By Donna Polizzi
It can be a huge challenge to find places to go, with a variety of things to do, that all ages will enjoy. I have found the answer.
Avila Valley Barn, at 560 Avila Beach Dr., in San Luis Obispo County is a fantastic place to visit. If you are two or 102, you will love what you see, laugh while you’re there and leave with something fun, delicious and memorable.
The Avila Valley Barn has so many interesting things to see, taste and do. As soon as you pull into the huge parking lot, you will see gigantic bins in front of the barn that is full of pumpkins, in a variety of shapes and sizes, colorful squash, fresh flowers, trees or interesting items that change with each passing season. Stacks of hay bales are set up to provide a great place to take pictures of the family or sit and people watch. One of the fun things to do is hang out and enjoy eating warm and buttery roasted corn on the cobb, while you watch the farm animals play and jockey for attention.
Something happens here that transforms the most stoic people, into a kid again. Could it be the way that tension and the problems of the world melt away when you stop in awe to look at an exotic chicken? Seriously, some of them have bodies that look like a well-groomed fluffy puppy. Have you ever seen a chicken that is truly as colorful as a peacock? I couldn’t believe my eyes when a really fast, jet black chicken with a big, jewel-like turquoise circle on the side of its cheek, ran in front of me. Wait…. do chickens have cheeks? Many of them look hand painted and strutted around like they were in a fashion show.
Taking a walk around the perimeter of the barn is interesting and fun for everyone. There are goats, horses, lambs, llamas, emus, pigs and a cow with the biggest brown eyes and the longest eyelashes you’ve ever seen. It’s a kick to buy food for the animals and watch them clamor for attention to get hand fed. For only fifty cents, you can buy a good size bag of lettuce if you want to feed and interact with the farm animals.
All of that and I haven’t even told you what’s inside the barn.
At first, you will see beautiful flowers. You can not beat the prices and I always take home a huge bouquet of Gerber daisies. They offer fresh produce and big jars of local organic honey in different flavors to choose from. One of the highlights is freshly baked pies with flaky delicious crust and fruit that is sourced locally. Fresh pies, pastries, and bread are all made on site. The orchards are right there and the fruit doesn’t get any fresher. When the weather warms up, you can take hay rides and pick your own fruit to take home.
If you can drag yourself away from the Olallieberry, Apple and Peach pies, the back room has hundreds of goodies to take home or buy as gifts. If you like apple butter, jams and jellies, olives, bread and soup mixes, the selection is tremendous. It’s a great place to buy fresh nuts, berries or stock up on fresh fruit and vegetables.
How about a tractor ride to take in the beautiful scenery, or have a picnic?
To sweeten the pot, there is a newer building full of treats. The Candy Shop has salt water taffy, a large selection of candies, homemade varieties of fudge that melts in your mouth and delicious, hand-scooped ice cream. The winter hours are Thursday through Monday from 9-5. The Avila Valley Barn is only 5 minutes from the beach. You will need at least an hour at the barn, or more if you have younger children. So get your jelly…. and jam over to the Avila Valley Barn.