When you live in the desert (yes, San Diego is by the sea but is technically a borderline arid climate), you don’t see a lot of weather. While this may seem ideal to some and while I do appreciate the sun we get year-round here, I often miss the changes of the seasons that I witnessed growing up and see all over social media. It’s kind of difficult to enjoy that pumpkin spice latte when you’re surrounded by palm trees in 90 degree weather.
This year I’ve wanted to find some ways to find Fall in Southern California, for Lucy but also for myself. First up: Pumpkin Patch! San Diego has several pumpkin patches to offer, but I was looking for one where Lucy could have some true farm experiences. While researching, I found two in Ramona, a small agricultural town nearby, via The Red Tricycle. While this one at a Harbour Farm and Winery looked fun and even promises sangria slushies for adult attendees, it was, sadly, closed on the day we went, so we ended up at Mountain Valley Ranch. I’m so glad we did!
I spoke about wonder and viewing the world through your child’s eyes in this post. What better time of year to seek out opportunities for wonder than the holidays? Lucy is at an age now where she expresses interest in the things we point out to her (in fact, her recent favorite expression is “WOOOOOW” with big, wide eyes), and pointing out the fun harvest-y things at Mountain Valley was exciting for us all, even though we were all a little hangry toward the end of our trip. Some highlights:
- It’s a farm, so the pumpkins are actually grown there and it has hay rides, a corn gun, and a petting corral. Lucy was initially excited to run around the gigantic pumpkins, before the hunger set in.
- The petting area has the animals enclosed so it’s not just kids running around with animals, which always makes me feel sad for the animals. You can pet the animals if they are by the gate but they aren’t forced to be with humans. We pet a gigantic BISON and Lucy made friends with some chickens. They also have a hilarious goat ladder.
- They have adorable red radio flyer wagons you can pull around to get your pumpkins. Sitting in one of these and on an old, rusted tractor were Lucy’s favorite parts of our experience.
- The grounds are spacious and there’s plenty of opportunities for littles to stretch their legs. There’s also a small picnic area. Super cute!
We replenished our blood sugar stores at Up the Hill Grill in Ramona. Tasty burgers and delicious cold brewskies. Ramona is a place I’ve wanted to explore more, and this was a great first experience! It was a warm day, and like I said Lucy was hungry and less patient than she usually is (she didn’t want to walk around much), but overall I was impressed with Mountain Valley Ranch and look forward to going back!
What are some of your favorite Fall activities to participate in, either for yourself or your child?