Everyone has their fall traditions. For many of us it involves going to a pumpkin patch and finding the perfect squash to carve into something special. It involves buying heaps of candy to pass out to the children of the neighborhood. It involves preparing a large turkey centered meal for those we love. And for many of us in Northern California, it involves a trip to Apple Hill.
Apple Hill is one of those places that signifies autumn in my mind. Located in the mountains just outside of Placerville, it is a large group of farms, wineries, and businesses that put on quite a show every fall. Many of the farms have large expanses of apple orchards set among the pine forest and rolling terrain. Some specialize in treating visitors to a taste of apple country with apple pie, apple fritters, apple cider, and apple butter set amongst craft booths, pick-your-own orchards, petting zoos, pumpkin patches, and even Christmas tree farms. It is great place to spend the day, enjoy some crisp fall air, and stuff yourself full of fruit.
We went to Apple Hill early this year. My family was in town and so was my friend Jessica who moved to Canada this past year. I have gone to Apple Hill with Jess for years and I wasn't about to miss an opportunity to continue our tradition. Her daughter, Mazzy, is only six months older than my little munchkins and they get along swimmingly.
Our first stop was High Hill Ranch. I consider High Hill Ranch to be the Granddaddy of all things Apple Hill. It is set in such a gorgeous location with a fishing pond overlooking mountain vistas, craft booths, a pie shop, an apple barn, pony rides and even a fudge shop! There is a great grassy hill by the pond so Paul took the opportunity to teach the kids how to roll down the hill, a skill every kids should have in their repertoire.
I think Ben's favorite part of the day was climbing up the hill, getting a couple rocks, and then climbing down the hill to throw them in the pond. He must have done this 563 times. Sometimes the little things in life make us most happy.
We all enjoyed hanging out, enjoying some apple goodies and have fun in the sun.
After our snacks we headed over to the pony rides. It was Mazzy's first ride on a pony and she loved it. My kids are seasoned pony riding pros and you would think Mari wouldn't get as upset at the end of the ride as she did. She loves her ponies and she hates having the ride come to an end.
After ponies we went over to the fudge shop and watched the kids act like, well, kids in a candy store.
Next we drove over to Bolster's Hilltop Ranch and did some apple picking. Mari fell asleep in the car on the short drive over so she missed out on the fun. I think Ben was more excited about throwing the rotten apples on the ground then the actual picking but after Mazzy showed him how it was done, he did indulge us long enough for a photo op.
The apple picking had exhausted our group so we bid farewell to Jess, Mazzy, and her mom and headed over to Denver Dan's to pick up pie to take home before heading back down the mountain. What a wonderful way to kick off the fall season.