Apple Picking at Giles Family Farm, Alfred

It was our good friends who told us, when our kids were small, that we had to go to “The Brothers” for apples.

These friends own Camp Cozy on Ossipee Lake in Maine and over the years of going to camp, they had explored all around the Waterboro area in York County. They discovered so many country gems, beautiful scenery, shops, farm stands and ice cream shops.

Our first visit to the apple orchard did not disappoint.

We pulled the boys in a borrowed red wagon, let them climb the low branches and sit tight within the knarly trees. Their little hands held red apples, shined up on their shirts, and they were all smiles after their first tart bites.

Giles Family Farm is high up on Shaker Hill adjacent to the property of The Brothers of Christian Instruction and The Bakery at Notre Dame off Brock Road from Routes 202 and 4.

It is an expansive orchard of mcintoshes, cortlands, golden and red delicious apples. They sell gallon jugs of cider and tiny, soft apple cider donuts that are scrumptious with a hot cup of coffee on a breezy fall morning.

I’m not one to typically eat donuts, especially those mass produced clumps of sugar they sell in stores, but these little morsels are not in that category.

On the day this fall that my husband and I picked, without the boys (now grown) or the wagon or the tree climbing, it was the weekend of their Shaker Hill Apple Festival – a coming together of a country community to sell crafts, sit on hay bales listening to live music (a singer actually playing a washboard), take a wagon ride, buy freshly baked bread, whoopie pies both chocolate and pumpkin, fig squares and dinner rolls at the bakery. Folks could visit the Shaker Museum and let their kids take a pony ride.

Volunteers were grilling hamburgers, hot dogs, and sausages with onions and peppers for sale.

Having so many families milling around and enjoying the weather, the scenery, and the friendship on a beautiful autumn day is a wonderful thing – appreciating nature and sunshine.

When you live in Maine, you want to get out as much in the fall as possible before the cold, dark days arrive. Those days of winter seem so far away on a crisp autumn day at “The Brothers.”