It was a beautiful day last October, when Don and I arrived for lunch.
We had memories of The Big Sur River Inn, from 40 years ago.
Big Sur River Inn 1982?
This is the only photo I can find from our visit, 4 decades ago.
Don looks mighty serious as he sips his Heineken. My sister and SIL, were hanging out in the grass. I do remember the air and sun felt wonderful.
This is actually the main thing I remember from that first visit. There were chairs in the creek! And there were tons of people sitting in those chairs and on those rocks! There wasn't an open chair that day!
At 11:30 on a Wednesday in October, there were no people cooling off in the water. I was so glad to know that the chair in water thing wasn't just some false memory of mine!
Beautiful Day in 2022
It was another beautiful day when Don and I arrived for lunch, this past fall. It was also Don's birthday, so I was extra happy for good weather.
We parked in a lot beside Highway One and walked past the River Inn Bus. Did it sell ice cream?
We walked past the Motel Office and a deck with planters.
The Inn's History
When we visited 40+ years ago, I knew nothing about the inn's history. I guess it was only about 50 years old then. It's almost 90 today!
I do however remember the rambling structure of logs and stone, sitting beside the highway.
The exterior today, didn't look terribly different from the photographs I found on a wall inside.
The rock chimney looks the same. The road is no longer dirt.
The Apple Pie Inn in 1934
The Big Sur Inn began In 1934, with a different name. Ellen Brown established the Apple Pie Inn, on the east side of the dirt road.
Ms. Brown opened her living and dining rooms and served food to travelers and tourists. She was famous for her pie. Lodging units were built nearby.
Rogers Redwood Camp
In 1937, Ellen left Big Sur and her mother took over the inn. Highway One was completed and Ellen's house was moved to the west side of the road.
The home was turned into a dining room and kitchen. Gas pumps were installed and the Inn got a new name. The term camp was considered very inviting in the thirties.
We passed a number of doors before we found the main entrance.
The sign told us, "Welcome! Don't be shy. Come on in! We're open." So we went in!
It was about 11:30 and a beautiful day, so no surprise that the dining room was empty.
We asked for an outside table, but I had to do a little exploring first!
I was glad it was October and not peak season. It was hard to imagine every table being filled.
On a Cold Night
There was a fabulous old fireplace, that clearly belonged to the chimney, we'd seen in all the photos.
The ashes were a reminder that the fireplace gets lots of use. It must be cozy in here, during the winter. But what's that shape on the floor?
I breezed through the second dining room and peeked at some old photos.
I noticed a brass design on the wall. It was in the shape of a chair and it reminded me that I needed to get outside and see those chairs!
Chairs and Umbrellas
I wasn't talking about the deck chairs.
There were a lot of them, though! And lots of umbrellas for sunny and hot days.
We sat on a higher deck, with a view of the deck.
If the lower deck hadn't been closed we could have had a better view of the river. But no complaints.
Tree in the Deck!
There was a tree growing through the deck, behind us.
I wonder when the deck was added and how often they've had to enlarge the hole?
My photo from further away, fails to show how tall the tree actually is. This big old Redwood (I presume) probably could tell some stories!
Lunch on the Deck
There were lots of options in the big ole menu that arrived shortly after we were seated.
Don ordered a chicken sandwich with fries. Simple, but delicious and quick.
My greens and spinach salad was perfect! Candied walnuts and Gorgonzola! We saved the bigger "pig out feast" and cake for dinner.
Down to the River
After lunch we headed down past the deck and below the boulders, to get to the Big Sur River.
This is the part I had been waiting for. It wasn't summer and I wasn't hot. But I needed to have the River Experience!
My shoes came off and I stuck my feet in the chilly river! 40 years ago, the chairs were all taken, but I had my pick on this fine day!
A Good Visit
This was a quick write up. I don't say much about the food or service. Both were totally good. Really better than I expected!
But we came mostly, because we remembered the river and the chairs and the peaceful surroundings. It was lovely and I hope to return. Maybe we'll stay in the motel across the street. And for sure we'll try some of the Original Apple Pie!
The Dining Blog
This is a blog about Dining Adventures. Sometimes, I talk about food. Below, you can read how this started.
On July 4th 2011, I set a goal to try 50 culturally diverse restaurants in one year! (I knew that was possible, living in the Houston area) I spent the year pulling in friends and family to join me, on some unusual dining adventures. I met some curious people, tried some scary foods and explored places and cultures I never would have otherwise. Even though I met my goal, I learned too much to end my adventures in dining. I have continued blogging about memorable dining adventures of all kinds, near and far... and all the discoveries and funny things I've learned along the way!
Locations and types of dining adventures, are listed further down.