A few weekends ago, John and I took an impromptu trip to the North Carolina mountains. We stayed in Sugar Mountain, which is just outside of Boone. Boone is a cool town, home to Appalachian State University, and home to people and activities of my own heart. Lots of organic, gluten-free, vegetarian, vegan restaurants and filled with people who love the outdoors. On Saturday morning, we drove to Boone for the farmer’s market.
There were so many great looking greens!! For being a relatively small town, Boone had a big market.
And I really wanted some of this cake!
But then goat milk fudge called my name. It had butter, but there must not have been very much because my stomach didn’t get upset. I might need to order more of this from Heritage Homestead. The dark goat milk fudge was amazing.
I also snagged a jar of local creamed honey. I grew up eating creamed honey but had forgotten about it until I saw it. I snatched it up. The guy selling it seemed really surprised that I’d had creamed honey as a child and asked where I grew up. He said most people in the U.S. aren’t familiar with it, and that it’s more of a European thing. (Is that true?? I figured everyone knew about creamed honey!) It must be more mainstream now because I saw it at Trader Joe’s yesterday. There’s no cream in creamed h , oney, but it gets creamy and kind of whipped due to the way they make it. Not exactly sure how it works, but it’s sure tasty.
After buying honey, I chatted with a woman, Jill Dahan, who was selling her cookbook at the farmer’s market and serving samples of one of her recipes, a sweet potato/goat cheese/coconut dish. So good! Her book is full of healthy, simple recipes using fresh ingredients. John bought me a copy for (Dog) Mother’s Day. 😀
I made one of her recipes that night, a quinoa dish loaded with vegetables. She lived in the UK for 17 years and doesn’t like overly sweet desserts, so I’m excited to try some of her dessert recipes.
After the farmer’s market, we headed to the Linville YMCA. It’s the cutest little Y tucked in the mountains. We both got in 8 miles, and while I normally don’t like running more than 6 miles on the treadmill, we don’t know any great places to run up there. So the treadmill it was. Watching an episode of Nashville while I ran helped pass the time. 🙂
After we cleaned up from our run, we ventured out to Erick’s Cheese & Wine Shop in Banner Elk. It’s a great shop and despite the small space, he has a great selection of wines, cheese (including goat and sheep’s cheese!), chocolate and lots of gluten-free goodies!
We did a wine tasting (they do free ones every Saturday), and I also paid for one extra wine tasting because the proceeds benefitted the local humane society.
I snagged a box of these at Erick’s. I loved Digestives and Belvitas before I figured out my wheat sensitivity, and I thought these Nairn’s Gluten Free Oatmeal Grahams might be similar. Holy crap, they were so good. They are more like Digestive biscuits than Belvitas, but a little flakier maybe? It’s been so long since I’ve had either of those so I’m not sure. Regardless, I ate the entire box in less than 24 hours. They are a product out of Scotland, but I found them on Amazon. I’m almost scared to order them since I’ll have no self control!
We also left Erick’s with a bottle of wine that he recommended. This Shiraz was great, especially after it opened up a little.
We headed back to the condo and enjoyed some downtime with books, TV, wine, drunken goat cheese, sheep cheese, crackers and dates before we made a late dinner (the quinoa!). It was such a perfect day.
And goat cheese fudge for dessert. So so good.
We slept in late on Sunday morning until 8:30!! Considering we both usually get up between 5:30 and 6, it felt amazing to sleep that late. We headed to our favorite coffee and tea shop, Mountains Grounds Coffee & Tea Co. Whenever we go to the mountains, we nearly fill up an entire loyalty card in one weekend since we go in for tea so many times. Usually three times a day. 🙂
They have a great loose leaf tea selection and solidly good coffee. My favorite is the Hyson Green Tea and the Lavender Earl Gray. They’ve recently started carrying a few locally made gluten-free bakery items too.
We stayed in the coffee shop for a couple hours on Sunday morning. I caught up on emails and did some blog writing, while John played on his iPad, dreaming about mountain cabins on Pinterest. Yep, he uses Pinterest. 🙂
Once we were fully caffeinated, we decided to drive down the road and check out the Grandfather Mountain profile trail. I really need to hike more often. I LOVE it. I hiked a lot growing up in Utah, nearly every weekend and often even on weeknights, because there were so many great trails so close by, within a 20 minute drive or less. It takes a bit more time to drive to good hiking trails in NC, but it’s always worth it. I just need to make it happen on the weekends! Hiking more often is one of my goals this summer.
We weren’t really prepared for a long hike, so we just hiked up for about an hour until we found a bench on the trail overlooking an amazing view.
We hung out there for a little bit and then headed back down the trail. It wasn’t a super hard trail, but it was warming up and we didn’t want to go too much water without water.
It was such a wonderful weekend. It had all the elements of a perfect getaway for me: a good run, time in the outdoors, good food, good wine, good cheese, sleeping late, reading and no agenda or schedule.