BEST APPLE ORCHARD Minneapolis 2007 - Sponsel's Minnesota Harvest
8251 Old Highway 169 Blvd.
Jordan, MN 55352
Living in a climate like ours, one clings to rites of renewal: shoveling the first snowfall in late afternoon darkness, taking that brisk first walk around Lake Calhoun in the spring, visiting the Minnesota State Fair with its echoes of back-to-school dread. To work off those corn dog love handles, one should add a leisurely stroll through one of the many apple orchards that surround the metro area. Sponsel's Minnesota Harvest, two miles southwest of Jordan, offers a cool fall weekend's worth of activities. A horse-drawn trailer ferries you to the orchard where over two-dozen varieties of apples, including Haralson, Connell Red, Fireside, and Honeycrisp, are waiting to be plucked. (A heaping bag will put you back about $7.) But don't just grab and run. Lay down a blanket and grab the wine, cheese, and crackers from your backpack, sit for a spell under the trees, and toast the last days of September. Dreamy Hill Trails also offers horseback rides through the orchards and trails throughout the year, with small-horse carriages for the kiddies. With your bags full, it's back to the Apple Lodge for live music with your wild rice soup, brats, dumplings, tarts, and turnovers. Grab a strudel or some apple butter on your way out and your day (and tomorrow's breakfast) will be complete.