Big Apple Highway Stop, Ontario, Canada
The fun thing about having a travel blog is that you occasionally end up checking something out you would normally ignore… just in case it might make for a fun, or at the very least interesting, post. That is how we ended up stopping at the kitschy monstrosity that is “The big Apple”.
Located between Toronto and Kingston, Ontario “The Big Apple” is a bakery, restaurant and roadside attraction just off Highway 401, in the community of Colborne. It is recognizable from quite a distance with what may be the world’s largest apple, with a height of 10.7 meters (35 ft.) and diameter of 11.6 meters (38 ft.).
Let me share with you our experience.
We turned in and parked. There is LOTS of parking. Some for cars and some spots for big tour buses.
We knew right away that I would not be allowed inside to see the bakery (Mom told me you can watch them baking the pies behind a big glass window), or the restaurant and gift shop… because… Canadian bylaws *sigh*.
So the bipeds do what they always do and split up. Mom went in first while I hung out with Dad. He and I walked over to the petting Zoo to say hello to the Lama’s, bunnies and other animals.
We then walked up to the entrance and Mom and Dad did another switch. Dad went in to use the facilities and I hung out with Mom and sniffed the apple pie in the box while she enjoyed an ice cold apple cider. All goods are baked on the premises and because of the fast turnaround, the pies are always very fresh. Needless to say the little pie in Mom’s lap was smelling rather fine Dear Reader!
Once we were all back together, we decided to check the rest of the place out. We discovered a mini-put! It was only May and it was still closed but it looked like fun. Dad and I took this opportunity to do a little agility training!
Between the parking lot and the mini-put is an area with picnic tables. We were thrilled to notice that under a tree, with its own little fence and water dish, was an area for small dogs to roam free off-leash and rest in the shade. This makes the stop a pet friendly location in the warmer months!
Walking past the closed bumper cars/train track, we wondered over to the main attraction, “The Big Apple. Passing a cute little bridge, following the path, we noticed a large dog waiting patiently for his owners to return at the bottom of the stairs that lead up and inside the apple. Not sure why they left him there… There are no signs indicating that dogs are not allowed inside and since there is no food served inside “The Big Apple” we didn’t think it would be an issue. Dad just scooped me up and carried me in.
Inside you will find some murals explaining facts about apples.
And then you get to the top and you can enjoy a rather nice view of the area from the observation deck. It’s fun to see the highway from above like a big concrete string cutting through the countryside. We could also see the orchards in the distance that supply ALL the apples used in the making of the pies, the apple breads, crumble and cider.
It was time to keep going on to our next stop: Kingston. Taking with us the small pie, and some apple chips. That night, in our hotel room we got to try it and although far from the best apple pie we have ever had, it was pretty decent. The apples were cooked until they were tender, but not mushy and the crust was not overly sweet. That was a nice surprise.
The apple chips were delicious and disappeared quickly. With absolutely no added sugar or any preservatives it was just good wholesome apples with a twist. I thought they would make a perfect travel snack… and they did!
So if you are ever on the 401 … and you see “The Big Apple” and need a break from driving, want to stretch your legs, and let your canine friend walk about on leash for a bit … stop. The pie is good and affordable, and you’ll have some plain old, kitschy, slightly bizzaro, fun.