Some of my fondest memories as a child were the family outings we would take every year during the fall to Apple Hill, the most charming collection of ranches located just about half way between Sacramento and South Lake Tahoe. The epicenter of family fun, this place was filled with apple farms, pumpkins, flowers, bake shops, face painting, pony rides, petting zoos, wagon rides, hay-bale mazes…you name it, they had it and as kids, we couldn’t get enough.
Now that I am grown with a baby of my own, I am making new memories out of old family traditions and this weekend’s outing to Julian Mining Co. was a wonderfully nostalgic trip down memory lane. Julian is a historic gold-mining, apple-picking, cider drinkin’ kind of town just an hour east of San Diego, making it the perfect getaway destination for antsy road-trippers that measure about two and a half feet tall.
We purchased a package deal which included access to the hayride, cider-press, petting zoo and pumpkin patch and sold for $9 per adult and $7 per child, with babies getting in for free. For older kids, there is a gold and gem mining station and a tomahawk throwing center which seemed to be the most popular attraction (uh, duh).
Out of all the activities offered, my little pumpkin was most interested in finding a little pumpkin of her own so to the pumpkin patch we went. I can’t even begin to describe how fun it was to watch her explore and take it all in. Such a confident, independent and adventurous little girl she has become with an insane amount of energy, curiosity and a flair for the dramatic. Bye-bye baby, hello toddler!
My favorite attraction was a gruesome 380 foot walk to Julian Hard Cider (brilliantly planned). To my beer-brewing husband’s misfortune, beer is an acquired taste that I never acquired but cider is a completely different story. I’m assuming it has everything to do with the composition. To hops, barley and grains I say no thank you but apple juice, yes please! Their lovely flight of five hard ciders for $5 included a delicious selection of apple, cherry, black and blue, apple pie and raspberry cider which I was kind enough to split with my husband. My favorite was the apple pie, better than any apple pie I’ve ever made and sure to please both beer and non-beer drinkers alike.
If none of these attractions excite you, perhaps the cutest, sweetest, most ridiculously perfect boutique, Mini & Me, located just outside of Julian Hard Cider will do the trick. If you love fashion, home decor and all things baby than you might want to do yourself a favor and stop by to take a peek!