At this time of year, when Connecticut’s leaves start to change colors, eventually rivaling those of a Turkish carpet, there are few pleasures keener than to drive along the back roads of our state to an apple orchard. To choose local fruit, often varieties that are otherwise hard to find, for oneself is a seasonal occasion worth seeking out, worth savoring, worth creating a special picnic for (think rustic breads, local cheeses, and local hard cider if the orchard allows it). If you’re lucky, all of this is set off by sweetly chilly temperatures and a sky of platinum blue---in which case, congratulations. You have officially reached peak autumn.
Our guide to some of Connecticut’s best pick-your-own-apple experiences is here. Readers are encouraged to add their own. Note that this past spring, in the short period during which apple trees are pollinated, weather conditions were very unfavorable; a lighter-than-usual crop has resulted, so bring your flexibility along. As with all such outings, a little thinking ahead goes a long way. Be sure to call ahead for availability, wear sturdy shoes, and choose a good time for your visit. Weekdays are better for a quiet group or one that can’t deal with crowds; weekends will thrill the extroverts.