Best Places for Apple Picking Near New York City

It’s Fall Y’all! Fall is quite possibly THE most beautiful season in the Northeast. Sure we love our summers but the fall with the leaves, and the chill in the air and the apple cider and the cinnamon donuts and the craft fairs and … the silence you have in the home when the kids are back in school! You can see how this is easily my favorite season. To kick off the season, I’m excited to share the Best Places for Apple Picking Near New York City.

Every year we go apple picking several times a season. Living in Northern Westchester, there is no shortage of apple picking orchards all around us. Thomas and I love to go on the weekdays when it’s quite and take our time through the trees, picking the best apples. We make apple pies, apple crumbles, apple juice and simply eat everything we pick pretty fast.

Best Apple Picking In New York

There are lots of lists about the best places to go  so I’m narrowing down mine to a few faves. I have lots of tips and tricks to make your apple picking experience instagram worthy and a memorable fall activity.

Tips:

  1. Plan ahead. Traffic can get pretty intense. Come early in the morning or late in the afternoon for ideal crowd control that 10am time slot is the most coveted which makes the traffic and the orchard insane.
  2. Bring CASH money! Most farms have tons for the kids to do. Hay rides, corn maze, pumpkin toss and of course provisions for the adults – beer, hard cider, and wine is usually served too. There are farm stands with pies, local honey and donuts. So come prepared with some cash!
  3. If you can swing it, go on a weekday. The weekends at most farms within an hour driving distance from NYC can get crazy with lines for everything from hayrides, beer, cider, donuts and even the orchards are overcrowded. Many times the farms will run out of food and booze after you have spent 30 mins in line.
  4. Wear comfy shoes…I know you are all about that instagram feed… but heels in an orchard are just silly. Get your Hunter boots on, some skinny jeans, a cute plaid top, fall hat and done! Comfy and cute.
  5. Call the farm before you to go to see what the apple situation is. Last season there was a shortage and by mid October there was nothing left.
  6. If you know your apples, call the farm to see which varieties are growing right now. To me, an apple is an apple so as long as they are on a tree and tasty, we are good.
  7. Most of these farms have ‘harvest festivals’. Call or swing by their websites to get the info. Most, if not all of these, are run by local families so calling is always better than website info.

Best Apple Picking In New York

Our Favorite Apple Picking Farms:

Westchester County – This is the county that sits directly above Manhattan… it’s the “other” borough. There are a few farms down county but I live in Northern Westchester and these are about a quick 10 minute drive for us.

FISHKILL FARMSFishkill Farm Road, Hopewell JCT, NY 12533 (845) 897-4377

This is our absolute favorite farm!!  We gather up some friends and head up multiple times a year for all the berry picking, apple picking and even just walks around the farm. There are animals, a farm stand and much more.

OUTHOUSE ORCHARDS 139 Hardscrabble Road, Croton Falls (914) 277-3188

This farm is about an hour north of NYC and gets really really REALLLLLY busy on the weekends. They have a ton of activities for all ages with long lines for everything. It’s very popular with “city folk” because of the proximity. On weekdays it’s a great. no crowds but also no activities.

HARVEST MOON FARM AND ORCHARD 130 Hardscrabble Road, North Salem (914) 485-1210 

Harvest Moon is down the road from Outhouse. Same vibe. Super busy with gorgeous rolling hills and amazing views of the orchards. Check their website for evening live music and firepits.

WILKENS FRUIT AND FIR FARM1335 White Hill Road, Yorktown Heights (914) 245-5111 

This is a smaller farm but also popular with the NYC crowd. There is always lots to do with a farm stand for lots of yummy fall treats.

Apple Picking in N

Take a Drive! 

While the places I mentioned earlier in this post are about an hour’s drive north of Manhattan. I HIGHLY recommend going even further up past Westchester County. This gives you a serious dose of the gorgeous scenery that the Hudson Valley holds and the crowds are not nearly as nutty as the farms closer to the city. These two are our faves and if you go on a Saturday, often times there are local craft fairs and antique markets.

