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Rileys Farm ~ Oak Glen, CA

Our passion for living history and historical reenacting was born at Riley's Farm one chilly December night, when we attended A Christmas Carol in the Old Packing Shed. We had heard of the fun at Riley's and as a special Christmas present, I booked reservations for four. Wanting to make things a little more fun for all of us, we headed to our local fabric shop, grabbed a costume pattern to make a Victorian capes for the girls, and a vest and tie for Dave, and we set about sewing. The girls each wore pretty blue velvet dresses, with long ringlets tied back in long satin ribbons. Dave wore his new black Victorian vest over a white shirt, and a silken red bow tie. I wore a black shirt and long black dress of flounces I borrowed from my mom. All three of us girls wore our Victorian capes.

We arrived to a chill in the air and snow on the ground, it had never felt more like Christmas. Inside the Old Packing Shed it was warmed by heaters and filled with jolly folks who were ready for a great evening. We sat down at long tables, starting the evening with a delicious meal of pumpkin soup, freshly baked bread warm from the oven, English roast beef, cheese potatoes, buttered green beans, and Riley's famous apple pie. Come starved, the food is first rate, there is plenty of it and by the time you get to desert you wonder how you can eat it, but don't dare pass up the delicious, warm, buttery crusted pies bursting with heirloom apples. Oh to go back for a slice of pie right now, but I am 2000 miles away! Ah, but the night was not over with dinner. After dinner, there is a moment that comes that seems odd the first time, the tables are taken down. Just when you are really beginning to enjoy it, it feels as if you are being asked to leave. No indeed, the night was just beginning, and once the tables were taken away, we were treated to a night of great music, with violins, cellos and more, Victorian games, lively dancing, vignettes from Charles Dicken's classic story of Christmas Past! The Riley's folks were always in character, beautifully costumed in Victorian fashions. They played with the guests. Scrooge himself congratulated me on the way our girls were dressed, properly coiffed and in lovely dresses. "Ladies in trousers" he muttered as he stormed around the guests in good fun.

The night quickly flew past as our girls twirled around the dance floor, their perfect curls flying with their satin ribbons, as they learned Victorian dances and just had a great time. It was a magical moment, a little, perfect slice of time that will forever warm this mama's heart. All too soon, it was over, the dances danced, the carols sung, the desert eaten and it was late and time to go home.

Riley's Farm is a delightful living history farm, nestled up in the foothills of historic Oak Glen, below Lake Arrowhead in the beautiful California mountains. One minute, you are in the concrete jungle of the freeways in So Cal, and a few minutes climb up the mountain and you are transported to another time and place as you enter the rustic roads on Jim Riley's land. Riley's Farm is a working apple orchard and living history farm bursting with opportunities to sample life in the past. From pick your own fruit, berries and pumpkins, to living history events, battles, dinner theater, period dances and more. You can explore the 1880's, Civil War, Revolutionary War and good old fashioned fun, food and games at Riley's.

Riley's has educational day trips of all sorts to meet your time traveling and period needs! Choose from the popular Revolutionary War Adventure, The Civil War Adventure, Gold Mind Adventure, the Old Joe Homestead Tour featuring the pioneer life of 1880's homesteader Joe Wilshire, the Colonial Farm Life Adventure, or the Overnight Revolutionary War Adventure.

Oak Glen is famous for all things apple. Since opening their rolling land to the public, Riley's farm has entertained thousands of guests, introducing generations of kids to apple picking, making homemade cider from a hand cranked press ,with the delectable aroma of apple pies and pastries filling each visit (be sure to pick up a pie!) Hundreds of heirloom apple trees dot the farm, and tours will show you which apples are for what.

Dad's favorite thing about Riley's Farm - I appreciate the "family friendly" atmosphere, the music and the food. If you don't work, you don't eat... better get to shuckin' that corn. We have never been disappointed visiting the farm. My favorite events are "A Christmas Carol" in December, hearing Patrick Henry during the American Revolution and the Civil War events. No matter what the event, you are never left disappointed.

Mom's Favorite thing about Riley's Farm - I adore the Riley family, a homeschooling family, passionate about history. It is a pleasure watching them work together to create all of the different living history events that they do, always with a smile, indefatigable charm, and the ability to transport guests to a different era. I rented a dress from Mrs. Riley for a Civil War ball, and kept thinking, I am wearing Patrick Henry's wife's dress! They do many eras and do them all exceedingly well!

Kids favorite thing about Riley's Farm - Emily loved the apple pie, which was so tasty. The dances were the best, especially the Civil War dances.