Sunday, October 28, 2012

A Day at the Farm

We spent a weekend in October visiting Riley’s Farm in Oak Glen, California, just a little over an hour’s drive from Huntington Beach.  The weather was surprisingly fall like, a slight chill in the air, which was a nice respite from the unusually warm weather we have been having.  A family affair, my dad was visiting for the weekend.  Parking was a bit of a challenge, but we started a trend by parking along the highway, right in front of the entrance to the farm.  The place is a bit hilly, so next time we will ditch the stroller. 

The farm had far more than the apple picking we had set our hearts on.  Focused, I got in line and purchased our bag for picking and our entrance to the orchard.  Had I known a bit more, I would have added more.  There are a lot of options—berries, pears, apples, flowers, and pumpkins.  There were goats and cows, too, much to Ele’s delight.  It’s crazy that she is already fifteen months old.  She’s a pretty good walker, now, but she takes off, so we kept her contained as we traversed the farm.  Ele gladly explored the apple orchard, but after tumbling, literally, down a hill, she opted to take a seat and pick and sort the apples that were readily available at the foot of the trees. 

We made our way over to a pumpkin patch—there were more than one—where Ele wandered throughout, trying to pick up the big, heavy balls.  She really enjoyed mooing at the cows next to the patch, but the cows weren’t too impressed.  The area surrounding the farm is beautiful.  It was really nice to feel like we had taken an adventure.  Another area of the farm has a colonial theme, with workers dressed in costumes, and the buildings built in appropriate style.  We’ll definitely try to make our trip to Riley’s Farm a new family tradition.

We stopped at a hole in the wall café in Beaumont, just down the hill.  It was delicious!  I had turkey salad stuffed inside a tomato—not something I would expect from a small town diner-like atmosphere.  It was a fun day!

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Escape to Puerto Rico...With a 1 Year Old

Our flight from Fort Lauderdale was only a little over two hours, but we spent the entire day traveling.  We got to the airport two hours before our flight was supposed to leave, to find out it had been delayed over three hours.  They gave us a voucher for $20, so we had lunch on JetBlue, but it really wasn’t enough, looking back at the disaster that ensued.  E was so excited about all the people coming and going, so she skipped her morning nap in lieu of checking it all out.  She fell asleep due to pure exhaustion right when we were going through security, and woke up right when we were finally boarding the plane, a mere 45 minutes. 
Uh-oh.  She was alright the entire flight, but the last twenty minutes was a disaster.  There were some nasty looks and glares, but there was nothing I could do to appease my girl.  Obviously these people don’t remember what it’s like, or don’t have kids.  During that twenty minutes I wanted to scream, run across the ceiling, and tear my hair out.  Luckily, none of that was possible.

It was an hour wait for our rental car, and then another two and a half hour drive.  Oops.  E did rather well, but both husband and E were a bit frustrated with me at the end of the day.  We pulled into our rental at almost ten at night.  What I thought was going to be a two hour flight and one hour drive turned out to be much, much more.  Thank goodness my people are loving when it comes down to the end of the day.

Our rental was great.  We were right on the beach, with views, and also had a pool to enjoy in the complex.  I explored the area all week with four different jogging routes, each of which were beautiful and included ocean front views.  We ate in for dinner most meals, but took lunch with us as we explored some of the western part of the island.  Our place was a fifteen minute walk to Jobos Beach, and a twenty minute walk the other direction to Shacks Beach.  Jobos Beach was perfect for a one year old.  We really liked the Isabela area, and enjoyed a few local restaurants like One-Ten Thai, Ola Lolas, and El Carey Café.  Oh, I miss those places, and look forward to going back some day.  We had delicious Thai food, amazing burgers at Ola Lolas, and mouth watering sandwiches and smoothies at El Carey Café.  Our rental was so relaxing, and E loved the views from the fourth floor balcony.  Our favorite excursions were to a little colonial town in the hills, San German, where we had lunch at a little Mexican restaurant, and wandering the coast around Rincon. 

Throughout our journey, there was a mix of American tourists and locals.  The locals were really sweet, especially to little E.  Ola Lolas was owned by American retirees from Michigan.  It’s located on the road down to Shacks Beach, and makes for a nice jogging path.  It’s possible to jog from Shacks Beach along the sand towards Jobos Beach, and it is a really beautiful run.  The week we spent in Isabela was filled with relaxation, while offering the charm of a small beach community, which we loved. 

Photos: 1) View of Jobos Beach from the beach in front of our rental  2) Ele splashing in Jobos Beach  
3) San German church  4) Ele on our rental's balcony (amazing view!)  5) Shacks Beach