KELDER’S FARM5755 Rt 209 Kerhonkson, NY 12446 (845) 626-7137

There is a giant gnome that’s kinda silly fun and there is SOOO much to do for the kids. Goats, ducks, candied apples… and more.

BARTON ORCHARDS63 Apple Tree Ln Poughquag, NY 12570

Another favorite. Gorgeous drive, lots to do and when the leaves are turning it is spectacular. Check their schedule for the Hot Air Balloon fest!

Our family loves to go toward HUDSON, NY and explore some of the smaller farms there. Take a drive up to Red Hook and Rhinebeck and stop at any of the farms along the way.

Happy Fall Y’all!!

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New Year, Clean Home

Photo Via Unsplash

I love to start off the new year with a clean house, clean inbox, clean closet… just a nice fresh start. The freshness of the new year gives me permission to delete things, toss clothes, items, clutter and do a deep clean.

We’ve had a few gorgeous snow days here in New York and I took full advantage of being stuck inside and … cleaned!

I have a few simple tips to get your house in tip-top shape for the what the new year brings… these tips are especially great if you have a giant dog that sheds everywhere!

  1. Bedroom – Clean sheets on all the beds and as a bonus, I like to buy new pillows for all the beds… your pillows have been on the bed for 12 months. Time to change them.
  2. Wash your shower curtain, bath mats, and all towels – bath, kitchen, bar and guest towels. Throw out your shower liner and bathmats. Just throw them away. Don’t bother washing them.
  3. Clean your baseboards – it really makes a difference. I use a dryer sheet to get rid of the static dog hair and them wipe down with a wash cloth and warm water.
  4. Clean out your car. Do it… start anew!! You can do this yourself or treat your car to a yearly full-detail at your local car wash.
  5. Vacuum. Dedicate a half day to moving furniture, taking cushions off couches, getting behind and under things and vacuum the entire house. Good luck!
  6. Wipe down your light switch plates and doors. Have you noticed how dirty they get. Our doors are all white and so are out light switch plates… filthy little dirty finger marks all over these surfaces. A simple dishcloth and warm water does the trick… or you can use a disinfectant spray.
  7. Drop a few drops of a lavender, lemon or jasmine oil on your heater coils to let the scent drift throughout the house.
  8. Clean out the fridge. I found a nasty tub of rice pudding from last summer deep in there. Clean that out, start the new year with a shiny fridge!
  9. Deep clean your kitchen… the heart of the house. Spend an entire day scrubbing this room down. All appliances, floor, stack of clutter papers in the corner…get this done!
  10. Plant some flowers or succulents. Fill the bird feeders. Start the new year with new life and nature.

Happy 2017 everyone!

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Cleaning Tips for NYC Apartment Dwellers

Summer is a time to hit a great big REFRESH button. The kids are out of school, we have summer Friday half days at work, people are on vacation and relaxed and things are just chill. When September hits… it’s game time. Fall season brings the activities in full overdrive – back to school, holiday parties, deadlines, end of the year recaps, new years… and you know how the rest goes… until summer again. So take time off this summer to do a full clean and purge of your stuff. Get rid of it, clean, and hit the REFRESH button. If you are like us… kids, work, life, adventure, giant beast… you need some help! And hiring someone to help you clean and stay on top of things is a great option for many busy families like ours. I’ve got some great cleaning tips for New York City apartment dwellers to fit your lifestyle!

The New York Mom

I’ve partnered with Busy Bee Cleaning Service to bring you some expert tips. Busy Bee offers commercial cleaning as well as residential cleaning services. All their employees have had extensive background checks and are trained to fit your exact needs. This service is specific to NYC residents and businesses.

This post is sponsored by Busy Bee Cleaning Service.

