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Produce Power: Apple Cider and Pumpkin Pies

Photo of Windy Hill Orchard & CideryWhere to Find the Best in Charlotte

Autumn snaps its way into Charlotte like a rushing river, whooshing away the hot sultry summer air and tossing in the season’s best offerings. That would be apple cider and pumpkin pie, of course. Say no more – here’s where to find the best of both.

Windy Hill Orchard and Cider Mill

Known as “The Home of Everything Apples,” Windy Hill Orchard and Cider Mill is the perfect place to sample all kinds of cider, from hard to sparkling and warm fresh-pressed cups for the little ones. The boutique farm and orchard spreads across the countryside of York, about 40 minutes from Charlotte. You’ll find a good-old-fashioned Farm Stand in the orchard that’s open seasonally, typically on Thursdays through Sundays from mid-August through December. Get ready for some free fingerpickin’ fun with live music, hayrides and Fire-Pit Fridays – and of course, hard cider tastings at The Cider Bar.

Their annual Windy Hill Apple Harvest Festival takes place on the third Saturday of October, with plenty of music, rides, barbeque and apple-butter-making demonstrations.

Hot tip: Apple aficionados hit the highway early on weekend mornings to get the first fresh batch of hot apple-cider doughnuts. Don’t ask – just eat! You won’t have to be told that more than once.

Cider Sampling, Boat Building and Whitewater Rafting

Have you ever imagined cider sampling and boat building in the same general thought process? Throw in some yoga and whitewater rafting, and you’ve got a day of activities taking place in one location on the first weekend of October. At the U.S. National Whitewater Center in Charlotte, the BYOB (Build Your Own Boat) competition tosses handmade river-worthy vessels in a whitewater competition channel and sends them crashing through class 3 and class 4 rapids – while the rest of us are hanging out in the cider tent.

This is a rare chance to taste fresh-pressed artisanal ciders from the best cideries around. You’ll get 4-ounce pours from Wild Blossom, Good Road Ciderworks, Windy Hill, Reverend Nat’s Hard Cider, Red Clay Ciderworks and lots more. You’ll also kick back with live music and slow-flow yoga, while other go-getters sign up for an obstacle trail race or boater-cross kayak race.

Pumpkin Pie Surprise

It’s been said that pumpkin pie is “autumn in a pan” – and I doubt that anyone’s contested that, especially in Charlotte. It would be way too risky to start a pumpkin war over who has the best traditional ones in town – so here’s two quirky Charlotte-style twists on p-pies.

You’ll have to keep an open mind for this first one: the Pumpkin Pie Wafflewich from Fud at Salud. It’s pretty much what is sounds like, except that it’s actually really good. You’ll get homemade pumpkin pie cream smeared between two waffles and topped with cinnamon, powdered sugar and whipped cream.

And here’s the most unusual, and arguably the best, pumpkin pie in the city: Crema de Zucca pie from Inizio. Yes, that’s the pizza place. You can pick up a pizza pie with a pumpkin cream base that’s filled with buffalo mozzarella, ricotta and basil. It’s only available in October, so get your pumpkin-pizza fix pretty quick. Believe it or not, they sell out.

Whatever the season, living in a Charlotte apartment community puts you in the heart of city life. Stop by today to tour our apartment homes and to hear about move-in specials.