Fire on the Mountain

Again, apologies to my audience for my delinquency in posting. An exciting new job, road rage inducing commute and finding my footing in the time management department is clearly taking its sweet time. Thank you for your patience and rest assured, we have surpassed the hump and are vectoring accordingly. Now forgive me but I must back track a week and a bit. 

Our Memorial Day kicked off quite triumphantly. After work on Friday, we jumped in the car and headed due west towards the spectacular Appalachian mountains for a date on the High Country. With anticipation, we climbed the mountain passing the familiar destinations of Blowing Rock and Boone before arriving at our destination in Valle Crucis, North Carolina. Our great pals, Annie and Sturge, were to be wed. I wrote about these two back in February after we had the absolute pleasure of participating in an engagement party marking their honor. They are simply the best and we have been counting down for this wedding since its inception. The weekend was an absolute blast. One of those lucky stretches where you are desperate for time to stand still. A meeting of friends, both old and new. As tradition goes, they buried a bottle of Maker's Mark to ensure sound weather. All superstitious parties take note, the weather was spectacular. Brilliant sunshine during the day whereas the evening invited a nip to the air best enjoyed with a pashmina.

Friday night, we celebrated the newlyweds in true fashion with the breathtaking North Carolina mountains serving as our view. There was a beer truck offering multiple sorts of meads selected by the beer aficionado groom himself, a seasoned cook frying fresh hushpuppies for enjoyment during cocktail hour and the most beautiful bluegrass music ala a three man show carried with the breeze that embraced the evening. In the food department, I was in hog's heaven, literally. We had pulled pork, smoked turkey, splendiferous macaroni in cheese, greens with pork fat as well as cole slaw and a host of other goodies. The roast was made truly special thanks to the wondrous speeches of both fathers, the bride's sister as well as the groom's two brothers. I will also give a shout out to another who did an outstanding job and spoke to welcoming committees, the groom's collection of questionable films and the best of the best, dehorned pygmy goats. Inside joke of course but we all had a jolly good laugh. So on this first night, we ate, drank and were very merry indeed.

Saturday invited a glorious day that begged to be spent al fresco on our gorgeous porch overlooking the wild. We ventured to Banner Elk for breakfast at a place Matthew and I visited last summer when we spent an evening on a winery and dined at the ever famous Artisanal. We are planning to return in the next pair of months as the food and ambiance are that spellbinding. In fact, when we ate there, we ordered as per instruction from the bride's lovely mother including the most inventive calamari I have ever seen! After our mid-morning grub we scenically found our ways back to the neighborhood for a cruise around the site's must see locations including a visit to the Mast Annex as well as The Original Store, which opened in 1883. Afterwards, we returned to our house to enjoy the great outdoors. Sometime circa the latter part of the afternoon, the boys were peckish and so we ventured to the Valle Crucis Bakery & Cafe. A gentleman in a local shop advised us not to miss the grilled black forest ham and cheese sandwiches piled high with Swiss, beefsteak tomatoes, pickled red onions, mixed greens and horseradish aioli.  Bonjour, they were the business.

At 3.00 pm, shoes shined, lipstick applied and party dresses zipped, we awaited transportation to the Holy Cross  where our friends Sturge and Annie were to wed. The bride was magnificent and the ceremony was a beautiful one. It was such a pleasure to see our friends smiling, relaxed and cool as cucumbers. Once the couple were pronounced husband and wife and after three kisses, we made our ways to the wedding venue. An exquisite array of savory canap├ęs, cheeses and fruits were served in a pristine horse stable. Wines spanned the globe and again, were a nod to our thoughtful friends. I enjoyed a Spanish white for a generous portion of the evening. The music in this space was inherent to that of our great friend and  just perfect. The wedding festivities themselves took place in the most regal of white tents I have ever seen. The food selection was incredible. We fortunate guests were on cloud nine enjoying smoky grilled shrimp and Anson Mills grits with tomatoes and white sharp cheddar, black eyed pea and roasted butternut squash salad, manchego green chili corn bread, grilled chili lime flank steak, grilled summer veg with roasted garlic aioli and cilantro relish that put any chimichurri I have tasted to shame! Also on the menu: a beautiful charcuterie selection, imported and local cheeses, flat breads and cheese tortellini. Sublime. I had thirds.

The band was out of this world and every song played somehow trumped the terrific one before. The dance floor was packed the entire evening. The bride and groom engaged with their audience and it was a most halcyon night indeed. Sometime around eleven, once we had enjoyed the splendid gastronomic delights, French vino, merriment and time beneath the stars, we bid the newlyweds farewell and returned to our respective corners of the mountain to savor what was a spectacular wedding weekend. The next day, wanting to eek out a bit more fun, Matthew and I headed to Boone to eat at the famous Melanie's. We had eggs smothered in fried potatoes and it was just what the doctor ordered. We both agreed it was a treat indeed to have the Monday off to reflect and recover. If you ever need guidance in the arena of throwing a wedding, these two special folks have cornered the market. With this, we would like to wish them the very best for a lifetime of love, laughter, happiness and wonderful moments together.

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