Tuesday, October 23, 2012

#makesmesmilemonday A Trip to the Country: Apple Picking, B&J's Diner, and the Hesston Steam Museum in La Porte County, Indiana

Could yesterday's weather have been any more gorgeous?

After a breakfast of pumpkin pancakes, we hit the road to La Porte County, Indiana. 

Our first stop was the Hesston Steam Museum, where we boarded an old-fashioned steam train that led us through a spooky, haunted forest. Really the forest was everything but scary: it was lovely, bathed in late-fall sunlight and glowing in reds and yellows. Every once in awhile we passed by a scarecrow, a ghost made of an old sheet, or a hay-stuffed witch. It was just spooky enough for Chiara, age 3, and just corny enough to get many chuckles out of Daniel, and his pal who tagged along with us, Jaleel, both age 11. 

For lunch, we headed to downtown La Porte, where we ate sandwiches at an old-fashioned diner, B&J's American Cafe. Not much has changed in this diner since it opened in 1915. The kids loved the zinc countertops and the old-fashioned soda fountain. 

Finally, we headed to a farm for some pumpkin picking only to arrive and discover that Fuji apples were ripe for the picking! So we grabbed a wagon and headed out to the orchards. 
So many interesting pumpkins and gourds!

Read to roll to the orchard!
Chiara loved that many of the apples were low enough to the ground that she could just reach up and grab an apple from the branch. With a little help, she also climbed the ladder to reach some of the sun-red apples a bit higher up.

 Daniel and Jaleel had a blast positioning and climbing the taller ladders to reach the big Fujis that were hiding in the upper branches.

The apples are so sweet and crispy; they taste like autumn. Chiara ate three total yesterday. That's a lot for a 3-year-old! I lost count at how many apples the boys ate. 

Jaleel survived a camping trip with our family and has done his time dealing with toddler-dom squeezed into the backseat of our car. As far as I'm concerned, he's officially part of the family.

We left La Porte with lots and lots of apples in our bellies, and a gallon of fresh apple cider and 10 pounds of apples in the trunk. It was a beautiful, and fruitful! fall day. 

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