as told to Mackenzie Wilson | photos by Meg Roussos
A lot of people fall in love with the simple way of life out here. Our restaurant is a couple of miles outside of town in Silver Lake. To us, Lake County is the most beautiful spot in Oregon.
I’ve been working at the Cowboy Dinner Tree since I was 14 years old and it’s where I met my husband, Jamie. My parents, Don and Connie Ramage, bought Cowboy Dinner Tree in 2007. When they were ready to retire in 2012, Jamie and I took over.
Jamie was celebrating his birthday at Cowboy Dinner Tree when we met in 2005. At the time, I was working as a dental assistant in Bend, so I was just helping out that weekend. He ordered the steak and I guess you could say it was love at first sight—we got married that same year. Now we have three beautiful kids, Wade, 6, Jack, 8, and Dani, 11, who help us at the restaurant. Regulars like seeing our whole family when they come in for dinner; and by regulars, I mean, they come in once a month. There’s so much food, you wouldn’t want to come every weekend; we serve whole chickens and thirty-ounce steaks.
We like the way of life out here and like to share it with people. It’s one of the best areas to see the sun rise and set because the terrain is wide open. We get a lot of people who come out just to look at the stars; there’re no lights here to hide them, it’s so rural.
I can’t imagine moving back into a town or city, but it would be nice to have a doctor’s office closer than La Pine. Here we are though, living at the edge of the mountains with millions of acres right out our front door. We can go do about anything we want, any day of the week … when the restaurant isn’t open. It allows us to make a living out here, but if we didn’t have it, we wouldn’t move. As long as you’re ready to get your hands dirty, there’s always work in Lake County.