Wow, this blog has been 165 years in the making! It's so hard to find alone time as we're currently living- well, in our living room! There's nowhere to escape and it's driving me insane honestly. Ha! This weekend we all decided to get sick too, so that's another weekend we've had to stall. Oy! But anyway... Was finally able to finish up today, I hope you enjoy! xoxo
While I was still back in California and Lliam had already started work out here, it was hard to stay put. Lliam 'lived' here and was eating good food, and looking for houses. I felt stuck in an old life running myself into the ground with a 20 month old. So I did what any self respecting stay at home mom would do: I researched the hell out of where we were going to live! During those 'in between' moments where I could get online but also not have to think too hard, I would pour over maps and websites about pretty much all of Western North Carolina.
One day, I landed upon Waynesville's Apple Harvest Festival. It sounded like everything I love about street fairs with the addition of picturesque boxes of apples, cider and treats mixed in. Entirely up my alley! And I daydreamed about this festival like a LOON. I didn't care what was happening that weekend house-wise when we finally got here, I was taking Ruby to this festival. I was Lewis & Clark and this was my California coast. Ha!
We had a LOT to do on the house (still do!) and for Lliam to have us girls home during sheet rocking and lighting installments all weekend would be a detriment to all of us, so I did the incredibly kind thing that I wanted to do anyway and got me and Rubes the heck out! ;)
It was a rainy, cold and soggy day but we made it happen. I'm grateful to have found some angel parking as it seemed everyone in North Carolina was there! With people everywhere, we did our first pass to scope things out. I hadn't eaten breakfast and was hoping to find some muffins or pastry somewhere.
Instead, due to the craziness, I got into the shortest line and opted for some clam chowder from Wicked Fresh Seafood & Meat Market. The soup tasted incredibly fresh, lightly creamy and everything clam chowder should be on a rainy day. Adding oyster crackers for a little extra salt and nostalgia, it became perfection. I ate a few bites, happy to have something in my belly and moved along. There were plenty more treats I wanted to try!
You know how I know we live in the south? ;)
Here's a closer look for that second guess. ;) That is a Blooming Onion and... and... I don't even know what. Ha! I have a feeling there's just brick of velveeta or something in there keeping those chips together! ;)
After some soup, we decided to really scope things out! This was a homemade ice cream called 'Front Porch Churn.' Felt bad for these folks as ice cream was the LAST thing I wanted on a cold day outdoors. Hope they found warmer, fearless folks!
But DONUTS... Donuts I can do anytime. ;) There was an incredibly long line so I was intrigued.
Auntie Ruth's Doughnuts & Pretzels is actually based out of Chuckey, TN. Like a homemade Krispy Kreme, their whole 'jam' is warm, hot glazed donuts right into your hands. Despite the long wait, it was WELL WORTH IT.
I LOVE ME a good donut-- one of my favorite desserts and these, right out of the fryer, were also perfection. Definitely better warm than cold but why would you wait that long anyway? WHO ARE YOU??? Oh right. Maybe you're the husband of the wife taking your kid to the Apple Harvest Festival and you're eating something she brought back for you. ;)
And a close-up... BECAUSE I CAN. Oh my gosh, they were so warm and pillowy. A real treat!
After trying some sweets, Ruby and I continued to visit all of the vendors. One of my absolute favorites was Art & Soul Creations by Shelly. She had a ton of these gorgeous, whimsical bird feeders and freestanding pieces. I couldn't get in to take photos at the start because there were just too many people.
I came back on my way out to try again and almost all of her pieces were gone! My favorites were all snatched up. There literally wasn't anything left! Her entire tent was gone!
You can check out her work on her facebook page but the more whimsical items and bird feeders aren't featured there. But once next spring hits and we're ready to work on the outside of our house, I'd definitely like to reach out to her! I apologize for these horrible pictures of her work. She's truly an incredible artist and these photos don't do her work justice.
At some point, I needed to try something apple-y so I stopped at a booth that had a ton of baked goods and fried apple hand pies. I chose a black walnut cupcake because having worked as a baker, I've read about southern walnut cakes and the use of the black walnut in various southern baked goods. I was super psyched to get a real, authentic experience. Sadly-- I will never lie to you about whether or not I like something-- this was probably the worst cupcake I've ever had in my life- ha!
It was dry, burnt and stale and when I went to open it, the frosting literally fell off the top. It was so bad, I threw it away and I'll pretty much eat anything!
The homemade fried hand pie 'all the way' at the same booth was totally awesome, though! My mind is a bit blurry now but I think the booth was run by a local church, maybe? I have a feeling they had members of the congregation make treats to be sold, bring them in a day or two in advance (or five maybe in this case?), packaged everything, etc. and then sold them fundraiser style like at a school bake sale. So, a few days earlier, this was probably a great cupcake. Needless to say, I hope next year they can manage their production a smidge better but hopefully my money went to a good cause.
Little 'Rubina,' on the other hand, does NOT like pie. Her first 'special treat' was cake so when I say those words and hand her pie crust she thinks it's a scam. This is alright by me! The longer she stays off the sauce, the better. ;) She loves donuts, though. So while mom snacked on some of the fried pie and all it's glory, she stole some of Papa's pillowy donuts. HAPPY BABY!
