Friday afternoon, in a fit of spontaneity after a long work week, I felt the tug to pack up the kids and hit the road. The forecast was promising another gorgeous September night and I wanted to explore. I packed pajamas and blankets, snacks for Cruz and veggies for Mila, filled the tank up with gas, and hit the road while the Avett Brothers sang us right up to apple country.
I had no idea that my unrestful spirit would lead me to one of the most simple, beautiful nights of my recent life. For just a couple hours, we had driven right into a storybook. We looked out over one of the most peaceful landscapes I had yet to see in our state, rolling green hills lined with hundreds and hundreds of apple trees. There was a steel guitar playing in the background, the smell of grilled burgers and freshly baked apple turnovers in the air, young couples walking hand in hand carrying wooden baskets full of plump Jonagolds, and little families plopped in the middle of a pumpkin patch, sharing picnic food and taking pictures. I felt the fresh fall air fill my lungs and thanked God for giving me a night to dance in a slice of this earthly heaven.
We wasted no time making our way up the scenic hill, walking by pumpkin patches dotted with hundreds of orange treasures, and along a bridge over a little brook lined with wildflowers and weeping willows. Baskets in hand and a baby smiling and bouncing from her daddy's shoulders, we arrived at the top just in time for the golden hour. Cruz immediately turned into our little Johnny Appleseed, plucking an apple off the baby trees filled to the brim with perfect apples. He dove right in, casually walking through the trees, crunching his apple and eating it right down to the seeds. Mila sat on a quilt and watched him from afar, her white blond wisps of hair glowing in the sunshine. She reached for an apple herself and after concentrating on her brother awhile, decided to test the strength of her baby teeth. With both of her pudgy hands clasped around that apple, she gnawed and gnawed until finally she felt her teeth sink in to its juicy flesh.
We weren't the only ones soaking up the light and soon we all formed a little tribe of sun worshipers up there. A group of college girls fawned over our kids, making them smile for pictures and posing for pictures with them. We all just sort of hung out, watched the sunset and soaked up the perfect September night. After the sun decided to sink beneath the orange sky, we made our way down the hill, apples and babies in hand, and ended the night with apple cider slushies, cheese curds and hot dogs, and the best apple turnover I've ever tasted. We retreated to our car, strapped tired kids in car seats, and my heart danced the whole way home.