A Travellerspoint blog

Entries about fall

FALLing into St. Michaels, MD

Ahhhh…..fall. A season filled with crisp cool air, blue skies, and colorful leaves. As the calendar slowly slid into autumn, I decided there was no better way to enjoy the beautiful fall weather than to plan an escape. The “been there, done that” nature of previous fall trips to the nearby mountains begged that I try something new.

Inexplicably, I found myself drawn to the coast. I had a vision of foggy mornings on a creaking wooden dock, sipping hot cider from an oversized mug, wearing a chunky sweater and plotting a day filled with blue crabs and sailboats.

Not wanting to fly too far, I set my sights on St. Michael’s, Maryland, a small town on the state’s Eastern Shore with a population just a smidge over 1,000. Located right along the craggy coastline, this quaint waterfront destination seemed like an idyllic waterfront retreat.

I knew it would be easy to talk Matt into it. All I had to do was tell him part of the movie Wedding Crashers, one of his favorites, was filmed there.

“HOLY SHIRTS AND PANTS” we were headed to Maryland!

37967194676_5a8c818322.jpg

“CRAB CAKES AND FOOTBALL! THAT’S WHAT MARYLAND DOES!”

As we taxied down the runway at the Easton, MD airport, I had visions of crab cakes dancing in my head. The “crab-zilla” to be precise.

Sugar Buns Bakery was conveniently located in the FBO at the Easton Airport and is home to the King Crab of sandwiches….the crab-zilla. It’s piled high with a giant crab cake, 6 legs of crispy bacon, a slab of heirloom tomato, and fried onion rings on 2 thick pieces of Texas toast and finished off with olive “eyes.”

26244799429_552fa2c647.jpg

26244794549_2b2964f4a6.jpg

Nothing says, “Welcome to Maryland” like a crab cake bigger than your head.

We checked into our delightful Air BNB rental. Located right on the water with its own dock and several acres, it was exactly what we were looking for.

26244791059_9a1e2e242a.jpg

26244786399_444cd6f318.jpg

37989974722_97213182f1.jpg

37989972572_9f31e04fd1.jpg

26244772709_ea48cba576.jpg

26244766229_79c93ae3f6.jpg

We quickly settled into some large Adirondack chairs to do nothing more than watch the ducks swim by.

26244770929_672921bc8c.jpg

26244768139_ab1c18a45f.jpg

Before it got too dark, we decided to take the pontoon boat that came with the house out for a sunset spin.

26244763239_c749da164c.jpg

37967197746_34886352ea.jpg

26244760389_a1f976ab73.jpg

26244757049_e13151df39.jpg

26244754179_b8cb381448.jpg

26244749929_3a9cf0a353.jpg

37967203806_ee2a06a78e.jpg

Not wanting to venture too far from home that first night, I had found a local place just down the street that served an oyster buffet on Friday nights. To Matt, the words “all you can eat oysters” has the same impact that “Louis Vuitton is giving away free purses” would sound to the average woman.

37967191496_3394ae4a09.jpg

37967188106_91c788f3f2.jpg

38020638401_4f6946defa.jpg

38020634461_ddbb28980d.jpg

He practically ran there.

Oysters…meh. I dove into the crispy fried chicken and mac n’cheese.

37967184646_4efcb99dcc.jpg

For dessert, we had to try the famous Smith Island Cake, apparently found all over St. Michaels, but this was our first. The State Dessert of Maryland, a true Smith Island Cake has 8 – 14 individually baked thin layers of cake with frosting between each layer and then slathered generously on the outside.

38020635851_3a167d02dc.jpg

The cake hails from Smith Island, a 400 year old fishing village with only about 250 residents. It was there that the cake was born. In the 1800’s, when the men of the village would go on the annual autumn oyster harvest, their wives would bake the cakes to send with them as a reminder of their families and communities waiting for them at home. They began to use fudge in the layers rather than frosting, as it kept longer when they were out at sea.

Traditionally yellow cake with fudge frosting, there are many variations. We tried the red velvet. It was 9 layers of delicious.
After Matt had eaten his fill of oysters, we stopped off at the Inn at Perry Cabin for a drink at Purser’s Pub. The Inn was the location where the wedding in Wedding Crashers was filmed. Just seeing the grounds made me wish I was dancing to the YMCA in a bad bridesmaid dress.

