California travel

Apple Pie, et cetera

Although autumnal weather has not yet arrived in Sacramento – it’s been in the upper 70s / low 80s this first week of November – it’s a Hess pre-holiday tradition to drive to Apple Hill and purchase a buttermilk apple pie for Thanksgiving. So Carrieanna and I headed for the hills on Monday.

Our first stop was Abel’s Apple Acres, a four generation family ranch which includes a bake shop, candy counter, apple pantry, gift store and picnic areas.

Carrieanna had her heart set on a warmed apple dumpling, with a side of milk, for lunch. Abel’s was crowded, and she waited in line for at least ten minutes before reaching the order window.

Unfortunately, the attendant at the order window was unwilling to heat the dumpling. “We’re too busy,” she said brusquely.

She also claimed they had no milk to sell. Fortunately there’s a little burger shack (Terri’s Country Cuisine and BBQ) on the deck outside, where I was able to purchase a small container of milk.

Carrieanna said the dumpling was good, although she was disappointed that it wasn’t warm.

After lunch, we rolled through the shopping section.

Although most of the craft tents were closed, Carrieanna did find an unusual gift: A wood spirit.

Penelope & Stephen Wescott – Wood Spirits and Art

Wood spirits are said to be lords of the forest and all natural things. Seeing one is quite lucky. A forest will stand strong and healthy as long as the wood spirit keeps order. They bring good luck, happiness and health to those with a pure heart. Put your wood spirit in a place of honor in the home. Give him a name; talk to him. Enjoy! (Penelope & Stephen Wescott – Wood Spirits and Art, 530-721-1453)

Ready to move on, I loaded the foldable wheelchair in the trunk and we drove east a mile or so, stopping at Boa Vista Orchards in search of honey crisp apples. (We were told that type of apple is available in early September, and only for a few weeks. Note to self: Come much earlier next year.)

However, we did notice an unusual wheelchair-accessible picnic table. We had never seen this table configuration before; Carrieanna thought it was a great idea!

Boa Vista Orchards, Placerville, CA

Our next stop was High Hill Ranch, probably one of the more popular spots in Apple Hill with its bake shops, craft tents and fishing pond. (We were told that it was shoulder-to-shoulder crowded over the weekend.  Fortunately for us, there were very few visitors while we were there.)

The “mobility impaired” parking was paved and near a clean and accessible restroom. (One small perk about being in a wheelchair: No need to use the Porta-Potty when there’s a brick-and-mortar building available!)

Parking and restrooms for Mobility Impaired patrons

In the craft alley at High Hill,  Carrieanna found another unusual gift, a Sea Kelp Basket. Although there is a “no sketching or photographing of crafts” policy at High Hill, which we honored, I took these photos after we got home.

Sea Kelp Basket

Sea Kelp Baskets, created by Tami Cookson, Creations from the Sea, 530-558-0433.  (All basket materials – Bull or Ribbon Kelp, seaweed and shells – have been gathered along the beaches of Northern California’s Coast)

Finished with our shopping, we stopped at the Cider Shake Shop [<~~~ try saying that three times quickly!].

They were out of Apple Beer, so we had tiny tastes of apple wines (desert and spiced) before heading back down the hill toward Sacramento.

A visit to Apple Hill is a fun day trip, especially during the week when the shops (and the roads) are not crowded. Next year, we’ll probably go earlier (for the honey crisp apples) and also later (for the cooler temperatures).

For this year, however, we are well-stocked with two holiday pies in the freezer and lots of unique gifts ready for Christmas. We are satisfied!

By Jeri Murphy

Traveler, writer, photographer, former wedding officiant, mother, friend, explorer and new Texian ... that's just a little about me!

4 replies on “Apple Pie, et cetera”

Ha ha! I wish I had purchased a pumpkin so I could make pumpkin soup. The local grocery stores don’t seem to have them. Next time, for sure!


Golly… I really don’t spend too much time in the gift shop areas when I visit Apple Hill, but Carrieanna found a couple of treasures. You know me… I go for the pumpkins, squash and gourds! ha ha


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.