OK, I know this is really early, but I figure it is better to ask now while people's experiences and memories are still fresh.
I know there are a bunch of threads on apple picking, but I feel like my list of desires is semi-unique enough to warrant a new thread. Here's what I'm hoping to find in order of importance:
1. The orchard should be in the North West Greater Boston Area (basically along or off of Rt 2)
2. It should have as many varieties of apples to pick as possible during peak season, extra points for unusual / heirloom varieties (having 2 varieties to pick and the rest in the store does NOT count, especially if I am there during peak timing).
3. Should allow real picking, ideally with climbing and ladders allowed
4. Not so over run with families and tourists that it takes 45 minutes to park and buy a bag on the weekend ( i.e. The Honey Pot Hill Effect).
Nice to haves, but not necessary
4. Nice store with cider donuts, honey, pumpkins, etc.
5. Family friendly without being kid focused (no hayrides or corn mazes or petting zoos, etc.)
6. Reasonable pricing ( I am very willing to pay extra for the honor of selecting my own apples, having access to new varieties of apples, and the entertainment of frolicking around the orchard.....but I am not willing to be taken advantage of too much). I'll pay an entrance fee is the place is really amazing.
7. Pretty scenery is always nice, but an afterthought frankly
OK Chowhound, does such a magical place exist or am I searching for a unicorn in a land of donkeys?