Once Labor Day is on the horizon, it's all we can do not to jump in the birdievan, drive up the hill and gorge ourselves on freshly picked apples, freshly pressed apple juice, and freshly coated caramel apples with peanuts! Definitely worth the drive that it is, High Hill Ranch has the perfect mix of activities, keeping every member of the flock interested and excited.
The youngest kids will simply enjoy the wide open spaces and crisp, cool fall air that the mountains provide. Every other apple fanatic can partake of the stickiest apple treats then hit the pony arena or craft booth where they can make sand art, their own candles, windsocks, or whatever craft has been organized for the day.
While the craft fair portion of the ranch is not my wee ones' favorite part, teens and adults will appreciate that most everything available is handmade and unique. I love to stop in at the holiday shop tucked in behind the apple juice pressing shack; adorable fall and winter holiday decorations are packed into the teensy store.
High Hill Ranch sells many varieties of apples, and the different varieties are available for only a few weeks at a time, so some years we've been known to go up several times during the season. We also always bring a cooler; High Hill Ranch makes the BEST fresh apple juice and we buy a couple of gallons to bring home for spiced apple cider. Mmm, mmm!
Most weekends are fairly busy, but the weekends leading up to Thanksgiving are the crazy, as folks pre-order and pick up or buy frozen pies of all sorts to then reheat for Thanksgiving dinner. Some of the extra child friendly activities are only available on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.
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.
Read more aout Apple Hill and High Hill Ranch in my blog post: