Want apples? We got em! With 25 places to pick your favorite type, there’s no better place to be in autumn than New York’s Capital Region. Lots of these places also have pumpkins, freshly made cider donuts, local products and more, so you can really get your Fall on.
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|Albany||Indian Ladder Farms|
|Albany||Stanton’s Feura Farm & Markets|
|Columbia||Fix Bros Fruit Farm|
|Columbia||Golden Harvest Farms|
|Columbia||Love Apple Farm|
|Columbia||Yonder Fruit Farms|
|Rensselaer||Best Berry Farm|
|Rensselaer||Windy Hill Orchard East|
|Saratoga||De Voe’s Rainbow Orchard|
|Washington||Apple Hill Orchards|
|Washington||Billy Bob’s Orchard|
Want to drink beer in a pastoral field, amidst trees ablaze in orange and red? These rural brewery road trips are adventures. Some of them are quite rural — you’ll see corners of the region that you’ve never ventured to before. We checked our GPS on almost every trip, because we were sure we’d gotten lost. Some have limited (weekends only) hours, and yes, one even has an outhouse.
What you’ll also get to see is the ecosystem that’s resulted in the Capital Region’s craft brewing explosion. Brewers are making their hobbies into businesses, and setting up barns, yards and garages as tap rooms amidst rustic fields.
To make it a full day, we’ve added nearby stops for food, hiking and exploring along the way to the breweries. Your stunning fall road trip will take you through farmland and rural landscapes. And, you’ll taste local brews on the farms where they’re made, while seeing where your hops come from.
R.S. Taylor Brewing
R S Taylor & Sons Brewery has been called “the most beautiful farm brewery in America,” and that sounds about right to me. It’s is a destination farm brewery founded by Richard and Kelley Taylor, located on 50 acres of waterfalls and rolling hills at the head waters of Black Creek in Salem, New York.
All of the ingredients used in every beer at this brewery are grown on the farm or locally, and tours and tastings are on tap for individuals or groups visiting the rustic brewery year-round. They’re a hands-on operation — you can tour the grounds and take part in the harvesting process for hemp and hops.
While you’re in Hebron, in rural Washington County:
- Get amazing local foods (and pick berries, in season) at Gardenworks, a century-old, third generation family farm in Salem
- Wander through the 119-acre Cary Hill Sculpture Park sculpture at Salem Art Works
- Have lunch and get homemade chocolates at Steinengers in Salem
- Walk the Carter’s Pond Nature Trail in Salem
R S Taylor & Sons Brewery, 3602 County Route 30, Hebron, NY. Hours: Thursdays and Fridays 4 – 9 pm, Saturday 12 – 9 pm, Sunday 12 – 6 pm.
Old Klaverack Brewing
This one is definitely for adventurous types! OKB is situated in a remote, woodsy backyard, with a brewing shed, a small tent, and picnic tables, all in a hops field – with an outhouse. The beer is excellent (we recommend the deep Dunbar Stout and the hazy, hoppy Spookrock IPA). Owner Eric is now hard at work building a second, in-town location in Hudson, which should open this winter or spring.
OKB works really well as a quirky stop on a multi-venue Columbia County road trip:
- Downtown Hudson is nearby, as are the beautiful, small towns of Kinderhook and Valatie (try the excellent Mexican food at Magdelena’s).
- Art Omi, a vast, outdoor sculpture park, is about 9 miles away.
- Hike the trails next to the Martin Van Buren Historic Site.
- Pick apples at Love Apple Farm.
Old Klaverack Brewing, 150 Thielman Rd, Hudson NY, 12534. Hours: Friday 5pm – 9pm, Saturday 1pm – 9pm.
S & S Farm Brewing
S&S Brewery is operated on a 6th generation family farm located in Nassau, NY. The location is RURAL – some portions of our route were on dirt roads! – and the scenery is fantastic. Thankfully, so is the beer. S & S has 10 signature ales, half of which are ABV 5.0 or under. And, there are two very good local wines. (Sure, I was skeptical when I saw two kinds – “the red” and “the white” – but I happy report that both are really good.)
Many nights, there are bands and some pretty awesome food trucks on hand. The crowds are surprisingly large and super friendly. In cooler weather, there are fire pits, in addition to limited indoor seating.
Nearby are lots of outdoor activities, including:
- Hiking, kayaking or fishing (by permit) at Ooms Conservation Area.
