Apple of My Eye

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Over the weekend, my friends and I made the 2.5 hour drive to Apple Hill, a large co-op of orchards, wineries, and markets that CA and NV locals frequently visit once fall makes its breezy return.  Although I had heard about it many a time in previous seasons, I had never actually made the trip until this year.  And yeah, I’ve been missing out!  It’s the pumpkin-patch-apple-picking-fall-crazed-plaid-scarf-wearing-hard-cider-loving-redhead-fringe-girl’s dream.  Although if we’re being honest, it takes no convincing to get me to go anywhere with beautiful greenery and fresh produce.

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Although there is a whole entire map of places to visit in Apple Hill, we visited a few favorites like Kid’s Inc, Rainbow Orchards, and Jack Russell Brewery (not listed on the map).  Kid’s Inc has the most beautiful, green field overlooking their orchard, and it’s the perfect place to have a picnic and enjoy a hard cider from Delfino Family Farm.  If you’re looking for a good place to buy unique pumpkins and a variety of fruits like apples, pears, and nectarines, Rainbow Farms has so many options at a great price!  They also have the best apple cider donuts and gallons of fresh pressed apple cider.  After our pumpkin-search, we visited a local orchard to grab a few apples – they were pretty picked over, but we still had fun hiking around the orchard with our little picker and buckets!  We ended our day at Jack Russell Brewery, which is not associated with Apple Hill but is right next to all the apple-fun.  There is both a brewery and a “cave” that serves wine, hard apple cider, and mead.  My friends enjoyed the mead-hard apple cider mixed option, but I was more interested in the hard blackberry apple cider.  Everything is made on-premises, and I love that their ciders are dry unlike many store-bought brands.  They have the most lovely patio for relaxing and enjoying your drink overlooking their farm and llamas!

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A happy, little geek with her apple picker.

My only recommendation would be to bring a picnic lunch or some snacks!  Although there are plenty of amazing apple dessert options, the food is pretty limited.  We went on a Friday, so it was a little less busy, but I’ve heard they have lots of food options on the weekends – however, it is pretty standard fair food, and there are so many beautiful places to bring a picnic basket!

For directions, click here.

If you’re looking for a way to use all of your apples, I’ve got you covered 😉

XO Sara Lynn

*Song of the Day: I Don’t Wanna Be Funny Anymore by Lucy Dacus

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7 Magic Mountains

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Signs of fall have slowly been inching into Reno one-by-one.  Many people would disagree with me, as it’s still in the 80s and 90s during the day, but as an early-morning barista, I know the true story.  It begins when I wake up in the morning before anybody else, and grab a sweater on the way out the door, because it’s 6:00 a.m., it’s in the late 50s, and my tank top isn’t cutting it.  I head to work, and still groggy, brew the drip coffee first thing.  I grab a mug, letting it warm my hands as I turn on the grinder.  The sunlight finally appears as I switch on the open sign, and Reno starts to warm steadily.  The kicker of this situation is that Reno is always at least a little bit cool when it’s dark outside.  That’s what makes it the perfect place to host bonfires and sit on the porch late into the night mid-July.  However, there’s a different feel to the air when it starts turning into fall.  It’s slightly colder, and the air smells different.  I don’t know how to explain it, but I know it when it appears.

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Although I absolutely love fall, it also signals the beginning of classes, which I will be attending in just a few, short days.  Naturally, I’m already missing summer and all of my little adventures.  A few weeks ago, I visited Vegas for my brother’s graduation party and to help my parents move some stuff into their new house in Reno.  I had recently been told about the 7 Magic Mountains, an art exhibit by Ugo Rondinone located in the middle of the desert, by a friend from the Nevada Museum of Art where I regularly volunteer.  Hearing about it, I knew I had to go.  Huge, brightly colored boulders in the middle of drab, dry Southern Nevada desert?  Amazing.

