you're at it. During the fall season, many of the orchards in Maine offer pumpkins of all sizes and shapes for carving. Try the cider if you're thirsty from all the picking. Maine cider, made from Maine apples, is a reason in itself to visit the state; the refreshing, cold drink tastes like fall in all its fresh, crisp glory.

Ricker Hill Orchard

Ricker Hill Orchards, located about an hour away in Turner, Maine, is your orchard for family fun. Complete with a farm and farm animals for viewing and petting, and a country store and bakery (with delicious donuts, pies, fudge and Maine-made jams), this is the perfect weekend excursion for the whole family and is quintessentially Maine. Tours are available throughout the day that provide a great way of perusing the farm and not missing all it has to offer.

So don't wait to tour these orchards; fall doesn't last for very long in Maine and has been said by many to be the most beautiful time of year in the state. So grab your overalls, plaid shirt and gloves and begin your apple picking adventure. When you're done, plop down in the grass and enjoy the fruits of your labor; the first bite is always the best - indescribably juicy and refreshing.

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Portland, Maine
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