This is my first crack at blogging in a bit, so I may be a little rusty. But, when I thought about what my initial post should be, I had no hesitations. The little bit of heaven that my family and I explored last weekend is something screaming to be shared.
Let me start out by saying that I’m not the kind of person who likes to sit still. I adore having a home base and sitting on my couch, enjoying a Netflix marathon as much as the next person. However, travel is, and always has been, a passion of mine. That said, balancing responsibilities with “play time” is increasingly difficult when you have 3 children and two humongous fur babies you don’t want to exclude.
If we could, my husband and I would save up and travel nonstop; one country at a time. It would be a dream come true, especially if we could pack up all five of us and show the kids the wonders of the world. Alas, that remains a dream. So, we make it our goal to give them as many cool (for lack of a better word) experiences, close to home, as we can.
Fall is my favorite season and being that I originated in the north, I am a huge fan of sweater weather and a good bonfire. Coastal North Carolina, doesn’t always offer the multi-colored leaves and brisk air that I crave when this time of year rolls around. Let’s get real– It’s early November and it’s still 80 degrees! In many ways, that’s a blessing but, when I mentioned a camping trip to the hubby, he didn’t skip a beat before agreeing.
You can always count on me to find the most random places to explore. And I always get inspired by others I admire on social media. Recently, Julia Engel (aka the cutest woman on the planet), Gal Meets Glam featured on Instagram (and now on the blog) her autumn apple picking adventures. I was literally drooling over the photos of she and her bestie surrounded by picture-perfect mountain fog, dressed in the most adorable outfits, and every post adorned with massive amounts of golden & terracotta colored, crunchy leaves. It didn’t take long for me to decide that my fall wouldn’t be complete without going apple picking.
After Googling (because what else do we do these days?) orchards in NC, I determined that we would be making quite the trek to experience the joy of picking fresh apples for pies and crisps. But, I found a promising prospect when I ran across Skytop Orchard in Flat Rock. After reading about the U-pick option they offer and doing some behind the scenes research on my own, it was a done deal.
Orchard Lake Campground, about 20 minutes away from Skytop/Flat Rock, in Saluda, NC was an amazing place to camp in and of itself. We will definitely be heading back next year; likely more than once! They provide a-frame cottages, wooded campsites, camper/rv spaces…, as well as free recreational activities like canoeing, ping-pong, golf, soccer, a playground, catch & release fishing…etc. It made me so sad that we were only able to stay for two nights! Also, if you are headed that way, hiking at/to Bradley Falls is pretty phenomenal too.
Skytop Orchard was everything I could’ve hoped for. It sits in the midst of gorgeous views, at the top of Mt McAlpine. A breathtaking skyline greets you as soon as you step foot from your car. Staggered trees flaunting their beauty as far as the eye can see.
The orchard grows several varieties of apples and whatever is in season at the time (August-October) is what you’re allowed to pick. We ended up getting some Arkansas Black, Mutsu, and Pink Ladies. But, I think the best part of it all was seeing my kiddos exert so much effort and have so much fun, amongst the huge expanse of trees, getting their fruit from the organic source– instead of just heading out with me to the grocery store. Not to mention, they got a kick out of feeding the on-site sheep, geese, and goats as well.
Skytop has no admission fee, dogs are welcome, and the apples come at a great price! They also serve apple cider donuts and snacks. Seriously, there is something here for just about everyone who enjoys anything about the outdoors. And we couldn’t have asked for better weather! Below are some pictures of our exploration of the groves:
I am officially recommending a visit to any of you near enough (or those are up for a journey) to spend a weekend in the Saluda/Flat Rock area, relaxing. Skytop Orchard is worth more than one visit. I’d go there every weekend during harvest season if we were able!
Oh! and be sure to grab a pizza at The Purple Onion. Trust and believe, you will not regret it!