AUTUMN EAST: This is just about the time of year that out-West transplants start pining for back East. ("Back East," of course, can stand for the Mid-Atlantic, the Midwest, New England, Seattle, or anywhere generally outside of the California-Nevada-Arizona nexus.) But we have our own "back East" here in Southern California, at least in fall terms: Oak Glen. Well, we have a few, to be fair: Big Bear and Lake Arrowhead and Idyllwild come to mind. But Oak Glen, of all those places, is most associated with all things apple come autumn. Riley's Farm is a center for that -- there are servers in colonial dress, too, which is, of course, very New England -- but the whole town brims with pies and crafts and pot pourri-type substances and cider doughnuts, which are small and usually are eaten a half dozen at a time. Where to start?
OAK GLEN AT A GLANCE: The bulk of the orchards and restaurants are clustered along Oak Glen Road -- that's easy to remember -- and you can get to Oak Glen a couple of ways (people heading into the area from LA typically turn off the 10 at Yucaipa). U-Pick Apples are very big at the moment, with several orchards offering visitors picking opportunities; Riley's Farm is on the list, as are Los Rios Rancho and Willowbrook. (Los Rios Rancho actually offers U-Pick days beyond the bustling weekends, so check the schedule; also Willowbrook starts in October.) Jamborees, pirate shows, and craft fairs fill out the fall, so be sure to look everything over and make sure what you want to happen is happening on the day you go.
CIDER DOUGHNUTS: We couldn't not tell you where to get 'em. They're at Snow-Line Orchards. Now go. Go!