West Virginia, Moonshine, stinkbugs and fried chicken….

Hello Y’all!

 

We are back!!!!!!!!!! Sorry for the long delay in writing but it has been one busy summer!

Sherry and I went to Hagerstown, MD on Friday night to spend the weekend with our dear friend Brenda. Going to Brenda’s is like going to a Bed and Breakfast or Grandma’s house, her house is the cutest, the view of the mountains is breathtaking. This weekend weather was fabulous, crisp mornings and warm days.

A friend of mine has told me about a distillery in WVA, called the Bloomery Plantation in Charles Town that apparently makes the best Limoncello. Like Sherry would say, “we’ve been fixing to go there for a while”, being in Hagerstown for the weekend, made sense to make the trip. And while we were at it, why not hitting the little towns in between?

Saturday morning, after going to Brenda’s friend little farm up the street and petting the cutest donkeys ever and some gorgeous horses, we went down on Route 66 and stopped at Shepherdstown, WV.

For a tiny little town, I was surprised how crowded it was! White Betty (my Ford Explorer) has a fat ass and had a hard time finding a spot but eventually redeemed herself and parked with no help from me (yes, it parked itself, Brenda has never seen that before, almost thought that the car was possessed, I love that feature, love the look of people’s face more).

I forgot to mention that we started the morning off with bagels, smoked salmon, sliced red onions, cream cheese and capers around 10am before going anywhere, accompanied of course, with Bloody Mary’s (Karen: this combination always reminds me of you! We missed you Girl!).

By the time we got to Shepherdstown (around 12:30pm), I have to admit: I was famished.

Brenda wanted to take us to the Bavarian Inn Restaurant for lunch, as it was one of her favorite spot to go to with her late husband; but we decided to take a little walk in town first.

On the main street, there was a sign in front of a wine shop saying wine tasting, we rushed inside like we have never seen wine before. It did say on the sign that it would start at 1pm, it was 12:40pm. Who reads signs fully anyway? They got us at wine tasting.

Disappointed, we got out of that store as fast as we got in, and Brenda saw the Mecklenburg Inn (https://www.facebook.com/pages/Mecklenburg-Inn/160669058133?sk=info&ref=page_internal ).

She said: “Girls! We need to get in there, and while I have a moment to myself first in the ladies room, you have got to go all the way in and see the back of it!”.

Sherry and I went in, and it felt like we traveled from WV to Key West in a second, because that’s what that backyard reminded me off. Never in a million year would I have expected to see such a cool spot in this little pub out back.

Here are some pictures:

 

Mecklenburg 1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mecklenburg 2Mecklenburg 3

(Don’t we look cute!)

Like Brenda would say: “Isn’t that dear??????”

Brenda went in to see if we could get a drink menu of some sort, She stormed out of the place, and say: “ Giiiiiiiiiiiiirls! Guess what they have on tap?????????????????????? Southern Tier Pumking!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

Since they don’t serve you out back, we went back in to order our beer. The guy behind the bar (not sure if he was the owner), once we told him what we wanted, looked at all three of us and says: “I gotta tell ya, it’s pretty strong beer, it’s like 2 beers in one, just gotta warn ya”, I could have sworn that Brenda told him something like “can we have 2 beers each please?”. We took our beverages and went back outside. I am not a beer drinker, never been, I would have a cold one once in a while if I have no good wine choice, but I got to tell you, that stuff is GOOD.

I had to remind the girls that we are going to have to put food in our stomach very soon, especially after that beer. We sat there for almost an hour, made conversation with a regular that was sitting there, he told us about the famous cat that used to hang out there all the time, (poor kitty passed away about 8 months ago, his name was BK (stands for Best Kitty) and used to drink water out of a glass (Karen, doesn’t this remind you of another kitty?? Gotta be a yellow cat thing)). While we were sitting, I noticed that there was an iron piece of art that was supporting the big branch of the tree we were under. The piece of art represented little dudes climbing up to get to the top of the tree, one of them was peeing, of course, that’s the one Brenda is holding:

Mecklenburg 4

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s time for food, we were even considering getting a burger from where we were but decided to go to this place that Brenda kept telling us about, the Bavarian Inn (http://www.bavarianinnwv.com/index.php) which was only about 6 to 7 minutes from where we were. I offered walking, they wanted White Betty to take us there, they won.

