JH Stepp Farm's Hillcrest Orchard
221 Stepp Orchard Drive, Hendersonville. 828-685-9083. www.SteppApples.com.
Hours: Through October: 8 a.m.-6 p. m. Monday through Saturday, and 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Sunday.
Cost: Free Admission to the farm. Tractor rides on Saturdays are $4 per person and free to those ages 4 and younger.
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Activities: Visitors can roam the orchard's grounds, pick their own apples and pumpkins, and spend the afternoon riding a tractor or taking a picnic lunch. The orchard also offers a corn and soybean maze. After a day of picking fresh fruit, guests can browse the farm's gift shop and buy homemade jams, apple butter, honey or baked goods for the trip home. Groups visiting the farm are asked to make reservations.
Target Audience: All ages.
Directions from uptown: Head southwest on South Tryon Street toward W. Hill Street. Take the first right onto West Hill Street. Take the ramp onto Interstate 277 S. Continue onto U.S.-74 W. Turn left onto the I-485 Inner N ramp. Take exit 10B to merge onto I-85 S toward Gastonia/Spartanburg. Take exit 10B to merge onto U.S.-74 W/Andrew Jackson Highway toward Kings Mountain/Shelby. Continue to follow U.S.-74 W. Merge onto I-26 W. Take exit 49A to merge onto U.S.-64 E/Chimney Rock Road toward Bat Cave. Turn right at Co Road 1726/Pace Road. Take the third right.
Distance from Charlotte: About 1 hour and 55 minutes.