(written/published in 2013)

Fall in New England is an experience. The days are shorter, the air is crisp, the leaves are changing colors. It’s a time for sweaters and cinnamon, for pumpkin spice lattes, and of course, for apple picking.

In Massachusetts alone, there are over fifty apple orchards, scattered across the state. Each has something unique to offer; here at Mapkin, one of our favorites is Russell Orchards in beautiful, historic Ipswich, about thirty-nine miles from Boston on the Massachusetts North Shore.

On the weekend, tractor hayrides transport you deep into the orchards, where you can spend as much time as you like filling your bags with up to thirty varieties of fresh-off-the-tree apples, engulfed in a rainbow of perfect New England foliage. There are pumpkins to be picked, animals to be pet, and homemade wine and cider to be tasted. And it’s impossible to take in the aroma of the on-site bakery without popping in to try some sort of apple-cinnamon pastry. If ever someone bundled New England fall into a package, this is it.

This unique corner of Massachusetts is only an hour drive from the city, but the old-fashioned charm and rolling farmlands of surrounding Ipswich will make you feel as if you’ve traveled to a whole different world. And with the bright reds, oranges, and yellows of the scenic roads along the way, the drive itself is just as much a part of the Russell Orchard experience.

Our favorite way to get there is by taking the scenic route, below. You’ll pass the famous Topsfield Fairgrounds, quaint local shops, historic buildings, state parks, and of course, farms and foliage, everywhere you look. It’s these details, in our opinion, that make the journey to Russell Orchards so special and truly a part of the New England fall experience.

Do you have a favorite place to drive for apple picking in the fall? Please send us your Mapkins – we’d love to see and share!

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