July Mountain Moments 2020

July Mountain Moments 2020

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Today I’m sharing our July Mountain Moments. This is a recap of what happened in the month of July, in and outside, of our mountain kitchen.

In today’s uncertain times it’s hard to know what to do. I mean David had stents in his heart and that puts him into a high-risk category for getting sick. However, there comes a point when you have to make hard decisions on whether or not to live your life or live in fear.

You have to be as careful as you can and live your life the best way you know how. We surely didn’t build a house on the side of a mountain living in fear. So this month we decided to live a little because life is too short not to.


David and I were unable to celebrate our April 27th anniversary as we had hoped, so we put together a last-minute getaway to spend the 4th of July weekend at the beautiful Bavarian Inn in Wild and Wonderful West Virginia.

While there, we attended “A Taste of Freedom in the Blue Ridge”, a root to table dinner with some of the region’s top chefs using locally sourced ingredients highlighting local farmers.

About The Bavarian Inn Resort

The Bavarian Inn is only an hour’s drive north from our home in Front Royal, in the historic village of Shepherdstown, West Virginia, just north of Charles Town, West Virginia. The inn sits perched on the bank overlooking the Potomac River. We were able to experience a blend of American and German cuisine and thirst-quenching German-Style beers.

We also spent a lot of our time at the infinity pool that dangles 101 feet above the Potomac River with cocktails and my “Las Vegas hat”. Who wore it best?

About Taste of The Blue Ridge

Taste of Blue Ridge is a marketing culinary community representing people passionate about locally sourced food. We cover the  Shenandoah Valley and Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia and West Virginia.

As a farmer’s daughter, it makes my heart happy to know that people are so passionate about creating awareness and building a community between local farmers and chefs.

At the first 2020 Root to Table event, eight regional chefs gave a culinary interpretation to the theme “A Taste of Freedom in the Blue Ridge”. The food was amazing! Don’t ask us what our favorite dish was. It is too hard to choose!

We really enjoyed hearing from the chefs about their dishes and how they use locally sourced ingredients incorporate into the meal. It was also very cool to also catch glimpses of the chefs meticulously hovering over each dish to plate their culinary creations.

The event at The Bavarian Inn was put on being very mindful of the times. They made us feel as safe as possible, practicing social distancing, requiring face masks, and providing hand sanitizer.

Read more about Taste of the Blue Ridge and more about the dinner we experienced HERE.


While in Shepherdstown, we ate at a really cool restaurant called “Betty’s” I had one of their delicious crab cakes and I have to say, it lives up to their sign. David’s pancakes were amazing also.

Later we found an awesome beer garden at The Mecklenburg Inn, right in hear the town.

Learn more about Shepardstown HERE.

Harpers Ferry

“Thomas Jefferson once wrote that the view from Harpers Ferry was ‘one of the most stupendous scenes in nature.'”

I’ve been wanting to go to Harpers Ferry, WV for the longest time. With only about a 30-minute drive away from Shepherdstown we decided to make it part of our short journey back home.

Harpers Ferry has a rich American history, built around where the Shenandoah and Potomac Rivers meet. There are museums, shops, and restaurants perched all along the steep hillside of this town. And trails galore!

We didn’t have the best weather to explore. It was in the upper 90’s on this particular day and IT WAS HOT! We ate outside at a little restaurant called Cannonball Deli. The food was awesome and we got a discount on ice cream!

Walking across the pedestrian footbridge (Part of the Appalachian Trail) was well worth the sweat. It had recently opened back up after a train derailment back in December.

We will try to go back on a cooler day!

Learn more about Harpers Ferry, WV HERE.

What I didn’t realize was how badly I needed to get away. I think I sighed in relief the whole weekend and now I understand why. While we love our home and typically spend our vacations here on the mountain, I realize that I still need to get away sometimes.

It was so nice to turn off my brain. While I’m home I cannot help but think of chores that need doing, like taking the trash to the dump, making the bed, cleaning the kitchen counter for the 100th time, I could go on and on… It was so nice to turn that part of my brain off and just sit and do nothing.

I love that we can explore uncharted territory such a short distance from home. I believe there will be more weekend getaways in the future and David agrees!


It was a difficult decision, but David and his siblings decided to set their mother free from the nursing home she has been staying at for the past few years. My mother-in-law hadn’t seen anyone she knew for over four months.

She was miserable, to say the least, living in that home became almost prison-like for her. She called my sister-in-law almost every day crying. It became unbearable and David’s sisters prepared her a room and got her out!

