Time to Pick Apples in the Carolinas

Time to Pick Apples in The Carolinas!!!


9.10.14 Apple pickiingSeptember brings the beginning of fall, but here in the Carolinas, we sometimes feel summer-like temperatures well into October. After a long, hot summer, I was ready for cooler temps, crisp air and something apple-flavored, so I headed north last Sunday.

I found a perfect day trip at Sky Top Orchard in Flat Rock, North Carolina, just a 1 ½-hour drive from the Charlotte area and less than an hour from Upstate South Carolina. It makes a great short weekend trip if you’re in the Triad or Triangle.

Sky Top Orchard welcomed me with cool mountain air and fresh apples. Open from August to December, the orchard is home to more than 20 varieties of apples, picked by the staff and by visitors. Each apple variety arrives in a different part of the season, so you can choose the perfect time to pick your favorites.

As you walk toward the orchard store, you can smell the fresh baked apple doughnuts (yes, doughnuts) and they ARE yummy. You’ll see folks stocking up before they head home, and I suggest you do the same. And be sure to try an apple cider slushy or hot apple cider.

Exploring the store, you’ll see pecks and bushels (don’t worry, the staff can explain) of every apple in season. You can purchase apples picked by the staff, and near the back of the store, you’ll see where they sort the apples to sell or use for cider or other products. The staff is happy to explain how this large machine works.

Ready to pick? Check in to receive your basket and wagon and head to the orchard. Not sure what kind of apple you want? Head over to the sample section to try the apples currently available.

As you make your way to the orchards, you’ll pass several play areas for kids, as well as a petting zoo. Soon, you’ll find rows and rows of apple trees, ready to be explored. Spend as long as you like gathering apples, then head back to the store to check out.

Don’t miss the live beehive in the store. It’s a treat to see the bees in action and purchase honey created by the same hive. And don’t miss the delicious jams, jellies and even barbeque sauces with an apple kick.

Looking to extend your trip? Flat Rock is near the Blue Ridge Parkway, home of great hikes and fantastic views. For a list of great hikes in the area, click here.

As fall settles in, take advantage of the North Carolina mountains – just a short drive away. Pull out the jackets and long sleeves, pick your own apples, and see the leaves change. And as we say in the South – Happy Fall Y’all!

Don’ Forget: The Lincoln County Apple Festival is held annually in downtown Lincolnton the third Saturday in September. In 2014 it will be September 20th.

Allen Tate Company Blog

Charlotte, NC – Area Festivals

 Charlotte and surrounding communities are busy year-round with festivals, sporting events and activities that entertain young and old. Here’s a brief look at some perennial favorites; keep an eye on local newspapers, radio and TV for others. Street festivals are among the most popular events. Festival in the Park (704-338-1060, www.festivalinthepark.org), an arts and crafts festival around Freedom Park’s lake, appears every September. Also in September, Charlotte Shout is a month-long celebration incorporating more than 200 visual, performing, musical and culinary arts events in over 40 venues throughout the region (www.charlotteshout.com). Hungry? There are plenty of apples and other goodies on hand at the Lincoln County Apple Festival in downtown Lincolnton each September (704-736-8452). Both the international festival, Ifest (704-687-2410, www.uncc.edu/ifest), and the Yiasou Greek Festival (704-334-4771, www.greekorthodoxclt.org), are held in September. The Loch Norman Highland Games (704-875-3113, www.ruralhillfarm.org), near Davidson, are in April; and various other events throughout the year are sponsored by ethnic and cultural clubs. Novello (704-336-2725, www.novellofestival.net), a library-sponsored festival in Charlotte, draws thousands in October to hear authors like novelist Tom Clancy and reporter Bob Woodward of Watergate fame. Rock Hill invites visitors to its Come-See-Me Festival in April (800-681-7635, www.comeseeme.rockhill.net); and in November Yap Ye Iswa (the day of the Catawbas) is celebrated on the Catawba Indian reservation rear Rock Hill (803-328-2427, www.ccppcrafts.com). Looking for entertainment? The Carolina Renaissance Festival (877-896-5544 www.royalfaires.com/carolina) is an annually event in Huntersville on Saturdays & Sundays during the months of October & November. It’s a 16th century European style art and entertainment festival. Be prepared to go back in time with actors dressed in period costumes, clashing of armor and the thundering of hooves daily with full combat jousts at the King’s Tournament Arena.On the west side of Lake Norman, the annual Denver Days(www.denvernc.com/denverdays.htm) is family oriented festival with rides, food & music for four days in September. Holidays are prime times for fun. Fireworks and a concert sparks the city’s Fourth of July festivities. On Thanksgiving, the Carolinas’ Carrousel Parade (704-332-4407, www.carrouselparade.org) salutes princesses chosen from area high schools and opens the Christmas season with Santa’s arrival. Folks who love collecting ideas for their homes will enjoy Charlotte’s many home tours. The Mint Museum sponsors two of the best—the Home and Garden Tour in April and the Antiques Show in October (704-337-2000, www.mintmuseum.org). The Charlotte Symphony Guild sponsors the ASID Designer House each fall (704-525-0522, www.symphonyguildcharlotte.org). The Home Builders Association of Charlotte sponsors HomeArama (704-376-8524, www.hbacharlotte.com) each spring. Many area neighborhood groups and private companies also sponsor home tours throughout the year to display rehabilitated older homes or spectacular new ones.

Many organizations sponsor exhibits and trade shows at the Charlotte Merchandise Mart, the Charlotte Convention Center and other sites around town. Southern Shows Inc. (704-376-6594, www.southernshows.com) sponsors several Charlotte favorites, including the Southern Spring Show in March, the Southern Ideal Home Show in September and the Southern Christmas Show in November. 


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