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Apple Picking at its BestFlag review
I visited Beak & Skiff with my two year old daughter and a group of friends with toddlers early in the Fall of 2012, and my daughter still talks about picking apples all the time. I highly recommend making the trip with your kids if you're in the Syracuse region. When we arrived at the entrance, it was evident that the orchard was massive in size, and I wasn't sure how to navigate it all with a small child. Conveniently, there is a tractor that swings by periodically to take visitors to and from the orchard. We rode on a flatbed trailer attached to it (no sides, railings, seat belts, just FYI), which my daughter and I both enjoyed. The driver was very nice and later allowed me to photograph my daughter in the driver's seat of the tractor. The orchard is truly beautiful. We just took a moment to take in our surroundings - row after row of apple trees, separated by type, and bucolic rolling hills in the distance. Then we started picking. Once I showed my daughter how to do it, she was off! And she was so proud of our apple haul at the end of the trip. After we paid, we visited the farm store, which was very cute and packed with all kinds of sweets and treats and rustic gift items. We purchased some cider donuts from the bakery, which were delicious. If you're not from the Northeast, they're simply donuts with a cinnamon sugar coating, and they're wonderful with hot spiced apple cider. I also picked up some cider from the orchard and a pie. The only negative aspect of our visit was the food in the cafe. The lunch options in the cafe were limited (hamburger, hot dog, macaroni and cheese, etc) and in my opinion, the food was not well-prepared and did not taste good. At least it wasn't overly expensive. I would definitely skip the cafe next time for lunch, but I was pleased with the bakery items we bought and would shop there again. Beak & Skiff offers hard cider as well, but that's not really my thing, so I didn't try any while I was there. I might give the apple wine a try next time just for the novelty of it.
Tips for Families
Route 20 offers a beautiful scenic drive with views that seem to go on forever, so you'll likely enjoy the journey as well as the destination. Try to coordinate your visit with the LaFayette Apple Festival (http://www.lafayetteapplefest.org/) for even more apple-related fun.
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