Fall Family Fun
Apple picking in the fall is a tradition for many New Englanders. It happens to be one of my favorite fall activities because of the fresh fall air, being outdoors and sweet scent of the orchards. Having kids gives parents the best excuse to do it year after year. Before I had children, I would go apple picking, perhaps with friends or with my nieces and nephews but never with such consistency.
Now that I have kids, I begin planning the date for apple picking at least a month before the actual trip. From the time my daughter was born, our family went apple picking on a Sunday with my best friend and her husband and daughter. Since we live in different towns, we met at a centrally located apple orchard which included not only apple picking but a petting zoo, train ride and playground. The husbands would come and it was a really fun family activity for, typically, a Sunday. As my best friend works every other weekend, it is always a challenge to find a day to go apple picking before the trees are empty.
In the last few years, our family tradition has changed a bit. Now I take the kids and head out to the orchards during the week with their friends in town. With both kids now in public school, Yom Kippur is a day off in our town so this is really an ideal time to go.
What I find so perfect about going apple picking on our kids’ day off is it’s a fun outdoor activity that keeps us all entertained for a good portion of the day. The orchard we’ve gone to the last few years includes a playground, petting zoo, wagon ride, warm apple cider donuts, plenty of space for running and of course apple picking, so there’s no shortage of activities! While we go with 15-20 people, we also always bump into several other large groups of friends from town. For the second year in a row, we spent the morning at the orchard and then drove back toward home for a nice lunch out.
Many of my friends are also like me in that they are working moms. All of them also have the flexibility (or in some cases job requirement) of working from home. So after apple picking and lunch, we are all usually back to work for a few hours in the afternoon, catching up on emails and taking care of anything necessary. After I catch up on work, we finish our day of fall festivities with one more activity — making something with all our apples! Usually the kids choose apple pie.
They help me by mixing the toppings for the apples and rolling out the crust. They also love to help decide the cookie cutter shape (made out of extra pie crust) that will go on the apple pie – this year they picked the traditional apple. My husband participated in this task as well – he was charged with getting the vanilla ice cream! After our day together, our hearts are filled with wonderful memories and we begin to look forward to next year.
Do you have autumn traditions with your friends and family? How do you make sure to find time for them? Share your tips in a comment below!