The first place we went was High Hill, as it was highly recommended. To be honest with you, it wasn't my favorite place. There are a lot of activities for kids (sadly a pony ride where ponies are forced to walk in circles all day). There is a cute pond where you can fish and picnic. There are a lot of vendors at High Hill, selling a variety of goods, but I never buy stuff like that. There was a large variety of apples and other goodies for sale. We bought apple donuts there, not realizing we should have gone to Rainbow Orchards where they make fresh donuts.
The next place we went was Boa Vista Orchards. They had a lot more vegetables for sale. They also had cider, pasteurized and non-pasteurized, along with alcoholic cider! I decided to go with a cider flight so I could try all of the flavors. My favorite was the crisp cider. We both bought applesauce and my friend bough cider for her boyfriend. They also had an area where you could taste the different apple varieties and cider. Apparently they have delicious apple pies there but we never tried them.
Across the street from Boa Vista was an adorable pumpkin patch (very picked over) so we of course had to stop. There was Instagram area - we took a photo of a mom and her daughter then she took a photo of us! One thing I've learned about blogging, one little trick, is to look for people who have a similar camera and ask them to take a picture. You have no idea how many times I handed my DSLR to someone who took a horrible photo. I'm getting better a getting pictures of me doing things because for years I was never in any of my photos!
I've been extremely burned out on perfect Instagram photos so I've been looking for unique places and ways to take photos. When was the last time you played like a child? We saw a few kids jumping around on the hay bales so I decided to join in. I was actually told by a few small children that I was not jumping right so they proceeded to show me how to do it.
We also meet this adorable little girl and when I sat on the witch she ran over and told me I had to high-five her.
The last place we went was a winery called Madroña. To be honest with you, without doing an actual research, we did Apple Hill ALL wrong. I'll post my tip and tricks below. The wine was good - I bought two bottles, one of which I opened last night. The men working the tasting area were chatty and informative about the history of the place and how they make the wine. When I travel, one of my favorite things to do is chat with the locals. I love seeing and hearing about a town from people who have lived there. I love unique experience and usually the locals tell you to go to places not on the map. They had a super cute mascot (dog) "Sprocket" who greeted us upon arrival. He didn't want to much to do with us after that though!
One thing we both enjoyed was eating lunch in Placerville, CA. The people were nice, the waiters cute and the food was excellent. It was more like a small Montana country town which I miss and love. We ate at Heyday and it was delicious.
So a few things I learned!
Go early. We were given the advice that things don't start to pick up until about noon but that is so not true. Most places close at 5 or 6, at least on week days, so we lost a lot of time getting there so late.
Go to Rainbow Orchard for donuts! And go to as many places as you can. We missed a bunch because we ran out of time :( There are so many gorgeous photo-ops and scenery that is just waiting to be explored.
Chat with the locals (but not the vendors or people working Apple Hill because very few of them are from that area). We ended up chatting with the guys who own/work the winery year-round and we had much better luck finding information on the secret, local, must visit places.
We stopped on the way back to take these gorgeous photos near South Lake Tahoe which was a must! It was one of the turnouts along the winding mountain highway.