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Top Ten Tuesday: Pick-Your-Own Farms!

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One of the best things about Fredericksburg is its amazing location. We are near two major cities and many family friendly, pick-your-own (PYO), farms. It’s seriously the best of both worlds!

Currently, we are in the thick of berry picking season and the orchards are ripening up with sweet, juicy peaches! Soon we'll transition to apple picking, pumpkin picking, and Christmas tree cutting. To make life a little easier, we’ve compiled a list of ten local (though some farms are a bit of a hike) pick-your-own Farms!

 

Top Ten Pick Your Own Farms

1Braehead Farm  Braehead Farm is located right inside Fredericksburg and is open June-November. They offer PYO veggies, blackberries, raspberries, strawberries, and in the fall, they have a pumpkin patch. Braehead boasts a play area with animals, play barns with hay, swings and slides, sand piles and corn pit with trucks and toys, games and trikes. The play area is $5.00 per person for admission (age 2 and under are FREE!). Season’s Passes are also available! Braehead also has a small market on site with fresh dairy milk, cheese and ice cream, eggs, honey, seasonal produce and more. Check their website for fun events.

2Sneads Asparagus Farm  Snead's Asparagus Farm actually owns Braehead Farm. While their summer PYO is strictly at Braehead, they offer a fantastic PYO Pumpkin Patch and hayrides in the fall, and you can cut-your-own Christmas tree, in the winter.  Year round, they have chickens you can feed, horses to pet, a zip-line and swings in the hay barn, and best of all a play area for the kids and lots of space to run around. Snead's also has a CSA for tasty, local, year round produce.

3Westmoreland Berry Farm  is a bit of a hike from the city of Fredericksburg, but totally worth it! They offer pick-your-own berry fields (with many kinds of berries), and in the fall, PYO pumpkins. They have an overhead goat walk and the young animal petting zoo, as well. In their Country Store and Cafe, they offer a broad range of items including homemade goods. They also participate in farmer's markets within the region.

4Miller Farms Market  has PYO blueberries, strawberries, raspberries. and blackberries. They also offer a hayride and PYO pumpkin patch, in the fall. Miller's has an expansive Marketplace and Gift Shop with spices, mixes, decor, flowers, plants, meat, dairy, you name it! For the kids, they have an impressively large sand hill with toy trucks and tractors. There isn't much shade, so be sure to pack sunscreen and hats. Miller Farms Market also has an active CSA.

5Graves Mountain Farm As far as apple picking goes, there really aren't many orchards "close" to town. You will find that just about all of them are located near the Blue Ridge Mountains. Graves is no exception. The views and the experience, however, are exceptional. The pick your own apple orchard opens the third Saturday, in September, and closes the 3rd Sunday, of October. They have over 10 varieties of apples to pick, plus more at their packing shed. Fall festivals run the 1st, 2nd & 3rd weekends in October, and feature pumpkins, cider, preserves and more. They also have goats, sheep, cows, pigs, chickens, peacocks, ducks, and horses, on site.

6Carter Mountain Orchard is located a half mile from Monticello, Michie Tavern and Ash Lawn and has just about everything you could ask for in a PYO farm. I'm talking scenic views of the Blue Ridge Mountains and the Piedmont, observation decks and picnic areas, hayrides on weekends in October, school tours, an Apple Harvest Festival with hay rides, live music, and crafts, and even a vineyard! They are famous for their fresh cider, PYO orchards, and renown apple cider doughnuts. Carter Mountain has PYO apples (12 varieties) available mid- August all the way through December. They also have PYO peaches mid-June through early September.

7Hollin Farms  is located in Delaplane. So it's another farm that's a bit of a hike...but totally worth it! Hollins is a PYO farm with a unique twist. They offer beef and pork raised right there on the farm! During the summer, you can PYO peaches, plums, berries, and veggies. In the fall, they have PYO apples, peanuts, potatoes, and a 10 acre pumpkin patch. You can even buy hay there.

8Belvedere Plantation  We would be totally crazy if we left out Belvedere Plantation. It's practically a Fredericksburg icon! Their pumpkin patch is more like an Autumn themed amusement park then anything else. They open during the Fall, with lots of fun activities, rides, pig races, and numerous other attractions. Enjoy Fall harvest time with pumpkin picking, bonfires, evening hayrides, and even a cornfield maze!

9Clark’s Farm is a fun Stafford farm that focuses primarily on the holidays and family. Think: farm animals, a hay mountain, large maze, face painting, pumpkin painting, pumpkin bowling, cutouts for photos, a moon-bounce, climbing tires, penny pit and pony rides on weekends, in the fall. Clark's also sells Christmas trees and Christmas decor, in winter. The trees, however, are pre-cut and sent in from Floyd, Virginia. Clark's does offer a fresh cut on the base before you take your tree home, so it will last through the holidays. There is also free hot cider to help put you into the Chrismas spirit!

