Monday, October 13, 2014

Fall Adventure - Apple Picking (aka: Apple Pie Eating)

Apple picking is a quintessential fall activity. The leaves. The colors. The fashion. The photo opportunities. The crisp air. Sigh.

I say all that and you would assume apple picking has been a tradition in my family since I was little. That there are photos of me year after year on the tractor with the bales of hay.

You would assume wrong. First time I went was last year. Second time was this year. Does two times starting at age 28 a tradition make? Probably not. But I like it anyway!

An amazing blue sky for my fall adventure!
This past weekend was absolutely beautiful! Perfect weather that was, in fact, a bit too warm for my taste at 60 degrees. Sun was out. Gorgeous blue sky. I had just finished up a midterm exam and all the cramming that led up to it. So I ventured out to Stillwater on a mini road trip. And when I say “mini”, I mean Stillwater is 35 minutes away …

So here is my fall apple picking mini road trip adventure:

Road trips = bad for you (but oh so yummy) food!

  • Step 1: stop at Starbucks because crisp fall weather calls for a grande soy no water chai
  • Step 2: drive 30 minutes (with GPS, cause I rarely venture more than 10 miles from downtown)
  • Step 3: arrive at apple orchard and find parking amongst sea of mini vans and SUVs
  • Step 4: “pick apples” (more on the use of the quotation marks later)
  • Step 5: eat pie
  • Step 6: drive to Stillwater and stumble upon Harvest Festival
  • Step 7: wander Stillwater
  • Step 8: watch a 600 pound pumpkin get dropped from 100 feet in the air on top of ANOTHER giant pumpkin
  • Step 9: drive home … stop for takeout because clearly my day was sooo exhausting that there was no way I was gonna cook anything
The view from the above! Many many stairs later ...

All in all, the day was a success. However, I will say that the local meteorologist/news station was slightly deceiving when they said this last weekend would be best for fall colors on the river. I disagree. There was too much green yet. I think this this coming weekend will be better (hence the trip to Taylors Falls to see more fall colors planned for Saturday).

Now, a few random thoughts on apple picking:
  • “Apple picking” is really a lose term of what goes on at these apple orchards. I mean, really. There was no actual apple picking going on at all. Best you could do was get apples from the store. (BTW: hello expensive!) There were small apples on the trees and lots of them on the ground, but the only one I actually “picked” was for a photo … of me … picking said apple. 
  • #ItsAllAboutThePie. Meghan Trainor may think it’s all about the bass. I disagree. It’s all about the pie. That’s why one goes apple picking … to eat pie. And why would I make pie when I can just buy pie. SUPER proud of myself though. I had my delicious piece of apple pie a la mode right then and there, but I did NOT give in and pie the entire pie to take home. In full disclosure, that may have had more to do with the $11 price tag than my own willpower/goodness.  
Worth the extra time on the treadmill!
  • What is apple butter anyway? I don’t understand.
  • Dido the above re: apple sausage? Ewwww. 
  • Want to know what happens when you go to an apple orchard by yourself? Every cute little high school/college couple out on a date walking the orchard asks you to take their pictures. I should have charged … payment accepted in cash … or pie. 
  • The apples are really small. What’s that all about?
  • This particular orchard (Aamodt’s Apple Farm in Stillwater, MN) also had vineyard and winery. Good idea.
  • Unless you have kids to take lots of pictures of or take them on the hay covered tractor “adventure” or play in the hay maze, there isn’t that much to do once you wander the orchard and wander the store (and eat you pie).
Does it get more quintessentially fall then leaves and apples?
  • There are really two kinds of people that seem to go to Orchards: families with young kids and college students.
  • Good idea selling hot dogs and sausages … yum. Good way to prime the tummy for the soon-to-come pie and ice cream.
  • One bathroom? Really!?!?

As I mentioned, from the orchard I went to Stillwater. If you’re not familiar, it is a cute little town right on the river that boasts a quaint main street, many (many) antique shops, a river walk, lots of restaurants, and good views of the river valley and changing fall colors. And, these massively terrible and numerous stairs you can climb and get an amazing view from (once you catch your breath).

The harvest festival was neat to run into. Lots of people by the river, a beer garden, crafty goodies, and a giant pumpkin contest. I mean GIANT – the winner was 1832 pounds. Wow!

At 5pm, unbeknownst to me, the festival was coming to its big finale for the day. I gathered with everyone else to watch a giant pumpkin go 100 feet in the air and get dropped on another giant pumpkin. #OnlyInMN

Left: giant pumpkin being dropped from 100 feet in the air on top of another giant pumpkin.
Right: even more giant pumpkin ... the winner at 1832 pounds.
All in all, the day was lovely. And I plan on repeating parts of it all over again this weekend! But this time it will also include some great hiking at Taylor’s Falls.

No comments:

Post a Comment

There was an error in this gadget