This morning the air was just that much more crisp — specifically at oh-dark-thirty (actually 5:45 a.m.) — hinting that a change of season will soon be upon us. While I am widely known for rarely choosing a favorite this or favorite that, I will say that the fall is one season I truly enjoy, if for only one reason: the apple harvest and, more importantly, the resulting apple cider. The harvest has begun at Apple Hill, and I hope that we can get up there by mid September. Go early enough and you can avoid the crowds.
This year we are trying a different strategy. Rather than go once during the apple season and hauling six to eight gallons of cider down the hill, we expect to make two trips with more modest cargos of cider. Though there is a sameness to every visit throughout the years, it’s a sameness that is, in its own way, comforting. My favorite stop is Bolster’s Hilltop Ranch. They make, in my ever so humble opinion, the BEST apple cider. (You can also pick blueberries there during the early summer.) Then there’s the Mill View Ranch for apple turnovers and apple cider doughnuts and the various crafts vendors at almost any farm and orchard.
Speaking of appetites… Another restaurant on my list of those I’d like to visit: Camp 18. More truthfully, I want to eat there. It was featured on the Food Network’s “Secret Life of…” as a theme restaurant (centered around logging) and is about 24 miles east of Seaside, Oregon, at mile marker 18 on U.S. Highway 26. This place — called in one review “the sturdiest restaurants in the West” — serves “lumberjack food” and a Lumberjack Special for breakfast that could easily feed a family of four. (Two “flatcar” pancakes about a foot in diameter with strawberries, a waffle with blueberries, a slab of grilled ham, two grilled kielbasa sausages, biscuits and gravy, fried potatoes, and an omelet stuffed with steak, onions and cheese.) Besides the substantial food, Camp 18 is supposed to have quite a logging museum.