38020632591_ab2da1184e.jpg

38020630881_0a5d2e9516.jpg

38020628491_9611cebc7d.jpg

“RULE #1: NEVER LEAVE A FELLOW CRASHER BEHIND.”

It was a beautiful misty morning on the water, and Matt really wanted to simply curl up by the fire with a good book, but we weren’t having any of that.

38020626021_b8a49a2838.jpg

38020623421_8019f191f7.jpg

37989919732_15cba959a3.jpg

37311416724_07ea8c1358.jpg

37311415114_73fb63f45d.jpg

37311413104_9a0079e706.jpg

37311409444_951d118267.jpg

37311402154_75fc40e4a8.jpg

37311404274_53a880418f.jpg

It was time to head into St. Michaels and do some shopping!

St. Michaels was small and quaint. It’s main thoroughfare, Talbot Street, was lined with colonial buildings turned into adorable shops. It was the height of their “Fall into St. Michaels” festival, so the place was bursting at the seams with colorful leaves, hay bales, corn husks, pie contests, and pumpkin carving.

37311400094_836844e8ed.jpg

37311396414_32d9ac70f6.jpg

37989886582_024bfb9716.jpg

37989884382_341c09663c.jpg

37989881872_0268e684f6.jpg

37989879332_37e8249a31.jpg

37989876902_6863659e37.jpg

37989873882_118f116d6a.jpg

24168671218_2b83280b45.jpg

24168666308_2c56db3737.jpg

24168663678_a3965eae3f.jpg

24168661658_c6df23aa6e.jpg

24168658978_06be8f7757.jpg

24168655678_029fc5bb58.jpg

37989853862_79b2140887.jpg

37989841562_3a2bba445a.jpg

37989850152_bf5419801a.jpg

37989847552_4767683db9.jpg

37989845972_590eb07051.jpg

37989839042_44e5a91351.jpg

37989836412_ea615b3369.jpg

37989833452_3e6a4e6888.jpg

37989830912_9eb4ef1962.jpg

37989827422_a342a16e0b.jpg

37989822692_c701daf9e2.jpg

37989819332_2f2b7fd6bf.jpg

37989817202_f09c5f0d8c.jpg

37989810482_95c4de8631.jpg

37989807432_0616533fbb.jpg

37967017016_7997a15b9c.jpg

37989802442_5666ded48f.jpg

37989800132_9f540cb841.jpg

37967021916_4655aba523.jpg

37967020016_30ce55f4f3.jpg

37967015066_a439d58a10.jpg

37311300484_93e1b429eb.jpg

We sampled artisan olive oils, we sniffed home-made goats milk soap, we sifted through dusty antiques and ate ice cream.

We had been told by locals that The Crab Claw was a “must do.” Touristy, yes, but still a “must do.” So we did it.

37311298844_3b1cdbe675.jpg

37967005536_dd72356f20.jpg

37311293664_a57219494e.jpg

37311291624_50c3f985f2.jpg

It was a beautiful sunny day and we were seated right on the water with their amazing margaritas and a bucket of crabs served with a side dish of Old Bay.

Now, I thought we had some weird sides in the south: hominy, polk salad, grits, squirrel dumplings, pickled eggs….but Old Bay? Apparently, people in Maryland put Old Bay on everything. Crabs? Needs more Old Bay. Pasta? Maybe let’s add some Old Bay. You know what this cupcake needs? OLD BAY!

I had my Old Bay. I had my newspaper. I had my bib. I had my hammer. I was ready. Bring on the crabs.

26244602069_7831d10021.jpg

37311289944_e3fe4b7ca2.jpg

26244616069_3dbd79f700.jpg

26244613569_c344f2c5c6.jpg

26244605839_096ba5c84c.jpg

26244594379_66022a9a57.jpg

26244592209_a67ce8c76e.jpg

I’m going to be honest here.

I didn’t get it.

Crab legs are one thing – sure, there is some work involved, but you get a giant meaty slab as a result. Better yet….a crab cake! Let someone else do all the work and then just mash that yumminess up into a patty for you.

But whole crabs.

I didn’t get it.

Why did I want to eat food that came with an extensive paper diagram explaining how to eat it?

And required the use of a hammer?

Yes, the meat was delicious, but I nearly died of starvation in the 754 minutes it took to get the meat out of ONE CRAB. And when I did get the meat out, my hands were SO DIRTY. And the meat was SO TINY.

