“All tourists...embody a quest for authenticity, and this quest is a modern version of the universal human concern with the sacred. The tourist is a kind of contemporary pilgrim, seeking authenticity in other ‘times’ and other ‘places’ away from that person’s everyday life.”
-- John Urry, The Tourists Gaze
If you're planning to go apple picking this year and want to really reach into the trees and fill your own bags, I would not suggest Stribling Orchard. If you're planning to head out into the mountains and get your fill of that fall feeling, including cute tourist traps full of local jams and jellies, I would head straight to Stribling Orchard.
It's either way past apple picking season in Northern Virginia or this year's crop had a problem, because there are very few leaves left and even fewer apples on the trees. You can find plenty of squished Granny Smiths under your feet and beautiful whole McIntoshes from other orchards in bins at the store, but the actual apple picking leaves a bit to be desired. On the other hand, the hot cider for $.75 is outstanding.
When you finish the cider delight, Naked Mountain vineyard is just right nearby. They have poor wine, but a beautiful view and friendly staff.
The moral of the story is that good company makes great days that turn into great memories. Even if you step in a huge pile of possibly human feces and ruin your shoe, you can still mark down October 14, 2006 in the positive column. Apples, wine, and a little poop are never the extent of the story.