Sunday, September 20, 2015

First trip to minnetonka orchards.

The weather on Sunday morning was absolute perfection, so Linna, "The Bump", and I decided to take a trip west to Minnetonka Orchards for some apple picking. Two things to note:

1. Minnetonka Orchards isn't actually in Minnetonka (it's in Minnetrista).
2. Gorgeous fall days at apple orchards in Minnesota are accompanied by the world's entire population of bees.

4-year-old Linna in the corn maze.

Minnetonka Orchards is located in the gorgeous rolling acres of Minnetrista, Minnesota. It's a fantastic place to take kids of all ages for a morning or afternoon of hay rides, farm animals, train rides, face-painting, eating, apple and pumpkin-picking. Admission is $7 for people age 3 and above (3 and under are free), and includes unlimited access to the corn maze, petting zoo, music on the hill, tractor/hay rides (these are free on the weekend, but may be $3/person on the weekdays), kids play areas, hay mountain, and apple express cart rides. However, I don't know if the woman at the ticket counter forgot to give us a ticket for a free ride(s) on the kid's train, but we had to pay $2 for Linna's ride. She loved that train though!

She wanted the back seat. She got the back seat.

We ran into our friends, the Segar family at Minnetonka Orchard.
Little Charlie is in the front of the train, and Linna is in the back.

After playing around on the kid's playground (Linna wouldn't go down the Corn Cob Slide), climbing the hay mountain, and chatting with some friends that we ran into while we were there, we decided to hop on a hay ride to do some apple picking. We made a pit-stop to use the toilets (not port-a-potties, but actual flush toilets with sinks to wash hands - YAY!), and then waited in line for about 10 minutes or so for our turn on the tractor/hay rides. The tractor drivers were so helpful and informative, and were great at getting the little kids on and off the ride. The scenery during the ride was absolutely gorgeous, and we loved being out in the country!

Hot apple cider and an apple donut on the hill... Away from the bees (kind of).

Riding through the woods on a tractor hay-ride.

Pick-your-own apples!

When we got off the hay ride at the food area, we were immediately hit by the smell of apple cider and mini donuts... and BEES! Linna wanted a donut, so we waited in line at the Apple Donut House for an apple cider and apple donuts. The bees were everywhere, which completely freaked Linna out (she experienced her first bee-sting at a birthday party last weekend), and they wouldn't stop following us once we had these sweet treats in our hands. Although I was dying for a brat (they smelled SO delicious), I couldn't stand in the line with the 4-year-old who was having a meltdown about all the bees around (one of my more difficult "single mama" moments). So, we decided to take our sweet treats up to the hill to get away from the bees and listen to some music. While the bees stayed away for a few minutes, they soon found our sugary snacks, and we were on the move... Again. I had to surrender my delicious hot apple cider to the bees, mostly to appease the frightened 4-year-old.

Climbing the hay mountain.

Mama Saigh and Linna on the tractor hay-ride.

My little farmer.

While I love honeybees' honey-making and pollinating powers, they were really putting a cramp in our apple-picking afternoon. Instead of picking our own apples like we had planned, we just popped into the little shop and bought a bag of the SweeTango apples. YUM! While the apples were a bit expensive (we paid $17 for a small/medium-sized bag, and it was about $25-30 for a large "pick-your-own" bag), the SweeTango apples are amazingly delicious. They also had Honeycrisp and Sweet 16 varieties available for picking and purchasing.

"Let's take our apples and get out of this bee hive!"

Overall, we had a great morning and afternoon at Minnetonka Orchards. Next time we visit, we'll pick a colder day in hopes of avoiding the bees. They are open every day during the fall through the end of October, from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Parking is free and very orderly, and while there were a lot of people at the orchard on Sunday, it didn't seem like a zoo. We are looking forward to another visit!

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