The work-to-reward ratio seemed a little off to me. I spent 10 minutes digging into a recently deceased crustacean, all sharp armor and prickly legs, to achieve a disappointing pile of sweet inner meat. I got a thimble full of wine when I worked for a double magnum.

And my hands were stinky.

Don't you northerners every say another word to me about grits. Are they confusing? Sure. Do they make you wonder why you should eat them? Of course. But at least with grits, you can just pick up a spoon and start eating. And they don’t make your hands dirty.

I figured out quickly that eating blue crabs was more about socialization and less about actual food consumption. Sitting in the autumn sunshine, watching the boats cruise by, and leisurely picking the meat from a blue crab would have been amazing if I hadn’t been starving.

Notes for next time: Get bigger crabs; eat something else first; enjoy the experience rather than looking for the reward.

Next time, blue crabs….I’ll be ready for you.

26244589779_fe93885511.jpg

26244585239_21e9843f2d.jpg

26244582199_14da8d4a43.jpg

26244579229_3566267ed8.jpg

24168527498_a4a23387b7.jpg

After lunch, we made a stop at Lyon Distilling Company, a micro craft distillery specializing in rum and whiskey.

Not only was the place lovely to look at, the rums were quite amazing. We particularly liked the Rock & Rum. To get this delightful creation, they infused their signature white rum with orange botanicals, blended the distillate with a candied-orange caramel, and finished it with dark cherries. It tasted like a rum old-fashioned in a bottle.

24168509228_da3dd356a9.jpg

37989727552_03b811abc8.jpg

37989724672_a414cabc16.jpg

26244573499_9bb852debd.jpg

26244571729_31bb2292ac.jpg

24168536348_4eefb9a785.jpg

24168534638_abed36edcc.jpg

24168531438_6da2b5bcd6.jpg

24168529628_e54f915328.jpg

We followed rum sampling with wine sampling at St. Michaels winery, because nothing is better after eating a teaspoon full of crab meat than drinking a whole lot.

24168514458_5d2dfa019e.jpg

24168511988_f93d635c8f.jpg

24168525028_b7dbbde7dd.jpg

24168517908_22b150c933.jpg

26244240699_2491660cca.jpg

37989377372_0f70dc92cb.jpg

We made it back to the house in time for a breathtaking sunset.

24168505098_38f8f8cf45.jpg

38020371971_bca119f05b.jpg

38020370141_86c22a11ed.jpg

Then it was off to Ava’s for pizza.

38020359921_ffefb52f6d.jpg

38020354991_7cb04a7f74.jpg

38020352171_f28e42c7d0.jpg

We were joined for dinner that night by local friends that we had never actually met.

It’s not uncommon these days to have “friends” you know only through common interests on the interwebs or that you met via other friends through social media.

This can lead to some awkward meetings where you end up in the same place at the same time and decide you MUST get together only to find out you have nothing in common and are pretty sure they are stalkers. It also leads to some epic friendships. Some of our best friends are people we met “virtually.”

I was really nervous. What if they turned out to be weirdos?

We should not have been worried about them being weirdos.

What I failed to realize was that WE were the weirdos.

One of us broke a wine glass all over their feet within 5 minutes of meeting them (Matt), one of us fell face first out of their truck and landed sprawled like road kill on the street with ripped pants (me), and one of us spent most of dinner in the bathroom (who this was shall remain anonymous to preserve someone’s already shattered dignity).

Despite making a colossally horrific first impression, we hit it off.

I love it when “virtual friends” become “real friends.”

38020349671_272c4ce2fd.jpg

“UM…BUT STARBOARD’S THIS WAY.”

37311093174_50b6a36c5b.jpg

With another crisp fall day in our hands, we decided to drive to nearby Tilghman Island for a ride on a historic skipjack, the Rebecca T. Ruark.

Tilghman is a tiny speck of an island in the Choptank River in the Chesapeake Bay. Just 3 miles long and a mile wide, its location in the bay allowed fisherman to work the water year round since the 1830’s.

38020349271_0b675a1592.jpg

24168480668_9ced96694d.jpg

24168477538_aca3b2c16e.jpg

24168473328_0689a1c010.jpg

24168464508_600dd1effc.jpg

Built in 1886, the Rebecca T. Ruark is the oldest surviving skipjack in the Chesapeake Bay fleet. Her captain, Wade Murphy, will take you out on her for a 2 hour no-frills tour filled with stories of the island, the bay, and the boat.

