Adventures at Apple Hill means apples, apple fritters, apple doughnuts, caramel apples, fall wreaths, pumpkins, arts and crafts, children laughing, smiles, memories made on a fall getaway and best of all, apple butter…
Apple Hill is one of my favorite locations on the planet. It was one of the places I truly missed when my family and I moved to the Washington, DC metropolitan area. Now that we’re back in Reno, we get to enjoy all the splendor that Apple Hill has to offer; year after year.
When we were kids, Christine and I would have our own adventures at Apple Hill with our respective families near Placerville, California in Camino, California. These trips are still an amazing source of happiness for me to look back on with my brother and parents. Now that we are back in Reno, Nevada after being away for many years in Washington, DC, we have the chance to once again indulge in all things Apple Hill and have new adventures at Apple Hill. This time, however, it is different. We have children to share the experience with.
Just when September rolls around, my mood changes dramatically. It starts with the John Ascuaga’s Best in the West Nugget Rib Cook-Off and the smell of sweet barbecue filling the air during Labor Day weekend and continues through the end of December. The smell of pumpkin spice, the color of fall foliage (can’t say that much of the color change happens in Reno and you need to get into the mountains to see it), fall decorating, Halloween, Thanksgiving and the end of year holidays. Each of these are reason enough in themselves to have a happy (inner)child the last four months of the year. I can honestly say, deep down, that my heart is happy after my recent visit to Apple Hill yesterday with my family.
Apple Hill, in case if you are unfamiliar, is a series of farms, sellers, wineries and Christmas tree farms who sell their fall harvest crops to the public. Some locations are open year-round, but most are only open from September onward through December. Each month has its own activities and specialties and that is why we are separating our posts about Apple Hill into three parts to cover September, October, November and December equally. This post will cover September.
In Apple Hill, every place you visit can have apples and everything you can make with apples from apple fritters, apple doughnuts, apple vinegar, apple juice, apple cider, huge apple pies and my favorite, by far, apple butter. If you haven’t tried it, apple butter is a butter you can put on toast and enjoy like a jelly or jam. Just writing about it is making my mouth water. Don’t worry, I picked up a jar for myself and I intend to indulge after I finish this post.
Yesterday, we got a late start and could only visit three or four locations by the time we got there around 2:30 PM. Most locations close at 5:00 PM each day. When there are over 80+ locations to visit, it’s definitely worth it to get up early and head over to Apple Hill. If you get your fill of apples, you can always make a stop at a local winery in Apple Hill or at the Jack Russel Brewery for a wine tasting or beer in between your tour of the area. Even though you may be in and out of the car all day, each location is a new adventure and our kids didn’t mind the constant in and out during the day.
The places we visited yesterday were High Hill Ranch, Kids Inc. and Boa Vista Orchards. Each of these locations is filled with its own atmosphere.
Choose Your Own Adventure…
Starting at High Hill Ranch (#1 on the map), this location is a complete stop in itself. This location has everything from shopping for produce such as apples, to a walk-up dining option (I had a half bbq chicken meal), a fishing hole that you can pay to rent a fishing pole and buy a license to catch fish from (this could be your young child’s first fishing experience; something I am partial to since working for the American Sportfishing Association on KeepAmericaFishing), an arts and crafts vending fair, hay rides, a fudge factory for your sweet tooth and much more. This place has it all.
High Hill Ranch (#1)
Our kids were staring at the fishing pond the entire time we were there. They wanted to play near it and interact with the other kids who were either playing nearby or fishing in the pond with their parents.
Next, we stopped at Delfino Farms (#5 on the map). Delfino Farms, formerly known as Kids Inc., although it doesn’t boast that its former namesake was from a hit Disney television show from the 1980’s, it did have plenty of activities to do for kids that were fun. This location had a corn maze ($2 is all we paid for both our kids to go through it), an apple orchard you can walk through, a pumpkin patch, a grassy hill for a picnic and a bluegrass band was playing while we were there. The location also had face painting and again another place to buy apples and everything made of apples.
Delfino Farms (Formerly Kids Inc., #5)
Our final stop of the day was to pick up the holy grail of foods from Apple Hill, apple butter. We also got something else I need when we visit Apple Hill, apple cider.
Boa Vista Orchards is a great location and a place you must stop while visiting Apple Hill. Not only for the good food, but for the arts and crafts and stuff you can purchase and take home with you. Their apple pies are enormous and have the appearance of a mound when you purchase them in the frozen food area. Also, their apple cider has no comparison to any other apple product I have tasted off the Hill.
Even though these were the only three stops that we could make during our visit yesterday, it was more than enough to satisfy my yearning for fall and to visit Apple Hill. We’ll be back more than once this season as it is only a two and a half hour drive from Reno, Nevada. It is a must-see fall destination if you live in the area. It’s a place where memories are made, bellies are filled and the harvest is bountiful. I highly recommend a visit for your own adventures at Apple Hill.