Adult apple picking
First off, I am here to tell you it is ok to be the most #basic b***h in the world and dream about apple picking once fall rolls around. I will tell you that you are forgetting about one tiny detail...once you get to your magical orchard dressed up in your best flannel, jeans and booties there are screaming children EVERYWHERE. Not. Fun.
It's OK - I have a solution. I have found the heaven that is adult friendly apple picking in Upstate New York. I present Twin Star Orchards.
Located just a 2 hours from the city this place is everything you dreamed apple picking would be. They have alfresco dining with made to order brick oven pizza, hard cider from Brooklyn and a fire pit at night complete with a s'mores kit. The best thing is there are minimal amount of kids running around due to the absence of a corn maze and petting zoo.
Oh and did I mention it is DOG FRIENDLY...
Their orchard is also a beauty and you can definitely achieve that perfect #basic Instagram pic. No judgement - seriously - I got more than one and it's everything I ever dreamed of.
Hiking the Catskills
If you are going to spend the weekend upstate please add hiking to your itinerary. There are so many easy hikes with great payoffs. We were crazy and did all 3 of these in one day. Exhausting? Yes. Worth it? Hell yes.
It is a short hike, about 1 mile roundtrip, and the views at the top are UNBELIEVABLE. If your phone can't find the trail head you can put in "Under the Nose" a fudge shop located to the left of the trail head.
Word of warning - when you reach the fork in the trail (pictured to the left) take the path to the right for a much easier hike. The hike to the left is almost completely uphill.
Crazy easy hike to the lookout point. Hike about 5 minutes further to the top of the waterfall. In the fall the waterfall is almost completely dry. You can hike to the very edge and take in the gorgeous forest. If you time it right like we did you can even view it full of fall foliage. If you aren't visiting in the fall DO NOT HIKE ON THE ROCKS. They are extremely slippery and many people have died being pushed over the edge by the water.
Down the mountain is another trail head to the base of the falls. Prepare yourself for tons of steps on the way back. Still a relatively easy hike.
The most challenging of the three hikes but not by much. This one is about 5 miles roundtrip with the steepest portions at the very beginning. Close to the top is an abandoned hotel that is perfect to explore with halloween around the corner. After the ruins you only have another half mile till you reach the top.
Our 2 day route
Think you can't fit in apple picking, s'mores making, Albany parting, 2 scenic highways and 3 epic hikes in 2 days?? Guess what you're wrong. Here is what we did:
We started in NYC on Saturday morning and rented a car from JFK. From there we headed 2 hours upstate to Twin Star Orchards and spent the whole afternoon and sunset on the farm.
We drove up about an hour further north to spend the night in Albany since big cities tend to have cheap hotels. (We stayed at the Motel 6 - it actually wasn't that bad!) Plus we got the added benefit of seeing Albany lit up at night (beautiful) and having dinner and drinks at The City Beer Hall.
The next morning we woke up early (around 7:30am) for a quick 45 minute drive to Vroman's Nose for our first hike. From there we took NY-30S and NY-23E (two of the top scenic drives in upstate NY) to the town of Tannersville. We had lunch at Twin Peaks Donuts and Coffee (HIGHLY RECOMMEND) and continued 3 miles to Kaaterskills Falls. From there we took another scenic highway 23A to Overlook Mountain. After hiking Overlook we drove the 3 hours back to the city, dropped the car off and took the train back to Brooklyn. All in all we were home by 10pm. I know it's impressive (and exhausting).
Where to Eat - Upstate NY
Chill beer garden with amazing food. If you order a beer you get a free (cheap but filling) pizza. Do I need to say more...?
Family run shop in tiny little Tannersville. A great place to fuel up before a long hike. Each donut is made fresh to order and their coffee is fantastic. Plus they have soups, salads, sandwiches and all day breakfast (on Sunday). The line and wait can be long but it is completely worth it.
Brick oven pizza, lake side, with a Brooklyn cider. If you come to pick apples here and don't eat a pizza or a burger you are doing the experience all wrong.