Rebecca has dredged, hauled, raced, sank, been raised, been repaired, restored, rebuilt, and rebuilt, and rebuilt again. She has many tales to tell.

As we climbed aboard, I wasn’t sure who was crustier, the boat or the captain. Both were salty, weather-worn, and absolutely wonderful. Cpt. Wade made it instantly clear that there “Warn’t no drinks or food on this trip” and if that was a problem, we should just head back to our cars and go on a fancy sail.

38020321441_5369fc4334.jpg

24168460668_ec88af8538.jpg

24168456218_287502b4ff.jpg

24168452068_132cf86e35.jpg

38020326681_50a6007524.jpg

38020323861_6bf6b830f6.jpg

38020319351_cdf064a939.jpg

38020315961_66b602ae01.jpg

38020313571_10c341914c.jpg

37989607792_4f84caefda.jpg

38020311601_463826d6ff.jpg

38020308391_cb91cd0420.jpg

38020305701_82c51123f6.jpg

37989605802_905458860d.jpg

37989602562_063dd58ff7.jpg

37989600272_5b0e46489c.jpg

Cpt. Wade’s face was a maze of hard earned lines. He had one squinty eye and a gruff voice. His hands were like leather, no doubt from years of hauling up oysters in the frigid bay. He told us right off that he couldn’t hear a thing, so we should listen more than we talked.

37989598672_e952f3725e.jpg

And boy, did he talk. As we settled into cracked plastic deck chairs, he pulled out a stack of faded notebooks. Each one was filled with clippings and photos. He proceeded to tell us about his island, his life as a 3rd generation waterman, and about his boat. While he liked to pretend he was a crusty character, he had a smile in his eyes and he literally glowed as he told us his stories.

I couldn’t imagine a better way to spend $30 or 2 hours.

They just don’t make them like the Rebecca T. Ruark anymore. Or like Cpt. Wade.

37989597072_505b07194c.jpg

It had been a beautiful morning to be on the water and all that oyster talk had made us hungry. We made our way across the tiny island to Marker 5, a lovely waterfront restaurant with a breezy deck facing the water.

Mid-day cocktails were ordered along with BBQ nachos, beer shrimp (with OLD BAY!), and a rich bowl of Maryland crab soup.

37311097514_1cc115cbab.jpg

37989590792_afbd0acdbc.jpg

37989595042_67265a9963.jpg

37989593842_f2e127e862.jpg

37989592822_9a3c7fc4df.jpg

37989592102_b43e298a2f.jpg

37989591542_aed89ccdea.jpg

Before leaving, we made a quick tour of Tilghman Island and the Country Store.

37311091064_9e363facf2.jpg

37311087984_2d2c96a982.jpg

24168395888_6feaf2de22.jpg

24168393528_27f46c8e8b.jpg

24168389518_7247934bae.jpg

37989581132_f54da60c58.jpg

37989577462_7b2c6b3686.jpg

37989574552_9486efb5c5.jpg

37989570632_75f718feea.jpg

We got home in time to spend a lazy afternoon staring at the water and taking the boat out for a sunset cruise.

37989566252_aa01c8fafd.jpg

37989563062_05abb55bc5.jpg

38020217381_1cfeaa9840.jpg

37989560672_8be8e58676.jpg

38020210641_50520d4865.jpg

26244437039_765fa17686.jpg

26244433629_687e49eea3.jpg

26244429759_2709ac50bb.jpg

37966749926_6453348a9e.jpg

24168342618_1d83751f8c.jpg

38020167801_d757263925.jpg

38020163701_b2367b921d.jpg

Dinner was a Gina’s, a kitchy little Southwest restaurant in town. It exuded a wonderfully bohemian vibe complete with string lights, original artwork, handpainted signs on the tables, mismatched tableware, and a case filled with old books. So, it really didn’t surprise us when we realized there was no “meat” on the menu. No strictly vegetarian, there was plenty of fish and seafood which was perfectly fine with us.

The margaritas were spectacular and the crab nachos were gargantuan. The shrimp tacos were loaded with spinach, goat cheese, mango salsa, and chipotle mayo.

