Growing up in New York City, one of our family traditions was going apple picking in the Hudson Valley every Fall. It's a tradition I've enjoying continuing with my own kids because it's a great day out in the country, it's economical (considering the price of apples from FreshDirect), and it's even trendy (if you're into the locavore thing). It's a great activity for Columbus Day Weekend, but there are also a bunch of free Apple Festivals right here in NYC if you don't feel like taking the kids traveling.
New York is the second largest apple producing state so when it comes to pick your own farms, there are plenty of options. Anything from basic farms to ones that offer hayrides, petting zoos, corn mazes and more. I even found out about some apple farms that you can reach by public transportation if you don't have a car on Gothamist.
If you don't feel like leaving the city you can stop by the Queens County Farm's Apple Festival on Sunday, October 5th. There'll be games, a corn maze, hayrides, apple cider pressing demos, and the country's biggest apple cobbler. You won't be able to pick apples, but there will be plenty on hand and you can pick your own pumpkins! (Pumpkin picking and the corn maze are possible through October 28th.) This event is free, but some of the activities are not.
We've posted a bunch about the Queens County Farm, but you've probably never heard of the Wyckoff Farmhouse Museum in Brooklyn. It's New York City's oldest structure and home to a museum about early Dutch life in NYC. On Saturday, September 27th, you can check it out at the free Wyckoff Farmhouse Museum Apple Festival where there'll be games and crafts, apple fritters and cider pressing, and workshops on cooking fresh produce from their weekly Farmers Market and an authentic local Brooklyn jug band. A little bit of the Hudson Valley right here in New York.
Also check out our post on pumpkin picking and fall festivals in Long Island.