Visiting Yesteryear – The Red Apple Rest

Visiting Yesteryear – The Red Apple Rest

When I was a kid, each summer my family would load up my mom’s green Chevy Vega or my dad’s Tradesman 100 van and take a camping trip to Speculator, New York. Those trips usually involved a stop at the Red Apple Rest.

Going out to eat was a treat back then. Something special. Perhaps that’s why 35+ years later I can still remember sliding a tray along the silver railing, looking at the food displays and marveling at the magnificence of cubed jello in a sundae glass.

A few weekends ago when Kenny and I pulled up in front of the Red Apple Rest’s crumbling facade, I felt a dull ache somewhere deep inside. There is a strange sensation that bubbles up when you see a happy part of your childhood disintegrate. Something like a panic sets in and you want to reach out and grab hold of everything that is slipping away. It’s probably less about the actual thing and maybe more about a piece of yourself. All that is left are wisps of memory.

Time indifferently marches on.

9 Replies to “Visiting Yesteryear – The Red Apple Rest”

  1. Wow; another direct hit on my childhood memories. We’d stop there in the 60’s on our way to or from Sterling Forest, or a weekend at the Nevele or Pines resorts. We thought Tuxedo was a funny name for a town…. and we lived in Mahopac!


  2. OMG, I went there so often during my early riding career. It was the meeting place for many rallies (e.g., Ramapo 500). I associate the location with crowds of bikers eager to hit the road. Seeing it in this condition now would affect me the way you describe. I knew it closed but seeing ruins is really sad.

  3. I really enjoyed the video and when you look at the datestamp on it you think “eh, it’s only 1993”. Then you realize that was 24 years ago. How does a place like that just die? Do the owners not just pass it along or sell? You could see its decline with the ice cream car service part not open. Shame when places like that, that are such a staple, fade away. Only to be remembered in pictures like so many things from our past. Very nice Rachel.

  4. In the UK, these kind of places died out slowly as the ‘old’ trunk road network was superseded by motorways. The UK long had an iconic chain of eateries called Little Chef that had an almost monopoly of roadside eateries at major road junctions & on arterial routes. And then the routes weren’t so arterial any more and the junctions not so major… eventually the whole chebang went bust. The chain returned in a tiny subset of its old footprint years later, Many of the old Little Chefs stood dormant for several years, but quite a lot have now reopened after a complete gutting… as Starbucks!

      1. Well, the brand is still there just not as ubiquitous, and most of the surviving trunk road locations are in places where the motorway network still hasn’t quite yet reached, or sites embedded inside motorway service areas rather than the original stand alone roadside restaurants., and when they tried to bring in a new menu in the surviving locations a few years back, there was a massive & genuine public backlash & they had to restore certain historic staple items to the menu under public pressure.(The ‘Olympic Breakfast’ springs to mind, even though that ‘only’ dates back to 1994 apparently) to quell the restive natives. But to give you an idea of how ubiquitous they were, when they went through their collapse & retrenchement they ended up shrinking to ‘just our 80 profitable locations’… down from 200+.

  5. It’s a cliche, but I’ve bought into the notion that no one or nothing is really gone as long as that person or place remains in someone’s memories. It seems to me that it’s our encounters and memories that give meaning and definition to the people and things we meet and see. Then again, maybe it’s just arrogant to suggest that without our engagement with what’s outside of ourselves, those people and things have no significance, that they are inherently insignificant.

    Several years ago I came to believe that one can virtually cease to exist if he deliberately ceases to engage with the world, with life, with others. Sure, the body would continue to be, but the world would forget, or rather would never remember, one who doesn’t interact with it. And I’m left wondering how many “invisibles” are out there… (Meh—maybe this is just another blasted rabbit hole.)

    I do believe there’s value in manmade places, such as your Red Apple Rest, and I do think it’s sad when such places are destroyed or allowed to disintegrate, but I’m able to move on (maybe I’m just a heartless SOB). Here’s what really gets me…

    I was fortunate to grow up doing a lot of hiking, backpacking, and off-road camping in places that thirty or thirty-five years ago still seemed pretty damn remote, places that became, well, sacred to me. In the years since, I’ve seen so many of those places get overrun and over-“loved” by tourists and super-regulated by governmental land managers that I can’t revisit them.

    It isn’t, of course, that I’m prohibited—it’s simply that they bear such little resemblance to the wilder spots in my memories that it breaks my heart to see what’s become of them. I guess I should be glad that I had what I had, and I am, but… We’re told “‘’tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all”, but it sure hurts like hell to see what can become of your loves. It has a way of leaving a fucking sickening, jagged, softball-size lump in your throat.

    Maybe this is morbid and selfish, but I’m consoled knowing that someday I’ll be yanked from this absurd experience and that eventually our universe, for its own over-expansion, might destroy itself, leaving little—if any—evidence that it ever was. (Is this too dark?) I’m content knowing that if anything of me is to continue, it’s maybe my consciousness and—if I’m lucky—my memories, and so I must spend what little time I have collecting as much as possible.

    Fuzzy, I believe that if we are anything other than merely stardust, we are memory makers and memory collectors.

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