Fall is my most favorite time of the year! When I was first able to drive, I used to explore country roads and take in the amazing fall foliage that our area has to offer. That was back when gas was $1.28/gallon. (chuckle)
Pennsylvania still remains as one of the most beautiful places I’ve seen, even after my travels across the United States. As much as I dislike the humidity in this part of the country, it sure does allow us to live in a lush environment full of color and sustenance.
As fall settles upon us, the roadways become works of art. Bursts of gold and red, fluorescent orange and deep purples. You have to admit it is breathtaking, especially against the backdrop of cloudy autumn skies.
As a parent, I’ve enjoyed continuing my back road adventures with my boys. On one of our family weekend drives, we happened upon a wonderful hidden gem – Oley Turnpike Dairy.
We mistakenly stumbled upon what has become one of our new favorite places in the midst of rolling fields and historic farms in the Oley Valley, located just about 40 minutes to the southwest of the Lehigh Valley.
First, we noticed some baby donkeys alongside the road. They were grazing in the yard of a farm. We had been talking about the possibility of getting a donkey, so we slowed to observe them.
To our surprise, a little diner was situated just past the farm. It had a sign announcing a "Free Petting Zoo," so we decided to make a pit stop and check it out. We enjoyed a delicious homemade lunch and let the boys choose a scoop of ice cream from their 30-plus flavors. Then we continued our exploration.
Hidden behind the "Oley Turnpike Dairy" is a neat little petting zoo. It’s absolutely free, but don’t forget to stop inside the diner to purchase a pack of animal crackers. They’re cheap and the goats (well - all the animals) love them!
And let me tell you about the goats…you’ve never seen so many goats. There are a variety of sizes and breeds, all of which are quite ready to snag a crispy treat from little hands. The goats sometimes frolic with each other on abandoned toy playhouses -- a sight to see. Kids love it!
In addition to the traditional petting zoo animals, Oley Turnpike Dairy has a unique display of creatures including a personable pig named “Porky” and a crazy looking cow with curly bangs.
Keep walking and you’ll discover albino wallabies, llamas, turkeys, deer, and most exciting – the exotic Monkey House. Yes, strangely, in the midst of the Oley Valley live capuchin monkeys, guenons, coatis and lemurs. Imagine!
Right now is a great time to take a day trip to Oley Turnpike Dairy. The dairy is hosting its annual “Fall Fest” which takes place over 20 acres next to the restaurant and offers hayrides, a play yard and a corn maze.
Prices are reasonable too: $3 for a hayride and $3 for a combo ticket to the play yard and corn maze.
Also available for purchase are apple dumplings and minced pies made by the local Amish folks. This is the real deal!
So if you’re looking for something a little different, hop in the car and head down to Oley Valley. You’ll be glad you did!