Our good friends Alan & Mark invited us to celebrate and enjoy the Harvest Moon with them at their mountaintop property near Waynesville this year. They planned quite a full day of Harvest Moon events!
For our household, the preparations began the night before when I headed out to buy the ingredients for gingery and buttery moonpies.
I looked around for recipes but didn’t get much further than the first listed step before remembering that I am definitely neither a chemist nor a baker; this meant that I had to improvise. Fortunately ready-made buttery crackers and ginger cookies are easily found at the local grocer; the rest was a matter of spreading and glopping ingredients together followed by drizzling and sprinkling. These turned out (on the required taste-testing) to be very rich but quite tasty.
We met Alan and Mark at Dobra Tea House in downtown Asheville. This is a tea shop we’ve heard quite a bit about never ventured inside previously. Our Shakespeare-friend Mary-Linda (as well as many of the Montford Park Players we’ve met) are great fans of Dobra.
After perusing the menu, discussing why I think tea tastes like dirt, and reading some fortunes from a small bound book, we rang the bell and ordered. Alan had chosen the full-moon like daifuku (described as a soft, fermented rice cake “mochi” stuffed with a delicious, sweet red bean paste) for our snack; Marc and I each chose an iced tea (mine being a mint, honey, lavender and rose water concoction that was entirely unlike dirt; Mark’s was the more adventurous fruit and frothy drink that smelled exactly like I remember Lipton’s instant, though I was assured it exceeded Lipton’s in every way).
We wandered off next for early dinner at (where else) a pizza shop! There is no more moon-like dinner to be had, I’m sure! M arc and I had the red potato, red onion, white sauce-based with chives and spicy ranch pizza; the fellows had the less likely to clog your arteries red-sauce, tempeh, broccoli, mushroom and fresh Parmesan pizza. Both were, it was reported, delicious.
Our pizza adventures being finished, we then headed off (in Alan’s more appropriate for a trip to the top of a mountain) car for our final stop: the Harvest Moon party! While their land is atop a mountain near Waynesville, it’s really only about a 20 minute trip from Asheville (oh, how nice it would be to live a 20 minute trip from downtown Asheville). You wind your way up above the old Walmart (which is something else, maybe a tractor supply store?, now) to the tippy-top of a moutain. Where there’s no where else to go but down, you’ve arrived.
The views will be spectacular come winter when the leaves have fallen away. For now, it’s a lovely forested view, with lights peaking through just enough to remind you that you’re not in fact in some post-apocalyptic dreamscape. The skies were not the most accommodating looking when we arrived, clouds and clouds and more clouds abounded.
How to hold a Harvest Moon party:
Step 1: Whiskey sours made from homemade sour mix and tiny airplane like bottles of whiskey. (I was the only one blessed with a whiskey sour; the others had to make due with Blue Moon ale). From here on out, all other whiskey sours will be #2 or lower. This one (with extra cherries – hurrah!) was mighty fine.
Step 2: Label the virgin Harvest Moon viewers appropriately with handmade Moonpie necklaces. This was an entirely unexpected whimsical touch. Wonderful!
Step 3: Cake. Salted caramel cake with a full moon on top. Oh, yum. Yum, yum, yum.
Step 4: Wait for the full moon (and when you give up on it ever rising above the trees, start to leave and realize it was visible the whole time from just below the gate to the property – d’oh!).
It was a splendid, splendid evening. We drove back, said farewell, and headed home. I hope we get to do this again sometime – the company was wonderful, the property amazing, and the quiet of the night sky just so relaxing.
Thanks again, Alan and Mark!