Carter Mountain Orchard in Charlottesville, Virginia Near Monticello

By Melanie Hill on April 28, 2011 at 7:25 pm EST

PHOTO CREDIT: Jeffrey S. Otto

If the adage “an apple a day keeps the doctor away,” holds true, Carter Mountain Orchard has local residents set for many years to come. Located next to Michie Tavern near historic Monticello, the family-owned orchard has drawn people seeking the fruits – and vegetables – of its 200 acres since it opened to the public in 1974.

The site features apples, pumpkins, peaches, nectarines, corn and loads of family fun to boot.

“The orchard is a unique entertainment destination for a lot of families,” says Cynthia Chiles, who operates the orchard alongside three generations of Chiles. “It’s a place where families can come and really spend time together just being outside.”

Apple Season at Carter Mountain Orchard
Every day from July through November, people can be found exploring the orchard’s 25 acres of pick-your-own apples or shopping for pre-picked apples, pies, doughnuts, cider and crafts in the country store. Another orchard tradition for countless Virginians is the annual Harvest Festival, now in its third decade.

Each October, nearly 10,000 guests ring in the harvest with hayrides, live music, food and crafts. Altogether, more than 100,000 visitors make the much-anticipated trek to Carter’s Mountain Orchard each season – a fact that Chiles attributes, in great part, to the orchard’s historic location.

Historic Location Near Monticello
“We’re very proud of Thomas Jefferson and his legacy, and people come to this area to learn more about him and see not only his home, but the area in which he lived,” Chiles says. Visitors also appreciate the region’s agriculturally rich past and are delighted to discover locally grown produce, taking home thousands of bushels of apples each year.

“As there are fewer farms, the local community really cherishes ones that are still around,” Chiles says. “The local food movement is a big buzzword now too, and the fact that people can pick their own apples off the tree or buy them directly from us is starting to mean a lot more to people.”

Reader Comments Use a Facebook account to comment. Subject to Facebook's Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your Facebook name, photo other personal information you make public on Facebook will appear with your comment.