Mountain Apple Picking at the Historic Orchard at Altapass in North Carolina

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by Jennie

Before we left for our fall family trip to North Carolina, we made a list of all of the fun things that we wanted to do. The list encompassed all of our yearly must-do activities with a few new activities added in as well. I told the mister that the one thing I would like to do is visit a mountain apple orchard. He said to keep your eye out for one while on one of our many long drives on the Blue Ridge Parkway. Towards the end of our vacation, we still hadn’t come across an orchard, so I figured it just wasn’t going to happen. Then, one morning I thought we were headed towards another hiking adventure when the mister pulled off the main road down a very steep turn off. When I looked up I saw the Historic orchard at Altapass in front of us! Hooray! He was so excited to surprise me with this special treat and we ended up spending most of the day there. Read on to check it out.

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After browsing around in the Altapass Orchard shop, and stopping to listen to a group performing mountain music we decided to venture out into the orchard. There are several different trails that you could take throughout the orchard, and of course we picked the longest one! We ended up so far into the orchard that all of the visitors (and there were a lot that day) seized to exist, we were completely alone. We were able to observe all of the beautiful butterflies floating throughout the orchard and even came upon a buck who was happily munching in the apple trees! He darted out of there too fast to catch him on camera.

There were so many different types of apples, small tart ones, and huge juicy ones that barely fit in the misters hand. It was really cool to visit an orchard that has been around for more than 100 years!

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We walked so far that our trail eventually took us into a forest, it was still part of the orchard but so far removed that we didn’t even realize it was there until we were in it. We munched on apples as we walked (we paid for them later!), chatted and just had a wonderful time. By the time we made our way back to the apple-stand, almost everyone was gone except the employees. We bought a couple of root beer floats and sat on the deck relaxing after our 4 hour hike through the orchard. It was pretty amazing – I can’t wait to do it again next year!

+ The Historic Orchard at Altapass
Milepost 328.3 between Mt. Mitchell and Linville Falls.

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