I have a love/hate relationship with the holiday season. I love lights and giving and decorating and baking, but there simply isn’t enough time to do it all. By all, I mean I want to see every lit Christmas tree in a 60 mile radius, visit every street that has more than four houses decorated in a row, bake platters of cookies that never run out and feed the hungry every night. Not. Practical. None of it.
This year, I have no doubt we’ll visit something new, but we’ll visit the tried and true. I hope to fill this blog with holiday favorites that put us in the Christmas spirit. Until then, let me recommend The Christmas Chronicles on Netflex. It’s the perfect movie to kick off your holiday season.
Every year, I am anxious to start our annual quest to visit new (and old) pumpkin patches and begin awarding the titles that come to mind on the car ride home — the largest field, the biggest pumpkins, the best hay maze, the longest hay ride, the biggest petting zoo, the best games. Truth be told, there really isn’t a bad pumpkin patch. It is October 9 and we’ve visited four pumpkin patches so far. I will update this blog as we visit more.
Joe’s Place Farms — We set off to pick our first pumpkins of the season on October 1. The weather was hit and miss and I didn’t want to commit myself to a long car ride if there wasn’t going to be a payoff. If you grew up in Vancouver, this place is a landmark.
The “patch” is just an open area where picked pumpkins lay waiting to be taken home. There is a corn maze which is short and ideal for small legs. There is a small hay maze, a tee-pee and hay ride. There is a good selection of pumpkins and gourds and produce. No admission fee. If you are pressed for time, this is the place to go.
Vancouver’s Pumpkin Patch — Not to be confused with The Pumpkin Patch at Sauvie Island, this patch is in Vancouver, off of Fourth Plain. We went during the week and the hay ride wasn’t going so we walked our wagon to the field. The patch was full of pumpkins; we had our pick. There is a hay maze that is tall enough for even big kids to go through (or parents to hide waiting for their kids to round the corner). There is a small petting zoo. There is typically an admission fee (which includes a pumpkin), but given the hay ride wasn’t going, we weren’t charged. Great close-in patch with all the typical patch amenities.
Pomeroy Farms — I had heard many good things about Pomeroy Farms and I was anxious to visit. Located in Yacolt, it was a bit of a trek but it wasn’t overly crowded which is a good trade off. As we walked in, I noticed why the farm is used for weddings. It is beautiful. The grounds were green and expansive. There was a barn type building with live music and picnic tables (two food carts were nearby). There was a hay maze and given the amount of time the kids spent running and hiding, I would say Pomeroy Farms would get the “best” hay maze award. There was a small petting zoo consisting of pigs, goats and chickens. There were many photo op spots. The hay ride to the patch was short and the patch itself wasn’t impressive in size. But, little did I know that the hay ride back would be the best part of Pomeroy Farms. The return trip goes down “Pumpkin Lane.” All along the road, there are pumpkin characters in various scenes — golfing, sitting in church, riding bicycles, etc. The amount of characters and the detail to each scene was impressive. The ride down Pumpkin Lane was close to 15 minutes but the kids were captivated the entire time. “Oh, look on my side…” was heard back and forth, right side, then left. Pomeroy Farms charges an admission, plus the cost of pumpkins. Pomeroy Farms is unique and a must-see.
The Patch — Located in Woodland, we stumbled upon this patch last year and we were excited it was open again this year. Very few patches grow large pumpkins and many varieties of pumpkins. The Patch does both. The hay ride costs $1/pp and takes you
around the property. If you want to thoroughly scout out what type of pumpkin to get, the hay ride is a must because there are several fields. One field has strictly large, orange pumpkins. Another field has strictly large, white pumpkins. There are other fields with “normal” size pumpkins. They also sell gourds and other types of pumpkins. There is a small hay maze and photo op locations. If size matters, this patch is for you.
We met friends for berry picking yesterday and afterward, someone suggested going to lunch at a place that is really “kid friendly.” I was skeptical. We had six kids between us ages 1-4. The odds were high there wasn’t a restaurant around that could contain the energy of six kids. Fortunately, I was wrong. 3Peaks Public House is the answer to your kid friendly dreams. Located in Ridgefield, this ale house is next door to Pacific Northwest Best Fish Co. You can order food from Pacific Northwest Best Fish Co. and they will deliver it to you at 3Peaks. By the way, the chicken strip basket can solidly feed two kids.
We sat outside, which is really where the “kid friendly” part comes in. The area is large and completely fenced in. There are chairs and picnic tables. There is a wooden play house that I think technically is an old west type “jail.” There are bails of hay for the kids to jump on/off. All this to say: you can eat and drink in peace while your kids run free without worry. Check it out. You’re welcome.
I often hear other moms talk about how hard it is to leave the house with small children. But, I find it is harder to stay home with small children. The wrong sippy cup can send your morning into a toddler tantrum frenzy. Been there, done that. I prefer to get out of the house and hope that my choice of sippy cup won’t be the focus, which forced me to become resourceful at finding places I never knew existed before kids. I have created this blog to share details about our adventures, rather than just sharing Facebook pictures of my smiling kids in front of our latest find. It is my hope that this blog is a resource for you. If not, you can stay inside with your kids and let them drive you crazy. Eighteen years isn’t that long.