Whenever I give Ruby something sweet I always tell her, "Okay, this is a special treat!" Like, we only have treats on occasion. Well, the word special has totally gone out the window and she's always like, "TEET! TEET!" And I'm always like, "Awww, CRAP." Moms out there that bake... How do you give your kid a healthy attitude toward treats??? SERIOUSLY!
By this point in the day, however, even with the rush of sugar... our energy level began dwindling.
With vacant eyes, we began pondering our past lives and celtic poetry. ;)
It all became very serious.
We didn't even finish our donut!
The rain let up a little so we continued on. It was only a few hours into our getaway and I was hoping to give Papa as much time as possible. I was hoping she might conk out if I strolled fast enough.
At some point, I snagged some Apple Onion Marmalade from Copper Pot & Wooden Spoon. There isn't much about them on their website but they have a lot of amazing things to offer. This spread, in particular, was really delicious, would be incredible over some baked brie. Or on a roast beef sandwich... with brie. So savory, I can't wait to use it!
Loved all of these gorgeous colors! Reminds me of my college friend Rachel Bingham Kessler who runs a plant-based dye etsy shop called 44 Clovers. She lives in Peaks, Island Maine and her yarn is so pretty. These scarves were gorgeous, too, but I didn't have time to stop for shenanigans! I had a kid to nap!
Ruby was getting crankier and NOT napping so I needed to distract her. Best news ever: CLOGGERS!
Oh my God, she was ENTHRALLED with the J Creek Cloggers!
Little does she know, her Momma used to clog with Verlene Tierney Dancers in upstate New York.
I hadn't seen clogging in YEARS!!! THIS WAS SO FUN!!! Like a scene straight out of my childhood. I still remember a lot of the dances, too. Though I'd pretty much break my pronated, Kermit the Frog feet trying to attempt it right now at my weight. Ha!
I remember in the 80's my crinoline cost-- I wanna say $35-45 and my mom was off her rocker at how expensive my costume plus shoes, etc, was. But we joke about it now just HOW MUCH USE I've gotten out of that thing. Between Halloween costumes, talent shows, sketch comedy shows, holiday shows, it's had some LIFE! :) (Now they can be like $170, by the way).
Like suddenly remembering words from your foreign language class twenty years later, lots of things long forgotten came back to me as well. Words like 'bloomers!' Underneath your poofy crinoline skirt, you wear 'bloomers' so when you spin, you're not in your skivvies! I'm pretty sure our costume bloomers had ruffle butts. As kids, our group would dance at local street fairs, telethons and wherever Verlene could find us events. I definitely remember getting kicked off the football field during a halftime show because they wanted to start the game!
My sister and my childhood best friend sang with a local teacher so if there was a street fair, we were all performing. Lots of great childhood memories these guys brought back!
These photos give me shin splints! Clogging on pavement can be really painful actually.
Verlene was a tough broad who still lived for dance the way it was in the 50's. Our hands had to be in tight fists directly on our hips, our ball changes needed to be high. This is a MUCH more laid back approach. It felt like one big extended family (it might be?) just having a good ol' time 'hootin and hollerin' which was really fun! I imagined these folks along a creek bank on a hot summer night.
Their spirit was all about audience participation and getting everyone riled up and clapping.
These are called 'Rise and Shines!' At a certain point in our show, we'd form a line and each person would come out and do their 'guitar solo' and pop back in line. These guys worked in couples.
Ruby was so freaking cute. She was doing her best and kept trying to go out and dance with them. Hahaha!
At the end of the number, they get everyone to come down and dance, too. Pops, seeing her interest, came to say hi.
So that was clogging. :)
THEN, I ate some more. Hahaha! But seriously, at this point, I needed something that wasn't sugar and I wanted to try Fuego. I already followed them on Instagram and was happy to see their truck at the festival!
Yasssssssss, Fuego!!! I got chicken sliders with parmesan truffle fries. It was the best thing I had all day. Well... I'd eat those donuts again, too. ;) The chicken tasted really fresh and crunchy, the right amount of sauce and seasoning. It was delicious!
My last stop of the day, and my favorite craftsman all around was Mr. Woodworks! I've seen this kind of woodworking done before but the quality of the work and the toy chest out in front caught my eye.
I can picture something like this (with that aqua blue-- *swoon*) at the end of our bed in our new bedroom... that we're still renovating. And by we, I mean Lliam. ;)
These are just a few photos I snagged off of Mr. Woodwork's website. But you should definitely take a look at their instagram: @mr.woodworks.design. (Don't forget the design part in there or you won't be able to find him!) There's a ton more on instagram and a variety of things that he and his fiancé does.
Everything from trunks to mirrors to wall art... He does build outs like the like one below.
And even does posts on the front of a house? Crazy... So glad there are people in the world that know how to do these things cause I am lost with a ruler. Ha!
Well, folks, that's Waynesville's Apple Harvest Festival. There were a ton of vendors-- from jewelry to pottery to treats. Quite the crowd but a really fun and interesting day if this kind of thing is up your alley. And one of the GREAT parts about Western North Carolina is that a festival like this is a dime a dozen-- meaning, every little town all over the area has its' own festivals, farmers' markets and street fairs. It's pretty incredible. I will never be at a loss to find something to do here!