We had a great day today - after Nutcracker practice (and costume fitting), we made the annual trip to Ellijay to the Red Apple Barn to visit the orchards.
The apples were great for picking, particularly our favorites, the Jonagold apples. Madison was all dressed up for the country, and after the hour or so of driving, we climbed out of the car to get into another mode of transportation: the hay ride. There's a spot at the bottom of the hill where a John Deere tractor picks you up, and gives you a ride up the mountain a bit to an orchard that's out of the way for certain.
Here's our tribute to the painter Magritte. You can see we were having a good time here - the weather was just right, as it was getting closer to sundown, and the temperature wasn't quite as hot as it has been lately. Additionally, there's plenty of shade amongst the apple trees. Here's Madison posing in the orchard, about to get an apple for herself.
We each ate one for ourselves, before filling up the bag we brought along with us. Our bag is mostly filled with Jonagold, though there was this one red delicious that we got from way up high on the tree. In order to get that, Daddy got Madison up on his shoulders, and she was able to reach high enough to grab this luscious fruit. It thought it was safe up there!
It was a beautiful day. And it was a beautiful drive up to the mountains as well. As you can imagine, we're in the heart of apple season in Ellijay, so there were plenty of other folks visiting one of many of the orchards up in the North Georgia mountains. The other orchards seem to have more of an amusement park atmosphere, with some even offering mini-golf. Most have animals to pet or some sort of games to play. This particular orchard is nice because it is further removed from that stretch of road. There's a section we pass by that about a dozen different apple barns and orchards, with tons of people and police officers directing traffic.
But not the destination we have in mind. Not yet, anyway. We popped in the Steve Martin banjo CD, along with the Dan Lundrum hammered dulcimer, and had a bit of atmosphere music playing as we rode the curvy drive through the mountains. Some leaves are changing now, although not all of them, and some are even falling to the ground, drifting in the air around us as we drive on by. It was a perfectly pleasant sort of day. It's not necessarily about the apples so much as the experience, and it's one we're happy to do each year. We got home with a peck of apples, and a content spirit. It was a lovely day.