Friday, October 10, 2008


Once upon a time, when I was a newly minted working girl, my friend and I were somehow placed in charge of planning parties for our work group. Remember when people used to have parties at work?

Anyway, we were working in downtown Wilmington, and the Halloween party was approaching. So, we did what any reasonable people would do when faced with the need for pumpkins and Halloween cheer - we drove to Media, PA and went to
Linvilla Orchards! Pumpkinland!

I grew up just around the corner from there...and it was THE place to get pumpkins. At least in my mind.

And I wasn't the most committed corporate drone...

Anyway...flash forward more years than I'd like to admit (um...20??? Ouch). The kids had the day off from school, and Esther and I were looking for a place to take the whole crowd of them for some fall fun. we went to Linvilla Orchards!

It is still a somewhat unreasonable drive from where we live, although meeting for brunch at the
Happy Days Finer Diner in Frazier broke up the trip. After we fueled up on Mickey Mouse pancakes, off we went.

Despite the Yom Kippur holiday, there were many bus loads of children at Linvilla. It is a mecca for fall class trips to pick apples and go on hayrides (neither of which we participated in, but both of which are available.)

First we went and visited the animals. There is a wide assortment of beleaguered looking chickens that can be fed, a new duck pond, a couple of horses, some pigs, goats, ostriches, sheep and a few deer. The kids love to visit the animals. Usually my kids go with their Nana and she has a big bag of bread to share with the animals...this time we had a handful of dried corn from the vending machine. Bread is better.

Next stop was the train ride. $3 per person to go "around 3 times", which the driver said was "about 9 minutes". Apparently she is a bit of an over-estimator. We thought that "around" was through the fields or something...but the train went around in a big circle...and probably took under 5 minutes. But the kids enjoyed it very much, so that was good.

We passed on the playground this time. They do have a really nice one with lots of interesting things to climb on, but we had other things to see, so we moved on.

Our next stop was the Apple Flinger...I don't actually remember what they were calling it - but we got 20 apples for $5 and the kids flung them down a hill with huge slingshots. They liked that a LOT.

Tater hit one of the targets in the field and was somewhat disappointed that there wasn't a prize, but he got over it quickly!

The big event was the hay-bale maze. Esther and I decided to sit it out and sent the four kids into the maze, with strict instructions not to skewer one another with the flags they were holding (so they wouldn't get lost since they are all shorter than a bale of hay). We watched the 4 flags go back and forth for a while...and then there they all came...back out of the entrance. We turned them back around and sent them back in...back and forth for a while...back out the entrance. Back in they went for a third try...and finally Esther decided she would go in the exit and figure out how to coach them out. And then SHE got stuck in there...

Eventually she got them all to climb over one of the walls ( aren't supposed to do that...) and everyone made their triumphant way to the exit!

Finally we were ready to go into PUMPKINLAND!! The kids were so excited to pick out their pumpkins! I usually make them wait until closer to my guys were terribly excited that they were getting to SHOP for pumpkins!

After carefully investigating nearly EVERY pumpkin in the place (and trying hard to convince me that we really needed a 100 pound pumpkin "for Daddy!") they finally picked the winners. Tater's is round-ish, Sprout's is tall-ish. They each also picked a Jack-be-little and we got a few little decorations as well.

THEN (long day) we went into the shop to look for some Cider Donuts (for Daddy!) And a big bushel of apples to make a pie!
And, since it was an insanely hot day, lots of water!

After all that, we pushed our shopping cart full of about 60 pounds of pumpkins and apples and donuts, up the unpaved hill (ouch) to the car.

Obviously, given my propensity to drive long distances to visit, I recommend checking out Linvilla Orchards. It has become significantly more commercialized since I was a kid (lo those many years ago) so all of the additional activities cost something. Even the playground charges $1 per person (which I personally find offensive). But there is lots to do, the kids love it, and it just feels like a fun, wholesome sort of place to be.

And they make REALLY good donuts!

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