We had a lot of fun last year at the apple orchards of Oak Glen. We're going back again this year!
Just before noon on Friday everyone piled into the car. We grabbed Chick-Fil-A for the road and started our drive. I have fond memories of doing sing-alongs in the car when I took car trips with my parents. Since we've got my parents joining us on this trip, I thought it would be fun to break out some of those old sing-along albums. I talked up the fun times to Ian in the days before and I was happy that he was so excited for it.
The album I remember most is this Sesame Street sing-along where Bert is in the tub and everyone keeps crowding into the bathroom for a sing-along. Both kids really enjoyed singing along, belting it out loud for "I've Been Working on the Railroad", "Old MacDonald", and laughing and singing over and over the "ABC, 123, Pigs in a tree. Don't ever sit on a woodpecker's knee." song over and over again. I couldn't have asked for more.
Two hours later, which really isn't too bad considering it's LA traffic, we arrived at the Holiday Inn. Theresa planned this trip a few weeks earlier and we were able to get into this Beaumont Holiday Inn, which is a bit closer to the orchards than the hotel we got last year. Just like last year we are making this a 2 day event.
Kids, what are you doing? Get your shoes back on! We're just dropping off our luggage and heading out to the orchards now!
Less than 20 minutes from the hotel are the orchards. You can tell because the names of things starts changing.
We're here! Welcome to Oak Glen!
Our first stop, just like last year is the Snow-Line Orchard. I'm glad Theresa did all her research ahead of time so we know all the fun things to do.
Out of the car and time to explore.
Look at all the apples to sample! It's almost like a taste test we have back home!
Mmm. The kids love apples.
Ooh, and I love balsamic vinegar!
Just like last year, Alli is adventurous and tries a few of them. Her favorite is still the super sweet Strawberry flavored one. I think it's hard to beat just a normal balsamic.
Cider samples! And it was great that they had them because it let us try out the different flavors. Turns out Ian loves the cherry/apple cider, and my mom thought the raspberry/apple cider was the best.
Yum! Time for some hot, fresh cider mill donuts!
They smell fantastic.
And they taste even better.
Everyone has a tasty treat. Flavored cider, cider slushees, a cider float, and cider donuts.
It's nice being here on a Friday when it's not crazy busy. The kids were able to play a little bit. Ian gathered some sticks and made an arrow pointing towards the doorway so people would know how to go inside. Looks great buddy. Now let's move them off to the side so no-one trips over them.
A few more picture of the kids and then off to the next orchard.
Next we're headed to the Los Rios Rancho.
Last year we were able press our own cider here on Friday, even though it's normally a weekend only event. Not today though. No cider presses are running. Let's head inside.
There's a few apple samples here, but not very many bags of apples to buy. Theresa actually ended up just buying a bag of Bartlett Pears... I know right? At an apple orchard.
Always the social butterfly, Ian somehow struck up a conversation with this woman, telling her about his loose tooth. And how this isn't his first loose tooth, he's already lost one when he was in Michigan.
Ian - Gram, can I tell her my secret?
Gram - Okay...
Ian - I know that the tooth fairy isn't real. My mom and dad are the tooth fairy.
I hope Ian didn't shock her too much.
Along with the apples and cider, there's plenty of other things to try. Like jams, exotic jams. Alli was keen to try anything her Pop Pop would give her.
Last year I wrote "The kids were looking longingly at the penny-press machine and wishing their Gram was here."
Well this year she's here and she was quick to get our her change!
A fun memento of our time here.
Pop Pop really loves apple dumplings. And here was one in the bakery. Let's eat!
A nice apple design on top.
Gram cut it up for everyone to enjoy.
And I'll tell you someone really enjoyed it, though the adults thought it was a bit dry. Pop Pop remembers his favorite kind usually is really sticky and gooey.
Sigh... Theresa and those pears. Let's go remedy that.
Off to pick some apples!
Just across the street are the Los Rios U-Pick Orchards. Last year there were 3 different varieties and Theresa walked away with 20 pounds of apples. Today it's just Spartans available for picking.
The kids were really happy to head out and pick the fruit off the trees. We've been talking it up for weeks now.
One really nice thing about the orchards here is that the trees are mostly dwarf varieties, meaning you can get to just about all the fruit when you're on the ground. No ladder required.
Found a good one Ian?
Perfect! Ian said that he loves "orchard fresh fruit". I don't know where he heard that, but it's true. It does taste better coming right off the tree.
Well sometimes it helps to be able to reach up a little higher.
Looks great to me!
The crowds so far have been wonderful. That's why we really enjoy coming up on Fridays and spending the night versus just coming on the busy Saturdays.
Our last stop is the Oak Tree Village. A lot appears to have changed since last year.
But the candy kitchen hasn't! Pop Pop promised to get each of the kids something.
There's samples here too. I like the cheese and meat samples.
In the end we bought some butter cashew brittle, fudge, jawbreakers, and candy for the kids.
Ian saw the tip jar at the register and told the worker - I want to give you a tip, but I don't have any money.
She said he was so sweet. I gave him some money to put in the tip jar.
Last year, dessert was a huge apple empanada from Apple Annie's. It was delicious but this year we're trying something new.
A Mile High Apple Pie ($19.99)! This thing is huge!
It weighs over 5 pounds! I wonder how this is going to taste.
Since it's Friday there's barely anyone here. We spent a while trying to get these birds to say something.
I think they don't really talk at all and the sign is just a ruse to have people look silly trying to get them to talk.
Ian is showing us why they call it Oak Tree Village. These acorns are scattered around everywhere.
Getting a few family photos in the wagon.
There was no feed out to buy for the deer and goat today either. They did come running up to us as we approached them. Ian stuck out his hand for them to sniff, and upon realizing that he didn't have anything, they took off running the other way.
Now that he can read, he's concerned about the bears in the area.
Ian! Hay! Hay Ian! Hay Ian!
What Dad? What Dad?
Guess that joke is new to him.
He would then repeat that joke back to me the next few times we saw hay anywhere.
For dinner we're celebrating National Pepperoni Pizza day with a visit to Domenico's Italian Kitchen.
Alli holding both doors open for us when we got back to the hotel.
Since we're going to get an early start tomorrow morning, tonight is the only time the kids will get to enjoy the pool. The water was a little chilly, but that didn't stop them from spending an hour running around going from the hot tub to the regular pool and back again.
Now that our dinner has settled, let's dig in to this massive apple pie!
Wow. That is a lot of apples.
And everyone was surprised with how good it actually tasted. The crust was delicious, but there's very little crust compared to the amount of apples you get. And the apples inside were very tasty.
In the end we put a very small dent in it, only managing to get through maybe 1/3rd of the whole thing.
Up, Up, Up, It's Apple Picking Time has been in our reading rotation for the past couple weeks in preparation. It just seems right that we should read it for bed here tonight.
Gram read to us while everyone gathered around.
Tomorrow is going to be another day full of apple adventures!