July 31, 2012

Turkey Ranch Restaurant on Steam Valley Mountain in Pa.





While driving from our Southwestern Pennsylvania home to Heuvelton, New York, Monte and I stopped at a restaurant we’d eaten at in the past (after all, we are creatures of habit).

We sat in a booth in the far end of The Turkey Ranch Restaurant, located on top of Steam Valley Mountain in Trout Run, Pennsylvania—near the New York State border.

We ate our lunch joined by two turkeys: one turkey in flight and another watching us enjoy our rations. They were mounted on a wall within my vision (Monte’s back was toward this view).

I asked a waitress for permission to photograph these  turkeys, and with her positive answer I went to the car to procure my camera, notebook, and business cards. On the way out I noticed a Mennonite family seated at a table near the entrance.

When I reentered the restaurant one of the women (A) looked at me suspiciously, as if she thought I’d retrieved the camera to take their pictures. I stopped at their table to reassure them.

“I’m taking a picture of the turkeys because my granddaughter was born on Thanksgiving Day,” I said.

The women couldn’t see the turkeys from where they were seated.


The family consisted of two sisters (A & B) and their eighty-year-old aunt. The aunt and A wore full Mennonite attire. B wore English clothes; she worked for the government.

A lives outside of Philadelphia, not too far from Lehigh Valley, where she owns a turkey farm.

After shooting the turkeys I returned to the Mennonite’s table and showed A one of the pictures.

She told me that she, her handicapped daughter and B were taking the aunt to New York City to visit a third sister, C.

I went into the gift shop, and two of the women followed me. A shared that her handicapped daughter liked to take pictures. Another of A’s daughters, M, who lived with A, was putting the handicapped daughter’s pictures on a CD.

“Does M have a computer?”


Upon hearing the positive answer I asked if she had email. Again, a yes, I offered to email them a copy of the turkey pictures I took, and gave A my business card, telling her to have M contact me.

“I’m harmless,” I said. This is a meaningless pharase.

Just then I caught my image in a mirrored surface. I was wearing my Cornell (University/maiden name) cap backwards. This might give a negative impression.

“Oh,” I said. “My hat is turned backwards because the brim interferes with taking flash pictures.”

A said her handicapped daughter wears her caps backwards, too.

I returned to our booth, where Monte was waiting patiently.


 Previously, when I was reading the menu, I had noticed the name Lemoyne. I asked the waitress if she knew anything about the name. Andre’ Lemoyne is the person from whom Lamoine, Maine, received its name, and my genealogy takes me to that community. Also, it is the setting of part of the historic novel I’m writing.

“I’m not from around the area,” she said.

“Where are you from?”


“I know where that is. I’m a New Englander too.”


The Turkey Ranch Restaurant is located on the William Wilson Highway on Steam Valley Mountain, elevation 1704. Its location is where “…once stood a pile of cans, water buckets and anything that would hold water. These containers were used and disposed of by people whose cars and trucks would heat up or run out of water while ascending Steam Valley Mountain

In 1938 brothers Howard Fry Sr. and Raymond Fry bought the farmland on which the restaurant sits. The restaurant opened on Mother’s Day in 1939. It closed during the World War II days, and reopened on Mother’s Day in 1946. When Howard Sr. died in 1950 Mrs. Lemoyne Fry and her son Howard took over the business’s management. In 1967 Howard and his wife Lois became its sole owners.

The restaurant, specializing in turkey dinners, seats three hundred hungry souls. During its seventy-one years of business it has roasted and served over one hundred forty thousand turkeys.

There is also a gift shop inside the restaurant.


Being as it was early in the day, and being that the menu was geared for meat eaters, Monte and I ate light. I had an okay onion soup (since dining on French onion soup in a French restaurant in Atlanta I haven’t found a restaurant that serves a soup that good). Monte said his beet and hard-boiled egg plate was pretty good.

Refreshed, we left the restaurant to drive into New York State. Should we find ourselves on top of Steam Valley Mountain in Trout Run, Pennsylvania, we will assuredly stop at the Turkey Ranch Restaurant to imbibe of another meal. It is a pleasant dining spot with good all-American food.

And perhaps someday we will have the opportunity to take our granddaughter, Jordan, there. After all, she is a turkey, born on Thanksgiving Day.



The Thanksgiving Baby







  1. Jordan is a turkey without feathers

    Comment by Joan — August 6, 2012 @ 7:57 am | Reply

  2. The Steam Vally Mountain area is one of the most beautiful areas in Eastern U.S. My father & I used to drive tractor Trailer over these mountains between Elba, N.Y. & Orlando, FL back in the early 1950’s. I visited Fry’s Turkey Ranch last week 8-25-2013 on a brief visit to Mansfield, PA.

    Comment by Edward Forsyth — August 28, 2013 @ 9:47 pm | Reply

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