Momservation: Having the first bite of your child’s hot apple donut falls under the Checking for Poison provision.
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Hot apple donuts. Need I say more?
If you haven’t been to Apple Hill yet this season to usher in fall, or (gasp!) ever, I’m taking away your excuses today.
First excuse: No time. With soccer, football, fall ball, fall swim, lacrosse, volleyball, and/or basketball on the weekends there’s no time to get up to Apple Hill.
We had the same problem. Solution? This coming Monday, Nov. 11 is Veteran’s Day—a holiday. What better way to spend a crisp fall day than eating your way through every apple related product in the red, orange, and yellow dappled Sierra foothills?
(The other way is to play hookie from work or school like Hubby and I did for our anniversary and our friends, the Breens, did for their Annual Skip School and Go to Apple Hill day.)
Second excuse: I don’t know where to go or the best places to stop.
No problem. Step 1, here’s a map:
Step 2: I’m going to tell you the best places to go to have a yummy and magical Apple Hill experience based on all the years my friends and I celebrated autumn by caravanning 20+ kids up the hill for fall fun and deliciousness.
- Take the Schnell School exit off Hwy 50, go left, then right on Carson Rd to Abel’s Apple Acres. Get there right at 9 a.m. and start with hot apple donuts. I also get my various varieties of frozen apple pies here ready to pop in the oven for Thanksgiving. The kids can do the hay maze, ride ponies, make candles and you can sit on the overlooking deck and indulge in apple turnovers, apple dumplings, apple fritters, or apple strudel. They also have craft booths, BBQ and candy counter, but I come for the apple donuts.
- Head east on Carson Road, veering left on Canyon Rd to avoid the congestion of Boa Vista Orchards and High Hill Ranch (we’ll come back to these). I love this loop for taking in the beauty of Apple Hill, but there’s plenty of good stops here too—the train ride at El Dorado Orchards, rolling down the hill at Kids Inc., (take the left at Larsen Drive) making a quick stop for fresh pressed cider at Bolster’s Hilltop Ranch (in October we pick apples here).
- At the end of Larsen Drive (at Cable Road) is Apple Ridge Farms. They’ve got great picnic grounds here and good BBQ and a bake shop. There’re a petting farm, hay maze and cute country store. After we’ve hung out a while we like to take their short nature trail to next door Grandpa’s Cellar. If you haven’t already gotten some apple cider you can get Apple Hill’s own Barsotti Juice here, shop in their cute country apple store, or gorge on more yummy apple pastries and pies. We usually do our apple slices with hot caramel here.
- Take Cable Rd. west to Carson Rd and go right. The last stop is quintessential Apple Hill: High Hill Ranch. If you stopped nowhere else, stop here for a complete Apple Hill experience. Park among the apple trees and meander the craft booths. You can get fresh pressed cider, homemade pies, BBQ tri-tip or chicken dinners, or bring your own picnic and enjoy the beautiful view over kids fishing a fish-stocked pond. You can get produce and organic products at their market, apple wine or an apple cider milkshake at their shake shack, kettle corn or fudge at the Fudge Factory Farm next to the pony rides. It’s usually packed with people milling about soaking up a magical fall experience in the Sierra foothills—but I love the festiveness of it all.
- If you want to call it a day after High Hill (I usually do), double back on Carson Rd. (head east) to the Camino Exit to get on the freeway and skip the congestion of Boa Vista Orchards. Boa Vista is also a great stop for apple pastries and fresh produce market and many Apple Hill regulars would never dream of missing it, but everything it offers you can get at High Hill. I usually stop here weekdays or rainy, slow weekends for its covered eating area. If you stop here, continue west on Carson Rd to the Schnell School exit to leave Apple Hill and head back to Sacramento.
Of course, everyone has their favorites, and all the Apple Hill Ranchers have something wonderful to offer visitors. You can check their website to personalize your trip. But, this loop is a tried and true favorite of ours to fill your stomach with everything apple and indulge in the fun fall atmosphere.
If you’re from Sacramento, really, you have no excuse now—I’ve made it easy. If you’re from the Bay Area, I promise you, it’s worth the trip for a family or romantic adventure. If you’re one of my national or international readers—I will eat as many hot apple donuts for you as I can.
If you can’t make it for fall, Apple Hill also has dozens of choose and cut tree farms for your family Christmas tree with many ranches are still open for hot apple cider and hot apple pies and pastries! See website: http://www.applehill.com/apple-hill-growers/christmas-trees/