Penelopi and I recently took a trip to the corn capital of the world – the great state of Iowa. After a day on the bus and with some restless children, we decided it was time to explore the beautiful farm town of Ames, located in the center of the state. After some intensive research (or rather just a quick Yelp!) we found the nearby Center Grove Orchard. We gathered up the kiddos and set off for a fall-filled day at this local, family operated apple orchard. Between the orchard, the corn maze, pumpkin patch and the abundance of fall flavored treats, this spontaneous and festive adventure was a complete success.
My favorite part about this place was that it was family-run, owned and operated by the Larry D. and Pat Black Family since 1994. Sadly, Larry passed away in 1999, but his vision for the farm lives on today by providing locals, visitors and families an enjoyable and educational experience in a peaceful country setting.
We started the day with the corn maze which was surprisingly challenging. The maze was set up like a mini quiz show, where we had to answer questions for the right directions. Funny enough, we somehow backtracked ourselves and ended the maze where we began. We just looked at each other and laughed, but at least we finished – one way or another!
The huge Honeycrisp and McIntosh apples were two of my favorites from the orchard. I made sure to stock up on them so I could fill the bus and the house! The orchard was known for their special apple cider slushie, and with apples THAT tasty, I could only imagine what this dream slush would taste like. It was a little taste of Heaven. Now, I might have to try this with my apple cider recipe.
The rest of the day progressed as the perfect Fall day would – with one too many sweets, fall activities and a family gathering around a crackling fire pit. While this may come across as your typical or average festive day, it meant so much more than that to me. The day was one filled with so many new memories, that I will reminisce on each Fall season. I have the Center Grove Orchard in Ames, IA to thank for this unforgettable day with my family and friends.