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We’ve had several sets of plans to go apple picking this Fall, all of which have fallen through. Rodney had to travel on Sunday and left us with no plans and a full day to explore.

We decided to leave for a last-minute trip to Warwick, NY for some apple picking, worried that the season would slip by without a visit. And after spending 30 minutes in bumper-to-bumper traffic on the main thoroughfare that links our lake house in northern New Jersey to the Southernmost part of the Hudson Valley, we pulled the ripcord and made other plans.

We’d passed by a small farm called L&L and rather than sitting in more traffic, we pulled over to see what they had to offer.

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Although the apple orchard wasn’t open for picking, bushels of apples were available for purchase, and off in the distance I spotted a pumpkin patch. After our visit to Heaven Hill, we’d bought our fair share of pumpkins, but the kids were eager to find another, having drawn all over our existing pumpkins with a set of highly-guarded Sharpies. How they get a hold of these markers is a mystery; one of their magical talents seems to be finding Sharpies from hiding places that I’d previously thought undiscoverable.

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We loaded up on fruit…

Fruit Collage

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And bought a few decorated pumpkins…

pumpkins Collage

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…before heading out to the patch to see if we could find one big pumpkin to carve. The highlight of our visit was finding smashed and moldy pumpkins which led to a competition to see who could find the most decomposed specimen. Sam (male) clearly won.

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Sam also found some Indian corn and all of the kids were fascinated by the fact that they’re just used as decoration. 

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But here’s what we could eat: apples, apples, apples. Lauren picked out a bushel of Granny Smith apples which I was initially less than enthusiastic to buy. Grocery store Granny Smith apples are usually pretty dismal – overly acidic and soft. But a fresh, just-picked, still cool to the touch Granny Smith? Kind of a revelation.

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Given that we had the whole afternoon still ahead of us, I wanted to find another activity and was lucky that Waywayanda State Park in New Jersey was just across the street. I’ve been meaning to visit this park since we first heard about it last year, but finding the time has always been a challenge. So it was a huge treat to pull into the parking lot and find a space that can only be described as a little piece of Heaven.

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There’s a playground for the kids…

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Swings Collage

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And a stunning, practically empty beach.

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The nice thing about an empty beach is that I get to relinquish my usual responsibility as the sand police. 

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Sandcastles were built…

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Beach Collage

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Waters were explored. Lauren had luckily worn her rain boots and was thrilled to announce that she’d found hundreds of tadpoles swimming close to shore.

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More sand was thrown…

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And we took in the beauty of the season’s colors.

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I asked the kids if it was a good day or an awesome day but sometimes actions speak louder than words…As for me? I had fun capturing the moment, because truly, days don’t get better than this…

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