Good morning! Happy Saturday! Ready to head to the apple orchards?
By staying overnight nearby, we were able to get an early start to the day and arrive right when the orchards opened on Saturday. The drive in to Oak Glen was quiet and peaceful. There was even one stretch were we saw deer amongst the apple trees eating their breakfast.
Having read multiple reviews ahead of time, it was clear that this was going to be a madhouse later in the day. According to everything I read, Oak Tree Village opened up at 8am. I thought getting there around 8:30am would give everyone a little time to get set up. But when we arrived, it was like a ghost town.
There's lots of shops stalls, but nothing is really open yet.
Looking around for anything to do, at the back of the village we found a pen with chickens, a duck, a peacock, and some pigeons. And right there by the pen was a vending machine for corn feed. Ian asked if he could have money for it, but sorry buddy, I don't carry coins.
Ian suddenly remembered that quarter he found the day before in the hotel room. "Daddy! I have money!" He must have put it somewhere last night and remembered to put it in his pocket this morning because these are different pants than yesterday. I was more than a little surprised to see that he still had it with him. It's your money buddy. Spend it however you like.
And being the good big brother he is, he was more than happy to share some with Alli.
Alli got her hand just a little too close and the duck nibbled her palm, surprising her a little bit.
Hey Mister. That looks like a fun climbing tree.
At 9am, the kids were looking around for the ponies and asking me why they weren't here yet. Well, I said, they're probably finishing their breakfast, brushing their teeth, stretching their legs, and getting ready to walk over here still. I think we're going to take off and try again a little later.
Everyone hopped back into the car and headed up the road to the Los Rios Rancho U-Pick apple orchard. It just opened at 9am so we're still going to beat the crowds. I pulled into an empty parking lot and everyone walked to the main tent.
Here they offered samples of the 3 different apples available for picking today, Jonagold, Spartan, and Gala. Theresa grabbed 3 different bags so she could separate the 3 different varieties for tasting later.
The kids quickly found the free cider samples too.
The apples here are grown at 5000' elevation and the area is a little mountainous. It was a good uphill hike to the first of the three orchards.
Time to look for some tasty Spartans. Looking for bigger apples without any bugs.
Ian found some.
Alli getting a helping hand to reach up high.
What about this one? This is a good one.
Next were the Galas. These were our favorites from our taste test earlier. According to the field-hand Skyler, there were some great trees toward the back of this section.
And he wasn't kidding. The trees were exploding with apples.
Ian found a bunch that he was very happy with.
Lastly were the Jonagolds. Out of the three we sampled, these were our least favorite, but seeing the trees here, it was hard not to pick them. The apples here were large and unblemished, just wanting to be picked.
In the end, the kids filled 4 of the smaller u-pick bags with apples.
It was a little bit of a shock to me once we weighed all the apples and had to pay for them. Almost 20 pounds of apples and costing $59.
Loaded with apples, I wanted to get back to another orchard and sample a few more. Back at Snow-Line Orchard, where we visited yesterday, they're sure to be more busy because it's a Saturday. I was happy to see their apple sample bar was in full swing with 9 different varieties to taste.
Even Alli got into the sampling of the balsamic vinegar. Her favorite was the sweetest one there, Strawberry balsamic.
We couldn't visit and not get another dozen mini-donuts fresh from the fryer.
Theresa got a brain-freeze after drinking the apple cider slushie too fast. Ian rubbed her forehead to help her feel better.
Plenty of time has passed now and the Oak Glen Village should be up and in full swing now. It was fortunate we had arrived earlier because I noticed this upper parking lot that happened to still have spaces available. The lower lot was already completely full and had people circling for empty spots.
Also in the upper lot was a pen for a few more animals.
Grandpa had a pocket full of quarters and got the kids a couple handfuls of feed.
After her experience with the duck earlier Alli was a bit more tentative. With some coaxing from Theresa she let the goat nibble the feed from her hand.
Ian commanding 3 deer at one time and feeding two of them at once.
There she goes. She's back to being bold again.
We've talked up the pony rides pretty good by this point. I hadn't realized it was $8 per kid for a 3 minute ride... But at this point, what are you going to do. The kids had a fantastic time riding. Even better than the carrousel.
A couple family photos.
Grandpa is really into trains, and the kids just love that. Grandpa bought them all tickets and off they went.
As the only people on the train, they enjoyed all the attention, waving at people as they passed.
While Grammy was waiting for the train to get back, something fell out of the tree and landed right in front of her. What was it?
An acorn! Guess they call it Oak Tree Village for a reason.
Just a little bit more eating before it's time to leave. T finding tasty roasted corn. It was even better slathered in butter with some fresh squeezed lime juice on it.
At the Village Candy Kitchen yesterday we'd arrived too late to sample the cheeses and salami. And look in the background at all the jellies and sauces in the background.
Over at the candy counter, there were plenty of samples that weren't out yesterday. After sampling the different options, I opted for some cashew brittle, while the kids got jawbreakers and taffy.
It was an awesome weekend up in Oak Glen. Everyone had a great time and I have no doubts we'll be back again in years to come.