Almost Heaven

. . . West Virginia/Blue Ridge Mountains, Shenandoah River”

A chorus of John Denver’s Take Me Home, Country Roads set us off on the latest Three Points road trip. Destination: Berkeley Springs, West Virginia, for a weekend pig roast hosted by recent guest blogger Michael Turner and wife Marybeth at their family retreat, an 1860s farmhouse and one-time inn. Alas, Kate and I arrived a tad late to witness the prepping, stuffing and lipsticking of the whole pig, obtained from a farmer down the road.  But we joined the friends and family huddled close to the fire until the flames were reduced to red-hot, glowing embers. It was time to bury piggy in the coals and call it a night.

Resurrection came the next day, around noon, with a ceremonial unwrapping of the banana leaf blanket and carving. The afternoon on the peaceful rolling lawn, overlooking a pond, unfolded like a Thanksgiving holiday: eat, nap, eat, play, repeat.  Everyone exclaimed they couldn’t eat another bite—until they could–ending the evening around the campfire once again, this time for Bruléed Pumpkin Peeps. One last dance in the moonshadows of the nearly full moon, and an end to harvest weekend that was satisfying to body and soul.

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On the Table:

  • Pit-roasted pork stuffed with apples, onions, sweet potatoes and pineapple, finished with a dry rub of secret spices, then wrapped in banana leaves. First round included pulled-pork sandwiches. The Turners will have many opportunities to try other pork dishes.
  • Corn and Orzo Salad Fresh tarragon adds an elusive, clean taste to this unexpected combo.
  • Mac Daddy Mac ‘n Cheese Creamy and smooth with Monterey Jack.
  • Red Cabbage salad, a change-up from coleslaw, with tomatoes, onion, green beans and a vinagrette dressing.
  • Gigi’s Carrot Cupcakes, our favorite version of the classic, with cream-cheese frosting
  • Bruléed Pumpkin Peeps. Obtain Halloween-themed Peeps, skewer on sticks, roast over open campfire, smash between graham crackers (optional)

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