Parents are always asking where they can escape the city with their kids to pick apples, see farm animals, wander through a field of sunflowers or corn maze, indulge in fresh apple cider donuts, or take a hayride and go pumpkin picking. There are an overwhelming amount of farms you'll see pop up on a Google search, but I'm here to give you my family's 10 thumbs up on such a family-run destination we just visited yesterday: Barton Orchards!
Disclaimer: Tickets were provided in exchange for this review but all thoughts and opinions are completely my own. We're no sell outs - quite honestly, this place was amazing!!
Barton Orchards is a 175-acre apple orchard and vegetable farm located in Poughquag, NY (Dutchess County), run by the Barton family for over 40 years. While many pick-your-own fruit spots offer only that, Barton Orchards goes above and beyond, providing a variety of activities that are fun for all ages, most of it included in admission. For the full experience, be sure to watch our video highlights here and read on for more details about our trip to their 2nd Annual Sunflower Festival and what you can expect on your visit!
2020 was Barton Orchard's 2nd Annual Sunflower Festival. It's quick, held over just 2 weekends in August so you better pencil it in now for 2021 so you don't miss it! You can walk to the field but it's much more fun to hop on their complimentary hayride to the 5 acre sunflower field which was simply spectacular! They give you cutters (based on your ticket type you either get 1 flower or a vase with 6 flowers, and pay for extras picked) and a plastic bag. You wander through the field, taking a million photos and at least a handful of selfies, am I right!? You pick your flower, put it in the bag, and fill it a bit at their water station, tying it off with a rubber band hoping it doesn't leak on the trip home. Our kids were REALLY into the super big job they each had to pick out their own sunflower. It was such a special time watching them wander, considering what makes the perfect sunflower, deciding which one to choose and take home. There's no storage so I recommend doing like we did, saving the sunflower picking for the last activity before you head home, otherwise you'll be carrying them around (and likely a couple of bees will be your companions while doing so).
The Kids' Fun Park
I was expecting a generic playground, but what we found was so much more! A tractor-drawn children's train, rope climbing, a hay chute slide, pedal go carts, barrell pong, a swing, rock maze, hop balls, mini golf, and probably some other things I'm forgetting. My kids (and us parents) had an absolute blast, even in the rain!
Live Music & Entertainment
They have 4 stages for live music, there was a band going in the food court area which was nice while we scarfed down the (most amazingly soft and delicious) apple cider donuts! There was also a band playing in a gazebo up at the sunflower field, which really added to the ambience! But what really blew us away was the Bubble Bus, blowing bubbles and foam across an entire field. You really have to watch my video to see how cool this was, my kids could have played and danced there all day!
Whether you are looking for a meal, a snack, some booze, or treats to take home, you'll find them in abundance at Barton Orchards! After seeing their unique sundaes on social media, we decided to get the Apple Cider Donut Sundae and a half-dozen box to share of Apple Cider Donuts ($1 each but half dozen was the minimum purchase - we saw many people buying 3 dozen!!). I will say, hands down, one of the best donuts I've ever had! They were SO fresh, soft, simply scrumptious!!! Do not miss out on these when you visit!! They also have the Tap Room with lots of great beer and hard cider on tap, but due to covid, the system of ordering alcohol is a bit tricky. You're required to purchase with food, so basically you buy your food and tell them how many drink tickets you want, and purchase all together, then you bring your drink ticket to the Tap Room and get your drink. Not too much run around, but I had never experienced the new covid drinking-with-food rules before so it was new to me!
They had lively goats, curious llamas, a huge peacock, a couple of bunnies, a duck, and more! We didn't spend too much time here but did enjoy seeing all of the animals, petting some, and getting a surprise tongue bath by one LOL!
Other Family Fun:
In September and October they have pumpkin picking and a haunted house, "Rotten Core Manor". Their website also mentions a dog park, a corn maze, 120 acres of pick-your-own veggies and apples starting from end of July (see what's available for picking now), and Tree Tops Adventures ropes course!
Notes for those with strollers & babies:
There were gravel paths around, which don't scream stroller-friendly, but it is completely doable and wouldn't deter me from making a visit with a stroller or wagon, though you may want to consider also bringing a baby carrier to wear your baby in the fields and less accessible areas. There were porta-potties with hand sanitizers, a handwashing station in the foot court area, and we saw a changing table by the petting zoo.
Visit their website to learn more and don't drag your feet, go ahead and plan your family's visit now! You won't regret it!!
We recently moved from our tiny 1 bedroom 1 bathroom 927 square foot Brooklyn co-op to a "huge" 1800 square foot 4 bed 2 bath home in NY's Hudson River Valley (the Town of Cornwall, to be exact). The move has brought with it MANY challenges (you can watch them documented in our "moving from city to suburbs" playlist on YouTube) but also many fun and exciting changes! We find ourselves with way more space, including a yard and a driveaway, and a LONG list of things we've needed (or wanted) to purchase for our new space. I'll give you a kind of mini tour through photos below and link to some of the new (and a few old) items we're loving in case you need inspiration for your own home! Full video home tour will come a bit later to YouTube (and I'll embed it here) - after we put pictures and decor up, if that's ever going to happen! Unpacking and organizing is my first priority and I'm still working on it...
