Last year we went to Carter Mountain twice; the first time was on my birthday, and the second was a couple of weeks later, and on that second trip we ran into friends and ended up sitting on the hillside, enjoying some wine and apple cider donuts, chatting while the kids all enjoyed themselves and got covered in red Virginia clay dust. It was such an idyllic situation that I decided then and there that my new birthday tradition would be to throw an annual picnic at the orchard (preferably NOT on a harvest festival day, so crowded!), invite people who rock, and spend an afternoon soaking up the company of good friends, letting the kids run, eating delicious things, enjoying blue October skies, and picking apples.
We got it all but the blue skies. (Dan says the month's motto should be "October: You never know." I'm offended on October's behalf.) I planned things at the last minute and scheduled our picnic for a weekday, and that day turned out to be cloudy and FREEZING cold, but we still had a lovely gathering of Charlottesville and Richmond friends, huddled together for warmth and sharing extra clothing (THANK YOU to the friends who loaned my pitifully underprepared family jackets and jeans). We eschewed our packed cold sandwiches in favor of barbecue, warm donuts, and hot cider before heading into the Jonagold trees.
A few photo highlights are below and the rest are in the apples & sunshine album. The kids were especially fun to watch - it turned into a reunion of the beach bunch. This group really enjoys each other, it's so sweet. And LOOK! Reese got into the group-photo action, of his own accord! I've never seen a better bunch of Virginia clay-stained thumbs.
Dan Hardy - snuggly Sara & Jess
Adam Short - birthday cake circle
all others by yours truly or as noted in album