- Birding and hiking at Wilson M. Powell Wildlife Sanctuary.
- Hiking the four trails of the Albert Family Community Forest.
- And, the gorgeous towns of Valatie, Chatham, Kinderhook (see an exhibit at Jack Shainman Gallery: The School) and Averil Park are all within a short drive.
S & S Farm Brewery, 174 Middle Road, Nassau, NY 12123, (518) 336-0766. Hours: Friday and Saturday, 5pm – 9pm
Indian Ladder Farm Cidery and Brewery
The granddaddy of farm breweries, Indian Ladder Farms Cidery and Brewery makes beer and hard cider on their 100-year-old family farm located in Altamont, beneath the dramatic cliffs of the Helderberg Escarpment. Their beer and cider are made using ingredients grown on Indian Ladder Farms as well as other New York State farms and is dedicated to the farm to table movement. Owners Laura Ten Eyck and Dietrich Gehring even co-authored a book on hops growing.
Do note that ILF is a HUGE local attraction on fall weekends, when families from near and far come to pick apples. Try a weeknight for a calmer, quieter visit. And, the food here is fantastic, as are the apples, of course!
While you’re here:
- Pick apples and pet the animals at Indian Ladder Farms
- Don’t miss a hike or drive to see the fall foliage at Thatcher State Park.
- If you’ve got kids — or are a kid at heart — there’s Wildplay zipline and adventure course, located inside of Thatcher Park.
Monday – Tuesday 12-6, Wednesday 12-8 (Teacher Night), Thursday – 12-8, Friday – 12-9, Saturday – 11-9, Sunday – 11-6
Thursday/Friday: 4-8, Saturday: 11-8, Sunday: 11-5
Andre Latour was an art director in NYC, and moved to Catskill (from Brooklyn) to go pro as a brewer. He spent four years transforming an old dairy barn into a tasting room, and now has a slew of great Brewery LaHoff beers on tap. The setting is gorgeous, with fields to while away an autumn afternoon.
Try the cider/ale mashup called Orchard House Ale, and the Wildflower Wheat, brewed with honey from their neighbors at Twin Spruce Apiary. Plus, they rolled out a Imperial Farmtoberfest Grand Cru, just in time for fall..
When you’re at Brewery LaHoff:
- Visit the town of Coxsackie (about 10 minutes), Athens (15 minutes), or Catskill (20 minutes)
- Take a hike on Cohotate Preserve or Willows at Brandow Point trail
- Visit Honey Hollow Brewery (see below) — it’s right down the road from Brewery LaHoff
Brewery LaHoff, 50 Vedder Rd, Coxsackie NY 12051. Hours: Friday 4 – 8pm, Saturday 12 – 8pm, Sunday 12 – 4pm
Honey Hollow Brewery
You might wonder if you’ve taken a wrong turn while you’re on the way to Honey Hollow – it’s pretty remote. My advice is to check your GPS, and then stick to the route. Honey Hollow is worth the drive. There are gardens, fields, fire pits, and a bacci court. Live music is often on tap, and Nervosity9 is grilling pizza on the outdoor oven in summertime. The beer is great, too — terrific ales, stouts and porters are all on tap.
The road trip tips for Honey Hollow Brewing are similar to Brewery LaHoff (but they’ll take more time to get to from Honey Hollow):
- Visit the town of Coxsackie (about 15 minutes), Athens (20 minutes), or Catskill (25 minutes)
- Take a hike on Cohotate Preserve or Willows at Brandow Point trail
- Visit Brewery LaHoff (see above) — it’s right down the road from Honey Hollow
- Daniel Baehrel, a highly acclaimed destination restaurant based on completely self-derived, sustainable, living off the land cuisine called Native Harvest, is nearby. It’s SUPER hard to get a reservation, and the meal lasts over 5 hours, but I thought I’d mention it, because there are some unusual characters in the Catskills.
Honey Hollow Brewery, 376 E Honey Hollow Rd, Earlton, NY 12058. Hours: Friday 4-8pm, Saturday 1-8pm
Maureen Sager is the Executive Director of ACE. This article was researched with the help of many willing and adventurous friends, and her boyfriend named Tom who enjoys a good beer and didn’t mind heading out into the Capital Region wilderness.