37311004864_70cb01328d.jpg

24168314908_c081c7fd6d.jpg

37989519452_7c88513b3a.jpg

38020146661_f7e26cf307.jpg

37989514132_7f581caf22.jpg

37989512182_baa70e810a.jpg

We never missed the beef.

“MAKE ME A BICYCLE, CLOWN.”

37989507062_445656e93d.jpg

Our original plans for the day were to rent bicycles and ride to the Oxford ferry. However, once I Googled the route and figured out much of the ride was on a busy 2 lane highway with no bike lane, I quickly changed my mind.

Vicki + Bicycle + Traffic = Unavoidable Catastrophe.

Instead, we made a hearty breakfast and drove to the ferry.

26244383749_d75ff8e472.jpg

26244380949_5d807e2586.jpg

Sure, we could have driven to Oxford, but what was the fun in that? We still wanted to ride the ferry across.

37310977614_c27a1e126b.jpg

37310974524_a91f642356.jpg

37310971994_c04bd304b9.jpg

37310969774_d5a1e2895f.jpg

Oxford was everything a coastal Maryland town should be. It was all picket fences, red front doors, and American flags. Brick walkways were scattered with pumpkins and colorful leaves, and the streets took us through colonial houses and cute little shops.

37310967564_4bcab3de3c.jpg

37310962984_7729052def.jpg

26244362849_d651230b6d.jpg

26244358529_a0994ec62d.jpg

37966663306_fdefeba462.jpg

37966659646_ff317c4081.jpg

37989480682_40fa910354.jpg

37989478092_493d4c94e8.jpg

37989474992_24aa8576fd.jpg

37989472912_54dee5529b.jpg

24168249878_3f56b6dfea.jpg

37966637016_ab684da1ab.jpg

26244322619_c82f421824.jpg

37989461492_487ecdb8cd.jpg

26244315789_ae37571479.jpg

38020045611_dc82944d9e.jpg

37966614016_69d4db8197.jpg

37966608226_aed10e3fcf.jpg

37966603636_86fdb295d0.jpg

37966599126_8c9f22665e.jpg

37966596286_fe94d1191a.jpg

37966590986_8f34d95133.jpg

37989426932_9b3eff2aab.jpg

37989423542_f79b8565ff.jpg

37989419712_fd454890f7.jpg

37966586966_f16908255c.jpg

37989415492_6bb365b1df.jpg

37989408922_36f303ddab.jpg

We were devastated to find that the Scottish Highland Creamery was already closed for the season. Okay, maybe the others were just slightly disappointed, but I was devastated.

Instead, we settled into the courtyard at the Robert Morris Inn. Built in 1710, it claims to be the oldest inn in America.

37989399632_b056803774.jpg

26244261559_ea031dbc29.jpg

26244257219_5b33caa09a.jpg

26244253649_60f027370d.jpg

26244265179_eedaaab6ee.jpg

26244263119_1a2697cf45.jpg

After a lunch of more crab cakes and crisp rose, it was time to jump back on the ferry.

26244250789_2df0545b24.jpg

26244247349_73635a3702.jpg

26244243699_184c0eb714.jpg

We had an afternoon sunset sail scheduled on the Selina II. We got the sail, just not the sunset.

No matter, there was enough bubbly to make up for it.

37966535996_4870b2a6b4.jpg

37966533876_ef0fefde60.jpg

37966532526_a81c8d434a.jpg

37966530956_a09f74d486.jpg

37989360062_d4faba42e0.jpg

37966521566_1dac5a12c0.jpg

37989358222_7b1458a633.jpg

37989355892_e10e300d9f.jpg

37989353732_d5947acaca.jpg

37966518966_eba4acfd27.jpg

37966511456_baf8d4875e.jpg

37966506366_51195b167e.jpg

Captain Iris was a very accomplished sailor, despite the fact that she looked like the love child of Sigourney Weaver and Bethany Frankel.

iris.jpg

We ended the evening at the St. Michaels Crab & Steak House at the recommendation of Captain Iris. We had been crabcaked to death and needed some fried seafood.

Casual and cozy, with perfect coconut fried shrimp, it was just the thing to follow a non-sunset sail.

37966503156_fe15b103f0.jpg

37989327242_1e651077dc.jpg

37989320782_4beb40be5f.jpg

37966497246_fd9d9eeebb.jpg

37966489366_3622efebdb.jpg

37966485176_92690f8dbd.jpg

“MA …THE MEATLOAF!”

