Weekend Review: Part 2
Happy Tuesday, friends! I don’t know about where you are, but here, fall is most definitely in the air. We’re cuddling up under the down comforter again at night, we’re sliding into wool socks and warm slippers in the morning, and we’re eating apples like there’s no end in sight.
Oh, apples. Glorious, ambrosial, crisp apples. I could eat a bit of apple at every meal. All by itself; or topped with a bit of sharp cheese; or rendered into smooth, spicy butter; or drank as hard or fresh cider; or baked into pies, cakes, and muffins. I don’t like to choose favorites, but the apple might be the trophy-winning fruit for me. Just don’t tell the pears and figs and pomegranates and persimmons and grapes and other glorious fruits of autumn.
And so it was that part of my magical weekend involved an apple-focused excursion. Hickory Nut Forest Eco-Community held their 5th annual Apple Fest in the tiny hamlet of Gerton this past Saturday. Situated about 17 miles east of Asheville, the drive to the festival was as gorgeous as the final destination. Rolling hills dotted with grazing cloven beasts looked like something plucked directly from a European countryside. The road narrows and begins to wind up, and up, and then down, over the Continental Divide and alongside the Rocky Broad creek, past quaint inns with outdoor ovens and ponds with swimming platforms and historic homes from the 1800’s. So, so pretty.
The orchard itself, though small, was loaded with organically-grown apples. There was also a hand-built cider press made by one of Hickory Nut Forest’s residents and powered by a micro-hydro pump running off of the creek that runs through the property. There was an apple pinata, and an apple pie competition, and a creek-side (and in-creek, for Huxley!) walk, and an old grist mill discovery, and a green-built lodge powered by the creek, and a resident of the community who generously gave us a tour of his lovely zero energy home, and a forest full of mushrooms and moss and buckeyes, and, well, just a perfect day.
The community has quite a few home sites still available. I’ll admit, we’re pretty tempted by the place. With over 200 acres of forest for taking ambling, creek-side strolls through and some of our favorite farms located just down the road (and one adorable little natural food store-Candler desperately needs something like this), Hickory Nut Forest definitely called its siren song to us. If you’re ever out that way, pop in and give it a peek. It’s amazing.
For now, though, I’m off to eat an apple. Or maybe make some apple butter. Or perhaps bake an apple pie. Or there’s always apple scones…
*Want to see more? Well, then, come on over here!