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Visiting Apple Hill with the Family

Today’s post is from Reno Moms Blog Guest Contributor Jessica Grundy. She’s currently a stay-at-home mom of two: four-year-old Chase and three-month-old Elle.  Originally from Cleveland, Ohio, she attended high school in Las Vegas and received her college degree from UNR.  For the past five years, she’s lived in Carson City with her husband, Jason, a Carson native.

Autumn!  In my opinion, it’s the most wonderful time of the year.  I love the rich colors and wearing cute boots and scarves. There’s nothing prettier on my front porch than pumpkins and mums.  And, don’t get me started on apple pie!  Fortunately, we are in close proximity to a place that embodies everything fall… Apple Hill.  Whether you’ve already visited or just heard of it, plan a trip now.  It’s a great way to spend a fun fall day with the family.

Nestled in the rolling hills outside Placerville, Calif., Apple Hill is a collection of over 50 orchards, wineries and farms.  There’s even a spa and brewery.  There is everything from fresh apple pie to apple wine, as well as pick-your-own pumpkins and arts and crafts galore.  You can even come back in winter to pick out a Christmas tree.  It’s also a great place to take family photos.  Our very own Lemaire Photography has offered shoots there in the past.

Hay mazeWith so many places to choose from it can be overwhelming deciding which ranch to visit.  I suggest starting with a just a couple of farms and trying a few new ones each year you return.  I’ve done this over the years, and it’s been a great way to sample Apple Hill.  Now, when I visit, I go straight to my favorites, which include Abel’s Apple Acres, High Hill Ranch and Apple Ridge Farms. They offer all of the aforementioned fun, as well as hay mazes, a fishing pond and a petting zoo for the kids.
FishingHigh Hill Ranch in particular is a one-stop shop for everything: you could literally spend all day there without visiting another farm, so it’s a great place if you are a first-timer.  There is plenty of non-apple food available as well, so you can buy lunch, too.  If you want to save some money and bring your own food, there are also lots of picnic spots.  While Apple Hill makes for a memorable family day, it would also be a nice mommy/daddy getaway.  Sampling apple wine and beer at a leisurely pace without kids in tow sounds heavenly to me.  I’m hoping to do that this year with my husband!

September/October is the best time to go to Apple Hill, although I’ve found that September can still be warm, so we usually go the first week or two of October.  In late October, snowstorms can move in, and this can make going over the mountain pass difficult. If you’re coming from the Reno area, I suggest taking Highway 395 South into Carson City and hopping onto Highway 50 West, which takes you the rest of the way.  I live in Carson City, so it’s less than a two-hour trip.  From Reno/Sparks, it’s probably close to three.  South Lake Tahoe has two Starbucks locations, which make for a good place to stop and stretch your legs or take a potty break.  Once you near Placerville, take the Schnell School Exit 48; it’s the furthest point west of the farms, and from here you can drive through all the farms and enjoy the beautiful scenery.  Pollock Pines Exit 57 is the furthest point east, so it’s a good place to exit on your way home.

Visit www.AppleHill.com for a complete visitor’s guide, including a map (definitely print this out for your journey), a list of farms and their amenities, as well as all the farms’ own websites, events and more.  I hope you enjoy Apple Hill as much as my family and I do!


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