By Lynn R. Mitchell
Last night’s low temperature west of Staunton was 39 degrees so today seemed perfect to visit Carter Mountain outside Charlottesville. The mountaintop orchard offers not only apples, pumpkins, gourds, and country store goods but it also provides one of the most outstanding long-range views in central Virginia — east toward Richmond and west toward the Blue Ridge Mountains. Below is the city of Charlottesville and the University of Virginia. A cool breeze blew as SWAC Husband and my Richmond sister and I drove up the long, winding road for the latest chapter of our autumn adventures.
Pumpkins! Carter’s Mountain had plenty of these bright orange signs of fall available in all sizes from tiny decorative to pie size to jack-o-lantern size.
The orchards that cover the mountain slopes are full of trees bending under the weight of many varieties of apples. They offered those that had already been picked, or pick-your-own. Grab a bag, head off toward the location as directed, and pick as many as you want.
Inside the country store was the usual variety of decorative items, candies, baking goods, canned items, and more.
If you don’t feel like shopping or picking apples, sit a spell in the rockers and play a game of checkers.
There’s also the two huge decks overlooking Charlottesville and the Blue Ridge Mountains, a perfect place for a picnic or to enjoy lunch, ice cream, apple donuts, or other goodies from the snack bar.
Hmm … this is what caught my eye. Wine, in a slushie? Yum. Maybe next time.
Carter Mountain hosts lots of elementary school field trips and today when we were there almost a dozen school buses were pulling out as we arrived.
Directions for those who were picking their own apples on Tuesday. This is the eastern view looking toward Richmond.
The road off the mountain … million dollar views … fences around orchards to protect from wildlife.
Plenty of picnic tables on the decks and below in the yard.
My sister the cool sunglasses-wearing worm.
As we sat on the deck in the warm fall sunshine, we looked out over the University of Virginia where SWAC Niece is a student.
Apple Harvest Festival is going on now at Carter Mountain but they celebrate in grand style every weekend in October with music, food, hayrides, wine tastings, pumpkins, apple picking, apple butter, apple cider, apple cider donuts, apple pie, and all things apple. They are offering EXTENDED HOURS on SATURDAYS from 8:00 AM – 7:00 PM (1st three Saturdays in October). See www.cartermountainorchard.com for more info.
If this place doesn’t get you in the mood for fall, I’m not sure what will.
Photos by Lynn R. Mitchell
September 23, 2014