On a recent Sunday, one might have thought the cloudy conditions and possibility of rain a better bet for a movie than apple picking, but that didn’t stop my husband, sons, and I from forging ahead. We invited my sister along for the ride, and my kids couldn’t have been happier to spend time with their aunt.

With a friend in tow too and a simple picnic lunch of sandwiches and drinks packed in the back, the six of us made our way to the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains to an orchard I found on the Internet. We got to drive to a spot on the mountain to settle in for our picnic and picking. There was something inspiring about seeing so many apples on each tree, a natural abundance that made me want to have my own apple tree to “pick my own” out back.

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Immediately, the boys started picking apples, plucking them from the tree and climbing sturdy branches to reaches apples higher up. We picked green apples from the first tree, then red from the next. We took breaks here and there to experience the taste of a fresh apple, and then the boys began to explore.

They ran off with their aunt, who happily led them through the orchard to look at the view of the mountains and then to watch a herd of cows. They saw butterflies and grasshoppers and upon return my seven-year-old exclaimed, “Look, a swallowtail!”

We headed back to pay our $4.00 for a bag of apples (and I couldn’t resist some fresh cider and apple butter too) and then passed a sign on the way out with an arrow pointing left for “Raspberries.” We stopped again, and picked (and ate) our first fresh raspberries and promised the kids we’d put raspberries in our garden.

Last year, my husband didn’t go with us apple picking. This year, the kids said he couldn’t miss it. So he came with us, had a great time, and even made it back in time to watch some football.

Rebecca P. Cohen is Founder and President of Rebecca Plants LLC, is a gardening and outdoor lifestyle company that inspires families to be outside and improve their well being. For her weekly online video series, “Get Out of the House” as well as Starla J. King’s guest blog series “Savoring Summer,” visit http://www.rebeccaplants.com.