Living in Richmond we’re fortunate to have so many fantastic options for day trips. Being pretty much smack dab in the middle of mountains and oceans we’ve got access to it all without spending too much time in the car. A favorite during the spring, summer and fall months is Carter Mountain Orchard in Charlottesville. Having this view within an hours drive is amazing and you’ll find that this picturesque spot has a ton more to offer than pretty scenery.
There’s plenty to do for the entire family here. There’s a country store filled with jellies, butters, cider and other foods made with their own fruits and veggies, home decor, clothing, toys, and their famous apple cider donuts (which they are famous for and are a must if you visit). They also have the Mountain Grill with lots of delicious food for you to enjoy on the large deck overlooking that stunning view. And while you’re enjoying a meal, be sure to try their wines and Bold Rock hard ciders made farm fresh from their harvest.
But what most visitors flock to Carter Mountain for is the pick your own fruit–which varies based on the time of year you visit. Peach season just got started and apple season in a big hit in the fall. The fun is in finding the perfect picks for homemade pie, turnovers, crumbles, popsicles, ice cream or just to bite straight into. Never leave the parking lot without having a fresh apple or peach in hand to eat right away. There’s just something extra delicious about fresh fruit from the tree. And be sure to chat with their resident picking expert, Farmer Henry, for tips on picking the perfect fruit.
They also have pre-picked fruits and vegetables for sale, with great options you can’t harvest yourself like apricots, nectarines, cherries, squash, cucumbers, tomatoes, green beans, and asparagas.
Hours vary based on day of the week and time of year, so keep an eye on their website for time changes throughout the seasons. (www.chilesfamilyorchards.com).
Starting in May through the end of September they host something really special…their Thursday Evening Sunset Series. Every Thursday they are open until 9pm for dinner, live music, wine and hard cider, and hayrides all with a spectacular sunset view! It’s FREE admission, so get there early if you want a seat on their deck, or you can bring lawn chairs or blankets. Dinner is served from the Mountain Grill from 5:30pm-8:30pm and live music is playing from 6-8:30pm. A different musician is featured each week, so be sure to check their website or social media pages for the lineup.
They also host other events on the farm, like Taco Tuesdays (May 1-August 28), Cultivating Curiosity (a summer activity for kids), Donuts and Dogs, and many more. Follow them on Facebook or Instagram to keep up to date on all that’s happening at the farm.