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Sure we all clean our bathroom, but how often do you de-calcify your shower head? I didn’t even know that was a thing!  You clean your kitchen, but how often do you scrub those cabinets?Your small apartment can get overwhelmed with stuff easily… Busy Bee Cleaning Service can help.

You may not think anyone cares as long as the place is tidy, but those little details can make the difference between looking like you live in a small, cramped space and presenting your guests with a hip urban hideaway. Here are a few tips to help you tackle cleaning like a boss.

First, the checklist:

Summer time cleaning is the perfect time to take on tasks you just forget about when you’re just trying to tidy up and get your dishes done. Here are some of the tasks you should be thinking about with apartment cleaning:

• Remove stains on all faucets and shower heads.
• Clean cabinets, inside and out.
• Clean your hairbrushes and combs.
• Scrub down your bathroom tile and grout.
• Clean out your microwave.
• Clean your blinds or your curtains.
• Wipe down your walls and ceilings.
• Rent a carpet cleaner, or hire a carpet cleaning company.
• Clean your window screens.
• Dust your art and/or photographs.
• Take your books off your bookshelves. Dust them.
• Clean your oven, fridge, and dishwasher. 
• Clean your small appliances, like your toaster.
• Clean your baseboards.
• Give your furniture a good, thorough dusting or upholstery cleaning.
• Get all the dust out of your computer, and clean your keyboard.

Invest in great cleaning products.

While you’re doing your day to day cleaning you can get by with that knock-off, ubiquitous lemon cleaner. But right now you’re cleaning, so go all-out. Go ahead and replace those old sponges, rags, and scrubbers. Get a new broom and dustpan. Pick up some tools you might have fun using.

 Then, get really good, high-quality, powerful cleaning solutions that smell nice. This will mean your entire apartment gains a pleasant scent that you’ll really enjoy. You can also make these yourself, if you’re so inclined: baking soda, lemon, and vinegar are all extremely powerful cleaning solutions in their own right.  

In fact, it’s a good idea to do a really deep clean once per season. “Spring cleaning” brings images of opening all the windows and airing out your home while you break out the rug beater, but that’s not the reality for most NYC apartment dwellers.

You don’t have to do it all at once.

Tempted to just give up and watch some Netflix after reading the checklist above?  Getting overwhelmed is normal, but you don’t have to give in.

Instead, there’s nothing wrong with spreading out your  cleaning tasks over the course of a week or two. Assign yourself one or two tasks each day. Monday could be the day you go around scrubbing all your faucets and cleaning all your cabinets. Tuesday you could take on your microwave, stove, and dishwasher. By chunking it down into smaller tasks you’re a lot more likely to get the job done. 

Declutter, declutter, declutter.

This is a wonderful time to get rid of stuff you just don’t need. Sell it, give it away, or throw it away, but don’t keep it. The more you have the harder it is to organize a smaller space. Even Martha Stewart would struggle to keep four closet’s worth of items organized within a single closet.

Mindfully choose the things that you will live with every single day. As a bonus, this task makes it a lot easier to keep your home clean during the year, too.

Freshen up the décor. 

This is part motivation and part cleaning task. If your décor is boring and bland then this is the perfect time to step up your game. Get a new couch cover. Pick up some bright new throw pillows. Get rid of those mismatched old lamps and update your apartment’s look by buying a new set of decorative lamps that really speak to your personality.

You don’t have to go overboard here. Few people have the budget to simply give themselves a full, show-room ready apartment overhaul in a single month. However, even a few small changes can make you feel a lot more comfortable in your living space.

Get help if you have to! 

We’re all busy, and most people aren’t trained cleaning professionals. If you know you’d rather have a root canal than engage in any kind of spring cleaning activity, then you have an alternative. Get a quote for a quarterly cleaning service and find a company who will come in and take care of those deep cleans for you. Save up for them if you have to. Getting help is a great way to treat yourself.

