I don't know if I said it here or not, but one of my fondest memories from childhood was my family's trips to the apple orchard. I know we didn't go every year, but all the pick your own places we went to were so much fun. We would pick peaches, blueberries, cherries, and of course apples.
Well since we have moved to Illinois we have been going to a local apple orchard every year. We have yet to pick our own apples. (insert pouty face here) we always have a good time though. This past weekend we took our friends from the Quad Cities and their kids to the orchard. (Note to self, NEVER go on a weekend!!) Usually when we go we drive up before 10 in the morning during the week, they are relatively slow and have taste testers for all the dips and mixes that they sell. There is hardly ever a line and you can just relax, take your time, and taste everything. Well on the weekend there are no samples, huge lines, and unbelievable crowds.
We started in the store, hoping for samples because we were hungry and the line for the cider doughnuts downstairs was long. Ha, were we in for a shock when we got inside and there were none. I figured it was because they wouldn't be able to keep up with the crowds, which makes sense. So we went in and found the line for the fresh doughnuts by the dozen, about 10 minutes in line for warm apple cider doughnuts, while Jake and friends held our place in line I took one of the kids and snuck over to where they had the apple tasting, where you could sample the apples before you decided what to buy. We brought a slice back to tide us over until we got our doughnuts.
12 doughnuts and 6 people didn't last too long so we chose our apples and stood in line to check out...ah yes, more lines. This line wound through the store. They were counting people leaving the store so they would know how many to let in the store at the entrance. It was that crazy.
Once we got outside it was better, the kids could run and play in the farm area, they even had a maze of fencing up for the kids to get lost in. We climbed over tractors, a boat, a train, and even in a small house. Once we ran off some steam and had a caramel apple and warm apple cider we went on a wagon ride through the orchard.
It was windy and cold, but it was a great time. We ended our time at the orchard by picking our own pumpkins.
Next year, we are going to take the kids out of school on a Friday when we go, that way we can have the full adventure.