I spent Saturday in a part of California I previously did not even know existed. It felt like another country…and it was wonderful.
California is such a diverse place. Not just the population, which represents cultures from around the globe, but even in its topography. I grew up in the Los Angeles area and have explored much of the state over the years. Yet there are still unexplored pockets. Last weekend, I was again surprised at what California has to offer.
Autumn is up on us, though the weather remains so warm you wouldn’t notice. The leaves are just beginning to turn. My wife Heidi wanted to go to an apple orchard to pick apples. This is something she used to do in Germany and wanted to introduce our son Augustine to. I’ve never picked apples off a tree before…such trees don’t do well in Los Angeles.
When she mentioned it, I was open to the idea, but really had no idea where to look. I wasn’t about to drive up to the Central Valley. But she located several family-owned apple orchards in Oak Glen, a town nestled at the base of the San Gorgonio Mountain in San Bernardino County, east of LA toward Palm Springs.
So on Saturday we took off after an early lunch and made the approximately 1.5-hour drive from our home in LA.
No road trip is completed without coffee and we stopped at a Third Wave coffee house in Yucaipa called Hearthwood Coffee Roasters. The coffee was great, but I was dismayed that no cow’s or goat’s milk was on offer; only plant-based substitutes. Oat milk not bad in cereal, but I certainly don’t prefer it in my cappuccino. Next time, I’ll stick to espresso.
California Apple Orchards
We continued on to the apple orchards and all I can say is that it felt like we were in another country…or at least another state. It was rural. People were extremely friendly. And it was clear that life was taken at a slower pace.
Each farm has different attractions to draw in people, though all center on picking apples or pressing apples into cider. There were animals to pet, candles and birdhouses to make, tractor rides, and playhouses. Augustine had a wonderful time. Heidi and I enjoyed the change of pace too.
I’m not sure how great it would be to live there, as we saw literally dozens of houses and farms for sale, just on the road we took, but it was a great place to visit for Saturday.
Heck, they even have Cracker Barrels out there. I had to stop…though it must be such a novelty that there was over an hour wait for a table and we continued back home.
That’s a shame, because there’s nothing like a some country-fried ham, chicken dumplings, meatloaf, cornbread, and buttermilk biscuits. I’m sure my body thanked me though for skipping out on that feast…
It’s often our own backyards that we leave unexplored. Going out each autumn to pick apples will be a new family tradition in our house. It was a fun day together and really showcased what a diverse place California is. Venture out from Los Angeles and you’ll find mountains, beaches, forests, deserts…and apple orchards.