Wednesday, August 4, 2010

the yachtsman recommends

[A recurring guest post in which the yachtsman recommends something.]

Allow me to Recommend

As the readers of Gruel for Dinner now know after my mother’s recent post, I was raised on a diet of food cooked in bacon fat. I have incredibly fond memories of eating my vegetables, yummy veggies like green beans, sauteed in delicious bacon grease, and there are nights I still dream about my grandmother Mo’s fried chicken, which was fried up in a skillet full of bacon grease. Some Muslims believe that if a person dies a martyr, he will be greeted in heaven by 72 virgins; I only hope that when I die I will be greeted by Mo and a skillet of her chicken.

In my adopted home of Vermont, where we thrive on the local, the organic, the free range, the hormone free, the cage free, and the antibiotic free, the food is delicious and, particularly this time of year, as fresh as fresh gets. But on occasion I like to feed my Southern heritage, which is one of many reasons why I love to visit my brother and his family in Boone, North Carolina.

On my most recent trip below the Mason-Dixon line, to celebrate my niece Lucy’s sixth birthday, my Southern sister-in-law arranged a trip to Shatley Springs in Crumpler, North Carolina. Crumpler is about 30 miles north of Boone, just a little beyond Meat Camp. For many years, Shatley Springs was famous for the supposed healing properties of its fresh mountain spring, and people from all over flocked to drink the magical waters. More recently, Shatley Springs’ family-style dining room is the place where the magic happens, and believe me, there is nothin' that food can’t heal.

Like I said, it's family style. For $15.50 you get all you can eat of the following:

• Fried Chicken—fried in bacon grease
• Country Ham—nothing goes better with chicken than pig

• Mashed Potatoes—so smooth, it's like eating clouds
• Creamed Corn—not a huge fan of creamed corn, and I am man enough to say it
• Green Beans—cooked in bacon grease

• Baked Apples
• Coleslaw
• Biscuits—I'm talking about Southern fucking biscuits that are so good, they make you want to kill someone
• Cream Gravy—made with bacon grease
• Sweet Tea—by the pitcher

And then, finish it off with cobbler and ice cream
• Strawberry Cobbler or
• Blueberry Cobbler or
• Peach Cobbler or
• Apple Cobbler or
• Do what my awesome sister-in-law did and ask to try all of them, and the waitress will bring you a massive plate of cobblers.

Let me be perfectly clear: The Yachtsman recommends Shatley Springs. As you know, I don’t recommend lightly, but this is without question worthy of my highest recommendation.

Travel details:

Here's the deal: There are cabins available for rent at Shatley Springs. What I'm trying to say is that Shately Springs is a destination resort. It’s the Disneyland of cooking with bacon grease. Fuck Mickey Mouse, I want Billy Biscuit.

Getting there: You can do what I did, and ride a motorcycle from Vermont to Crumpler,

or through Nancy and Udean’s Christian Tours you can book a Christian motor coach tour that makes a stop at Shately Springs. If you're unable to go by motorcycle with my sister-in-law, I can’t imagine a better way to arrive at the Mecca of Fried Chicken.


  1. I love it that the Christian Motor Coach stops for lunch at Shatley Springs and then heads directly for the local cheese factory. Just reading this made my heart clog up. That said, bring me some of that fried chicken. Oh, and maybe a few of them biscuits. Better still, would His Momma please post her recipe for them biscuits on this here site??

  2. Did you post this using your iPad? Do AT&T and the iPad get a signal in Shatley Springs? Where is the center of gravity on your motorcycle and tower of luggage?

  3. I like that outside the cabin there's a big, dead tree stump.

    As a born-again meat eater I should probably make a pilgrimage to Shatley Springs to worship at the altar of chicken and ham, and since there's no way I'm riding on that motorcycle all the way to North Carolina, I think I'll have to book a Christian tour. Or maybe His Momma, who I believe knows Mo's secret recipe and techniques, could whip up a batch of the yachtsman family fried chicken.

  4. What makes the Christian tour Christian and do you have to be a Christian tour to take it because I am a lot of things, but Christian a'int one of em'!

  5. My cholesterol went up 10 points reading the post. Perhaps the Christian tour and can pray at at the stump for reduced saturated fat before they visit.