That place is truly amazing, architecture of all the buildings are postcards worthy, infinity pool that drops right in the Potomac, I am kicking myself for not taking any pictures! That’s what happens when I am hungry, my stomach takes over all of my other senses and all I kept thinking about was FOOD and a nice glass of wine (mind you, we already had a bloody Mary and “2 in 1” beer but who’s counting).

At least I found a nice picture on their website:

bavarian 1

 

 

 

 

We get seated in a very formal dining room, menu arrived, so did the wine list, bread basket came shortly after with whipped butter (was gone very quickly, I guess I wasn’t the only one starving). We had to get food first, I saw Country Style Pate in the menu, of course we had to get it, we also ordered the Bavarian Sausage Appetizer, Brenda ordered what she apparently always order there: the Avocado filled with Shrimp and Crabmeat salad. Once we got the ordering out of the way, it was time to concentrate on the vino. There was an interesting half bottle of Red Blend Chateau Musar 2004 from Lebanon that sounded interesting. I never had Lebanon wine before, but since we couldn’t get a tasting, we ordered a bottle of 2012 Cote du Rhone, Syrah instead. Then we realized they had outside sitting (we didn’t know!) and asked to be moved. They were kind enough to even let us pick our table! (well there was only one available but we picked it 🙂 ).

The food arrived, the pate was D.E.L.I.C.I.O.U.S. so were the sausages. Brenda’s salad was pretty good too but I was on a meat mission until I saw that Vegetarian Portabello burger in the menu with Boursin cheese, sun dried tomatoes and roasted red peppers. But then, the girls saw The Kaese Spaetzle which is sautéed german noodles with gruyere cheese, black forest ham and asparagus. We started to fight (nicely) on which one to get. We all won because we got both (hey, we not pigs, we took some home).

photo 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And just like that, the wine bottle was gone, our bellies were full, and it is now just about 3:30pm.

My friend Becky who volunteers at that Distillery I was talking about earlier was only going to be there from 2pm to 4:30pm, I texted her to let her know we were on the way. The trip was only supposed to be about 30 min and White Betty would take us there.

Thirty minute later, we were at the Bloomery Plantation Distillery in Charles Town, WVA (http://bloomerysweetshine.com/). What an interesting place I must say. It looks like a cabin in the woods (well it is) and I couldn’t help noticing that the first thing I got greeted by was the stink bugs. THEY WERE EVERYWHERE! Now you all already know that I don’t do well with flying bugs, and when a couple of them landed on Brenda’s hair, it was time to get inside (no one wants to witness my reaction if one of those suckers land on my head, besides, they’d never find their way out, that’s probably what scares me the most).

bloomery 3

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s a tiny place inside, with one bathroom. As soon as we entered, we got greeted by the staff (the bar was already filled with about 20 folks waiting to get their shine on) and Brenda had to use the ladies room. They were trying to get everyone’s attention as they were going to make a quick presentation for everyone. Brenda (inside the bathroom) yelled from within “WAIT FOR ME!”, everyone busted out laughing (she didn’t realize that –everyone- would hear her). The presentation consists of presenting the different “sweetshines” that would get presented to us as tasting so that you can make an educated decision on which one to buy. The tasting is FREE, you just tip towards the end.

Because the room was already full, we decided to go outside in the back as they had outdoor sitting and you could get the tasting brought to you by one of the staff member. Wait, let me rephrase, the girls wanted to go outside, I just followed along knowing what was waiting for me outside (nasty bugs). The outside wall was covered with them and the reason why I don’t have any pictures is because I was too busy watching all of them, making sure that I had enough time to dodge if any of them came my way.

In any case, we got to taste all of the 9 different sweetshines (one of them was a special and wasn’t on the list). Our favorite was the Cremma Lemma, we also liked the Black Walnut and the Chocolate Raspberry. We got of course a bottle of each.

