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Pennsylvania eatery serves up a slice of home

APPLE VALLEY • About 75 miles north of New York City, the Apple Valley Restaurant and Pub beckons visitors to come and taste a slice of the High Desert town that inspired its creation.

“This place is absolutely beautiful,” said hostess Shirley Sheridan, who has been with the eatery for five years. “People love our place; especially the shops, the pond and the beautiful grounds.”

In 1966, Ed and Gretel Metzger began their quest to capture the essence of Apple Valley’s western heritage, along with the spirit of Roy Rogers and Dale Evans, by opening a restaurant and creating a western village-like setting in Milford, Pa., near the Delaware River.

After driving down Highway 18 and visiting numerous Apple Valley locations, the Metzgers returned home and acquired several wooden acres, which included a motel, cabins and restaurant.

“They worked really worked hard over the years to turn the place into their California dream,” Sheridan said. “We’re packed in the summer and we have a good crowd in the winter time, but we’re basically a one-light town.”

Besides the popular western-themed eatery that serves American classics, pizza and a variety of appetizers, Sheridan said the candy cottage, 1850s school house and “Life Behind Bars” motorcycle shop are popular with visitors.

“Milford is an old world town of about a 1,000, with antique shops and beautiful buildings,” Sheridan said. “We don’t have any fast-food places except for Dunkin Donuts, and I don’t know how they got here.”

The Metzger’s son, Steve, purchased the restaurant in 2000 and picked up the remaining property when his father died two years ago.

“I’ve never seen Apple Valley, but my dad absolutely loved it,” Steve Metzger, 42, said. “Over the years, we’ve had a few visitors from Apple Valley stop by and they seemed to really like the place.”

Interestingly, there are no maps, souvenirs or photos of the restaurant’s namesake on the property.

After looking at online photos of Milford’s restaurant and village, a few Victor Valley residents were surprised at the East Coast find.

“Are you playing a joke on me? This was inspired by Apple Valley, Calif.?” Jodi Whitehead said. “It is a darling little town, I will give it that. It’s looks like a visit to a bygone era of mom and pop shops, restaurants and beautiful scenery.”

After reading the eatery’s website describing the East Coast’s country sanctuary, Nicole Moné said the village sounds more like someone who was a huge fan of Roy and Dale that imagined what a place called Apple Valley might look like.

“The motel reminded me of the motel that is on Highway 18 and the small lake makes me think of the one at Jess Ranch, but the similarities stop there,” Gayle Anderson said. “We don’t share the green or the trees or the rain.”

Despite the crowds and success of the eatery and village, the owner may be ready to move on.

“If someone likes our place, they can have it for the right price,” Metzger said. “But we’re always ready to welcome people from the real Apple Valley.”

Information on the Apple Valley Restaurant can be found online at www.AppleValleyRestaurant.com.

Rene De La Cruz may be reached at 760 -951-6227 or at RDeLaCruz@VVDailyPress.com.

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