A Family Outing Suggestion from the Cheyenne
Summer's over and we're back to school! Time for homework and soccer, right? Well, fall season also means something else to our family. It means a trip to apple country.
For the past three years our family has taken a trip to Oak Glen in the San Bernadino Mountains. It's about a 75 minute drive from Huntington Beach with plenty to do and see for the family. Nestled in the foothills of the mountains, Oak Glen is a little rural area along Oak Glen Road and boasts the largest apple growing area in Southern California. It has picnic grounds, craft shops, and farms where you can visit with animals, pick your own tree ripened fruit or buy it from the roadside stands.
In the middle of the town of Oak Glen there is a little shopping area with a number of restaurants and shops, even an area with tables for picnics. At Mountain Town, an adjacent shopping area, there are live reindeer, live entertainment, and a museum featuring wild animals from around the world. There are also a number of shops, including a shop devoted to Indian wares, and a bakery that specializes in, what else, apple pie! For the kids there is a small children's zoo and plenty of interesting treats.
A typical trip for us consists of a picnic in Oak Tree Village, a visit with the animals, and some shopping. The shops are very unique and the owners/artisans always seem willing to talk about their wares or anything else that comes up! For those who like to shop or are looking for something a little different, this is the place to go!
The best parts of the trip are the visits to the orchards! Many of the orchards are open and let you borrow a ladder or an apple-picker and go out and pick your own. Somehow the apples taste much better if you get to pick them yourselves. Some of the orchards grow other fruits which also can be purchased. We prefer to go to a couple of orchards and pick two or three types of apples. We also found a farm at the far end of the town where they have a large selection of ciders and a field of raspberry vines. Each of us goes into the field with our own basket to find the best raspberries nature has to offer. What we don't eat on the trip home we freeze and save for raspberry sauce for our holiday meals. Overall, it's an inexpensive, fun day trip for everyone in the family. There are campgrounds nearby for those with RV's who really want to explore the valley.
Directions to Oak Glen: Take I-10 East to the Yucaipa Blvd. exit. Take Yucaipa east to Bryant Street. Take Bryant Street to Oak Glen Road, this will take you right up the hill to the orchards and the town of Oak Glen (approximately 15 miles east of Redlands).
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