Apples, pumpkins, hayrides, corn mazes and fall foliage! Isn’t that the best of the fall in the northeast? Well, within a short trip from New York City or Philadelphia, the options are numerous. Why not take a trip to northeastern Pennsylvania, just over an hour from both cities, and enjoy lots of fall activities along with the relaxation of a weekend in the country? And if relaxation isn’t all you are seeking, maybe some Halloween fun? The Chelsea Sun Inn is located in Northampton County, just south of the Delaware Water Gap, and is proximate to many fall activities, many of which can be researched on this site.
Fall foliage can be enjoyed during the trip, while the other activities can be enjoyed at the destination. Apple pies, apple sauce, pumpkin recipes, and new ideas can all be features of a trip “to the country”. There are countless options for farm fresh apples, including Macintosh, Cortland, Yellow Delicious, Jonathan, Empire, and Red Delicious. In addition, the opportunity to venture away for a peaceful country and/or romantic weekend is, as they say, priceless!
This spring (2012), extraordinary warm weather coaxed early blossoms from the trees. Then, an April frost threatened New Jersey and Pennsylvania orchards, and many of the open flower blossoms did not survive the freezing nights. A hot, dry summer followed, slowing the apples’ growth, in between, violent hail storms affected orchards. Thankfully, the dry weather minimized disease and blight, and most local growers have managed to survive. Unfortunately, apple picking is limited, and most orchards will sell pre-picked apples. But be sure to call ahead to confirm an adequate supply of apples at your orchard of choice.
Pumpkin patches exist throughout the area, and often are accompanied by opportunities for hayrides, cider and other fall activities.
Fall foliage colors peak during the month of October. Dominant Colors: Red, orange, and yellow. Peak color is expected during the week of October 12-18. Enjoy the fall foliage as you experience the natural beauty of Eastern Pennsylvania.
Other activities in the area include hiking, antiquing, or, simply relaxing. The Chelsea Sun Inn is located proximate to many venues for fall activities, and on-site, offers guests the opportunity to relax or to take a wine-making course, offering a choice of seasonal wines to make, custom label design, and the opportunity to return to bottle and label a case of your own wine!
We hope to see you soon!
How to Pick the Best Apples
There are so many kinds of apples that it’s impossible to follow one general rule when looking for the right attributes, but there are a few key points to seek out. Choose unbruised apples that feel firm and heavy in your hand. Be sure to look for richly colored fruits with smooth skin. Also, watch out for signs of russeting—that’s those tan or brown streaky, corky marks that sometimes show up on the stem or base end of the apple, caused by excessive wetness or fungus.
Apple Quick Facts
Store apples in the refrigerator. The best choice for many bakers is a mixture of apples to achieve a balance of sweet and tart, soft and crisp.
1 pound, or 3 to 4 medium apples = 1 ½ cups applesauce
Use 7 to 9 medium apples for a 9-inch pie.
Applesauce can be frozen; increase spice being used by about ¼, as flavor decreases during frozen storage. Cool quickly, package, seal and freeze immediately.
Old-Fashioned Apple Sauce
8 tart apples
1 teaspoon grated lemon peel
¾ cup water
(about) ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
½ cup sugar
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
Pare, core and slice apples. Add just enough water to prevent scorching. Bring to boil; lower heat to simmer and cover. Cook until soft, about 20 minutes. Put through sieve or food mill; add sugar and spices to taste.
French Apple Tart
For the pastry:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon sugar
12 tablespoons (11/2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, diced
1/2 cup ice water
For the apples:
4 Granny Smith apples
1/2 cup sugar
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) cold unsalted butter, small diced
1/2 cup apricot jelly or warm sieved apricot jam
2 tablespoons Calvados, rum, or water
- For the pastry, place the flour, salt, and sugar in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade. Pulse for a few seconds to combine. Add the butter and pulse 10 to 12 times, until the butter is in small bits the size of peas. With the motor running, pour the ice water down the feed tube and pulse just until the dough starts to come together. Dump onto a floured board and knead quickly into a ball. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper.
- Roll the dough slightly larger than 10 by 14-inches. Using a ruler and a small knife, trim the edges. Place the dough on the prepared sheet pan and refrigerate while you prepare the apples.
- Peel the apples and cut them in half through the stem. Remove the stems and cores with a sharp knife and a melon baler. Slice the apples crosswise in 1/4-inch thick slices. Place overlapping slices of apples diagonally down the middle of the tart and continue making diagonal rows on both sides of the first row until the pastry is covered with apple slices. (I tend not to use the apple ends in order to make the arrangement beautiful.) Sprinkle with the full 1/2 cup of sugar and dot with the butter.
- Bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour, until the pastry is browned and the edges of the apples start to brown. Rotate the pan once during cooking. If the pastry puffs up in one area, cut a little slit with a knife to let the air out. Don’t worry! The apple juices will burn in the pan but the tart will be fine! When the tart’s done, heat the apricot jelly together with the Calvados and brush the apples and the pastry completely with the jelly mixture. Loosen the tart with a metal spatula so it doesn’t stick to the paper. Allow to cool and serve warm or at room temperature.