Wednesday, October 28, 2009

New England in the Fall: Escaping the City

I had a momentary panic attack the other day, and I told my boyfriend, Will, that I needed to escape the city for a day and breathe some fresh air and enjoy the outdoors. After all, we are quickly approaching the days of sub-zero temperatures, ice and snow. The fall season in New England offers an amazing color palette, beautiful sunny and crisp afternoons, and plenty of fun activities. Fall in New England is that bittersweet season that serves as a reminder of the impending doom of winter while also bringing beautiful afternoons and crisp, cool evenings.

Will was as helpful and sweet as ever; he promised me a day in New Hampshire where we could drive on scenic roadways, admire the fall foliage of New England, and pick our own apples. So we packed up some coffee, borrowed a car, put on fuzzy sweaters and sunglasses, and headed out for our beautiful day in New Hampshire.

The drive was breathtaking, and since we are normally city-bound and without a vehicle, we didn't mind that it took a little over two hours to reach Lebanon, New Hampshire, where Poverty Lane Orchards is located. Certainly, there are places to go apple picking closer to Boston, but Will and I wanted to go a bit further north to make sure we got to see some really pretty fall colors and to make it a longer day trip out of the city.

As we approached the orchard, I was struck with the raw beauty outside the car window. Even to reach the orchard, we had to turn onto a scenic tree-lined road, with only the occasional farm or small family home every few miles before we arrived at our destination. When we got out of the car, the crisp fall air and the bright sunshine immediately relaxed us and put us in a wonderful mood.

We went to the farm stand, where we were given our apple picking sacks and a layout of the orchard. We decided to forgo the tractor ride on bales of hay and walk up to the orchard ourselves; the ride looked fun and inviting, but there were a few too many children on those hay stacks, and we wanted to enjoy the tranquility of the orchard and the peace and quiet that the long walk would give us.

There were apples trees everywhere – absolutely everywhere. Will and I slowly walked through the grass and basked in the afternoon sunlight as we began to pick our MacIntosh and Cortland apples. We sat under the trees and shared an apple. A friendly orchard dog came up to us with a tennis ball, and we played fetch with him. We stayed in the fields of the orchard until the afternoon sun began to slip below the red and golden peaks of the trees that surrounded us.

The people at Poverty Lane Orchards were tremendously friendly and helpful; we picked almost 20 pounds of apples, and picked up a gallon of pressed apple cider and two bottles of sparkling cider, and they happily helped us gather all of our purchases to carry it back to our car. As we pulled out of their makeshift parking lot and left the orchard, I turned to Will and thanked him for a wonderful day out of the city. With an orchard that provides tractor rides, wonderful produce, and a friendly staff, Poverty Lane Orchards is certainly worth the drive to New Hampshire.

And as for those 20 pounds of apples, we did use them all up. And they were delicious.

For more information on apple picking at Poverty Lane Orchards, please visit their website at Their fall farm stand will be open through Halloween.

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