Swing by BUSY BEE to learn more and get your apartment clean and shiny!

This post is sponsored by Busy Bee. All opinions are mine. Thanks so much for swinging by and checking out my sponsors. Happy Summer! 

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Dandelions are too pretty to be weeds and other musings

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The weather has been heavenly lately and every day we find ourselves exploring or having friends over and counting all the colorful birds in the yard. Last week we saw a tiny bunny hopping into the brush in the back of the yard and our neighbors have a fox den in their woods. The thought of baby bunnies living in our yard has sparked many early mornings on the deck looking for these cuties.

Our yard is filled with dandelions, which the kids collect for me and put in vases throughout the house. The sweetest words are – I love you mama. And Thomas says this as he hands me a handful of freshly picked dandelions.  Lily musters up an I love you from time to time and it melts this cold heart of mine.

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As Thomas was picking out all the gorgeous yellow dandelions from the yard, Lily, our resident know-it-all,  dropped some  knowledge about how these pretty yellow things were actually weeds that ate the rest of your garden and lawn and some people use pesticides to kill these weeds so they can have perfectly manicured green lawns with not a hint of yellow peeking out.

“But how can something this beautiful be a weed mama? Look at this beautiful yellow flower” ( all said with his 3 YO lisp and big puffy cheeks).

Dandelions are thought of as unwanted flowers, some even go as far as to call them THE MOST unwanted flower of all.  But these dandelions have magical uses, the roots are used for helping your liver and gallbladder, the dried up flower itself aids in helping lower blood pressure.

And the most important use of all, is for the honey bees. The sign of dandelions mean it’s honeybee season and the pollination begins.  I love seeing our green lawn littered with these specks of yellow. We have our own storybook meadow over here.

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In the eyes of my kids Dandelions are the sign of spring and summer, more than tulips and cherry blossoms.  The first sign of yellow petals and white whisps of wish puffs means – bare feet, late nights, fire flies and friends on our porches. Thomas walks around the yard singing and picking flowers much like Lily does and I love my daily arrangement of fresh yellow flowers.

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Dandelions are too pretty to be weeds.

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Spring Cleaning in 4 Weeks – Week 2

Hey kiddies. So how was week one? I have to admit my kitchen blew right back up after the clean. I mean… these kids are cramping my spring cleaning style!

But we keep moving forward… week 2. It’s easier this week I promise.

Ok so this is a general, dusting, moping, switching out of things or the season. So let’s go!

Spring Cleaning in  4 weeks

Day 8 – Wipe all the light-switch plates. All over the house. Some warm water and vinegar should do the trick.

Day 9 – Wash the doors. Vinegar is not too good on wood doors so I would go with a wood cleaner for this one. Sometimes just warm water in a bucket and a dishcloth work.

Day 10 – Wash your windows and mirrors.

Day 11 – Clean the Bathroom. Sink, toilet, bathtub, floor… all of it. Clean all your bathrooms. I do this when the kids are out of the house so I can use all my heavy-duty chemical sprays. Sometimes you need the big guns ya know!

Day 12 – Dust the whole house. Yep… the entire house. On top of the piano, the cabinets, ceiling fans, dresser tables… all of it.

Day 13– Move the furniture and vacuum the house. Under couches, beds, dressers. get it done.

Day 14 – Plant some flowers! Yay. This is part of spring cleaning too… I guess. but take a day off to plant flowers!

 

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How to clean with Vinegar and Water

It’s day 4 of our Spring Cleaning plan and as promised here is the vinegar and water cleaning solution I mentioned in my post about cleaning your kitchen.I don’t by any means want to give you the impression that I clean with vinegar and water exclusively… but it is my everyday go to. For bathroom cleanup… a little lysol and bleach never hurt anyone!

