What a nice weekend it was, taking in the cool mountain air and getting a true first glimpse of fall in the Carolinas!
Ian and I hit the road not long after 8am on Saturday (so yes, I did in fact wake up to an alarm Saturday after promising not to!). We stopped in at Starbucks on the way out of town and I took a page from other bloggers, choosing a chai tea latte with two pumps pumpkin. Ummm, YUM.
We were joined by our friends for the trip, which is always a blast. After getting settled in at the condo, we made our way to Sugar Mountain for Oktoberfest. We went last year and had such a great time, it was a must-repeat event!
Oktoberfest is just a lot of fun -- tents of vendors selling all sorts of arts & crafts, lots of German food and beer, authentic live music, and people-watching at its finest.
The weather was misty and chilly, and it was nice seeing the leaves starting to change colors.
That night we drove into Blowing Rock and had dinner at The Best Cellar. I was so excited to eat there since it holds a special place in our heart, being the restaurant where we ate after getting engaged. We were having one of those days, though, where we were just striking out restaurant-wise. I don't know what was up -- full moon, bad juju, who knows.
Our server was super young and barely paid us any attention ... we are talking empty water glasses at several points, cocktails that arrived separately and too long after being ordered, entrees that came out at 9pm (we were seated at 7:30), a side dish of mine that was served fifteen minutes after everyone else's entrees/sides came, and a combined bill at the end of the night after we kindly requested two separate checks (twenty minutes earlier). I know everyone has their off nights, but when you are a restaurant that charges $30-42 for entrees, I think it should be a pretty stellar dining experience. Heck, I don't even like paying that for a new shirt! :)
Positives? My ravioli with short ribs and porcini mushroom sauce was excellent. The manager did come up to us as we were walking away from the table and asked how everything was. We wished that had happened earlier since she was within ten feet of our table most of the night, an easy position to pick up clues that she had four unhappy diners. After explaining our experience she did offer to give us gift certificates or void our credit cards for the bills, but we declined both. It was a nice gesture, but just a little too late.
So if any of you are planning a mountain escape to the Blowing Rock area soon, take my advice and make dinner reservations at The Gamekeeper, a true favorite of ours that never disappoints! We ate there this time last year for Ian's birthday dinner and it has superior food and stellar service. I don't mean to come off negative in this post, but I know I receive a significant amount of emails from people who are looking for suggestions for dining during Blowing Rock visits, and I would hate to lead you astray!
Last night did end with something very fun, a fashion show here in Charlotte -- recap coming soon. I hope your weekends were great and your dining experiences AWESOME. ;)