Sunday, June 24, 2018

Down in the Boondocks

A lucky couple got hitched this weekend — no, silly, not Ms. B. and me, but our friends Bryon Nelson and Mary Miller — out in the wilds of Tennessee. For us, getting to the ceremony would have been prohibitive, but the reception in West Jefferson, NC, at Boondocks Brewhaus, was eminently doable, so yesterday afternoon, Brugger and I loaded up the wagon and set our sights on West Jefferson. On the way, we made a relatively brief stop at Laurel Gray Vineyards, an old favorite of ours, for a wee spot of wine. As you can see in the photo above, I opted for a white — their Chardonnay — which, if you've ever taken note of my wine preferences, is kind of like the Pope opting to sport a hijab. But Laurel Gray's Chardonnay is oaked and buttery and, for me, quite delicious. Ms. B. tends to prefer a crisper Chardonnay aged in stainless steel, but she also prefers boneless chicken to filet mignon, so that can just speak for itself.

Did I stop for a few geocaches? What a silly question.

This was our first visit to West Jefferson, and we both found ourselves taken with the place. Technically, there are two communities here — Jefferson and West Jefferson — but they are basically Siamese twins, and where one stops and the other begins, who the heck knows? Anyway, the setting, right smack in the middle of the Appalachian Mountains, near the Blue Ridge Parkway, could hardly have been more beautiful. For such a small community... er, pair of communities... there are numerous eclectic shops, pubs, restaurants, historical sites, and geocaches. Upon our arrival, we checked ourselves in at the Days Inn (in the Jefferson that's not West Jefferson) and then made haste to the Brewhaus.

An appealing, mid-size establishment, Boondocks Brewhaus makes a wide variety of beers, a couple of which I sampled. My favorite was a barrel-oaked Belgian ale called Truth Serum, which was even oakier than Laurel Gray's Chardonnay. It was kind of like drinking a tree. A damn good tree. The reception itself was appropriately festive, with damn good vittles, an excellent DJ, and lots of rocking tunes. Bryon and Mary showed the world how to dance a romantic dance, and Bryon's dad — our good friend Terry — showed the world how to do tequila shots and cut a rug with a friend. Indeed, the spirit (or spirits) had gripped just about everyone at the place, and at the end of it all Bryon summed up the evening's exuberance with "I can't even find my keys, and they're in my pocket." Of our group, though, absolutely no one who should not have driven did drive, and I'm certain a safe and happy evening was had by all.

This morning, I rose much earlier than our sleepy Ms. B. and went out to clean up most of the caches in the Jefferson/West Jefferson area. There are some fun ones to be found there, and with that bit of business taken care of, Ms. B. and I went in search of breakfast, which we hunted down and killed at The Hillbilly Grill. I went for the stuffed French toast (with strawberries & cream) and bacon, and Ms. B. had a couple of pancakes that were bigger (and probably better) than a giant barrel jellyfish. The service was a bit slow, as Sunday morning is clearly a busy time, but the food and coffee hit the spot. The decor is kind of fun — the flatware comes in little brown paper bags, and customers often doodle on the bags and pin them to the walls. I did not.

On the way home, I found a few more nice geocaches, though the relative cool of the mountains was giving way to the scorching heat of the Piedmont, so I didn't tarry at any hides that took more than a minute or so to get out and grab.

I trust Bryon and Mary are off and running in the happiest and best relationship they've ever known, and that friend Terry managed to find a suitable hangover remedy. Bonne chance to all.
Rejects from Game of Thrones? At "Don't Let the Power Get to You" (GCMYPB)
The walls at the Hillbilly Grill, decorated by customers' doodles on the paper flatware bags
Ms. B., you shameless hussy!
"We out here doing bad shit."
Don't take this road.

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