Apple picking is very popular autumn activity in Boston. The weekend crowds can be massive and many apple farms cater to young families with hayrides, petting zoos, clowns, professional photographers, etc - not really our idea of a relaxing outing. The trick is to go on a weekday, late enough in October that most people have moved on from “all things apple!” to “pumpkin spice!” Dylan took much needed vacation day and we headed out to Stow, Ma. (Today I'm making a bit pot of applesauce with some of the remaining apples)
We ended up at Shelbourne Farms because they were open. We didn’t sample the cider donuts, take a hayride, or use the restrooms - so no reviews there. I liked that they had a wide selection of apples to pick, including some less-common old varieties. We paid for the big picking bag and headed out to the orchard.
There weren't any ladders handy so it was good to have a tall person who could happily drag around a 25 pound bag, and he's cute. We tried to get a few of all the less common varieties and did a good bit of wandering the rows.
We taste-tested as we made the first batch of applesauce. Our favorite for fresh eating was the big pink Spencers, followed by Macoun and Empire. We're picky about texture, but the rest make fabulous applesauce (no sugar needed).