Vinegar and Water solutions are amazing for cleaning pretty much anything. It’s also safe and eco-friendly.  There are a few things you cannot clean with vinegar and I’ll mention those later. My go-to is equal parts warm water and vinegar, I have this in a spray bottle or in a bowl and use a little dish rag to wipe things down.

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But let’s get specific shall we, this week we are working on the kitchen so lets focus on vinegar + water solution for kitchens.

  • Drains: Simply pour vinegar down your drains… about 2 – 3 cups…let it sit for a bit… like 30 minutes and then run your tap on cold to flush it out.
  • Dishwasher: Lets disinfect and clean the interior of the machine. I usually place a small bowl filled with vinegar on the bottom rack of the dishwasher and run it on empty cycle. But i have heard that you can pour about  ½ cup vinegar into the reservoir and run an empty cycle. Your call.
  • Coffeemaker: We have a Keurig and this works really well to clean out all those parts that you never see. I like to pour equal parts vinegar and water into the water chamber and hit the ‘brew’ button.This makes a bubbling noise and all kinds of funny things seem to be happening in the Keurig.  Don’t drain it but let it sit for about 30 mins.  After it sits, turn the brew back on to heat up the water and run the cycles until all the liquid is drained. Then fill the water chamber with ONLY water, brew and run again to cleanse out the solution.
  • Floors: Kitchen floors get so gross and we have wood floors, so we don’t use vinegar – because it strips the wood. But if you don’t have wood floors, then add 1/4 cup vinegar to a small bucket of warm water. use a rag to clean the floors.
  • Glassware: Cleaning your wine glasses to be shiny and spotless can be such a challenge but your trusty friend vinegar comes to the rescue. Add 1 cup of vinegar to your sink that’s filled with warm water. Shiny glasses!

Things you should NOT clean with vinegar!

  • Marble and Granite countertops
  • Hardwood Floors
  • Stone Floors
  •  Iron

Have fun with your spring cleaning! Get some tunes cranked up and go for it! Follow along on our Spring Cleaning plan! 

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Spring Cleaning in 4 Weeks – Week One.

Photo Via Unsplash

It’s springtime and I am busy opening windows, decluttering and changing out the seasons. ( P.S. – don’t mind the snowstorm happening outside the window!) I’m all about spring cleaning and find this yearly cleanse so very important to my personal space. So I’ve created a great new Spring Cleaning Plan for us all to follow along… if you want to. which you should because it would be fun to do it together!

It’s a 4 week plan… so all of April, and each week we focus on one main part of the house. I’ll give you a week by week plan 7 days at a time.  Now, it’s kinda intense but when MAY gets here you will be soon ready for springtime! Look ahead!

If you plan on posting your progress or want to brag about your cleaning achievements, then please post pics on the NEW YORK MOM Facebook Page and use hashtag #TNYMspringcleaning … let’s go.

WEEK ONE: the heart of the home – KITCHEN ( dun dun duuuun)

  • day 1 – Clean out and scrub down your fridge. ignore the piles of paperwork or the dishes… clean out the fridge. stay on task.
  • day 2 – Pantry – toss out the expired food. No one is judging you, just throw it away for the love of your family. Wipe down your pantry while you are at it. Ignore that pile of paperwork, on the countertop, staring at you.
  • day 3 – Clean your kitchen sink – clean around the faucet, clean out the dish soap holder, maybe switch out the nasty sponge or dish brush and clean out under the sink. Yes the place where ‘Mr. Yuck’ lives, clean it out. Wipe it down, throw away all those extra glass vases. keep like 3. Side eye to paper clutter on the countertop.
  • day 4 – Clean the microwave, oven and dishwasher. and a toaster oven if you have it. I clean everything with vinegar and water but there are tons of ways to clean your appliances just do a quick search. ( I’ll post something about how to clean this when we get to-day 4) Stop staring at me counter top clutter, your turn is coming up soon.
  • day 5- Clean out your garbage can in the kitchen, Wash it out, wipe it clean, spray some disinfectant… get that thing clean. Also wipe down your kitchen walls especially the area around the stove. I do the hot water, vinegar treatment but look up other ways if you’d rather.
  • day 6- almost done kids. That pile of clutter! finally! yaaay. tackle that stuff. go through that pile of paper, random office supply object or whatever and find a home for everything or throw it away. Do you really need all those office pens? no… not at all.While you are tackling paper clutter take a little look over at that fridge… let’s try to clean up those school memo’s art projects, spelling tests…etc.
  • day 7 – Kitchen floors and countertops. Move everything off the countertops and give it a good hot water and vinegar scrub down. wipe it all clean and shiny and place only the things you need back. Everything else… like that quesadilla maker can be stored in a cabinet.