Yes, it’s risky to take her out of the home, but she now has a quality of life again. She’s smiling, sitting outside when the weather permits getting fresh air and best of all she can be with David’s sister and family instead of trapped in a bed with a bunch of strangers. That means more than possibly dying a slow miserable death alone. Nobody wants that.

So what do you do? You go see your mama!

David and I took the first weekend of our annual Staycation to hop on a plane to Ohio to visit, my mother-in-law. It wasn’t a decision taken very lightly, but at her age, David was afraid he’d never see her again.

The whole flying experience was gravy. There aren’t a whole lot of people traveling right now, so there are no lines at the airport. Even the plane was only a quarter full.

While at his sisters, David grilled some bbq chicken on his brother-in-law’s new gas grill. It turned out pretty good barring the fact that he doesn’t use gas and it was a brand new grill. His sister made some sides and his niece and her family joined in. We all feasted and his mama sure seemed to enjoy it too!


As you know, David and I live where we used to vacation. Staycations are nothing new for us. We take one every year.

This year, it seemed faster than usual, but it was probably because we used the first weekend to travel to Ohio. We spent a day canoeing the Shenandoah, but mostly we cooked food and drank…lol!

We did manage to spend a day exploring some vineyards down in the valley. We always visit TC at Shenandoah Vineyards on our staycation and followed it up with a quick trip to Muse before dinner.

We were very excited to visit our friends at Woodstock Cafe the very night they opened their dinner service back up. I enjoyed a beautiful handmade pasta dish with scallops, while David ordered the steak with a double order of the best taters in the world!!

If you’re ever in the area, they are in the heart of Woodstock, Virginia. Go check them out! Learn more about Woodstock Cafe HERE.

We finished up Staycation with a cookout inviting a small group of friends and neighbors ON ONE OF THE HOTTEST DAYS OF THE YEAR. Our neighbor was nice enough to bring over a pop-up tent for the front yard where “Charlie” (our smoker) sits and a nice industrial fan to help keep us cool until the sun went down and the back deck cooled off.

David went a little overboard as usual with the meat offering our guests a wide variety of flavors. This time I got in on some of the spareribs preparing them with an Asian inspired wet rub and homemade sweet Thai chili sauce. To go with the ribs I made coleslaw (recipe to come), and David grilled some bacon-wrapped corn on the cob with Old Bay seasoning.

When the sun went down we moved around to the back deck where we enjoyed the best cheesecake ever!

Despite the heat, I believe everyone enjoyed themselves. No one left hungry that’s for damn sure!


Easy Baked Mahi Mahi

Easy baked Mahi Mahi


“I give the chicken five stars when cooked on a charcoal grill. The rub is delicious, and the chicken was exquisitely flavorful and juicy. The sauce was okay, I didn’t love it, didn’t hate it – would not make the sauce again. But the chicken was a stand out!”

Raquel (Comment & 5-Star rating on Grilled Spatchcocked Chicken Under Bricks)

“I’ve made Cracker Crumb pork chops over the years. But this seasoning recipe and the club crackers are by far the best. Thank you.”

Teresa (Comment on & 5-Star rating on Cracker Crumb Pork Chops (The Sexier Pork Chop)

“I love overnight oats. I make this but I use almond milk.. Instead of honey I use agave or maple syrup. And I add unsweetened coconut & ground flaxseed (instead of chia seeds). Sometimes I’ll add mango instead of blueberries. The variations are endless.”

Arica (Comment on Overnight Oats)


Santa Fe Salad

Santa Fe Salad With Cabbage and Jalapeño Ranch Dressing

This Santa Fe Salad is a cabbage salad made with cabbage and a fresh tangy Jalapeño Ranch Dressing that has a crunch and flavor like no other salad recipe!

How to Smoke Chipotle Peppers {A Step-By-Step Guide

This step-by-step guide to smoking chipotle peppers allows you to preserve your jalapeño harvest and gives you a great way to add new flavor to your dishes.


We finally put up some shades on our porch to block of the fiery beams of the sun! Hopefully we can sit outside more if it’s not Africa hot.

Stargazer Lillies are my favorite flower, but apparently it’s all the critters on the mountain favorite too. I dug up the bulbs this spring and planted them on a pot and place it on the deck. These are the first blooms I have ever seen after planting them 2 years ago!


From now until fall we are going to try to spend some evenings down by the river. It’s a great way to relax and sometimes the fish even bite!


That’s all of the July Mountain Moments. See ya next month with more moments from the mountain.

I know this was a long one. Thanks for reading all this!

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