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Fall Fun Trip – Apple Hill, California   Leave a comment

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By Michelle Portesi

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apple-hill-pumpkin-patch

 

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Autumn brings with it a plethora of fun things to do, and one of my favorites is going down to Apple Hill, which is just past Pollock Pines on Hwy. 50.

If you’re coming from the North Shore or Truckee, you can make a day of it and take the long way around down Hwy 89 South and view all the spectacular fall colors along the way. Maybe make a quick stop at Taylor Creek, where the aspens are abundant and in all of their fall glory. Stroll along the creek to view the brilliant red and green hues of Kokanee Salmon as they make their way to their spawning grounds. Who knows?  You might spot a bear or two fishing for a quick meal.

But I digress…

It’s a beautiful drive all the way down to Apple Hill, and you’ll no doubt be starving once you get there. The beauty of Apple Hill is not only can you get a full basket of the season’s most crisp, delicious apples, but many of the orchards offer a full compliment of good eats beyond home made apple pies. BBQ Tri Tip and Pulled Pork Sandwiches often top the menus in addition to other fare.

You’ll find more than just apples at Apple Hill. It’s fun for the whole family, featuring pumpkin patches, pick your own berry farms and apples, hayrides, farmers markets, craft fairs and more.

Think of Apple Hill like it’s Disneyland. You couldn’t possibly get to every orchard and shop in one day. So if it’s your first time there, go to their website and download their map to get a lay of the land. applehill.com/map2016.  If you have been there before, you can explore a new orchard or venue you haven’t been to yet.

The website also offers a comprehensive brochure that can be downloaded and printed out – with a list of every gift shop, winery, orchard, Christmas tree farm, bakery and berry patch along the way. Starting on page 38 is a list of every point of interest with a grid showing what they offer.   issuu.com/applehill.

Here are a few of my favorites:

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Bill’s Apples

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Bill’s Apples/Felice’s Dolls – This is a beautiful orchard with not only acres of apple trees, but magnificent rolling hills of fall flowers still in full bloom. They offer a variety of apples, my favorite being the Arkansas Black. They also sell wonderful whirly-gigs and have a shop full of craft dolls and gifts

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Grandpa’s gift shop

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Grandpa’s – This orchard features a bake shop and a lovely shop specializing in all things apple themed. They also have an impressive array of specialty food items including syrups, jams and butters. I sprung for a jar each of the cranberry chutney and caramel apple butter. The perfect addition to the upcoming Thanksgiving meal.

Apple Ridge Farms – A great place to grab something to eat. It not only features a BBQ lunch and bake shop with plenty of picnic benches, but a country store, duck pond and orchard market building. Lovely grounds to stroll through and hay mazes for the kids.

High Hill Ranch– This sprawling area features plenty of places to eat, a large craft fair, hay rides, a produce shop with specialty food items and a pond area. Just up the road is the Fudge Shop full of every kind of candy you can imagine to satisfy your sweet tooth.

Rainbow Orchard – Watch them make fresh apple cider in their cider press, and don’t forget to buy a gallon. (You can freeze it!) Featuring plenty of apples for sale in addition to pumpkins, pears and much more.

Honey Bear Ranch – Wonderful bake shop featuring their signature caramel apple pie. They also have wine tasting, with a specialty near and dear my heart – 4 kinds of Hard Cider!

Boa Vista – They offer a huge produce market, wine tasting, crafts, bake shop, lunch and more! www.boavista.com

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boa-vista

The pumpkin that ate Tokyo…at Boa Vista

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Apple Hill is busiest during the fall, but some orchards and shops are open year round. Call ahead to pick up a fresh or frozen holiday pie. And don’t forget about their Christmas Tree Farms for choosing a perfect holiday tree.

For more information, go to Apple Hill’s Website: applehill.com

From there, you can visit the websites of all the individual orchards and venues.

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THINK OF ME, LYNN RICHARDSON, FOR ALL OF YOU LAKE TAHOE AND TRUCKEE REAL ESTATE NEEDS!

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Apple Hill – A Fall Favorite   Leave a comment

By Michelle Portesi

The Apple Growers of Apple Hill California

The Apple Growers of Apple Hill California

 

Nestled just off of Highway 50, from South Lake Tahoe past Pollock Pines is the area known as Apple Hill.  Hidden behind the pines is a thriving community of apple growers, cider pressers, wineries, eateries and more.

The popular area’s season got off to a rough start with the King Fire nipping at its doorstep and the smoke making any foray outdoors hard on the lungs. Mercifully that didn’t hurt the harvest and blue skies and fresh air greeted us once the fire was snuffed out. (Thank you to all the fearless firefighters!)

A recent trip down to the area showed the fires vast expanse of devastation along the highway, but just past that it didn’t take long to realize that it didn’t dampen the desire for the freshest apples around by the general population. It was Saturday. It was a glorious fall day. The town was PACKED! (Do yourself a favor. Don’t go on a Saturday.)

 

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Our first stop graced us with a riot of fall mums, marigolds and a plethora of apple varieties I’d never heard of before. I had to buy some, and I will tell you honestly, they were DELISH! Nothing beats a fresh, unbelievable crisp and sweet apple. I may never buy store bought again.

From there we followed the trail map to several other growers, quickly realizing we couldn’t buy every single variety at every single orchard and still make rent. Fortified with a tasty lunch from one of the orchards, sitting under the apple trees on picnic benches, we planned our route to a variety of places that offered different treats. One offered an on site cider press, and I couldn’t resist a freshly pressed half gallon of it. This too was marvelous, and I have just the recipe to use it for. (Chicken brined in cider with a reduced cider gravy. Yum!)

 

A man and his emu...

A man and his emu…

 

Several had craft fairs, pick your own produce and orchards, petting zoos and gift shops (Grandpa’s Cellar) offering a wide array of apple inspired motifs. Interspersed amongst the orchards were several wineries, and we did get to sample from one that carried hard cider.

But the best treat of all was a stop at an unassuming orchard named Honey Bear Ranch, with the best caramel nut apple pie ever baked. We sat under a beautiful outdoor gazebo adorned with vines, listened to some great music, and savored every mouthful.

Apple Hill is best visited in the Fall, however the area is also a major Christmas Tree grower, and some orchards are open year round.

I’m thinking I’ll be having a serious need for more of those Caramel Apple Holiday Pies…

To learn more and plan your trip, visit their website here: Apple Hill

Be sure to download the Apple Hill map.

 

The size of a dinner plate!

The size of a dinner plate!

 

THINK OF ME, LYNN RICHARDSON, FOR ALL OF YOUR LAKE TAHOE AND TRUCKEE REAL ESTATE NEEDS!

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Lynn Richardson . Coldwell Banker Real Estate . Lake Tahoe & Truckee

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