The only picture I got of this place was this one, taken by Sherry, because Brenda really liked that chair:

Bloomery 4

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

That was such a neat place. We were all surprised on how popular it was, being in the middle of nowhere. Becky sat with us for a little while and was telling us the history of the establishment, on how much fun she is having in helping them out, and she comes from Pikesville to get there!

A two men band started to play around 6pm, that is when we decided it was time to go :), we gave them a chance until about 6:30pm and went back to White Betty.

I punched Brenda’s home address in my GPS so that White Betty would tell us exactly how to get out of there to get back to Hagerstown. If we wanted to stop again along the way, we could.

Once back on the main road, my GPS told me that I had to take a right, while Brenda kept telling me that I should really take a left. I wasn’t about to trust Brenda at this point (I don’t have to list all of the alcoholic beverages that were consumed throughout the day) and I made the decision that it was best to let White Betty decide where we should go. Brenda wouldn’t let go about the Left thing, so I finally yelled and said “Brenda! I got this!”.

I took my right like I was told, and ended up in a corn field. We all were in tears for a good 15 minutes. I couldn’t breathe because I was laughing that hard and had to get out of the car. Brenda took a picture of that precious moment. I got it alright.

car3car2Car1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Note to self: next time I am going on a road trip with these girls, I must take some Depends with me.

Once we were able to finally gather ourselves (White Betty, you failed me!), we turned around and took that Left that Brenda kept telling us about and back on the highway we were.

Brenda mentioned stopping by Harpers Ferry WVA on the way back; while Sherry and I got only one thing on our mind: FRIED CHICKEN.

Where could we find good ole country fried chicken in the area? Sherry got on her phone and started to talk to Siri. Well, Siri doesn’t know squat because all she kept saying “Here is what I found for fat chicken”. Must be Sherry’s accent.

We decided to stop there: http://www.bonniesattheredbyrd.com/ (they also have a facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Bonnies-at-the-Red-Byrd/133241270050150 )

Brenda mentioned this place in Keedysville MD and that since it is a family restaurant, they must have fried chicken. Sherry called (we had to be sure), and they claim on the phone that they had the best fried chicken around. The other good thing is that we are going to pass right by it on the way home.

About 7:30pm, we get in their parking lot.

This is what the place looks like:

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The inside was very cozy, mason jars decorating the walls, felt like an old fashion diner but definitely not a chain. You just stepped in someone’s kitchen in WVA  🙂 The waitresses were very friendly, and this cute one Nicole asked us if we were the ones that called about the fried chicken (Hmm, I wonder what gave that away, we must be looking like out of Towner’s. We thought we were blending pretty good so far..):

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She proceed to tell us that she is the one that answered the phone, and proud to tell us again that they had the best fried chicken in town. So we all had Fried chicken, mash potatoes, green beans with pork, and macaroni and cheese because if you are going to be bad, you need to be bad all the way.

BEST FRIED CHICKEN EVER!

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I am not sure what was the best highlight of this place, the fact that Brenda and Sherry got the senior citizen discount (2 pieces of chicken dinner for $6.99 with sides), or that it was indeed THE BEST FRIED CHICKEN I EVER HAD. Get this: Every Wednesday, they have all you can eat Fried Chicken. I know where to get my craving next time, don’t care how many miles I drive to get it (yeah, it is that good, and I wish I could have a piece right now as I type this because it is that good). Nicole even brought us a crab cake towards the end as a surprise for us to try (SO GOOD!). I guess she liked us! We are pretty funny 🙂

It’s almost 8:15pm, we are all exhausted, Sherry and I have a migraine because we laughed too hard all day long (I googled it, laughing too hard can absolutely give you a headache, I guess everything needs to be in moderation, screw it, it was worth it).

What a fun day this was. I never ceased to be amazed with how many wonderful places you can find right in your backyard. America is such a melting pot. I feel blessed to be able to have these experience as much as I can, and to be even more blessed to have wonderful friends that I can share these experiences with.

Stay Hungry Y’all! I promise we’ll check back in soon!

Aida

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