Scenes from Apple Hill
On Friday night we had family fly in from Florida to spend the week with us so I thought it would be best to start their trip out on the right foot….with fresh, hot apple cider donuts!!
The next morning we made the drive to Apple Hill, a collection of over 50 orchards and ranches that open up during the fall to allow the public to come pick apples and sample baked goods. It sits in the foothills of the Sierra mountains about an hour drive from Sacramento and two hours from our house in the East Bay. Taking a day trip meant we had to spend at least four hours in the car but we all agreed that it was totally worth it!
This place is what apple dreams are made of: apple cider, apple donuts, apple fritters, apple pie, apple butter, caramel apples, apple cider cocktails, apple beer, apple wine, and apple cider milkshakes. Pretty much every kind of apple product you can think of!
In addition to apple orchards there are pumpkin patches, Christmas tree farms, vineyards, breweries and plenty of activities to keep kids busy. I could see it being a great spot to come visit as an annual family trip.
Most of the ranches are dog-friendly too so we were able to bring Coco along for the fun.
Nearby Apple Hill is historical downtown Placerville which has a nice collection of independently owned restaurants. We stopped at a cute spot called Sweetie Pie’s. It was too cold to eat outside on the patio but luckily they have a heated deck where you can bring your dog so we all stayed warm and cozy while we ate.
The fact that they were so welcoming to furry friends made me automatically love it so the good food was a bonus. I was hoping to try the breakfast because they’re known for their cinnamon buns but we got there a little late so I went with the homemade veggie burger instead. In hindsight it was probably good that they weren’t serving cinnamon buns because then I would’ve been too full for donuts. ;)
I had read that Rainbow Orchard had the best so that was our first stop. They were made to order so they come out nice and warm…ugh, they were so good!
Then our second stop was at High Hill Ranch which was surprisingly busy considering it was the end of the season. It seemed liked it had the most to do and see though- like places for you to stop and get a picture of your dog’s face sticking though the hole of a cardboard pumpkin. Brandon enjoys doing this.
I had to try the donuts there too. You know, to compare. They were good but I would say that Rainbow Orchard’s were better because they were served warm and fresh. That’s hard to beat!
But High Hill Ranch has hot apple cider, a cocktail hut and tents set up with local artisans selling goods so it’s definitely worth the stop. We bought a few handmade glass Christmas ornaments that will make really cute gifts!
Overall we loved Apple Hill! It’s absolutely beautiful and there’s so much more that we didn’t get a chance to see.
I’m also kicking myself for not buying any pies but I did take home a gallon of apple cider. What I should make with it?!
so glad you made it to Apple Hill! went for the first time this year as well.
btw, where did you get your green jacket!?
I remember seeing your post on it! :)
I got the jacket from Nordstrom during their annual sale. It’s Michael Kors and I love it!
I used to love hot apple cider donuts! My best friend and I used to work at an apple orchard/pumpkin patch as the donut makers and we got to bring all of the rejects home with us :)
Oh no, that sounds like a dangerous job!! ;)
Sounds lovely! Apple cider donuts and festive activities are a few of my favorite things to do especially in the fall.
Oooo I’m so jealous!! haha I wanted to go to an apple orchard sooo bad this year … but there’s nothing near us :( I was so sad. Next year we need to plan better so we can make the drive out further west!
And I love seeing pics of Coco!
I’m surprised to hear there aren’t any close to you. Or maybe my geography is a little rusty. :)
You look so cute and cozy! And I just so happened to enjoy some apple fritters and donuts this weekend too, but from Bob’s Donuts in the City, and they were legendary! What a fun fall activity for visitors. Glad you enjoyed yourself! :)
This brings me right back to my childhood apple picking excursions! I haven’t had an apple cider donut in years and now you have me craving one – there is really nothing better!
Looks lovely! Can’t wait to make it out there next fall. I’m so happy to hear they are dog friendly! Ryder will love to come. :)
The only place that wasn’t dog friendly was the brewery which I thought was a shame. But most everything else was!
What a perfect fall day! These pictures are wonderful. Makes me want to go there pronto!
That sounds like so much fun! I’m disappointed that I never made it out to any apple orchards this fall…I’ll have to make sure that happens next year!
Ahh how have I never had apple cider donuts before? That whole day looks awesome. I love coco’s pictures too. I’d take that apple cider and simmer it with some rum on the stove and enjoy some by the fire!
Oh my gosh, what a gorgeous place! And I love Coco’s picture in the pumpkin patch. She’s like, “Mom, this is ridiculous” haha! I have yet to have anything apple this year so I’m insanely jealous of your jug of cider.
Ahh I’m so happy that I found your great little recap today, because my boyfriend and I were just saying this weekend is our last chance to make it up to Apple Hill before holiday craziness begins! Despite living in Sacramento most of my life, I’ve only gone once as a small child and don’t remember anything about it!
I totally trust your judgment when it comes to food ;) So if the weather permits and we head up this weekend, I will be sure to check out at least one of those stops!
I hope you guys get a chance to go! You’re lucky to live so close. :)
I love places like this! It’s just one of the reasons I can’t wait to move to New England – so that I could live at orchards every weekend in the fall. I love that all these options are available in one place at Apple Hill. Apples, wineries, breweries, and Christmas trees?! Amazing. Maybe it’s California I need to move to.
I think New England probably has California beat in the Apple orchard department. And fall, in general. :)
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