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Our new kitchen is bigger than our previous tiny galley kitchen, but it didn't have a built in microwave. We don't really have all that much counter space to give up so opted to buy a microwave cart, and LOVE the Casual Home kitchen island we bought! It was pretty easy to put together, and looks great in the kitchen! I'm also loving the rack I bought for our pots and pans, no more pulling out everything from a cabinet each time I needed one, no more layering with towels so they don't scratch each other! Why didn't I get this thing years ago!?!?! Some things we kept from our old home because we love them so much include our Nutri Ninja blender and old dish drain because we loooooove it, clear and easy to clean!
Our kitchen window is very old and gross, and looks into our garage (WTF, am I right!? I won't even go into how hot it gets in there while coking) so I bought these curtains and artificial succulents to add some color and cuteness. Love standing in front of the sink now!! Speaking of sink, I was nervous about the quality of our drinking water coming through this home's old pipes so got this Tap Score water test to check for lead and 100 different nasties, stay tuned for the results (on YouTube)!
PRIVACY / BLACKOUT CURTAINS:
These aren't 100% blackout if the sun is streaming directly at them, but they do a great job of providing privacy (you can't see anything from outside at night when inside lights are on) and also provide very good room darkening to allow for better morning sleep in! We have some odd shaped windows, some with shelves or baseboard heating below them, so didn't want floor length, and found sizes that work perfectly (though I know they're not the best length for design alone).
We got this GE High Efficiency Energy Star set washer and dryer from Home Depot. It was the first time shopping for a washer and dryer so I asked around and did some research. In the end my requirements were top loading, steel drum, high efficiency, energy star. Using those, I shopped around for the best deal. It was around Memorial Day so I was able to score something like 30% off at Home Depot, woohoo!! I've used them a few times already and am IN LOVE! Having my own set, in my own home, not having to go down to a communal laundry room with the kids in masks, it's a game changer!
I can't find the exact desk on Amazon that I bought, so a similar one is linked below, but this is Safco desk I got on Walmart. It's not super sturdy (I've had to ban my kids from climbing on it LOL) but perfectly good as a desk and I love how easy it was to assemble and how sleek and modern it looks. Nice and lightweight if I have to move it, too. No drawers, so I may have to add something next to it, and I'm not sure how it'll do with water stains and wear and tear, trying to treat it carefully! The rolling leatherette office chair is a nice addition as well, since I've been using a folding Ikea wooden chair for the last few years. I know, I know. Don't laugh!! Oh, and can't forget my cute "Boss Lady" mousepad!!
Did you know, radon is the #1 cause of lung cancer in non-smokers. A natural byproduct of uranium breaking down in soil, it's a radioactive gas that seeps from the ground and can accumulate in dangerous levels in the home, especially in the basement... which is where our master bedroom is!! So, the Airthings Radon Detector was one of our first purchases and thankfully the first week of monitoring has been reporting back with a very low and safe level, and it will continue to monitor over time to make sure the average levels are healthy and it doesn't spike. It also monitors humidity and temperature, and if you upgrade to a slightly more expensive one (voted one of TIME Magazine's 2019 best inventions), it also monitors VOCs! Healthy home and peace of mind is SO important!! Of course we also got a Ring video doorbell with Chime which helps me keep track of when kids are coming in and out of the door, and when we get a delivery (several times a day, I've been online shopping like a fiend).
The first orders for outdoors, other than garbage/recycling bins and hose/nozzle/sprinkler, were our dome climber and disc swing. The kids have been OBSESSED with these, they're AMAZING!!! The only issue is that the grass in the middle of the dome is nearly gone, it only took like 3 days to destroy it with their swinging. Oops! Not sure if we should keep it there and totally destroy it or try to move the dome a bit every couple of days to give grass a chance to revive?
A couple of things we recently ordered but haven't received yet: We got a 6-person round wooden picnic table and these bungee folding outdoor chairs that got great reviews, hope they're comfy!! We just needed something to sit on while the kids play outside, or to bring camping or to the beach. Didn't want to invest in beautiful $2K outdoor dining/lounging set for this rental home where we'll probably be only 2 years, but hopefully in our next purchased place, our "forever home"??, we'll build a deck and go all out!
I want to emphasize how amazing the over the door shoe organizers are... not just for shoes, but for everything!!! We have one hanging in my closet with my makeup, hair accessories etc. We have one hanging in the kids' bathroom with their toiletries and hair ties, nail clippers, bandaids etc. I've seen others use in laundry room and pantry, for arts and crafts, you name it!! They fit over standard doors and may end up scratching the paint at the top but are well worth it!!
We also don't have any built in towel racks in the bathrooms, so the over-the-door racks below are very helpful. And I bought the hyper tough wire shelving to create a pantry in this random nook we have just half a flight of stairs down from the kitchen. Has been working out nicely!
So, what do you think? Do you have and love any of these? Have other great must have home items to recommend!? Sharing is caring!
About Me ^_^
I'm a NYC metro area mom blogger living in NJ with my Japanese husband & our 3 kids (twins plus 1). This blog is chock full of product reviews, family travel guides, and giveaways galore! It's also home to Bay Ridge Families, and several guides focused on kid-friendly activities and guides to South Brooklyn, Hudson Valley, and New Jersey, as well as family-friendly destinations beyond the NYC area (check the menu bar!)