Mack’s challenges expectations

11 Sep

I was prepared to be disappointed by the experience at Mack’s Apples. After all, I went there a few years ago on the recommendation of a close friend, and after having such a bad experience I vowed to never go there again. My return trip today, however, revised my impression of this expansive, yet great orchard.

After visiting Mack’s (which is located in Londonderry, NH and part of Moose Hill Orchards) the first time and being so underwhelmed by the experience, it made me stop and think about why people are attached to the orchards they visit year after year. Even mentioning to people that I am doing this blog, has led to a flurry of recommendations on the “best” places to go. I guess it has to do with where one has established memories and created traditions. To my friend, Mack’s Apples was the place she went with her family as a kid and where she now goes with her own family.

So returning today, I kept an open mind. My first visit was in the height of apple-picking season so I encountered traffic jams, long lines and over-picked trees. In contrast, today’s trip is very early season and, as a result, I got to see Mack’s for what it really is: a good place to pick apples and spend a fall day.

Entering the orchard was definitely unlike my first visit to Mack’s. We did not see cars parked on both sides of the country road. We did not wait in a long traffic jam to enter the U-pick area OR the parking lot of the country store. Instead, we drove into the U-Pick lot, parked, chose our destination for picking and picked some great early McIntosh apples.

After picking, we visited the country store, which had an ice cream stand, apple tastings, and the usual array of baked goods and fall bric-a-brac.

All-in-all, Mack’s has a lot to offer. The difference in this orchard is its apparent size, not in terms of acreage, but in how it feels, large and spread out. There are multiple parking lots to pick the various varieties, and the U-pick area is located down the street from the farm stand. So if you want to pick apples and visit the store, plan to park multiple times. Again, this wasn’t a huge deal in our trip today, but I have seen Mack’s in its peak of busyness and it can definitely be chaotic. That aside, today there appeared to be several other potential stops along the way to and from Macks, including a craft fair and a garden center that was hosting some fall festivities. Together this could make for a full day. It was for me, and it resulted in a sweet and crunchy Maple Apple Crisp.


One Response to “Mack’s challenges expectations”

  1. Rena September 12, 2011 at 10:27 pm #

    Mack’s is where I had my photo taken with Barack Obama! I’ve never had a chance to pick there, it was kind of a whirlwind trip the month before the election. I have a friend who grew up picking there though.

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