Fall is an excellent time to explore the summits and foothills of Maine. The cooler air makes hitting the trails more invigorating. And the colorful foliage transforms a long ride to the trailhead into a sightseeing tour. Once you’ve earned a break on a granite outcrop, there is nothing more rewarding than biting into a crisp, ripe apple while taking in the view. Grab some fresh cheeses (such as a sampling box from Balfour Farm) to bring along on your longer hikes, or pack a full picnic. Adding local flavors to your Maine exploration will make it even more memorable!
Note: This year is a little different than usual due to the pandemic, so be sure to call ahead or check social media for information about hours and availability at particular trails, farms, cideries, and orchards.
While fall in Maine is all about getting outside, it is also about experiencing the harvest. With many of the fruits and vegetables grown in Maine still in the fields, there is so much to enjoy. One of the many fun ways you can enjoy the harvest season is apple picking. Head to your local orchard to indulge in fresh, warm apple cider donuts on a slow Sunday morning, followed by a long walk with your family to explore the orchard and burn off some calories. There are countless orchards to explore all over Maine. (One that has recently been in the news is Libby and Son U Pick, which was recently voted one of the most popular orchards in the US.) And of course, have some fun taking turns riding in the apple carts while seeking out the best apples for your pies and crisps.
Did you know that hundreds of different varieties of apples grow in Maine? Historically, one of the most common ways to use and preserve apples was through fermenting them into hard cider. Cider has been gaining in popularity again in recent years, with a wide range of distinct flavors.
One way to explore Maine’s apple heritage is through beverages. Discover over 225 varieties of apples being utilized at Portersfield Cider in Pownal. With a conservation focus, this farm cultivates modern and heirloom apples and other fruits and berries. Many of the species are in danger of extinction and unavailable in nurseries. Still thirsty? Head about a 15-minute northwest to reach Norumbega Cidery’s tasting room in New Gloucester. Enjoy the view at one of their picnic tables and then head out to the neighboring trail system.
Want to learn more about Maine’s apple heritage? Watch this brief video about John Bunker, Maine’s apple guru. In the video, he explains how he has sought out and preserved heritage apples across Maine. It’s an inspiring story that is sure to fire your curiosity about apple varieties!
Hit the road and capture the harvest! Fresh picked apples and produce abound along your favorite country roads. Find farm stands, country stores, and farms along the way. Use our itinerary tool to connect with Maine’s farmers during the height of the harvest season. Whether you visit new destinations along the way or sample their products at markets or restaurants, remember to follow the farms, cideries, wineries, and makers on social media as well! Local food producers are in business all year round, and many make their products available both locally and online.