It’s no secret that the North Shore has some of the most picturesque farms in New England. Between the region’s crisp autumn weather, colorful foliage, rolling hills, and historic roots, we like to think that a fall day spent on a North Shore farm is the loveliest way to enjoy the season.
Below are some of our favorite pick-your-own apple spots north of Boston. Expect the emblematic cider donuts and farm stands at most of these places. Some also boast hayrides, barnyard animals, live music, or on-site dining—and a couple make their own hard cider and fruit wines, a refreshing departure from the region’s many breweries. Connors Farm even has a corn maze.
Have a favorite farm to visit every fall? Like to switch it up? Get inspired with these six top apple-picking destinations on the North Shore.
Boston Hill Farm
This scenic farm in North Andover has a farm stand, Richardson’s Ice Cream, and a playground, along with its pick-your-own apple orchard. The farm stand sells other fresh produce, apple cider donuts, homemade baked goods, penny candy, chicken pies, fresh eggs, honey, and much more. In the past, autumn weekends at Boston Hill have included hayrides, apple-picking, live music, and BBQ—check its website below for information about this fall’s offerings. bostonhillfarm.com
Along with apples, cider donuts, and hayrides, Brooksby Farm in Peabody also has farm animals that kids can feed, plus campfires with s’mores on select fall weekends. The farm stand is stocked with Brooksby’s own fresh produce, baked goods, dairy products, and sauces, plus honey from its hives in the orchards. The farm also features a play area for kids and a Fall Fairytale Trail. All these activities for children and adults alike are set against the backdrop of a picture-perfect red barn. brooksyfarm.org
Cider Hill Farm
Recently named one of the best spots to pick apples in the country by Real Simple, Cider Hill Farm in Amesbury remains a favorite for North Shore families. The farm hits all the fall sweet spots with hayrides, cider donuts, and a maze—but the attractions don’t stop there. The robust hard cider program, Cider Hill Cellars, produces orchard cider exclusively from apples grown on site. Its hard cider bars, live music on the weekends, hayrides, hot cider, food truck, and farm stand bring visitors back autumn after autumn. Mark your calendars for trick-or-treating at Sweet Halloween October 23 and 24. Plus, Cider Hill operates almost completely on wind and solar energy. ciderhill.com
When you’ve finished apple-picking at Connors Farm in Danvers, head over to the seven-acre corn maze. The design changes every year, and this year’s maze is open September 3 through October 31. The farm even hosts select “flashlight nights” at the maze—check the website for a schedule. There are also plenty of food options at the farm on fall weekends, like hot apple cider donuts from Connors Country Kitchen, ribs and brisket from Pappy’s Smokehouse, and hand-dipped caramel apples from Grandma’s Sweet Shop. connorsfarm.com
Russell Orchards in Ipswich, which turns 102 this year, has something for everyone. Barnyard animals and cider donuts made with fresh-pressed cider keep the kids happy, while adults can order flights of ciders and wines on weekends. Russell’s J’s Ice Cider was recently named Best Ice Cider in Massachusetts at the Eastern States Exposition wine and cider competition. Apple-picking is open in September and October, and you can enjoy goodies from the farm stand, including ice cream and donuts, while strolling by the property’s scenic pond. russellorchards.com
The picture-perfect orchards and fields at Smolak Farms make for a quintessential autumn afternoon. Head out to pick on your own, or try Smolak’s apple-picking tour—you’ll ride a wagon through the orchard’s foliage, stopping halfway through to pick some apples of your own and learn from one of the farm’s experts about the apple-growing process, apple varieties, and proper picking techniques. After picking, stop by the animal and playground area to feed the barnyard animals, and grab a bite from the farm stand. smolakfarms.com
For even more apple-picking possibilities, check out our complete guide.