By Nicole Cornella

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Nothing announces the coming of Autumn like the smell of freshly baked apple pie, leaves falling and the sound of a crackling fireplace. It feels like yesterday that I got off the school bus and walked into a house filled with the aroma of home made apple pies or apple crisps (and could actually devour them without calculating how much time I’d have to spend on the treadmill later to offset the bum-rush of calories I’d just consumed)

For those who reside in the tri-state area, there are a variety of farms that provide families and friends with the pleasures of walking through large orchards to handpick their own apples. Ever since I was a little girl, my parents had taken me to one of the largest orchards in the New York area, Masker Orchards, which is set in the beautifully valleys of Warwick, New York.Located roughly an hour outside of New York City, Masker Orchards offers an ideal setting for a picturesque fall day trip with your family, friends or significant other. Pack a picnic and you are set. Masker’s is one of the only farms that allows you to drive up to any of the variety of 200,000 apple trees on their 200-acre farm which is set amidst the breath-taking fall foliage of upstate New York. Apple picking season begins in early September and continues through mid-November.

When you are done picking your favorite apples — from Macintosh to Jonagolds– enjoy the country atmosphere before you leave for the day. Masker Orchards offers activities for the kids; even the big kid in you. From pony rides and baby barnyard animals to hayrides and live country music will be the perfect end to your day. Grab a homemade donut and some fresh apple cider and take a stroll around the barnyard setting. Pick some pumpkins or browse the Masker’s Country Store where you can pick up a fresh jar of jam or apple butter.

After a summer filled with days at the beach and pricey vacations, an autumn day in the country with your family and friends will not having you dig into your wallet. Admission, parking and the bags provided are all free. At the end of your apple-picking odyssey, each bag full of fresh apples will cost you $16.75 a bag and $2.50 for a jug of cider. And the best part, while your climbing through trees and walking through the orchards, feel free to eat as many apples as you can.

Grab the kids, grab your friends and head upstate for a day, away from the hustle and bustle of the city life and pleasant change of scenery. Nothing beats the smell of autumn and the changing color of the leaves that engulfs the orchards. And better yet, nothing will beat the aroma of fresh baked apple pie upon your return home.

Masker Orchards is open 7 days a week. For more information and an apple ripening schedule, visit

Originally published October 2006

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2 Responses to “Pickin’ and Grinnin’ – Masker Orchards in Warwick, NY”

Jersey Girl Says:

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TERRIBLE place!!! I recently went there with my daughters and 3 year old grandson for what we thought would be a nice day. We did not pick any apples(which were almost $25.00 a bag) – the orchards were extremely crowded and people were throwing apples at each other over the cars trying to get through. We drove to the area where the corn maze and pony rides were for my grandson. Everything there was way over priced. We got in line to exit, and a teenage employee would stop every single car, ask them how many bags of apples they had, and then proceed to search every car – including opening trunks, looking under car mats, etc – I saw them looking under an elderly woman’s legs to check under her seat. When it was our “turn” – we told the teenager that we had no apples, and he proceeded to tell us that we couldn’t leave until he searched our car because it was their policy. We then asked to speak with their manager, because we felt they had no cause to think we had stolen any apples and their policy was ridiculous and should have been clearly posted at their entrance. The manager was extremely rude and said either he would search our car or he would call the police, which we welcomed him to do. After making a scene and ordering us to wait while he called the poice, he sent a teenage employee over to tell us it would be a half hour wait for an officer and we could go if we wanted. Outrageous! Needless to say we will NEVER go back to this place again. If they are so worried about anyone setaling apples, then maybe they should SELL the bags at the entrance.

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Bool Says:

To The Person Above, The Sign Is Clearly Posted Right In Front Of Where You Enter And It Reads, “We Reserve The Right To Thoroughly Search Your Car”

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