Just a little over an hour outside Los Angeles, you can go apple picking at Riley’s Farm.
Have you ever been apple picking? If you live in Southern California, it’s probably not the first thing you’d think you could do in the fall. Nestled in the foothills near Oak Glen sits Riley’s Farm. (This post contains affiliate links)
Not only is Riley’s a working farm and orchard, they also are a living history farm with plenty of activities that keep the Riley family busy year-round! But the fall is when Riley’s Farm really hums with excitement! I first met Jim Riley’s owner, history buff and brainchild behind Riley’s Farm in 2011, when I was an extra on a mini-series he was producing. You can see a brief video of me at Riley’s Farm here. (Disclosure: my family and I received a meal and drinks, with no expectation of a review, positive or otherwise.)
Set in Colonial New Hampshire, during the Revolutionary War, the Riley’s home and property, modeled after a 18th century home and farm, is the perfect movie location. All the Riley employees, many of which are Jim and Mary Riley’s children, wear traditional Colonial attire and speak with 18th century accents. Jim, and his wife, Mary, live and have raised all of their children, and now grandchildren, right here on this picturesque property.
Spend a whole day at Riley’s Farm.
Autumn in Southern California is usually fairly warm, so Riley’s Farm with its higher elevation (about 4,500 feet) is a bit cooler, and a nice respite on the hottest LA days. Plan on arriving early on Saturday. They open at 9 am and are closed on Sundays. (This is, after all a real home!) You can start your day with breakfast in the Tavern which opens at 8 am. If not, head straight to the barn for a basket. You will be given instructions of how to pick apples, (lift and twist, don’t yank and pull) then head out to the orchards.
Check with the website for updated information about what’s ready to pick, and what’s in limited supply. We like to time our visit so that we can pick both apples and pumpkins on the same day.
For lunch, you can stop by the packing shed during September and October for causal BBQ and live music.
The Tavern back down the hill, offers traditional British/Colonial dishes as well as ale, wine and hard cider.
Stop by the one of the shops and pick up some farm-made jam, harvest corn, flowers or a Colonial trinket. Let the kids run around on the front lawn in front of the house with a Colonial hoop and stick, or Colonial game.
Don’t forget to pick up one of their famous 5 pound apple pies, either double crust or crumb top, at the Colonial Chesterfield Bakery. The lines are usually long, and most Saturdays they sell out of their pies, so it’s helpful to call ahead and reserve a pie to avoid disappointment. They also sell salted caramel apple pies, Sally Lunn bread, and chicken pot pie.
You can also sit outside on the patio and enjoy a hard cider or ale.
Looking for a more interactive Colonial experience?
If you’re a real history buff, you can stay overnight in one of their 18th century “glamping tents” for couples, families, and group retreats, available June through September. Guests can even rent costumes to really immerse themselves in Colonial Chesterfield. They also offer frequent dinner events like the Legend of Sleepy Hollow, with dinner theatre, apple bobbing, pumpkin carving and a pie eating contest and Christmas in the Colonies. Click here to see a list of all of their events.
So if you’re looking for something different to do with your family this autumn, I highly recommend apple picking at Riley’s Farm!