Saturday, November 22, 2008

Riley's Los Rios Rancho in Oak Glen, California

At the base of the San Bernardino mountains about an hour and a half east of Los Angeles sits a small apple growing community that gives meaning to the phrase "as American as apple pie". One of these apple farms is Riley's Los Rios Rancho, a historic apple farm in SoCal, and this was our destination on a lazy Saturday afternoon.

Once you start heading up the lower slopes where Los Rios Rancho is located, you start finding yourself transported into a different world, that of one of a time when things were much simpler. The air is chilly up here, the folks friendly. I wanted my kids to experience the essence of autumn, and I found it here. If you want to pick your own apples, you can come here around the end of August to mid-November, but I wanted the kids to come when the leaves have really changed color. The trees in the orchards were bare at this time, but don't fret even if you come now as the farm's shop have plenty of apples of many varieties to sample.

There's also apple butter of many, many varieties to try out. I couldn't find the white egg and jalapeno one, but I will continue looking on my return trip here. Next weekend is actually the Apple Butter Festival here, so this would be a good time to go if you're interested.

Fresh baked apple pies abound.

C and J got some caramel apples to take home. They were Granny Smiths which are not my favorites, but the kids loved them.

We sampled some cider.

And then we really wanted to press our own apple cider as this handsome hunk was demonstrating, but alas, they had already taken the last group in.

So we settled for fresh already-pressed apple cider. It was absolutely delicious and sweet.

I saw this hound sitting there at the apple cider demo area and just had to take a photo. His little owner said that he's not that bright, but just look at him. By the way, there is a petting zoo and also hayrides offered at the farm, but we didn't have time to do these.

Cooking up some tri-tip just outside of the bakery. Smelled wonderful, but the lines were too long.

Now, like I said we didn't just come here for the food. After a lovely picnic, we took a nice, two hour hike on the trails of the adjacent Oak Glen Preserve. Both this preserve and Riley's are maintained by the Wildlands Conservatory. They've done an amazing job, because look at this beautiful picnic area on the trails that is just beyond the apple orchard itself.

You'll also pass huge Sequoais, pretty ponds full of birds, one of which has this floating dock.

Then as you follow the seasonal stream, you'll enter this deciduous forest. Doesn't it look like something out of a fairy tale or Anne of Green Gables?

On the return trail, you'll walk along a boardwalk through wetlands, which I'm planning to return to in the spring because I've read that there will be butterflies then. We spent a bit of time here on the return trail.

We had our picnic under gorgeous red Japanese maples. In a nutshell, I was in heaven.

How do you and your family celebrate autumn in your neck of the woods?

Riley's at Los Rios Rancho is located at 39611 Oak Glen Rd. #13, Oak Glen, CA (909) 797-1005


Unknown said...

Looks like a very nice place to visit! The area looks very picturesque.

Food For Tots said...

Sounds great fun on your visit to apple farm. The autumn scenery is breathtaking! Making me so so jealous. Hehehe! ;)

shavedicesundays said...

wsl98787, it was really beautiful, you have to go in the fall.

Food For Tots, thanks for the comment. The kids had a lot of fun and so did we.

Abigail (aka Mamatouille) said...

Looks like The Autumn Way of Delight!

shavedicesundays said...

Abigail, it definitely was. I enjoyed it so much.