I am looking for someone that wants to run a small town grocery store, rent free! I have searched for 5 years to fill the local General store and my hope and the communities would be to find someone willing to take the risk, rent free! The fact is nothing has worked up to this point so this is a last chance at filling the space. The potential proprietor would need to run it as a store/cafe.
To start with some building specifications: Medusa General Store is a 2200 square foot block building built in 1938 by Ernest and Ruth Bell, in the historic hamlet of Medusa, in the town of Rensselaerville, in southwestern Albany County. The property is roughly 1.3 acres. At one point, the store covered all of the general merchandise needs of the surrounding township!
The store has a large deli area with all equipment. As well as shelving and counters. We installed a nine-door walk-in cooler in 2014 both to provide additional space for a large produce and beverage inventory, as well as to reduce the use of inefficient stand-alone coolers.
If you are interested in putting your hard work into this store, we would also put some skin in the game with super low rent and great support from the local community and owners.
This really is an amazing adventure – and we would love to discuss it with you further! If you have specific questions, please call or text.
Beginners and experienced welcome, but serious inquiry only.
This article is reprinted from a post from Listings Project, with permission of the lister.
Fall is a fabulous time to visit the Capital Region’s wineries. Drive the gorgeous rural routes and take in the scenery. And, you’ll be rewarded with seeing the makers in the throes of harvesting and making the 2021 vintage. It’s a thrilling yet tiring time at a winery, and they’ll appreciate your visit.
Of course, you’ll find terrific local wines. But there are also the personal stories, and the lovely locations, and the exploration of your “back yard” that can yield such delights and surprises. Truly, you can’t go wrong visiting any of the wineries in the Capital Region. And make sure to explore the rest of the Hudson Valley, and all of New York’s world-class wine regions.
Here are my top recommendations (in alphabetical order):
Altamont Winery, Altamont
I first met Mike DeCrescenzo, owner of Altamont Winery, at the Schenectady Farmer’s Market, about ten years ago. Intrigued with what was growing on his family’s large farm west of Albany, I took a visit. Knowing nothing about the area, I was skeptical about what kind of grapes could be growing in Altamont. Happily, my expectations were shattered – the vineyard is huge! It was originally planted by Larry Grossi, who passed in 1999. In 2006, Mike’s dad, Louis, decided to take it on, equally trusting what the 26-acre piece of land could yield.
There are many varieties thriving on the site, and the DeCrescenzos are passionate about their craft. Visiting Altamont is like reconnecting with a family member. The experience is friendly, welcoming, casual. The wines are home-grown and homemade. Be sure to try the Sirius, a dry white made with St. Pepin and Cayuga; the Leon Millot – a dry red made from this French-American hybrid; the semi-sweet Rose made from a blend of the grapes; and the others, too! Make a day of it. Learn more at www.altamontwinery.com, follow and like them on Facebook and Instagram, and visit at 3001 Furbeck Road, Altamont, NY.
Galway Rock Vineyard and Winery, Ballston Lake
Kate Soldani is the brains – and the brawn – behind Galway Rock Vineyard & Winery in Galway, New York. She started the winery in 2014, inspired by the garagiste movement of fine wine making (small-scale entrepreneurial wine-makers, who do not adhere to the traditions of wine-making). In under a decade, Kate has launched three signature brands with dedicated followers -– Galway Rock, Robinia Hill, and Saratoga Sparkling. The result is a range of white, red, rose, and sparkling wines to please any palate.
A visit to the tasting room is as creative and uplifting as Kate’s wines, offering a flight of six wines, or a signature “mimosa tower” tasting. What’s better than a tower of bubbles?? Hang out on the tasting room’s sunny patio with a specially prepared cheese board. Try the beautifully balanced Galway Rock Merlot-Malbec blend that’s full of delicious dark fruit notes. The Robinia Hill Riesling unfolds with apple and pear notes. And, don’t miss the Saratoga Sparkling Moscato that tickles the palate and turns on the pleasure. Learn more at www.galwayrockwines.com, follow and like them on Facebook and Instagram, and visit at 988 Saratoga Road, Ballston Lake, NY.
Home Range Winery, Canaan
Inspired by Cape Cod (of all places!) wine making, Peter Bartlett and Susan Powell reconsidered what was possible on their farm in rural Canaan, New York. The 30-acre Flatbrook Farm – in the Bartlett family for generations — was already planted with Concord grapes, as well as raspberries, blueberries and blackberries. All are fruits that are suitable for wines. Susan was an amateur (and now a full-time) winemaker. Peter is a farmer who raised his three children on Flatbrook Farm. Why not follow their passions for growing and wine making and start a winery?
