Tar Heel Tavern: It's Apple Time in the Catoctin Mountains
As the adopted daughter of the Tar Heel Tavern, I am happy to report that Mel's Kitchen is hosting this week's Tavern and that the orchards north of the Carolinas are abundant with ripe, sweet apples begging to be used in our favorite recipes.
Traveling through Maryland on my way home from Washington D.C. this week, I found an hour to stop and enjoy the pastoral beauty of the fields and mountains surrounding the lush orchards at the Catoctin Mountain Orchards along Route 15 in Thurmont.
In this place, you can almost hear the sound of the hawk's wings upon the wind.
The colors of the orchard are the kind that take your breath away.
After you shop at the fruit market, you can stroll around the orchard.
If you have children, you can watch them dream while they play as you sit in a lovely gazebo nearby and do some dreaming yourself.
A Recipe for Pecan Apple Pie:
2 cups apples chopped cooking 1/2 cup brown sugar firmly packed 1/2 cup sugar granulated 1/2 cup flour all-purpose 1 each egg yolk beaten 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice freshly squeezed 1/2 cup pecans chopped 1 each egg white beaten until foamy 1 each pie shell 9 inch, unbaked
Put chopped apples in a large bowl. Add sugar, flour, egg yolk, vanilla, lemon juice and pecans; mix well. Add egg white. Stir well and pour mixture into unbaked pie shell. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-45 minutes
Other places to visit near the orchards in Thurmont
Cunningham Falls State Park - Furnace Trail/Ironmaster's House
A nature trail leads to and from the ruins of an old home and the site of the village complex surrounding the iron furnace. The history of the area can be read about here.
There is a site at the end of a nature trail where the ruins of a once-beautiful home stood. Today, you see the brick walls covered with leaves and vines and the ghosts of the past can still be felt as you stand in silence broken only by the sounds of a bird or the wind through the trees.
Also in Cunningham Falls State Park
If you take the nature trail which crosses Route 15 by a bridge, you can listen to water falling gently by in the Manor Area of the park. The park's website is here. Search the park area here.