It's harvest time, and if you’re looking for the most "fallish" of fall things to do, Homestead Farms -- with its abundant apple picking -- is the place to be.

Do farm animals, sprawling land, homemade pumpkin butter, and apple picking get you all in an autumn tizzy? Head to Homestead Farms in Poolesville, Maryland. Here are a few things you should know: Take the scenic route. Yes, you can take 495, but you’ll hit traffic and end up sitting on a boring highway staring at pavement. Take River Road and drive through Potomac, Maryland. The houses are absolutely stunning -- they’re basically estates! There’s also lush greenery and several places you can stop to hike or overlook the river. It takes about 40 minutes to drive down to Homestead Farms from Washington, D.C., proper. Don’t bring your dog. They're not allowed. As much as you would love to bring your furry friend (not to mention how much he would love to run around), it’s just doesn't make sense with all the farm animals and produce. Don’t be the person sitting in a car in the parking lot with the dog while your family and friends are off having fun. apple picking Don’t start by picking the apples in the front of the row. So it’s a thing (for you first-time apple pickers) that you don’t pick the apples in the first rows. The best apples are many rows in, and you have to walk pretty far into the rows to get the good ones. You should also consider bringing someone tall, as you may struggle to grab some of the freshest ones at the top branches. There are different kinds of apples you can pick, and Homestead Farms does a great job of listing the flavor notes of each. Popular types include Cameos and the Jonagolds, which are supposed to be amazing for pie baking. Can’t you already smell the apple crisp? [gallery columns="2" size="large" ids="4876,4872"] Don’t forget to pick up a pumpkin, some squash, and some apple butter. The farm has a ton of fresh pumpkins, both large and small (perfect for decorating the apartment). They also boast all sorts of fall veggies and fruits. You can get apple and pumpkin butter, as well as all sorts of homemade jams. And of course, apple cider.
Budget some time, as there are lines to checkout. If you go on the weekend, note that it can be quite busy. Though the actual apple picking isn’t too crowded, the lines to pay do tend to get quite long. If you’re going to go, be patient and make it an event. [gallery columns="2" ids="4875,4873"] Pet the goats! Who isn’t a total kid when it comes to farm animals? They’re so cute, so go ahead and give in to your urges; pet them all and feed them grass. Just make sure you don’t feed them apples -- that is strictly forbidden. Make the most of your October and your fall, and make the trek out to Homestead Farms to go apple picking. It’s well worth the beautiful drive, and a great day trip that gets you out of D.C., without going too far.
Have you gone apple picking this fall yet? What are your favorite kinds to pick? What other fall activities are you excited about? Let us know in the comments below!

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