Friday, September 14, 2012

Orchards


Imagine being at the top of a hill overlooking mountains upon mountains. It's quiet, peaceful and yet there's enough activity to keep a rowdy bunch of young kids entertained for hours. This place is Windy Ridge Orchard in North Haverhill, New Hampshire.

Windy Ridge is open through October for apple picking, then they open again in late November for Christmas tree cutting. But there's a lot more to do here than pick your own fruit. Kids can play for hours in the large sandpile complete with tonka trucks, large excavators to sit on and dig, buckets and shovels. Playground features include traditional swings, tire horse swings, slides and climbers. Parents can sit on a bench and actually relax while looking after the kids, the entire play area is in view of any bench, rock or picnic table.

The property features hiking trails that follow old logging roads from one end of the farm to the other taking in sights of Black Mountain and beaver ponds or follow the deer path which meanders behind the orchard to the pasture. Smaller adventure trails offer small loops where children can explore walking over a small swamp, a handmade tee-pee and camp fire pit through a fern filled forest.

A trip to the farm wouldn't be complete without visiting the farm animals. Windy Ridge often has chickens, pigs, sheep, donkeys and goats adjacent to the picking fields for you to visit with. Bring some quarters to feed the animals. The goats are quite entertaining as they climb a wooden platform into the trees and look down on you, kids get such a kick out of that stuff.

The Cider House Cafe is open daily from 7:00 am to 3:00 pm serving breakfast til 11:00. Be sure to sample one of their homemade donuts which are available all day, they are delish! For lunch we opted for the McIntosh sandwich, ham and cheese on homemade whole wheat bread, it was outstanding, fresh ingredients and real wholesome food. I think next time we'll go a little earlier in the day so we can try their breakfast. Menus are posted on their website and you'll get hungry just reading it. Treat yourself to fresh homemade ice cream from Robie Farm after picking berries or taking a little hike.

North Haverhill is only about an hour from the heart of the Upper Valley and making a trip to Windy Ridge is well worth it. Lots of entertainment, fresh fruit, scenery, great food and just an all around nice relaxing place to spend the day with family and friends.

Their apple season will open up in mid to late August and as foliage season sets in, be sure to bring your camera to capture prime foliage shots from the high hillside.

If you don't have time to make the trip to Wind Ridge, the Upper Valley is home to few orchards as well.

Poverty Lanes - Open Mondays-Fridays: 9 am – 6 pm and Saturdays-Sundays & Holiday Mondays: 10 am – 5 pm.   Good fruit, free tastes of everything they grow or make, free wagon rides on fair weekends, picnic tables all the time, views across the valley, acres of space inside a big fence (kids can run far, but can’t get lost). Local pumpkins, gourds, squash, jams & jellies, but no candy racks, and no pressure.

Riverview - Pick apples, sample donuts, visit the cider press or get lost in the corn maze.  An afternoon of fun awaits.  Open 10am-5pm daily.

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