I have been wanting to go apple picking for years. When I was younger we’d go apple picking on my grandparents’ farm growing up and it was so much fun. Especially feeding apples to the calves. I miss doing that so much! My girls have never gotten to experience apple picking. So my two girls, my son’s girlfriend, and I packed some snacks and took off to go apple picking in the mountains of North Carolina without the guys. It was so much fun!
Luckily for us, Sky Top Orchard was only two hours away. That’s the great thing about living near Charlotte. We can be in the mountains in about two hours, the beach in four and Outerbanks in six to eight. The drive was so easy and no terrifying mountain roads to traverse! If you know anything about me, it’s that I’m absolutely terrified of mountain roads. But that’s another story.
Since we’ve never been to an apple orchard, we chose Sky Top Orchard in Flatrock, NC, based on recommendations from friends and the interweb. And apple cider doughnuts reviews. The apples are great, but we were really after good doughnuts.
I have to say that when I read that it gets really busy on the weekends during apple-picking season, they weren’t kidding. It was shocking when we turned onto the road the orchard is on and there was a massive line of cars waiting to get in. We waited about 30 minutes to park but honestly, it moved really quickly.
The first thing we noticed was the breathtaking view of the mountains. The leaves weren’t changing into their fall colors yet, but it was still beautiful. They have a couple of overlooks so you can get some gorgeous pictures. And you can smell the doughnuts as you get closer to the buildings. When you enter, you can either pay to pick your own, or purchase bags of already-picked apples.
We headed into the orchard, bags in hand, and decided on a few varieties we knew we wanted. There are rows and rows, upon rows of apple trees so be prepared to walk. Wear comfortable shoes, you’ll be glad you did. We ate apples right off the trees. They encourage you to sample so we did! OMG! They were so crisp and juicy! We ate so many apples and tried all kinds of new varieties.
We made sure to walk through the bamboo forest and paid a visit to the animals. They have goats, sheep, chickens, and beautiful peacocks. You have to be sure to visit the bamboo forest. It’s like nothing I’ve ever seen. They also have an apple cannon, gem mining, and hay rides, too.
When we were finished picking, we hiked back up to the buildings. There you’ll find the DOUGHNUTS! You will wait in a long line, but they’re pretty quick and super organized so it won’t take long. I promise it will be worth the wait. We luckily found a picnic table and munched on apple cider doughnuts and fresh tamales. Yes, I said tamales! Some of the best I’ve ever had!
Lastly, we headed into the main building. There we topped off our bags of apples. If you pick your own and run out of steam, or they’ve run out of apples on the trees, they have a place where you can top off your bag. It’s great! I purchased some apple cider barbeque sauce that I can’t wait to use, fresh apple cider, and apple slushies, and Becca bought a fried apple pie. Get an apple slushie! They’re sweet and amazing! A perfect way to end the day.
The girls and I had a really fun day. It was great to unwind, chat all day and be silly. I’m pretty sure this may be a yearly trip for us. Everyone that worked at the orchard was so friendly and helpful. I highly recommend Sky Top Orchard. It’s scenic, relaxing, friendly, organized, and very family-friendly with lots of varieties of apples. And the doughnuts were to die for. Now to figure out what to do with all the apples!
My tips for apple picking:
- Dress comfortably and in layers in case it’s hot
- Wear comfortable shoes like tennis shoes or hiking boots
- Use sunscreen
- Use a backpack or fanny pack for your phone, wallet, etc. so your hands are free
- Bring a camera
- Bring your patience, you are going to need it if you go on the weekends
- Go through the week if you don’t want it to be crowded
- Check Sky Top’s website to find out which apples are ready to be picked
- Bring a cooler with ice if you are buying apple cider