Fall Tradition: Taking the Family to Apple Hill
Fall is our family’s favorite season.
The temperatures are mild, the colors are vibrant, and family traditions are plentiful. What is it about the harvest season that makes everyone a bit more relaxed?
Living in Northern California, we have the distinct pleasure of living near our favorite family tradition. Fall means visits to Apple Hill. If you take Hwy 50 East towards Lake Tahoe from the Sacramento region, you’ll pass through the quaint town of Placerville before you turn off Carson Road exit and hit Apple Hill country.
There are over 50, family-owned farms all over the hills in this region. Farms growing apples, berries, pumpkins, stone fruit, Christmas Trees, vineyards, and plenty of food, fun and crafts to keep families of all generations occupied for the entire season, and year round.
Since we’ve been going to Apple Hill for several years now, we have some farms that we always visit. If you ever get a chance to come out to lovely Northern California in the fall, make sure to stop on by and enjoy all that Apple HIll has to offer.
Our first stop is always High Hill Ranch. We head right over to their Apple Stand and order two plates of delicious chicken, a big bowl of chili, and some hot chocolate. We have a thing for hot chocolate. The two plates of food is just right for our family of four. We often have leftovers.
Since we're in the Apple Stand where the donuts are, we finish lunch and order up a dozen delicious donuts to take home. What kind of donuts? Apple donuts covered in caramel, glaze, crumb, sprinkles, etc. Don't forget those apple fritters the size of my head. While we're at it, we explore the aisles inside the Apple Stand where there are apple butters, honey, numerous apple varieties, and glorious apple cider. You haven't had tangy, true apple cider until you've tried High Hill Ranch's apple cider. Trust me. I thought I knew what apple cider was, and I wasn't a fan, until I tasted High Hill Ranch's cider. Now I'm hooked. They offer samples over by their Cider Mill. Did you know it takes 10 pounds of apples to make 1 gallon of apple cider? They use a variety of apples, and man, that stuff is perfect.
High Hill Ranch is right next to Madroña Vineyards, so there's fun for everyone in your group to enjoy. The Ranch also has a pie shop, fudge shop, a fishing pond, pony rides, hay rides, and local craft booths. You can spend an entire afternoon here, and leave feeling glorious.
Our second stop at Abel's Apple Acres is also a great spot for lunch, but we're usually so full from before, we head straight to the hay maze. The girls also enjoy the little horse rides, posing with the cutouts, and exploring the craft fair, building candles, and enjoying the day.
At Abel's Apple Acres we buy our caramel apples. With the local farmers, and families that own them, we like to spread the love around through purchasing at each spot. Abel’s Acres has a variety of caramel apple flavors, like apple pie, and various candy bar flavored caramel apples as well. We tend to leave with more caramel apples than we do people.
Abel's Apple Acres has delicious apple empanadas, frozen pies you can take home to bake, or frozen baked pies that you just heat up to enjoy. Of course they also sell pie by the slice, and strudel, and donuts here too. There really is so much more at each of the farms, you just have to go visit in person. Bring an empty belly and a full wallet.
If your kids like trains, there’s a train at El Dorado Orchards. It's a darling train that takes you around a pond. El Dorado Orchards also sells their own treats, and have craft booths. Our girls loved the train ride when they were young.
After a lovely day enjoying, and supporting our wonderful local farmers, artisans, and community, we usually stop off in Placerville to enjoy locally owned Cascada Restaurante & Cantina. Their chips and three drool-worthy salsas are worth the stop. Everything there is good. In fact, if you go, give me a holler, I want to tag along.
Best part of a trip to Apple Hill? Knowing that when you get home, the apple feasting doesn't end. Your car is full of apple loot.
What are some of your favorite fall family traditions?
Stephanie Huang Porter is a Cupertino, Calif. native, living in the Sacramento region. She is a mother of two darling daughters, and wife to a fun, and funny guy. She blogs at Frankly My Dear, and writes for Today’s Mama. She also had the pleasure of participating in the "Gratitude" panel with Mom It Forward's "How to Become a Super Hero Family" series. Stephanie is the social media manager for Sacramento Bloggers, she spoke at 2013‘s Listen To Your Mother Sacramento, and is a contributor to the book Lessons from My Parents. She loves traveling with her family, and enjoying all the delightful flavors of food available. Stephanie would like to dance in another flash mob, like she did at evo’12. If you can help her out with this, please let her know.