Temperatures are dropping, and the leaves on the trees along the 295 are changing rapidly. One look at Tommy Park and any Old Porter can see that fall is among us. For boaters and runners, this is a sign of a limited number of comfortable days ahead; for lovers of the holiday season, this is just the beginning. Apple picking, pumpkin picking and Christmas tree cutting have become some of my most coveted seasonal weekend events. These days not only help feed the holiday spirit, they are also just plain fun! If you want to know where some of the best places around are for these fun-filled activities, then read on…
Orchard Hill Farm in Cumberland County is a short 20 minute drive from Portland and an awesome spot for apple picking. Rows upon rows of apple trees await your arrival, no ladders needed. Some of the crunchiest, reddest, juiciest apples I’ve ever tried hung neatly and patiently last weekend; now, I have homemade applesauce, apple muffins and cinnamon apple pancakes to show for them. Apple picking is a perfect activity for two, or for the whole family, and while not insanely cheap, you definitely get some bang for your buck. When you check out at Orchard Hill Farm, don’t forget to pick up some freshly baked, hot apple donuts, just-prepared apple cider and some mini apple pies (for those who don’t plan on baking once you return home.) Thinking about heading out in the next couple of weeks? Plan ahead: the Cumberland County Fair started just last weekend, and from what I could see driving by, it’s worth a stop.
After hitting a home run with my apple-picking trip, I focused on finding the perfect pumpkin. With so many results, how is one to find a worthy pumpkin patch via Google, (without spending an entire day looking?) I tried my best, and while not overwhelmed with this visit specifically for pumpkins, I was pleasantly surprised by the abundance of vegetables available. Snell Family Farm in Buxton is also a short 20 minute drive from Portland, and quite a beautiful drive along the backwoods on Highway 4. Once on site, I realized that walking through the dirt, working to uncover the perfect orange mass wasn’t the name of the game. Instead, you get your pick from a table inside of a tent. Don’t get me wrong – the selection was great, and I have to give it to Snell Family Farm when it comes to overall Farmers’ Market quality produce. I close with no complaints; I walked away from Snell with a hefty pumpkin that carved beautifully, but next time, I’ll try another.
It’s hard not to get sad when summer is coming to a close. No more weekends at the lake, or picnics at the beach. Not to mention, the days are getting shorter, and the nights colder. But if you’re ready to pick up the holiday spirit, then apple and pumpkin picking await your baking and carving expertise, respectively. I hope you’ll enjoy these two stops as much as I did!