November 16, 2015

Books in Real Life, Episode 9: Since You've Been Gone

I'm ridiculously excited about this month's Books in Real Life. In case you didn't know, Rachel of Hello Chelly & I collaborate on this regular feature where challenge ourselves to do the things we read about in books... in real life. This month's outing came together quite organically, mostly because it's such a seasonal activity! We were inspired by Since You've Been Gone, a novel from Morgan Matson about friendship, first love and finding your own wings. In this story, Emily's best friend Sloane has disappeared without a word of warning; the only thing she's left is a list of tasks for Emily to accomplish. It's a finely crafted YA contemporary, and I'd highly recommend reading it to find out what happens to Emily!

As mentioned, Sloane leaves a list of things for Emily to do, and one of those tasks is "apple picking at night". That's an allusion to something entirely different, but it does involve an apple orchard. And so, we decided to go on an apple picking adventure! We visited Warwick Valley Winery & Distillery in New Jersey, and though we were a bit late into the apple picking season, there was still plenty of fruit to go around. I hadn't been apple picking since I was a little girl, so it was fun to experience it all over again, especially as an adult!

In order to get to the orchard, you can either take a brief, invigorating walk. Or, you can do what we did, and hop on one of the truck/tractors that will take you to the top of the orchard. As something that I always associate with apple picking, and because the opportunity presented itself, we just had to hitch a ride! Plus, you get a good look at most of the orchard and there are some pretty stunning nature views to behold.

You end your ride deposited at the top of the orchard, where the team gives you some brief instructions, including what apple varieties are available and how to locate them. And then you're off on your own! We took a little time to just wander through the orchard, admiring the gorgeous autumn views that this location treated us too.

It was as good a place as any (seriously, there was nothing but stunning views all around) to take a selfie together, so that's just what we did! I swear, most of my cutest photos are the ones I take with Rachel when we're off on any of our adventures.

Then it was time to get down to business and pick some apples! Considering how late in the season it was, I certainly wasn't expecting there to be a ton of fruit left on the trees - but I was wrong. There are, apparently, a few varieties of apple that are only really ready to pick at this time of year, so we had a lot to choose from. We wandered up and down the rows, stopping wherever we fancied to grab some apples to fill our bag!

We gathered a good amount of apples to take home with us. (Translation: We filled the bag to the point where it was quite heavy, and we had to take turns carrying it.) By the time we were done, the air had gotten crisper, and the day a little darker, but nothing could dampen our spirits at this point! We had successfully acquired apples, and really made the most out of our experience in the orchard.

We dutifully rewarded ourselves with some apple cider donuts. You guys, I love apple cider donuts. I'm not even ashamed to admit that I can eat a whole bag by myself in one sitting when the opportunity presents itself. We took our time munching on these glorious donuts, and talking about life and the future and other fun things.

1. What was your favorite part or a memorable moment? I just really enjoyed my apple cider donuts during our snack break. Plus, Rachel and I always have the most excellent conversations whenever we hang out together; this day was no exception to that rule!

2. Anything you wish you'd known beforehand? I wish I'd known about their excellent food selection! It would have been nice to have lunch there, so I wish we hadn't eaten such a full breakfast so close to the time we arrived. (We ate DD in the car!)

3. Would I do this again? Absolutely! I would like to go earlier, and see the trees filled with fruit. Plus, then I would get to have more donuts and I would be prepared to wine and dine a bit.

On a whim, I decided to record footage so I could make a video of our day out. All the footage was taken on my iPhone 5S, and I'm admittedly pleased at how well it turned out! I hope you guys enjoy getting a chance to see us in action ;)


  1. This sounds like a super fan day! You know, I've never had apple cider donuts, but they look delicious!

  2. I can only imagine how much you two enjoyed on your adventure :) I read Since You've Been Gone and I loved it, but I have never thought about doing some of the things from Sloan's list. Also I really liked your idea about books in real life. It's something I should definitely try someday :)


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