Stow is a quiet town, about 20 miles west of Boston, and first settled over 350 years ago. Stow's namesake, if you will, are its apple orchards and golf courses. While I don't golf, I do love apple picking in fall, so here's to Stow's apple orchards!
Growing up, I lived within walking distance of two orchards, and within driving distance of a half dozen. Each farm is distinct and equally wonderful, but I probably have a subconscious preference for Shelburne Farm, which is where my family went most often.
If you are looking for a full day of family time in the "New England countryside," Shelburne is the farm to visit. You can pick your own apples, peaches and pumpkins here, and, for serious pickers, the farm posts its updated picking schedule online. There is no admission fee (you pay only for your bag of picked fruit). There are hayrides, farm animals, pony rides, a moon bounce, pedal tractors, hay maze, and a hay pyramid to climb. There's a full menu, ice cream, kettle corn, and a large variety of fresh bakery items, ciders, jams, and cheeses in the farm store.
You are immediately washed with nostalgia when walking into the farm store; although, for what I'm not sure, since I never grew up on a farm and surely neither did the visiting Bostonians out for a "day in the country." Nonetheless, it's a warm, wistful, homey feeling that's hard to find so close to Boston.
Indeed, there is nothing more traditionally fall than a late September afternoon at Shelburne. The smell of fresh hot cider donuts, children running through the hay maze, old red tractors pulled up against barn doors, leaves changing from green to red, juicy apples, cinnamon wafting through the air, the creak of old wooden floors, dozens of homemade cheeses, and on and on...
Shelburne is currently open for the season seven days a week from 9:00AM - 6:00PM.