The drive out to the 7 Magic Mountains is super easy but a little confusing.  Just take the I-15 South to Sloan Rd., turn left onto Las Vegas Blvd, and drive for about 15-20 minutes.  However, you won’t see the exhibit itself until the last minute – this is the confusing part.  You’re driving and driving, and all you see is flat desert.  Then, a tiny hill, and then…suddenly there’s an enormous, rainbow sculpture right to the left.  Luckily, there’s a parking lot right out front.  After a short walk, you’re looking straight up at overwhelmingly large, neon rocks.

Now, I went to the 7 Magic Mountains in the midst of Vegas summer, when heatwaves radiate off of the pavement late into the afternoon, and you get an instant sunburn walking to your car.  While the exhibit was amazing, it was absolutely not the best summer activity.  But Vegas fall?  Beautiful!  This would be an amazing Sunday afternoon activity in late October/early November.  If you will be traveling there, please take a break from casinos and drinking, and go see this!  Locals of course should take the trip – Nevada culture is flourishing and so important to support!

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Accidental model pose.

Unfortunately, the 7 Magic Mountains have already been vandalized (this is why we can’t have nice things), but they are still breathtaking and worth the visit.  However, because of this, I want to give my little spiel on art: Artists work incredibly hard to improve this world through beauty, whether it’s painting, music, dance, sculpture, or any other medium.  Please be respectful to their art, support it, and love it.  Spread the word.  Help your community by supporting local museums and events.  If Reno can change as drastically as it has in the past few years, many communities can also.

Click here for more information on the 7 Magic Mountains.

Does the dress look familiar?  This might be why.  It’s one of my favorites!

XO Sara Lynn

*Song of the Day: Full Circle by Half Moon Run

 

 

The Perks of Being a Wildflower

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When I was younger, I loved looking up the symbols of birth months – birth stones, astrological symbols, birth flowers; being a July baby: ruby, Leo, larkspur.  But, I was never all that excited about my birth flower, not compared to April with sweet peas or August with lilies.  I never saw my birth flower growing wildly in fields near my cabin in Utah or daintily posed in the floral section of the grocery in puffy bouquets sprayed with dense TDZ.  I had no idea what a larkspur was, and I had completely forgot about them, right until recently when, while scrolling through the Travel Nevada Instagram, I noticed a picture featuring a vibrant, purple field of flowers with an orange sunset setting the scene.  Larkspurs!  I had finally found them, and they were so close!  I was (clearly) excited, until I reached my destination and realized I was actually looking at…

Lupines.

Also, I had missed prime lupine season, so all I was going to find after an hour drive to Lake Tahoe at 7 p.m. after an 8 hour shift was a bunch of green bushes with a few leftover purple flowers slowly closing for the season.  But never the matter.  I was at the lake, it was a beautiful day, and fields of green and purple are even better than just fields of purple, in my personal opinion.  However, my favorite color has been green my whole life, so I may be biased.

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Apparently, the best time to visit the lupines is in June, when the weather is warm, the lake is higher, and the water can reach the bushes.  There are fuzzy, mostly-black bees swarming the flowers, and little orangey-red ladybugs fly around with them.  I also found a tiny, secluded beach where the wildflowers are abundant, and I spent a quiet evening relaxing in the sand and watching the sunset.  After a few hours at the beach, I stopped by one of my favorite local pizza places, Wild Garlic, where I had cheese pizza with plenty of jalapenos, ranch, and honey (for the crust.  A Reno thing, I believe).  After a long day at work, I was very excited to relax and enjoy some me time, especially in such a serene place.

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Pictured here: My new Lucky dress, which is definitely a favorite. Similar.
My old, trusty lace TOMS that I wore to my high school prom years ago. Similar.
Jewelry made by my aunt 🙂

If you’re visiting Reno or Tahoe, and want some good local recommendations, feel free to reach out!  I’d love to share my favorite spots 🙂

XO Sara Lynn

*Song of the Day: Asleep by The Smiths