Historic Bethel Connecticut founded in 1855 is a neighboring town of Danbury located in Western Connecticut and is only 60 miles northeast of New York City. Bethel was once the birthplace of P.T. Barnum, the man that invented the “greatest show on earth.” To celebrate his 200th birthday, Bethel commissioned a life size bronze statue of this showman that graces the charming downtown area that is easily walkable with interesting shops and restaurants.
A few miles from the bustling center of Bethel, visitors will find Blue Jay Orchards, http://www.bluejayorchardsct.com located on 125 Plumbtree Road. Blue Jay Orchards is offering pick your own apples through October on Saturdays and Sundays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Visitors are invited to take a scenic wagon ride out to the apple orchards where they can search out apples, enjoy the fresh air and fall foliage that surrounds the orchards. Scenic wagon rides are $2 per person and are offered from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. The ride takes about 20 minutes. They are weather dependent and don’t operate if it is raining. Apples in the orchards can be found in bins throughout the picking area as well as on trees. Pick your own bags cost between $20 and $40 and hold between 12 and 14 pounds of apples for the smaller bag and up to 24 pounds of apples for the larger bag.
Blue Jay Orchards offers many varieties of apples including: Mutsu, McIntosh, Macon, Jonagold, Honey Crisp, Gala, Fuji, Empire, and Cortland, there are bins in the Farm Market where you can pick your own varieties of apples as well. Don’t miss the Bakery at Blue Jay Orchards that offers excellent home-baked pies made from recipes that have been handed down through the generations.
In the Farm Market, visitors will find one of the most popular items of the season, the famous “Apple Cider Donuts” that people travel far and wide for. Dusted with sugar and cinnamon and made with farm fresh apple cider, these donuts are delectable! Fresh apple cider, home baked cookies, loaf cakes, dumplings and even apple salsa and other delicious jams, jellies and relishes can be found in the Farm Market that is open 7 days a week.
In addition to apple picking, Blue Jay Orchards offers a pumpkin picking patch loaded with all manner of pumpkins to choose from. There is a path that circles the pumpkin patch that has a series of educational signs that educate young and old alike on the benefits of apples. Signs are interspersed amid antique farm machinery and flower gardens of brightly colored mums.
Special pumpkin tours are offered during the month of October for groups and includes a small pumpkin from the patch, a cup of hot cider, cider donut bites and a coloring book or pencil. The cost is $6 per person and takes about 30 minutes. Apple tours are also offered that takes a group out into the orchard to discuss the four seasons of apple growing, harvesting and a first hand look at the tools of the trade with a final stop at the “apple bedroom” or cooler where the apples are stored for freshness. This tour is $5 per person and lasts about 45 minutes.