Baby's First Apple-Picking Adventure + Tips For Fall Family Fun
by Christina Brown
Earlier this month, we took Cadence on her very first trip to a farm for some fun family apple-picking. I remember going apple-picking with my family and even with my school classmates as a child. These excursions bring up some of my fondest childhood memories so I knew that's something I wanted to share with Cadence. Even though she isn't quite old enough to remember the excursion, I thought it would be great fun to spend some time outdoors, hitch a hay ride and pick up some delicious apple products from the bakery along the way. Essentially, it was an afternoon full of WIN. There are quite a few amazing farms for apple-picking and fall harvest activities here in New Jersey. We decided to head to Wightman's Farms in Morristown, NJ. They have a beautiful farm, great seasonal activities and you pay one low membership fee of $11 and your entire family (up to 5 people) can pick from the farm all season. Upon arriving, I decided to ditch Cady's stroller and instead to carry her around in her Baby Bjorn baby carrier, which is an absolute life-saver. You can use it to carry the baby around close to your body so you're hands-free without a need for a stroller. This was the most appealing option considering all the walking around we'd have to do. You know, picking apples and such. At Wightman's Farms, the hay rides are given on a rolling basis. Every few minutes another tractor is passing by and you just hop on until the tractor is full and they take you on a full tour of the farm grounds. Cadence was super excited but a little nervous to take her first hay ride. Of course I assured her that mommy wasn't going anywhere. She did love being around all the other kids on the hayride. We passed by each section of the farm, saw tons of rolling hills, got a beautiful view of the mountains in Morristown and ended up in a beautiful pumpkin patch by the end of the ride, which brought us back to the picnic area. Our ride was bumpy at times, but Cadence was so fascinated by everything. She loved seeing the trees and the apples up close. In addition to the orchards, Wightman's has a gift shop and store with fresh fruit and vegetables picked straight from the farm, home-baked yummy donuts (which come free - one per person - when you purchase a hay ride ticket), apple pies, fresh fruit preserves and everything yummy and apple-flavored you can think of. We had a great time on Cadence's first apple-picking adventure. Aside from apple-picking, I've also taken Cadence to a local harvest festival which was loads of fun. Here are a few recommendations for fun fall activities you can do with the family: 1. Harvest Festivals These are typically local festivals that are focused on fresh food from local farmers and bakers, goods from small businesses and local artisans as well as activities for the family like rides or live performances. Check your local newspapers or local blogs for information about these, which normally begin in late September and typically run through October. 2. Pumpkin Patches/Apple Orchards There's nothing like the great outdoors. Find a local apple orchard, a vineyard or a pumpkin patch to explore with the family. Though the vineyard is best left for "mommy and daddy" time, pumpkin patches are a great place to kickoff your Halloween festivities or to simply find pumpkins for fun pumpkin recipe to try at home. Same with apple orchards. Find a fun recipe you can make with your family and head to an orchard or farm to pick the fresh ingredients yourself! 3. Halloween Fun Whether it's a Haunted House, Fright Fest at Six Flags Great Adventure or a fun kids exhibit at your local museum or zoo, there are always great Halloween-themed activities to get involved in. Think outside the box and instead of just trick-or-treating this year, do something fun that the whole family can enjoy together.
What fun fall activities did you grow up doing with family? What traditions are you planning to continue with your own kids?