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We are a Johnson’s Corner Farm family but I see a lot of advertisements for Linvilla Orchards and in conversations with friends when Linvilla comes up everyone always says “It is no Johnson’s Corner Farm but it is fine.” So I thought it was time to see just what everyone was NOT talking about with Ollie. So we made the 40 minute trip to out Linvilla.
Ollie and I decided to start at the playground. First thing I saw when we entered the gate is that the playground is on the honor system and asks that you donate $1.00 when entering. I will admit this is much easier than going inside the barn at Johnson’s to show your pass or pay your admission. The second thing I saw was a group of 10-15 moms swarmed around the main picnic table with their iPhones a buzzing and the “head” Mom on a laptop. It was like a record scratch when I walked in. So clearly they know when a newbie has entered the zone. Even for a blogger like myself the whole tech at the playground scene was a lot for me and a first. Just play it cool like I did when you encounter the Mommy Gang.
The playground is actually pretty good. There are a bunch of different chickens in pens, playground equipment for older kids 5 and up and then a bunch of different giant wooden play structures (for a lack of better words) like a boat, airplane, castle, train and trucks. The structures had multiple levels slides and ladders for climbing. What I totally hates was that the playground is dirt. Johnson’s play area is so nice, green and lush. Linvilla’s play area is shady but the ground is dirt with a little left over mulch. There were kids there Ollie’s age but it was clear that the playground was awesome for kids three and up. The older kids that were there that day had a much easier time navigating the different play structure, ladders and stairs. There are more animals to see by the parking lot playground. The goats were pretty friendly.
After that we went to the Farmer’s Market. I grabbed some peaches which were great but the pricing on everything else was a bit high. They also have a really big bakery section in the back where Ollie got a cookie for $1.00. I will tell you that the staff at Linvilla does not compare to the Johnson’s Corner Farm staff. The Johnson’s Corner Farm teenagers are smiley, helpful and all over the place. The Linvilla staff seems a bit grumpy. The woman at the bakery made me wait unusually long while she stacked cider donuts and trust me Ollie let her know we were ready. The Linvilla market was also packed with adorable but very slow little old ladies that basically caused several “cart jams.” It was clear that they did not have anywhere to be just as it was clear that Ollie did.
The fruit picking takes place at the other end of the farm and has a completely separate entrance. Not far from where we were but not walkable with a little one in tow. Make the central location of Johnson’s hayrides look uber convenient. Hayrides is another thing we need to address. We did not go on any at Linvilla and they are not really hayrides like at Johnson’s. I saw a red converted long truck with people sitting on the sides of the truck bed in the back speeding down the orchard trails.
I also drove down to see Sleepy Hallow Swim Club that is apart of Linvilla Orchards. It actually looked really cute and was down in narrow road and nestled in the woods. Too far from the city for me to consider but maybe a day trip to mix it up.
Yes, Johnson’s Corner Farm is better, greener, easier, nicer and has a splash pad. But I think that Henry would love the playground so I think we will go back when I need to mix it up a little bit. On average I can see going twice a year. I have a membership at Johnson’s and that won’t be changing. Birthday party wise I would still go with Johnson’s Corner Farm.
Parking & Lay of the Land
Parking is not clear: For fruit picking make a right onto Linvilla Road and you will see the stand. For the farmers market go down the street a little bit more and turn in where you see the Linville sign. For the playground turn in where you see the Linvilla sign and immediately go left where you see the exit sign. The parking lot winds around to the right and that is where the playground is.