Many New England apple orchard destinations have a short seasonal life, often closing to the public soon after apple picking ends.
Brookfield Orchards in North Brookfield, Mass., has a different business “core,” staying open year-round. While the fall experience here really embodies the traditional New England autumn spirit with its excellent apple picking opportunities in 80 acres of orchards and the lively rural fall harvest events, Brookfield Orchards can also be just as fun in the heat of summer, the spring mud season, and the dead of winter. Through apple season and beyond, Brookfield Orchards offers another main drawing card: a charming, interesting country store housed in three large rooms — a quaint old red farmhouse, a no-frills garage, and a slightly musty old room that features antiques. The country store has an authentic feeling featuring jams, jellies, Vermont cheeses, homemade pies, apple cider and donuts, Kettle Corn, old-fashioned hard-to-find candies, home furnishings, toys, books, vintage clothing, nostalgic pop culture memorabilia and taxidermy merchandise.
Out of the “other” main drawing card comes a true ace: an amazing homemade apple dumpling that can be served with
delicious vanilla ice cream and a block of vermont cheddar cheese. I know, the cheese addition sounds weird, but trust me, the combination works so well it’s tempting to order another serving. On its own or with ice cream, the apple dumpling is surely worth the under $4 investment in satisfying your tastes buds. During the apple picking season, the Brookfield Orchards snack bar (also offering mac and cheese, chili and hot dogs) serves this mouthwatering baked good, but then moves to the country store for the rest of the year.
Oh yes, there is another ace: the spectacular, unspoiled hilltop setting in the hills of Central Massachusetts. Now, some people might prefer the thousand dollar Cape Cod beachfront vacation, the spa excursion or the tourist town with myriad overly expensive attractions and gift shops, but simple New England folks like me will take the refreshing, down-to-earth day trip to
Brookfield Orchards any day for some rest, relaxation and renewal. It’s really a tremendous wholesome experience for the kids, too — a place to put down the technological devices, play on the metal playground equipment, interact with other children, breathe in the fresh country air, and get to appreciate the hard-working folks at a fifth generation farm that go out of their way to make everyone feel welcome. Adults seem so happy to be away from the “rat race” of the big city and its sprawling suburbs — it’s almost like finding Paradise Falls from the movie Up, except it takes very little effort to get here from Worcester, Springfield, Boston, Providence, R.I., Nashua, N.H., and Hartford, Conn.
Plus, the travel experience costs a lot less! As long as you don’t go crazy buying everything in sight at the country
store, Brookfield Orchards is a very affordable, cheap New England travel destination. We have spent many afternoons here for under $25. That includes apples from the store, a few gifts, apple dumplings with ice cream, and drinks! Recently, we bought a huge bag of fresh-from-the-field apples for only $5.50.
Visiting Brookfield Orchards is like entering the “Welcome Center” to classic rural New England– and at any time of the year, for that matter!
Brookfield Orchards is located at 12 Lincoln Rd., North Brookfield MA. Tel. (508) 867- 6858 and open 9 a.m.-5 p.m. daily. Closed Christmas Day and Thanksgiving Day and the Fourth of July
Editor’s note: to stay up to date on events at Brookfield Orchards, I’d recommend following the Brookfield Orchards Facebook Fan Page.
If you enjoyed this article, you might also like reading:
Fall New England budget travel ideas
Visiting Phantom Farms in Cumberland, R.I.
Dining at the Salem Cross Inn, West Brookfield, Mass.
Visiting West Brookfield, Mass.
The amazing Book Bear book store in West Brookfield, Mass.
A trip to Adams Farm in Cumberland, R.I.