I’m sad to say farewell to summer after all our hot days at the parks and splash pads, swimming in the pools of our friends and making summer memories. But what’s awesome about summer ending is that fall activities are ready to start! It really begins in September as the local fairs begin, then into the fall with apple picking, pumpkin patches and more.
One of my favourite fall activities is apple picking at Mountain Orchard in Kemptville just a few minutes outside of Ottawa. My group of friends and their children started this tradition last year and we plan to keep it going strong.
This past Sunday we visited the Orchard for our second year in a row. The weather was absolute perfection… a crisp, sunny fall day. We started by letting the kids burn off some energy in their activity zone. Entry is free which is amazing! The kids raced to the hay barn where there are stacks on stacks of hay and slides, which is perfect for climbing and jumping, and of course throwing hay (probably their favourite part)! We all had hay in almost every crevice of our body after this!
Next to the hay barn is a little playground area with a teeter totter, swings, a huge hill to climb, tractors and a bunch of stacked tires perfect for climbing AND hiding in! After some sprints up the hill and tire climbing we had a blast pushing the kids on their old school swing set.
Next up was the corn maze. Jax and Hudson love running through corn mazes and they were also exploring the corn (always curious about what’s hiding on the giant stocks). What was SO amazing about this year’s corn maze was that they dedicated it to the sweet, sweet boy Jonathan Pitre who recently passed away after a long courageous (yet optimistic) battle with a rare disease at the age of 17. He was a huge piece of our heart here in Ottawa and Mountain Orchards did a beautiful thing by making this tribute for him and his incredible mother. You’ll see in the photo below how they shaped it with a beautiful message in his memory. If you don’t know about Jonathan Pitre, read about him here. But have the tissues ready! Hats off to Mountain Orchard for this!
After the corn maze we decided it was time to walk back to the entrance and wait in line for the super cute wagon ride that takes you to the apple orchard. You don’t have to take the wagon, as it’s within walking distance but of course the kids just love it. SIDE NOTE: you can bring your stroller if you don’t plan to take the wagon ride and just walk there. Both my kids are walking so it was easy enough to take the wagon. Last year when Hudson wasn’t walking I held him in my carrier to avoid having to bring a stroller, and to be able to take part in the wagon ride.
Once you get there, a staff member explains where to pick the apples and how to pick them effectively so that they grow properly the next year. He gives you your bags for picking, either small for approximately $20 or large for approximately $30. You can fill it up to the max as it doesn’t go by weight, and in fact they encourage it.
During our visit, MacIntosh apples were available from the tree. They had other varieties in pre-picked as an option too. The website is great and explains what varieties are available when. We spent lots of time through the orchard picking apples. Jax couldn’t wait to find his next apple. He was having an absolute ball and was so proud of himself with each and every pick. We all munched on delicious apples which is super cool that they let you do this.
Hudson is a little young to grasp the concept of picking off the tree, but he had his own fun picking all the fallen apples from the tree and placing them in everyone’s bags. We took plenty of photos as always and submitted some for their photo contest where you can win gift cards to be spent at the Orchard. Fingers crossed that we win!
It was time to head back with our full bags of apples so we hopped back on the wagon and it was time to visit their shop to purchase some fresh baked goodies. Mountain Orchard is famous for their amazing fresh apple cider donuts, and we settled down at a picnic bench and enjoyed these for our lunch along with some fresh apple cider. They also serve sausages, hot dogs and chips on weekends. There are some delicious baked goods in the store both frozen and fresh, so we took home some apple pie and it was just heavenly!
Since our visit, we have been gobbling up our apples but still have tons left and plan to make an apple crisp in the next day or two. Jax is super excited as he loves to help bake.
We love this new-found tradition so much and love Mountain Orchards. You can visit their website https://mountainorchards.ca for more information. We highly recommend it and don’t want to stray to any other orchard for fear of disappointment!
Let me know if you’ve visited and what your fall traditions are. Have you visited any other apple orchards that you would recommend? I would love to hear all about your experiences as usual! Again, if there are any places you want me to visit and feature, do let me know and we are on it!