Sunday, July 22, 2007

A Weekend in the Mountains

So we had the most delightful weekend in Hendersonville this weekend.

We headed out on Friday evening - a little later than we had planned but we arrived at the Melange Inn & Gardens just in time for dinner.

Melange is a B&B and while they don't have a full service restaurant, they do offer a romantic, candlelit dinner for 2. And the good news is you don't have to be a guest to eat there.

Anyways - we arrived, a bit frazzled and travel weary, and after dropping our bags off in our room, we were escorted out into the Mediterranean Courtyard where a beautiful table for 2, set with an exquisite arrangement of china and linens, awaited. Candles and sconces offered a gentle light as the sun faded. A beautiful wrought iron trellis framed the courtyard. Even the plump orange tabby lounging in the last patch of sunlight was perfect.

Melange doesn't have a liquor license so we had brought our own wine, a nice bottle of Jordan chardonnay. Owner/Properietor/Chef Extraordinaire Mehmet Ozelsel promptly had it uncorked and glasses were filled.

We had pre-selected the menu and our first course, a vegetable ravioli in a tomato-goat cheese sauce, arrived soon thereafter. It was divine. The goat cheese in the sauce was an especially nice touch.

The soup course was next. I don't know what was better: Marty's tomato bisque or my vegetable soup au pistou.

Then came our salad - a blend of leaf lettuce, cheese, grapes, berries, and cucumbers. It was accompanied by a delicious, fresh baked, crusty bread with herbed butter and a delicious spread made from sun dried tomatoes and walnuts.

Our entree, Shrimp a la Melange, combined shrimp and vegetables with a tangy tomato sauce and parmesan cheese, all baked in inidivudal clay pots. It was, as with everything else we had all evening, simply delicious.

A traditional creme brulee, the custard slightly warm, the sugar nicely crystallized, was the perfect end to a perfect meal.

Everything from the exquisite cuisine to the romantic atmosphere to the whole "we weren't really expecting this" vibe, reminded me of The Willow Creek Inn.

After dinner, we went into town and played Harry Potter Topix at Hannah Flanagans, one of our favorite Irish pubs. I scored a perfect 15,000.

We eventually made our way to Wal-Mart at around 11:45 and by 12:20 we were in the car headed back to the hotel, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows firmly in hand.

Saturday, we drove out west towards Rosman, where we own some land. We did a little exploring first and took 64 straight out towards Cashiers. We didn't make it all the way there, but we did make it to Sapphire, a small town near Lake Toxoway. We stumbled up on a little store on the side of the road advertising wine, steaks and cheese. We popped in and it was a little gourmet slice of heaven. We picked up a bottle of Truchard chardonnay, some pinot grigio infused salami and a hunk of Cotswald cheese. A small bakery/cafe next doorsupplied us with a loaf of fresh baked French bread.

We planned to picnic on our property, and we eventually found our way there, despite getting a smidge lost. We were pleased to see that the road leading to our land was in much better shape than the last time we visited several years ago, and someone had even run some power. I think that someone may have been a bit surprised to find us, two strangers, having a picnic out of our trunk on the edge of his property. However, this being the South, all it took was a few friendly words to explain who we were and why we were there and all was well. Then again, this being the South, I suppose we're lucky he didn't come investigating the situation with a gun in hand...

On the way back to Hendersonville, we stopped at the Dairy Bar, a random ice cream shack on the side of 64, and had a vanilla soft serve and a mint chocolate chip shake.

Saturday night we had a quick appetizer at Flight Wood Grill & Wine Bar and then headed to the Flat Rock Playhouse for a show.

We wrapped up our weekend this morning with a trip out to the Carl Sandburg House. We skipped the guided tour and instead wandered up to the dairy barn and hung out for a while with the goats.

And if that ain't country, I'll kiss your...