If you find your way to North Carolina and you are in the mood for some fall festivities, look no further than Sky Top Orchards in Flat Rock, NC.
As you are picking apples in this beautiful orchard, which sits atop Mt. McAlpine, there are gorgeous panoramic views of the surrounding mountains of western North Carolina. The apple-picking season stretches from August to as late as the end of October (but can go longer depending on the weather and supply/demand), so if you decide to pick apples earlier in the season, be sure to go back when the leaves change to really take in all the breathtaking views!
Apple cider donuts are a mainstay in my autumnal diet, and the donuts at Sky Top do not disappoint! (If you have read my post about the apple cider donuts I devoured at Cold Hollow Cider Mill in Stowe, Vermont and would like a bit of a comparison, the apple cider donuts at Sky Top are topped with cinnamon and sugar, and are very soft and light. The apple cider donuts at Cold Hollow are denser and do not have cinnamon or sugar on them, the focus of the flavor being that of the richness of the cider.) Other delicious offerings are caramel apples, fudge, and kettle corn. Note that a plethora of apple varieties make their appearances at Sky Top at different times, so please check the website to see their most up-to-date picking schedule.
Sky Top Orchards welcomes people from opening day in August through the first Sunday after Thanksgiving, I would highly suggest you skip the weekends and go on a weekday. Otherwise, there will be crazy long lines to park, to get a bag to go apple picking, and to purchase delicious jams and apple cider. At the time that I am writing this (October of 2020), a bag to pick apples costs $20 in which you can put as many apples as you see fit! Cash is king here on this orchard, as the technology needed to process credit and debit card transactions does not reach the rural location consistently, so it is better not to chance it and just bring some money (though there is an ATM nearby!)
We left with a bag of apples, a box of apple cider donuts, apple cider, some jams, and memories from an absolutely lovely day at Sky Top Orchard.