Wednesday, February 10, 2010

A weekend with old friends...

This past weekend we welcomed our friends Melissa and Earl Ardales for a visit. Melissa actually came in on Thursday so we could catch a Brandi Carlile concert. Earl joined us Friday afternoon, catching the last flight out of Baltimore before all remaining flights were cancelled due to tremendous snowfall. It's so odd that we've missed all these big east coast storms. Our biggest snowfall has amounted to just 7 inches. We keep getting a few inches here and there but nothing substantial.

On Friday evening, Melissa and I decided to make Beef Bourguignon. I had been wanting to make Julia Child's recipe ever since reading My Life in France. However, after reading through her recipe and comparing it to Ina Garten's, we chose to go with Ina's. Her recipe seemed more updated and required fewer steps. She also adds cognac to her stew and that just sounded incredible. Plus, Earl got to have some fun lighting the pot on fire! The stew turned out fabulous, as almost all of Ina's recipes do. We also made an apple tart using Julia's recipe. These are my favorite types of meals- simple, elegant, yet completely unpretentious.
Over dinner, the topic of how many states each of us had visited came up. Melissa had not been to Massachusetts or Vermont and Earl was missing Vermont as well. That settled it, we'd take them to both states the following day. Hey, we aim to please at Hotel deMars.
The following morning we headed over to Williamstown, MA and then over to Mt. Greylock for some hiking. We had found a trail that followed a creek and offered some spectacular scenery. There was not much snow on the ground but there were lots of icy patches which made it somewhat precarious. We were about a quarter mile into our hike when we came across a 20 ft sheet of ice over the trail. There really wasn't a safe way to cross since we didn't have crampons or snowshoes with us. We decided to hike up the hill and try to find a crossing further up. Of course, once we headed upward, we had to find a safe way back down to the trail. It was interesting, to say the least. At almost 5 months pregnant, I felt both a little bad-ass and a little stupid. Adam was carrying Gavin in a backpack which made his trek down equally bad-ass/stupid. Alas, we all made it back down to the trail safely and continued our hike.
Beginning of our hike... The Hopper Trail, Mt. Greylock
Melissa and Earl, bundled up and ready to go!
Here is the sheet of ice we came across- as you can tell, one slip and you'd be in the creek! Below, is Earl making his way back down the hill we climbed up to avoid the ice. It involved a little squat/slide!
The second half of the hike included a steady incline which got all of our heart rates going. We've been doing a lot of hiking this winter but this was by far the most aggressive. It was nice to get a real workout but I also became very aware of just how quickly one's body changes when pregnant. I was a little tuckered out by the end! I was also very thankful that Melissa and I had the foresight to make a lasagna the night before so dinner was waiting for us in the fridge.

After our hike, we drove through Bennington, Vermont and over to Shaftbury to The Chocolate Barn. We loaded up on truffles and other goodies and then headed back home. I think we provided Melissa and Earl with a nice little tour of southern New England. Their flight home ended up being cancelled and they stayed with us through Monday evening. Fortunately, they were able to get home before the next storm. After getting hit with almost 30 inches of snow, they are expecting another 20 inches today!


Randy in Cashmere said...

Looks like a great time was had by all, along with good food, what could anyone ask more.

Missy said...

If I'm ever passing thru your area, I want the pampered treatment at Hotel DeMars! The food and the scenery look amazing. I want that apple tart so bad.

Emily said...

So jealous – wish I could have been there with you girls! Looks like you had a fabulous weekend filled with delicious food!

jenny goodman said...

I wanna see your baby bump.