Recently I have spoken with families looking for nearby excursions, couples in need of an activity so they can focus on each other, and singles seeking a local activity for some solace. Whatever the goal is, this is the day venture I recommend for you!!
We were truly ready for our first adventure since the shutdowns caused by this year’s 2020 pandemic!
Careful research had been done and we were ready to go!
I threw myself, my pup, a Standard Poodle named Aria, our water and water dishes into the car, and we were off…it had been SO long since we had been out exploring!!
So, what was the destination for this adventure starved duo?
Sky Top Orchard
My trusty companion and I made a quick stop at our local bank to pick up some cash since the orchard’s website advised that their connectivity may be hit and miss for credit card transactions.
At the bank, I excitedly told the patient teller about our sightseeing plans. Before I could finish she told ME where I was headed!!
My deflated response was:
“Oh…so it is not such a novel destination after all…?” She smiled back, “You must be new in town.” …”uh, …well, I have been here since 2012…”
– I had NOT heard of this orchard so near me before now!!!
The sweet lady beamed back at me, “well you will LOVE the apple donuts!!”
They definitely have the donuts, and apparently, except for myself, everyone else in town knew of the location!! SO, it WAS a definite go-to spot for some R&R!!
The drive was about 44 minutes from Greenville, SC up to Flat Rock, NC where the orchard was nestled in.
The drive was lovely. The last part of the drive went up the steep twisting Pinnacle Mountain Road which was beautiful!! The view driving up the road was great and there were several crazy elegant and luxurious homes along with it.
Couple of things to know:
- The road is very busy, so travel cautiously. If you would like to investigate the homes further, be sure and check them out online and not while on the road to be able to fully enjoy the day incident-free.
- There are no nearby locations for meals. So grab a meal earlier or packing it along is recommended.
You will find excellent sweet foods at the orchard, so please do not leave your sweet tooth behind!!
The ladies at the counter are wonderful in stepping you through their menu.
Since I was famished by then, they suggested a glorious apple pie and showed me their selection of apple ciders.
They were well acquainted with what they had and took the time to listen so we could narrow things down to the selection I needed.
They also pointed out that later, I might take a look at their picks of jams, apple butter, and apple salsa!
On the orchard grounds:
The location is well maintained and clean.
- The signage is clear.
- They follow the NC mask mandate of wearing a face-covering in indoor and outdoor areas where physical distance cannot be maintained.
- They offer a couple of nice picnic hideaways.
- Restrooms are well stocked and in excellent order! – Thank you!!
- As I looked around the orchard, the owner, David, was out mowing the paths…this family orchard takes it seriously keeping it safe, pleasant, and pest free for the growing of the fruit and for the enjoyment of the orchard’s visitors!
- There is a cute playground on the property for the kiddos.
- The orchard also includes certain family activities such as “hay” rides for the kids. Be sure and check their site for details and times.
- The orchard is a pet-friendly destination.
- They have designated “Paw Paths” for furry friends and note: they are not permitted in the store…although I was told that this rule is bent on occasion for guests that need to walk straight through, non-stop, and only on occasion.
It was good to know that if it was necessary could do this not be banished from every returning!! Phew!!
I was impressed by how forward-thinking the orchard proved to be, and how guest aware, making itself accessible, so that visitors could enjoy the location as a family no matter what the limitations different families might be embracing.
- Pet owners are to bring along their own litter pick up tools as these are not provided. However, trash bins are available in several locations.
- No masks were provided, that I am aware of.
- I did note there did seem to be some unevenness in some path areas…having a family member in poor health, heading towards a wheelchair, I noticed several areas that might be tricky to navigate if trying to help a family member in a chair either from the parking lot in or around. Might just need to be cautious in places.
- Some directional signage would have been helpful when on the paths…such as when out hiking it is helpful to generally know your direction such as if trying to get back to the parking areas or the store.
- With this: there are a lot of workers and other people around that are friendly so you will have help if you do get turned around. All you really need to do is ask.
While there, Aria and I met up with another family. They were visiting from Columbia, SC. Their adorable and lively children helped with exercising my girl Aria while we talked, (Thank you SO much for that!!!). They told me that they had also fairly recently learned of the orchard…about 4 years earlier. Arthur and his lovely wife located it by searching for a family activity in the area. They had enjoyed the trip so much that they have returned regularly ever since.
It was so nice to meet that charming family!!
To Pick Or Not To Pick:
Online at: Sky Top Orchard you will find thorough coverage of all-things “Sky Top Orchard” – including detailed picking how-to, history about the orchard, fruit tree specie information, and the harvest schedule.
Personally, I chose to make my selection from the store. The delightful family Aria and I met enjoyed the orchard with their little ones and filled their baskets directly from the trees. In other words, you can choose to make your selection of most of the available apples from either the store or by picking them yourself.
The day we were there, the store had a selection of Asian Pears, Galas, Honey Crisp, Goldies, and more apples! The aroma was marvelous!!
They also had some wonderful and huge Tomatoes that could not be passed up!!
David Butler, the owner, was kind enough to take time in his busy schedule to give me a few words. He told me that the farm had been started by his family in 1967, that it had always been a commercial farm. It had not started as a u-pick orchard, however, it did quickly transition into that after its opening. When I asked about business challenges, his response was how much he truly appreciated his customers during this time of uncertainty. That their telling him how much they appreciated his farm being there, seeing how much it means to them and to hear: “thank you for being open!” It impressed on me how much it meant to this gentleman to offer some normality for his customers and their families.
So, we returned, worn out and happy. With our load of apples. Now, we are home making apple butter and apple pie…they are really good!!
Besides, it is an ADVENTURE!!! What is NOT to love about it?!
Thank you for joining us on our adventure! I look forward to you coming along on our next adventure very soon!!