It was time to head home, but not without some beef to offset all that crab.

The house-cut fries and thick cheeseburgers at Sugar Buns was a perfect send off.

26244119129_e19086146c.jpg

Especially when followed by a slab of Smith Island Cake.

Rule #64 – Always save room for cake.

Posted by vicki_h 12:51 Archived in USA Tagged fall coastal maryland chesapeake md st._michaels Comments (2)

An Impromptu Fall Road Trip

Sometimes you just need to pack up and go. No plans, no reservations, just pure spontaneity.

Nothing can make this happen faster than having plans to go somewhere else that fall through at the last minute.

That's what happened to us in October. We had planned a trip down to Abaco to soak in the last of the sun's rays before the chill season set in. Unfortunately, the day before our trip, we realized the weather down there was going to be crap. Rain, storms, rain, more storms, and then some rain.

After being stuck inside for 3 days thanks to Tropical Storm Arthur in July....I said "no thank you" to this repeat possibility.

Sure, we could have just cancelled and gone to work instead. But why the hell would we do that????? We had a few days off. I had to go somewhere.

It was a little past peak color season, but we decided to pack up the pooches and head to the mountains of NC. It's quick, it's easy, and I scored an amazing last minute deal on an absolute PALACE of a house.

First order of business is to introduce you to the newest member of the family. In order to do that, we must say goodbye to my absolute sweetheart, the best dog in the whole wide world, my favorite travel buddy Zoey who we lost in September.

16300137771_b5dc9bc1e7.jpg

When we found out she was sick, we worried about Bella, so we got her a friend to help her transition. Best. Decision. Ever. This little bundle of sunshine saved us all. Say "hello" to Rooby:

15682055163_e2545a5161.jpg

She's Shihtzu and Yorkie. I call that a shittie.

So, with no plans at all, we packed up Bella and her puppy. We were off to the mountains!!!!

15682055793_454d0af8d1.jpg

On the way, we stopped at the best hole-in-the-wall pizza place I have discovered to date. Hidden in the middle-of-nowhere, Smoky Mountain Bakers makes some of the most amazing artisanal pizzas and breads in their wood fired oven. And they do it all in what is a glorified garden shed.

15682054043_55db737db8.jpg

16301925615_0c270bda68.jpg

15682052903_300283c432.jpg

16115783219_84b9db32f4.jpg

Bellies full of dough and cheese, we headed up winding mountain roads to find our home for the weekend. And what a home it was. This place was AMAZING. HUGE. GORGEOUS.

I wanted to live here forever.

16300134811_c09c5dc6a9.jpg

16114374888_8095c8f374.jpg

16114372008_a2f6e4ea03.jpg

16114545430_fcbae83710.jpg

15682046853_225aaef4d1.jpg

15679509564_cd9658628f.jpg

15679509154_c1170a4323.jpg

16115776739_bc68e2af52.jpg

Two living rooms. A study. A huge deck with amazing views to forever.

Trying to choose from the FIVE gorgeous bedrooms was nearly impossible. I was tempted to sleep in a different room every night. I wanted to sleep in them all.

16301911845_ed3115ed3e.jpg

16116059097_cf30a53b17.jpg

16301047622_a9ec6ec6f6.jpg

16115769249_e810baedb5.jpg

We settled on the upstairs master. Not only because it was beautiful, but because it was the only bedroom on the main level. Little Rooby had not yet mastered the art of stairs. She was only 6 inches tall, after all.

15682049883_79afbae90c.jpg

16115781679_bb4a1b9ea7.jpg

We got settled in and made sure we had the essentials. Yep. Booze and candy. We were set.

16114544220_19859b9840.jpg

16114369868_7593f08c07.jpg

The house was on a golf course and, despite the fact that it was a beautiful day, no one was playing, so we let the dogs run loose. Bella quickly let us know that she loves golf course grass and wants us to move.

16114366778_1439273a88.jpg

16116063077_c521eb603f.jpg

16301051402_7a98cfaa08.jpg

Rooby agreed.

16114539680_98b1cf5c65.jpg

16301050432_efe9babf9f.jpg

When you are surrounded by this much pure dog joy, how can you not feel happy?

All that golf course dashing worked off our pizza, so it was time to search out some dinner. In the 24 hours that I had to actually put this trip together, I had discovered that the Switzerland Inn, a cozy old fashioned mountain motel not far from where we were staying, had a Friday night seafood buffet with all you can eat crab legs.

