Apple Hill

Ever since I heard about apple picking in Apple Hill, I knew I wanted to go. Unfortunately the logistics of it were a bit complicated so this was the first year I actually considered. It's about 2.5 hours from SF, so a bit too far for a day trip with three little ones and the main problem is that it gets insanely crowded on October weekends, which is peak season. Apple Hill is on the way to Tahoe, near Placerville, in an area just north of highway 50 that reminds me a bit of Napa wine country -- lots of apples farms off of several main roads. This creates a bottleneck on weekends so I knew we wanted to avoid that. But was I really going to have Dave take time off work and take the kids out of school, not use Jessica for the day, etc all for a visit to Apple Hill? No. But the boys do have two Mondays in October off so I thought going up Sunday to Monday would solve a lot of our problems.

Overall, it worked out well. My mom was excited to come with us and our plan was to leave around 1pm from SF and get up there possibly in time to visit one farm, but if not, just head to the hotel to swim, order pizza and go to bed and pack in several apple farms the next morning. Dave was relieved not to go and the boys were really excited. George had come down with yet another virus on Wednesday before our trip, but was fully recovered heading into the weekend. Dave took Colette and William to church while I stayed with George as he still had a bit of a cough hanging on. We were all ready to go when Colette has a meltdown when coming home from church and won't eat and won't stop crying. Not a good sign. Then William complains he's feeling sick and I didn't know if it was because he thought he'd get to stay home with Dave (including the next morning) or if he really was sick. After much talk back and forth, and considering just taking Colette and George, William decided he was well enough to go. Colette and William slept most of the drive up there, and we did make it to a farm (Abel's Apples) before it closed, but G was clearly the only one feeling well. C was super clingy and William said he was cold even though it was 70+ degrees out. We headed back to the hotel for swimming and by the time the pizza arrived, both W and C were burning up with temps over 100. Luckily I was prepared with meds and a thermometer so my mom held C after she got some medicine and W and G got the ipads before heading to bed. I had to drive back 15 miles to get the car charged up for the next day which actually worked out fine.

The next morning I woke up to texts about the Napa fire. I had no idea how bad is was, but texted Dave and he confirmed he could definitely smell smoke at our house. So crazy. I didn't have time to be on my phone that morning though so didn't learn how bad it was until much later. The hotel had screwed up our ajoining room reservation so my mom stayed in a room with the boys while I was down the hall with C. That actually worked out well as W only woke up briefly once, whereas C was up multiple times so it was a bit rough. While still warm the next morning, C seemed to be doing much better and ate fairly well at breakfast. W was a bit under the weather soon, but as we saw with C, after medicine, they both were running around for an hour or two and then quickly nose-dived.

We visited High Hill, the main ranch, first thing Monday morning and that was great. We fished in the pond, fed the ducks, the boys rode the ponies, we all got apple donuts and cider and even an apple cider milkshake. Thankfully this is when all the kids seemed to be feeling well. We made it several hours and as C and W started going downhill, we drive down the road to another farm, Rainbow Orchards to pick up a pie and a homemade corn dog for George along with some apple cider. Only G and I got out and we only spent maybe 10 minutes there while the others waited in the car. W was already drifting off. G and I wanted to check out one other farm so we drove to Apple Ridge and picked up a BBQ sandwich for me, some apples for my dad and G got to mine for 'gems' which was fun. Again, we only spent maybe 15 minutes here while the others waited in the car, C and W asleep and my mom the good sport as always.

Thankfully W and C slept most of the way home, but neither sounded good. The kids' doctors office had called several times that day to check in on G so when I talked to them, I told them about the other kids. After hearing C cough, they thought it could be going into croup, so thankfully our pediatrican was able to see us that afternoon at 5pm. C did get croup medicine and while W couldn't go to school the next day, thankfully both got better pretty quickly with just a lingering cough.

Had I known that both C and W were going to be feeling so poor, I would've skipped the trip but it's always hard to tell. I'm so thankful my mom was able to come, and that a situation like this doesn't bother her at all -- she just loved seeing the fall colors and visiting the farms with us. It certainly could've been worse, but I think we'd definitely want to go back to Apple Hill again. The hotel worked out really well, we got delicious pizza (at Pizza Plus down the road) and it really is a cool experience, not to mention such delicious apple treats!

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