VASHON ISLAND, Wash — Visiting any number of Washington's amazing cideries is not only a very autumnal and delicious experience but a great way to stay socially distant as well.
Take Dragon's Head Cider, for instance - a quiet fall oasis tucked away on Vashon Island, with plenty of outdoor seating and refreshing ciders to try.
"We've got about three-hundred apples and pear trees in our orchard," says Laura Cherry, co-owner of Dragon's Head Cider. "We produce about forty liters of cider each year."
Dragon's Head Cider is named after the Ladon, a terrifying, 100-headed dragon from Greek myths. This beast guarded Hera's golden apple orchard. Thankfully, there are no terrifying beasts at Dragon's Head - just lots and lots of tasty cider.
The cidery is open Friday through Sunday by reservation for tastings. And, once you're done sampling the cider, you can tour the eight-acre apple orchard to see the cider process from start to finish. You'll also see multiple different apple varieties you've probably never seen before. All of the fruit grown at Dragon's Head Cider is cider-specific.
"They're not apples you would see in the grocery store, just like wine grapes and table grapes," Cherry says. "There's thousands of apples that exist, and we only get a handful in our grocery stores regularly."
The Redfield apple, for instance, boasts a blush interior. They use it to make their rose cider, which has an equally lovely color.
"Our approach is more on the traditionalist side, we do almost all of the pressing ourselves," Cherry says.
And while Cherry may be a proud apple nerd, if you will, seeing people enjoy and explore more than ten years of hard work is perhaps her favorite thing about owning a cidery.
"This is such a big piece of why I do this," Cherry says. "One of the things that makes me so happy with what we have here is that it becomes a part of others special memories. These are the things that keep me going, you know? Building those experiences and having human connection."