Thankfully for the rest of us, they did it. Their goal? To grow grapes suitable for a colder climate, and to make wines they would be proud to serve to friends and strangers alike. They planted Marquette and Baco for red wines, and Traminette and Cayuga for white wines. An old barn on the property was cleaned out and converted to the tasting room and winery. Guests are welcome to explore the farm and to bring a picnic.
The wines have names that reflect the couple’s connections to nature, too. There’s Calm After the Storm, an easy-drinking Cayuga; Big Buck, a signature red made with Marquette; Cold Snap, a luscious blueberry wine; and several others offering a range from dry whites and reds to sweeter wines. Learn more at www.homerangewinery.com, follow and like them on Facebook and Instagram, and visit at 146 Flints Crossing Rd., Canaan, NY.
Nine Lamb Farm Winery, Cambridge
A relative newcomer on the scene is Nine Lamb Winery in Cambridge, NY, about 45 minutes northeast of Albany in some truly breathtaking countryside in Washington County. In 2016, the Bateman family planted six varieties of cold-hardy grapes on land that has been farmed for over 200 years. They’ve created two lovely, distinct brands. For the father/son Bateman team, South Dominion Vineyard represents tradition and heritage. And, their Nine Lamb Farm brand expands their inspiring vision. The Batemans say that Nine Lamb “intersects the realms of art, design, agriculture, and community so as to carry us forward into new life and a shared abundance born out of patience and forgiveness.”
Take a ride and visit the Cambridge tasting room this fall, when colors are at their peak. Or, try the wines at the Troy Farmer’s Market on Saturdays between 9 am and 2 pm (which is where I discovered them). Their enthusiasm is as inspiring as their wines. The Dionné (South Dominion brand) is a big, dry, oak-aged red with ripe berry notes and some spice on the finish. Learn more at https://www.facebook.com/ninelambfarm, follow and like them on Facebook and Instagram, and visit at 166 Brownell Road, Cambridge, NY.
Tousey Winery, Germantown
Everything about Tousey Winery is quirky and cool, from the unusual tasting room along Route 9 between Columbia and Dutchess Counties, to the names of the wines. That’s because the owners, Ben and Kimberly Peacock, are quirky and cool themselves. Ben is English and Kimberly is Scandinavian, and they share a deep love of fine wine. When they decided to settle in Germantown and start a winery, they went all in. That was back in 2008. Today, over a decade later, their wines are trend setters in the region and the state.
Tousey offers traditional wines like Riesling and Cabernet Franc. Additionally, they have blends like their off-dry Queen of Clermont, and the fun and friendly red blend, Riot. They make a Sauvignon Blanc called Hygge that is as clean and beautiful as any SB out there. Plus, they’ve recently added sparklers to their line-up, including Naughtiness, a rose sparkler. And we all know that bubbles make everything better!
Tousey is also renowned for their cassis, a wine made from black currants. Tangy and sweet at the same time, it’s delicious on its own but is best when topped with sparkling wine to make a Kir Royale. That they do it all with three young children is even more impressive. Learn more at www.touseywinery.com, follow and like them on Facebook and Instagram, and visit at 1774 Route 9, Germantown, NY.
Other Don’t-Miss Spots
I would be remiss to not mention a couple of others that are near and dear to me. Hudson-Chatham Winery, Columbia County’s first winery, is alive and well and making wonderful wines under the ownership of Steven Rosario and Justin Nickell. See where the Columbia County winery experience all started. (1900 State Rte 66, Ghent, NY). Another don’t-miss spot is Stable Gate Winery (12 Linda Way, Castleton-on-Hudson, NY). This female owned and operated vineyard was founded by Valerie Feldman. Her young and forward-thinking perspective on land and relationships shines through everything she does.
Dominique DeVito started Hudson-Chatham Winery with Carlo DeVito and their boys, Dawson and Dylan, in 2007. Today Dominique is a Wine Manager at Exit 9 Wine & Liquor Warehouse in Clifton Park, where she has a world of wines to play with. She writes a monthly feature for Main Street magazine as well as a “wine of the week” for the magazine’s website and social media. Find it at www.mainstreetmag.com.