All you can eat crab legs is the only thing Matt loves more than 50 cent Happy Hour Oysters.

The drive down was on the winding Blue Ridge Parkway. The peak color was past, but there was still some beautiful color left.

16114360648_85bda96c44.jpg

16115767319_9719c2427e.jpg

16114535090_49e755230a.jpg

15679495784_721dfa2d54.jpg

16114533280_d9f051cd1f.jpg

When we found the Switzerland Inn, it took me back to my childhood. It was exactly the kind of place we would have stayed on a road trip with my parents, right after we had lunch at the Waffle House and stopped 7 times along the interstate so that my parents could threaten my brothers and I with severe bodily harm if we didn't stop fighting in the backseat.

It was quaint and homey and had a view that stretched across the mountains. The dining room was set up with a variety of stations that had large peel-and-eat gulf shrimp, several fish specialties, a prime rib carving station, various salads....but the belle of this ball was definitely the crab leg station.

16301044222_f284cff0aa.jpg

No one went to bed hungry that night.

16114357178_3c5c9024c1.jpg

We woke up the next day to beautiful weather and decided to do nothing more than drive a scenic portion of the Blue Ridge Parkway, taking in the Linville Viaduct and Moses Cone Park along the way.

15682033313_77d91ace93.jpg

16114530290_8faa2a25c2.jpg

16116052337_ac38a55bba.jpg

16300113791_6102843aed.jpg

16115761109_3b4b4d7a0c.jpg

15682028623_fd3064e492.jpg

15679488694_914fdd6478.jpg

15679488044_cf973ef061.jpg

16114524740_4e221dc205.jpg

16114524590_66b9939713.jpg

Then it was on to a boozy lunch at Bistro Roca in Blowing Rock. It had become a favorite stop of ours on previous trips. Lunch cocktails were followed by mussels and a spicy habi burger. Delish!

16275967456_0768e036e7.jpg

15682025383_b6074317d1.jpg

16275967176_11282203f3.jpg

The only proper way to follow a boozy lunch is to do some shopping. The quaint shops of Blowing Rock provided the perfect place to do just that.

I was grossly disappointed that no one told me it was costume day, though. A Wonder Woman costume would have rounded out the day nicely.

15679485324_4731ac52ce.jpg

16300106801_8aa03aab2f.jpg

16301032802_521065b569.jpg

15682022453_f89bb8c871.jpg

15682022253_1be51f6906.jpg

We spent the afternoon relaxing by the fire at the house, letting Bella bounce on the golf course turf, and catching naps. It was a wonderfully lazy day.

16114364158_1d82c66e97.jpg

16116064107_4a5d4e434f.jpg

16116065077_73ddf4834e.jpg

Dinner that night was at another of our favorite places in the area, Artisanal Restaurant in Banner Elk. The restaurant is not only beautiful, but the food is heavenly.

16275959516_3b65500db7.jpg

16301888875_8dc59d0ae4.jpg

16114339798_08f1f4d299.jpg

We started things off with a couple of their house cocktails and a cast iron pan of deliciously buttery rolls.

16116042187_c5bce80b61.jpg

15682019053_e4b3d1b04c.jpg

For a small plate I had the house made gnocchi.

16300101591_a7a1c0b65c.jpg

Next up for me was the quail. I love quail, but I hate the presentation of it. It just looks too much like....well....like a LITTLE BITTY BIRD. ON A PLATE.

But that didn't stop me from sucking the bones clean.

16301891015_b45bbe9d27.jpg

Of course we had to have dessert.

16301028412_20836c562f.jpg

The next morning, we found ourselves faced with another beautiful day with absolutely no agenda.

We drove.

15682015843_b1d6be177f.jpg

16114335308_92233a98d3.jpg

16301021222_28fa3fc3fc.jpg

16116030977_7eaabd317f.jpg

15682009233_1f07acd3a7.jpg

We ended up at the Daniel Boone Inn. The huge line coming out the door and wrapping around the building told us the food inside must be good. We had nothing else to do, so we got in line.

15682008513_1c51af9db3.jpg

After about 45 minutes, we were ushered inside the old farmhouse and seated at a table. Bowls of food were brought out and covered the table. Fried chicken, biscuits with country ham, mashed potatoes and gravy, banana pudding, fried apples.....I now knew what that whole line thing had been about. We set about the business of stuffing our faces with country goodness.