10Belmont Christmas Tree Farm  It's only fitting that we end this list like we end the year: With a Christmas tree! Belmont is an adorable farm that offers cut-your-own Fraser Firs, Blue Spruce, Norway Spruce, White Pines and Scotch/Scots Pines. They also supply saws and assistance in tying the tree to your car. Also, if you bring ONE Belmont colored picture (available via their website) with you to the tree lot, or tree farm you will receive $5 off any tree purchase. Don't forget the hot chocolate!

 

**11** Bonus Farm!  Mt. Olympus Farm  This family owned farm offers PYO berries and an assortment of fresh, on-site heirloom veggies (not PYO). They also run a garden center where you can browse and buy shrubs, flowers, herbs, etc. For those unable to get to the farm, Mt Olympus sells their produce at various farmer's markets in Northern Virginia. 

 

Where are your favorite places to PYO?

 

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Top Ten Tuesday: Local Parks

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Summer is definitely in full swing in The ‘Burg! Everywhere we look people are fully embracing the season - walking downtown with an ice-cream cone, going on day trips, spending lazy afternoons at the pool, and the list goes on! One of our favorite ways to spend a summer morning is playing at a local park before it gets too hot. Here are some of our favorites. 

Top Ten Favorite Local Parks

 

1Kenmore Park (aka: Memorial Park) is located in Downtown Fredericksburg. If you play tennis, this is the park for you! It's equipped with 2 unlighted tennis courts and 6 tennis courts that are lighted from dusk - 10 pm throughout the year. It also has a tennis practice wall, basketball court, youth soccer field, children´s play equipment, and a toddler play area. We love that it's located within walking distance to the City Dog Park and the Canal Path. Stroller Striders meets here as well.

2Old Mill Park is another great Downtown park. It has a soccer field, restrooms, playground equipment, picnic shelters, and river views. It's located right along the Rappahannock River which means it does tend to flood easily, so if we've had a heavy downpour check to see if it's open before heading out. If it's summertime, bring a little extra cash for the ice-cream truck.

3Alum Springs Park is a hidden gem and is perfect for hot summer days. It is wooded, has a fitness trail, a renovated picnic shelter, picnic tables, restrooms, grills, play equipment, walking paths. Best part? The creek kids can spash and play in.

4Loriella Park is located in Spotsylvania County, off of Levells Rd. It has a public pool, baseball small diamond, 2.9 miles of wooded trails, a shaded playground with infant swings, lighted tennis courts, disc golf course, a covered picnic area located next to the playground, restrooms, and even a soda machine.

5John Lee Pratt Park Memorial Park is located right behind the Massad Family YMCA, in Stafford, Va. Pratt Park features a one mile track, four tennis courts, two basketball courts, softball and soccer fields; camping facilities available for Scout groups. There's also a disc golf course that's popular among residents and visitors.

6Patriot Park is another park connected to a YMCA. This one is located right behind the Ron Rosner YMCA... and it's huge. It has baseball small diamonds, baseball large diamonds, basketball outdoor courts, a 3.1 mile fitness trail, multi-purpose fields, an amphitheater, restrooms, a large enclosed playground with infant swings, and a covered picnic area with restrooms.

7Hurkamp Park is a major social hub in Fredericksburg. It hosts the Farmer's Market, Art In The Park, Music In The Park, and many more events. It's even a pick up spot for Relay Foods! Come by anytime and see what's going on, kick around a ball, and have a picnic.

8Motts Run Resevoir , a 860-acre natural area, including the 160-acre reservoir, is a haven for fishing, canoeing, hiking, and picnicking. It also serves the residents of Fredericksburg and parts of Spotsylvania County with drinking water. You may bring your own boat to launch on the lake, or fish from the banks.The park features an orienteering course, nature center (open weekend afternoons only), over 4 miles of hiking trails, picnic tables and grills, and jon boat, canoe, and kayak rentals.

9Maury Playground is a simple playground in Downtown Fredericksburg. It has an open play area, basketball court, and playground equipment.

10Westmoreland State Park. Okay, so this park technically not "close" to town, but we didn't want to leave out the King George families! The park extends about one and a half miles along the Potomac River, and its 1,299 acres neighbor the former homes of both George Washington and Robert E. Lee. The park’s Horsehead Cliffs provide visitors with a spectacular view of the Potomac River. It's a perfect place to take the family hiking, fishing, boating, and camping.

 

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Pouches' Community Corner

Adoptive parents in Fredericksburg now have a new partner on their journey to a healthy family. In 2016, Children’s Home Society was awarded a $125,000 grant from the Virginia Department of Social Services to extend their Richmond area post-adoptive services to the Fredericksburg area.

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Now CHS is looking to find adoptive families in the area who need support before they hit a crisis point. “It doesn’t matter which agency they adopted from, or when that happened,” said Buckheit. “We want to offer a lifetime of support to adoptive families in the Fredericksburg area, especially those who haven’t been aware of our services in the past.”

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