If you’re looking for an apple orchard experience minus the two-hour drive to the mountains but with the added bonus of a bar, Windy Hill Orchard & Cider Mill is the place to be.
It’s less than an hour’s drive outside Charlotte, located about 40 miles southwest of the city in York, SC.
Windy Hill isn’t the sprawling, mountainside orchard you might find closer to Asheville, but it’s still got all your fall favorites packaged up in a more manageable, urbanite-friendly afternoon trip with easy parking, iPad registers and a hard cider bar.
The orchard has a pretty short picking season but is worth a visit any time for the farm stand and cider bar experience alone.
The orchard opened for picking on Sept. 6 this year but things like weather and crowd size can significantly impact the crop availability so you’ll want to keep a close eye on their Facebook page for updates if the pick-your-own experience is a top priority.
But you’re really here for apple cider doughnuts and hard cider, right?
The best way to experience the cider bar is with a sampler flight.
You’ll get to try six hard ciders — five mainstays and one specialty rotation — for $13.
If you find something you love, you can grab a take-home bottle in the farm stand for $10.
With the weather as brutally hot as it’s been, the apple cider slushie isn’t a bad idea either.
Of course, no trip to the apple orchard would be complete without an apple cider doughnut (or 12).
Windy Hill serves theirs up hot out of the fryer — $10 per dozen. Apple picking or no apple picking, apple doughnuts are required.
They’ve also got fried apple pies, giant soft pretzels and pork rinds.
Windy Hill Orchard & Cider Bar is located at 1860 Black Highway, York SC 29745.
The farm stand is open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Thursday to Saturday and noon to 6 p.m. on Sunday.
The cider bar is open 5-9 p.m. on Friday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m on Saturday and noon to 6 p.m. on Sunday.
Stop by from 1-5 p.m. on Saturdays for live music.