16114331308_734391052b.jpg

16114506380_bfc87d5c0c.jpg

16115738489_f87d5d3dca.jpg

15682007113_36c29e4a6d.jpg

16275948886_3f993c9fb1.jpg

We waddled out of the Daniel Boone Inn fat and happy and full of mashed potatoes.

And we drove some more.

16115737599_8ceca6fd3b.jpg

16301877775_71f795c6f6.jpg

16301013512_46ae0fc5a2.jpg

16115734459_62fae10e0e.jpg

16116023397_64f9cbf4f0.jpg

16301012132_e28b49c8c8.jpg

15682002143_beb22c3b5a.jpg

16114499810_7bd8a5f3df.jpg

16300081591_5c0ee20c97.jpg

When we found this pumpkin patch, I just had to get out for a photo.

I look insane here.

I blame in on all the mashed potatoes. I was high on carbohydrates.

16300081021_651cdaed58.jpg

We kept driving.

15681997853_b23545009a.jpg

15679457694_cdafe6c137.jpg

15679453514_0f3bde87b4.jpg

16116016647_9c60d343de.jpg

16115727069_17567c03cf.jpg

16301004732_3f9bb407ae.jpg

16115725769_b37ba14c1e.jpg

16114492640_7f6677a9b7.jpg

16116012747_e097370303.jpg

Before we knew it, we found ourselves at the Banner Elk Winery. Okay, it was no accident. We were in need a wine down afternoon. We grabbed a couple of bottles and sat outside in the glorious sunshine.

16114490490_204d5eda15.jpg

16300074211_7028634347.jpg

16115722099_1047ef87ea.jpg

15681990193_8b3fde31cb.jpg

15681989933_82fe89be53.jpg

15681989313_d2b33e7a65.jpg

16114313288_ee0d023d25.jpg

15679448984_b2cba0031d.jpg

15679448794_d136b6626a.jpg

16114486220_0b331b2994.jpg

15679446684_d752c609e3.jpg

After that, we all lapsed into a mashed potato and wine induced coma and napped the afternoon away.

We woke up in time for dinner. Yay!

We had reservations at the Gamekeeper Restaurant and were not sure where to find it. After driving an eternity into the pitch black darkness of nowhere, NC and winding forever and ever and ever up a lonely mountain road, we were certain the GPS was WRONG. Instead, we found ourselves at the coziest restaurant imaginable.

16300995412_18c8fcd0a1.jpg

16300995682_ae292edc87.jpg

The atmosphere was rustic and warm and the food was delicious. They specialize in game, so the boys were able to eat all the wild beasty things they wanted. They ordered a mixed game grill. Then they had some emu, bison, elk chops and god knows what else. I went tame with the cornmeal crusted rainbow trout with polenta and a caper salsa.

You know how sometimes things look a lot better in person than in a photo? Sometimes a food photo just doesn't work out. Blame it on the lighting, the four glasses of wine you had before trying to take a picture in the dark by lighting it up with your cell phone, what have you, but sometimes it's simply a FAIL. Despite the appearance of these photos, I did not, in fact, eat a plate of vomit, a bloody pile of grits and a tapeworm salad.

FOOD PHOTO FAIL

16300996672_ca2eb2082d.jpg

15679505164_8b5308ef14.jpg

16115717409_82709489e5.jpg

It was time to head home, so we took the very scenic route home.

15681984533_4c89b4925c.jpg

16275924716_57b770d3fb.jpg

16301855435_253bbcfda7.jpg

16114481290_78cfe6886c.jpg

16114480980_ef53e5348a.jpg

15679441394_0663928134.jpg

16301852155_88a856426b.jpg

16114478200_7b3f3c58c2.jpg

Because this was a fantastically uneventful trip, but you, dear reader, have persevered through my blog nonetheless, I will reward you with the delightfulness of puppies running through leaves and baby cows, because really, what's better than that?

16300990872_707027bf0d.jpg

15682040343_4972b459f1.jpg

Posted by vicki_h 12:33 Archived in USA Tagged fall autumn boone blue_ridge_parkway north_carolina banner_elk blowing_rock linville banner_elk_winery Comments (0)

(Entries 1 - 2 of 2) Page [1]