That’s it you guys. 7 days. we can do it. I’m doing this with you. so let’s go!

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Make Something Monday – Valentine’s Day Glitter Hearts

 

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It’s the season of all things hearts and love and glitter. I have a super fun and easy craft which you can do with kids. It’s an upcycled craft which are the best ones because you can se things from around the home. Lily helped me with this craft so we have a pretty easy version but you can add all sorts of embellishments to this easy to do craft with kids.

You will need:

  • Glue
  • Glitter
  • Scissors
  • Hole punch
  • Thread
  • Pencil
  • Brush
  • Cardboard – cereal box works.
  1. Draw out your hearts. make sure they are big because you have to hole punch it in a second.
  2. Cover the entire surface with glue. Any glue with do, you don’t have to use ModPodge.
  3. Next cover the entire area with glitter. Make sure you have a piece of paper under the glitter to catch the falling glittery wonderness.
  4. Hole punch right in the center of the heart.
  5. Thread the string through. I like to do this loop threading so the heart stays facing front when you wear it.

 

Now gift your glitter heart to your loves!

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Valentines-Craft-for-kids

 

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The New York Mom Holiday Gift Guides 2014 ~ coming soon

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Tis the season for gift giving and I am super excited to announce the FIRST ever official real- deal Holiday Gift Guide from The New York Mom.

How exciting you guys!

I have tons of tips and suggestions and ideas and all sorts of fun goodies coming up for the next few weeks. Gifts for kids, for moms, for dads, techy gifts, foodie gifts, gifts for young, gifts for old… i got you covered!

Soooo keep it where ya got it!

Happy gifting y’all!!

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Make Something Monday – Seashell Art

We just got back from a week on Shelter Island and that means one thing… a whole lotta sea shells!

I decided to make a sweet monogram piece of art for our back stairwell with all the gorgeous shells I found. This is a great way to create a tangible memory of your beautiful beachy vacation. It’s also a wonderful way to get the kids involved in a family project. I did this alone… because mama needed some ‘me’ time! 

This easy craft can take on any form you want. You can spell words out, make a design, color the shells and then glue them onto the canvas… whatever your creative mind chooses.

Seashell DIYMake Something Monday

Alright let’s get started.

You need:

  • A canvas – we always buy ours at Michaels Arts and Crafts when they are on super sale, so there is never a shortage of canvas in this house.
  • Shells you collected at your beach,
  • Modpodge – or any sort of super glue.
  • *** i decided to add color at the last-minute*** pick any acrylic paint you like.
  • Foam brush. Foam brushes are cheap and again stock up on them at Michaels when they have the 25 for $1 sale.

SeaShell DIY

Step 1: Figure out your design. and “map’ it out on the canvas just to give you an idea of how many shells you need and to balance it all out.

Step 2: Paint your canvas. Feel free to add a second coat to get a richer color.

Step 3: After the paint is dry, just lay your design on the canvas and move the shells around to where you want on the canvas, Using modpodge or any glue, glue your shells onto the canvas.

Done! A gorgeous work of art which will also help you remember your fab beach vacation!

I hope you take time this week to MAKE SOMETHING!!! Art is good for the soul mamas!

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