With a day off from work, I loaded my mother into our Pontiac and headed to mountain country. Oak Glen, one of the few places that retains its small-town-life charm in the face of rapid urbanization was the perfect destination to press 'reset'. Bundled in layers of sweaters, scarves, bonnets, and woolen socks we made the natural first stop: the side of the road to take a picture of the "Now Entering Oak Glen" sign. So there I am, sprinting along the side of the road in 20 degree weather, getting honked and moo-ed at by bull/horned cow/animals. All so I can throw up the peace sign next to this giant wooden apple, because, well, #aesthetic.
After taking the much needed photo-op with a giant wooden apple we headed back onto the road in search of sustenance from Apple Annie's. This came in the form of hot apple cider, breakfast burritos, and biscuits+gravy. We, however unfortunately, choose to venture to Oak Glen during off-season, which on the plus side meant less crowds and on the minus side meant less orchards and cider mills were open.
The snow and crisp weather made the experience magical though as everywhere you looked there were spots of white powder draped over buildings and dormant apple trees. I recommend grabbing a map as one of the first things you do here. We got ours from Apple Annie's after breakfast and just followed the curved road going from orchard to orchard; and believe you me, there are a lot of orchards in Oak Glen.
The first one we tried to stop at was Snow-line which boosts having the oldest chestnut tree in the community as well as apple-donuts, apple wine, and an ancient cider mill.
The next orchard we visited was the Los Rios Rancho, I highly recommend stopping off here because they have a display of antique carriages from the turn of the 19th century, stickers, postcards, a BQQ restaurant, and access to the Wildlands Conservatory. Unfortunately, due to the snow, the conservatory was closed when we visited, but I have been told this is an excellent hike to do when the weather's good.
From here we went to the School House Museum and Park, while the park is always open and children could be found sledding in the snow covered hills, the museum itself is only open on the weekends.
Our final stop of the day was Riley's Farm, which is a functioning orchard as well as a living history farm, meaning be prepared to witness the awesomeness of humans wearing late-18th-early-19th century garb. This place is honestly the greatest! Ideal for children and fun for child-adults like me, they boost candle dipping lessons, tomahawk throwing and archery lessons, and an English pub. The Hawk's Head Pub has amazing apple pie, chicken pot-pie, and live period-accurate music. Eternal hat-tips to the musician who mastered the mandolin.
There is a theatre house on the grounds, live animals, and Civil War/Revolutionary War reenactments. While, of course its historically inaccurate, as California was incorporated into the United States in the mid-1800s and had little battle-involvement in the Civil War. The SENTIMENT is cool.
Ultimately y'all, just go to Oak Glen. Their peak session is September-November where you can go picking apples along the dotted foothills, warm up with hot cider, and be amazed by the spectacles at Riley's Farm. Riley Farm offers, dinner-musical-performances as well, so a solid Oak Glen adventure for those who live further away would be to plan your trip around their performance schedule, so you could spend the day wandering around the town then see the performance in the evening.