Saturday, October 15, 2011

Day Trippin' on Apples and Beer

Last week my husband and I just celebrated our third wedding anniversary. We decided to stay near home for this one, leaving town just a bit for some Fall adventures. We filled a Saturday with local apple picking and local beer tasting. This is a fun day trip accessible within an hour's drive.

Before last weekend I'd not been to Carter Mountain. But, I gotta say, Rob and I certainly didn't crack the case on this one. As we traveled up the mountain road full of cars, we realized we may be the last people in VA who have not been to Carter Mountain to pick apples. If you aren't familiar with Carter Mountain Orchard it is a self-pick apple farm located just outside of Charlottesville. The place was packed with families of all ages. I have to say, I was nervous about the volume of folks up there, but it couldn't have been organized better. The parking was well managed, as was the check-out line. The orchards are large enough that it could handle many visitors at once. And, hey, it's just darn purdy.

Ahh, nice view.

Nom, Nom!

Baby apples!

For the apples, I'm looking to make some tasty treats. Right now, I'm thinking on apple and caramel - date caramel, if you please! This could be fun for Halloween as well. Check out this beautiful blog by Vanessa Rees (a NY-based photographer and my sister) on the how-to on this treat.

After we picked our apples, we went down the mountain and over to neighboring Nelson County. We drove to Blue Mountain Brewery for a beer on their beautiful patio.

We enjoyed a yummy Full Nelson IPA made with local hops available on draft (ok, we had two). I love this beer - available on draft at some RVA restaurants. This beer is in high-demand, so go for it if you see it!

Pretty IPA on a pretty porch!

My husband is an environmental engineer and he was quick to catch their cool "cover cropping" program. These folks planted soy beans over their harvested hop patch to act as a nitrogen fixer. Nitrogen is one the nutrients necessary for plant growth - so it should make for some tasty hops (and beer) next year!

See the soybeans?!

Anyway, we did this day trip and were home by 5 pm - love it! A day trip to near-by mountains is great fun for the fall. It is fun, tasty, and local. Enjoy!


  1. Apples and beer together at last! <3 Those apples look delicious. =( Thanks for the shout out!

  2. Yay!! I think you meant :) not :( - that's what happens when you grocery shop *and* check the interwebs! XOXO - R

  3. Sounds lovely... and is so near what we did for our anniversary last year!! Ours included the Blue Mountain Brewery.. as well as local pottery, gouda, chocolate, wine....all on that route!

  4. @ Shannon, oohhh! I love it! Early Fall is such a fun time to celebrate!!

  5. For your next apple adventure: Vintage Virginia Apples on 29 South. They specialize in heirloom and varietal apples, and homemade hard cider, old school style. This family-run business is one of my most favorite places near Charlottesville... incredible place to visit, learn about apples and growing, and usually not mobbed with folks. Plus: cider tasting room. Done. They have a harvest festival Nov. 4th, if you need to restock!

  6. @ Megan - yum! Thank you so much! We are going camping out that way for Halloween - that sounds perfect (and tasty!). Thanks again for the tip!