Affordable Fall Fun Part 2 at M&T’s Orchard
Affordable Fall Fun Part 2 at M&T’s Orchard
Welcome back to my blog! If you saw last week’s blog, you may be feeling a sense of déjà vu looking at the title of this new blog. This past weekend I discovered more affordable Fall Fun to do in the Sheboygan area, so I just had to create a part 2 to last week’s blog! In case you missed it, you can read it by clicking here. What prompted this idea to write not just one, but two, blogs on the topic of easy Autumn activities, was this idea that I think a lot of us forget how many exciting, affordable, and easy activities there are to do out and about past the Summer months. So in last week’s blog compiled a short list of indoor and outdoor Fall activities in the Sheboygan area, and this week I’m going to tack a couple more onto that list because there are just that many things to do! Let’s get into it!
M&T’s Gibbsville Orchard Fall Festival
This past weekend I scouted out the Fall Festival at M&T’s Gibbsville Orchard by myself. I am not sure what I was expecting heading to an event alone, but I am so glad I did! This festival is free to attend, has many activities for both kids and adults to enjoy. There is live music on a cute barn stage, pumpkins, apples, a store with so many fall flavored and scented products, tractor and wagon rides, caramel apple nachos, drinks… the list goes on and on. The event is essentially like a treasure chest packed with all the yummy, fun, and leisurely Autumn activities. I was overwhelmed by the abundance of options to choose from, I ended up settled on exploring the shop and property a little bit first.
Apple Jam, Apple Cider, Bakery Treats Galore!
The orchard shop had almost entirely Wisconsin-based products only I was told. There’s homemade household products like soaps and candles, food options such as soup recipe packets, bakery treats ranging from donuts to pies, apple cider shakes in addition to classic apple cider gallons, assortments of jams and salsas, frozen meat from nearby farms, wine (including Door County Autumnal flavored wines!), and of course, bagged apples. Later, I was filled in on the apple bagging and cider making process, and everything is sorted, organized and pressed on-site in a warehouse connected to the store! If one thing is for certain, there is a tasty treat for everyone behind the doors of the M&T’s Gibbsville Orchard shop! The owners also explained to me that some of the nearby local farms also carry some of their apple products, and in exchange M&T’s carries some of theirs. So great news, you can find your favorite M&T apple flavors in a couple other spots around Sheboygan.
The Orchard Itself
I wandered around the orchard a bit next, and I was excited to see that M&T’s orchard is a pick-it-yourself orchard! Not all orchards have this as an option anymore, and although you’ll need to pay attention to signage to know which trees carry apples that are in season, there is no shortage of trees to pick from. I learned during my visit that there is such a wide variety of apples grown at M&T’s that their picking season begins usually in late summer, and can go all the way through January! That is how many different kinds of apples they have. In addition to all the apples, there are wagons full of pumpkins and other gourds you could pick out yourself around the main stage, snack stand/bar, and shop. If you’re looking for your pumpkin to carve this year or simply searching for natural Autumn decorations, you’ve found the place! I noticed many of the people wandering around the orchard were also taking photos; either family photos with their kids, couples photos, Christmas card photos, you name it! And the scenery is perfect if you’re hoping for a cozy photo for the end of this year. If you walk through to the left of the shop, you’ll likely stumble upon one of the orchard’s main attractions: an apple sling shot. I got to watch some competitive apple slinging firsthand, and man did it look fun! If you’re having a hard time imagining what this attraction looks like, I’ll do my best to explain what this scene looks like. A couple of yards down from the slingshot is a target with four circles for you to aim at. You can buy a whole bucket of apples to sling shot right there, and turn it into a competition with your friends or family. There are two slings side by side that are hung from a post, and are extremely flexible. Basically you aim your apple ammo, release, and wait for the satisfying smack the apple makes as it hits the target tarp (or hopefully it hits it!)
The Snack and Drink Stand
After this little exploration, I went to the outdoor snack and bar stand to order the caramel apple nachos I kept seeing around and an apple cider. I met the owners of the Orchard who very kindly gave me a tour around the orchard, showed me some neat behind-the-scenes of the apple cider production, and demoed the apple slingshot for me. After that, it was time to sit down, listen to the live music, and find out for myself how amazing the apple product treats I ordered are. I was not disappointed, the caramel apple nachos were outstanding and I’m already wishing I had more of each as I write this. When you go up to order this delicacy, they cut an apple into slices for you, drizzle a generous amount of caramel on it, and then you are free to choose as many toppings as you want! The toppings selection included candies like M&M’s, Reese’s Pieces, crushed peanuts, chocolate chips, sprinkles, and whipped cream. I elected for the chocolate chips and crushed peanuts combo- it was delicious! Originally when I stepped up to the stand my plan was to order the nachos and a cold apple cider, but then I saw a bourbon apple cider was on the menu. From what I heard from customers surrounding me, the bourbon apple cider was a huge hit and I made the last minute decision to try this yummy mixed drink. Again, I was not disappointed by my choice. I loved that they had an alcoholic apple cider option in addition to classic apple cider, so there is a treat for adults and kids.
Although there isn’t music at every event, the day I went to the orchard there was a live musician performing on the outdoor stage. The stage is placed right in front of the snack and bar stand, the picnic tables, kids games, and pumpkin/gourd picking wagon. It’s basically at the center of the event which is awesome for families attending with kids. You can sit and listen to the music with your beverage but still have an eye on the kids while they get to indulge in activities that they’re more interested in. If you’re curious in finding out which weekends have live music booked, click here to be brought to M&T’s schedule page on their website.
To Sum It All Up
I thought this was the perfect Fall event! There is so much to enjoy at M&T’s Orchard on weekends this Autumn, and every weekend they feature new attractions, so you could go several weekends in a row and have a different experience every time. The only things that will remain the same each weekend are the apple trees, the abundance of products in the store, and the food and beverage options. I would highly recommend this experience to anyone, families with kids, couples, groups of friends, or even grandparents with their grandkids. I plan to be heading back this upcoming weekend (September 30th and October 1st 2023) to check out the live music, the petting zoo that’s coming, and probably eat more caramel apple nachos. Until next time, rock on Sheboygan!