We live in the South. It’s not a shock that we don’t receive completely cool days until the end of October. Some love the persisting summer warmth, and others (the category I fall into) would prefer a fall breeze the entirety of September. While I can’t control the weather, I can suggest an excursion that makes it feel like fall, even if you end up sweating.

Last week, my boyfriend, Davis, and I made the quick 45-minute drive up the mountain to Sky Top Orchard. It’s rare we both have the same time off, so it was important we made the most of our day without having to spend a lot of time on travel.

We left Spartanburg around 10am, but with the orchard opening at 9, I suggest leaving earlier. Sky Top is named so for good reason, you have to drive up a long, winding mountain road to get to the entrance and traffic gets backed up from 11—noon, especially on holidays. Despite the extra bit of traffic, we parked with ease.

A bag for picking cost $20, and you can fill it with up to 15 pounds of fresh apples. We purchased ours at the check-in area, then headed out into the expansive orchard. Each row of trees is labeled with its type, and a list with a map is available to guide you to what apples are in season. We spent about an hour and a half walking through the orchard, finding the perfect apples for our bag and nibbling on a few as we walked. It was during the warmer part of the day, but since we were up in the mountains, there was constant, cool breeze.

After our bag was filled to the top, we headed back to the main hub where we could purchase jams and jellies and various other snacks. I bought my mom some apple butter and a bag of apple crisps for myself. While I went to grab cider slushies, Davis headed to the apple cider doughnut stand. The line extended to the parking lot, and for good reason. These delicious doughnuts are served hot off the press and are some of the best I’ve ever had. For just $10, we had to bring home a dozen.

Sky Top is only five minutes away from downtown Flat Rock, and only 15 minutes away from Hendersonville, North Carolina. Davis and I opted for the latter because there were more options for lunch, and we weren’t disappointed. With our apples in tow and eight of our dozen cider donuts, we headed home, back in time for dinner.

If you take the trip, check out these recipes calling for fresh apples:

Secret Sauce — Autumn Harvest Chutney

Big Apple – Apple Pandowdy

Have Your Pick – Apple Spice Cake

Winner, Winner – One Pan Roast Chicken

Learn more about Sky Top Orchard and plan your trip here: skytoporchard.com/plan.html