The Apple Festival has always been held two consecutive weekends in October (Fri-Sun), and now has been extended to three. The family-owned Lodge have held this event for years and it has always been a tradition to go, enjoy the view, listen to non-stop Blue Grass music, eat Virginia Brunwick Stew, shop Graves Mtn. jams/jellies, purchase handmade crafts from numerous area vendors and pick apples from the plentiful orchard. While the Graves Mtn. orchards provide apples for area stores and shipped to other states, there have always been apples left during festival time. Apples are already picked as well, with bins full to sort through for purchase, but the fun has always been to do it ourselves. Nothing like pulling fresh apples off of a tree, filling a bushel size box and having fresh apple pie, applesauce and apple everything for a month.
We went last Sat on the first weekend and are sad to report that we will look into other Apple picking festivals in the Virginia area in the future. The Festival was already extremely crowded before 10 am, had long food lines, and slim "pickins" for apples. If there are any apples to pick by the 2nd weekend it would take great feats of climbing to get to them, even if you can find any in the row upon row of trees. It appeared that the apples meant for the food industry and already harvested left little for the average family pickers. Having always enjoyed the Bruswick stew platter, that comes with a side of cornbread, apple sauce, apple butter and a drink, the price has gone up and the stew less than satisfying. Very watered down instead of the rich hearty stew of just a year ago. The economy being what it is, there were fewer vendors selling their goods and the Graves Mtn. family hiking prices on all they provide the consumer overall.
A disappointment big time on what was always a wonderful experience.
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