Best Southern Apple Orchards

By Katie Copeland

Driving the winding roads of the Blue Ridge Parkway with the crisp smell of autumn in the air while sipping on a steamy pumpkin spice latte. Gazing at the endless apple orchards perfectly positioned in the soft grassy valleys between steep fiery hills. Fall does not get any better than this.

The South comes alive during the fall. The apple harvest is a final outcry to mother nature before ultimate senescence occurs. It is a time where found family memories are made. Families alike get out in the family van and drive to the local orchards in hopes of finding the key ingredient for their family’s secret recipe, the classic American apple pie.

In the South there are multiple award-winning orchards to choose from.

Stribling Orchard- Markham, Virgina

Located in the heart of the Blue Ridge Mountains, Stribling Orchard offers stunning panoramic views. This historic orchard has been in the Stribling family for close to 200 years and offers 30 magnificent acres of apple trees. In fact, it was one of the first U-pick orchards in the Shenandoah Valley. The orchard contains multiple varieties of apples but is noted for its Stayman Winesap variety which is perfect for that apple pie in part by the lip-smacking tartness. The orchard can be reached easily as it is located in Markham, Virginia right off I-66.

For more information, visit http://www.striblingorchard.com/index.html

Sky Top Orchard- Flat Rock, North Carolina

Voted best orchard in West North Carolina of 2016 and USA Today’s 10 Best orchards in the USA, makes Sky Top the place to be this fall! They offer over 22 varieties of apples to choose from and also many interesting ways to eat apples. They make their apple cider fresh which makes for a great refreshment to complement their apple cider doughnuts.

The fall is a great time to visit Sky Top as they also have many fall opportunities to take advantage of including their hayrides and pumpkin patches.

For more information, visit http://www.skytoporchard.com/

Mercier Orchards-Blue Ridge, GA

Mercier Orchards, a family owned apple orchard, is currently celebrating 70 years of unforgettable harvests. Now is the time to visit this orchard as it makes a great day trip with tons of fun activities. There is something for the whole family to do from picking apples to biting into a sweet apple fritter from the bakery. They also have a farm winery which offers hardpressed beverages. They do it all in their Cidery from the growing of the apples to the bottling of the fermented bubbly cider.

For more information, visit http://www.mercier-orchards.com/

So go ahead and jump into the family van and start exploring the many orchards that the South offers. Make family memories that can last a lifetime and discover how these orchards become a part of who we are. They leave behind lasting memories that continue even after fall is long gone when we are sitting inside by the fireplace and dreaming of the day when the delicate pink apple blossoms will start to bud in spring.

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