It seemed like a great idea. A couple of friends from work with boys the same age, getting together for an afternoon of apple-picking. We found a date that worked for everyone, the weather forecast called for sunshine and mild temperatures. The only problem? No apples. Thank goodness somebody thought to call ahead the day before we went! I guess with the gorgeous weather we’ve been having, all the pick-yer-own orchards have been picked clean. After checking with a handful of places, we decided to try Cannamore Orchards because not only did they have some pre-picked apples available, but they advertised a bunch of fun activities for families.

And that’s how we discovered another of Ottawa’s hidden treasures: Cannamore Orchard.

Cannamore pumpkins

It’s about a 40 minute drive south-east of the city. Personally, I’d never heard of it, but then, we’d always done our picking at Kilmarnock Orchards. While Kilmarnock is gorgeous, Cannamore offers some great stuff for kids to do other than just picking apples: a play area with a brightly-painted wooden train to climb on, a rope maze, a goldfish pond, several “finger mazes” and the “dark maze”, an enclosed and pitch-black maze that made me very, very happy I allowed the kids to choose running shoes with flashing lights on them! (Tristan led a group of kids AND parents fearlessly through the surprisingly long and surprisingly dark maze.)

There are a few animals on site, and a sheltered picnic area with a snack bar. There’s also a gift shop with fudge and fresh pies (I forgot to ask if they were baked on site, but the one I bought was still warm on the bottom!) and inexpensive hallowe’en decorations and pumpkins and… what else? Oh yes, APPLES!

And what better way to end a day of fun like this? A wagon ride, of course. The “Spooky” wagon rides don’t start until next weekend, but the 20 minute loop through the forest and orchard and around the aviary featured a preview of the spooky bits to come, and was plenty of fun for our gaggle of boys.

Who would’ve guessed you could have so much at the orchard when all the apples have been picked? If you’re looking for an inexpensive and entertaining way to spend a few hours enjoying a gorgeous autumn day – not to mention the freshly picked apples and pumpkins – I’d recommend checking out Cannamore Orchards. (There are, of course, more pix on Flickr.)