How is S U M M E R spelled to you?
Is it fishing? Back in 1961, I spent 6 months in Belgium with a Belgian family. Through the years we’ve kept in touch and recently one of the granddaughters from that family came to stay with us. We called Naomi our “Belgian Granddaughter”. Here she is with Gus on our little pontoon boat.
Is it fun outdoor activities? This is Connie and Dennis experiencing ziplining at Wildwater
. (Thanks, Caroline, for the tickets!) There are 12 zips, 8 bridges and about 14 platforms as you soar above the majestic trees – what a fun, new thing for our area.
They had a great time and would highly recommend it. You can ask them about it when you check in.
Is it fresh picked, vine-ripened tomatoes and corn on the cob? Here’s Naomi again – her grandfather always told her about fresh American corn on the cob, so she was really looking forward to tasting it and it quickly became her favorite food. We served it to her with almost every meal, and she requested it when we ate out, too.
Is it going to festivals? This time of year we have many local festivals with local entertainment. This blue grass group is Mountain Faith
, a very talented family. The group is composed of Sam McMahan, who, along with his brother Micky, own the gas station at the bottom of our hill. His daughter and son and nephew sing and play with the group, too.
Is it motorcycle riding? Have you hard about the “Tree of Shame” at Deals Gap Motorcycle Resort
. Motorcyclists know this ride as “Tail of the Dragon”, and it attracts riders from all over who come to ride the 13 miles of heart stopping 365 swoops and curves. It’s quite exciting, but as you can see from this tree full of debris, accidents do happen.
Is it experiencing a new adventure? We always look forward to our granddaughter MacKenzie, joining us at Lakehaven for a week of “camp”. Cheoah Dam is a few miles away and it is undergoing some major repairs and has about 100 workers. She wanted to talk to the crew about what was being done so we baked 16 dozen cookies and took them with us an “entre” to ask questions about the project. This dam is known as the "Fugitive Dam" because it's the one Harrison Ford "jumped" off of in the movie. Click on this link
and you can see the footage. And you can click on this link
for more information about the Cheoah and Santeetlah Dams.
Is it sitting on your front porch strumming your guitar? When Dan Lytle visits, he leaves his world (including family) behind and swings on his front porch swing and picks out a tune. This photo was taken on his 3rd visit, but I wasn’t here this summer when he returned for his getaway. He was our first guest in our Updated #9.
Perhaps it’s just settling back with a good book
Or maybe it's the freedom from school worries, or even the aroma of barbecuing. However you spell it, we hope it's bringing you enjoyment and a respite from your daily routine.
CRITTERS: The other morning our housekeeper was working at Cottage #2 and thought she heard something rustle in the bushes. She looked up just in time to see a fawn peep out, cross the road and duck behind one of the cottages. No Momma to be seen, though. And speaking of no Mamma…Brittney Williams, one of our guests, was playing out front in the circle and ran excitedly to the office. “There are 5 baby skunks out there”. They hung around for a few days and were quite cute. We never did see Momma, and we haven’t seen (or smelled) the babies recently either.
I’m just as glad, I think!
MOUNTAIN BROOK SIGN: Well, it’s not true that poplar wood lasts forever! It only lasts 30 years! One morning Dennis and Connie drove down and spotted the overhead sign lying under the post. So it has been relocated and we’re working on lighting for the area. Here are Gus and Dennis working on it.
FACEBOOK: Search for us at Mountain Brook Cottages
and “like” us. Linda Stringfield recently posted this comment on our wall. “Unfortunately, I’ve only had a chance to stay 1 time. That was all it took. I have fallen in love with the cottages and the quiet. It’s the perfect place to relax and enjoy the beauty of the mountains."
CONNIE'S HERBS: I mentioned fresh vegetables, as part of summer, and now, we have fresh herbs from Connie's garden. Ready to fix a good salad? Maybe marinate some bbq meat? Need a spice to liven up a dish? Connie welcomes you to pick from her herb garden. Fresh spices spoil you. Even if you don't cook with them, just holding fresh lavender or rosemary in your hands will make you feel refreshed. Connie has made a sachet of some of her herbs and placed them in the kitchens of the cottages so you'll enjoy their fragrance. Here is Connie working in her herb garden. When you check in, more information will be available for you. I’ve included one of Connie’s favorite recipes below.
SPECIAL THANKS: When you need someone to help remove old carpet, who ya gonna call? When you need some painting, who ya gonna call? When you need a moral lift, who ya gonna call? When you need help with raking, who ya gonna call? Ya gonna call Jimmy Sexton, our little ray of Mountain Brook sunshine. He’s always here with his good cheer when we need some help, and we thank him!
A BIG WELCOME BACK: Randy Diamond returns this week on his 50th (yes, 50th) visit! How can you thank such a loyal returning guest? We’ll have a special surprise waiting in his Cottage! Randy often brought his mother, Dot, (she passed away several years ago and quite a lady - always outfitted and groomed beautifully) and step-father Ed. We have many happy memories of sitting and talking with all of them. They came for the Gem Shows in Franklin or to try their luck at Harrah's in Cherokee!
Here's Randy when he checked in yesterday with his "Peanut Squash". It's a weird one, isn't it? He's given us seeds and Connie hopes to have some of these orangish, sweetish vegetables so we can try them ourselves.
TECHNOLOGY: If you’re not out front with the pack, you’re going backwards. Since 1979, we’ve tried to be ahead of the pack…now it’s becoming hard to even FIND the pack. Anyway, here’s our latest endeavor…a QR code. (Don’t ask me what that stands for!) Currently it is linked to our facebook account. If you have a smart phone (not the ones that sit on your counter top, and you use a rotary dial to reach Mable who connects you to your party), would you please scan it and see if it works for you. We’d also like to know if you have to log on to facebook in order to see our content. Email us
to give us your results
PET FRIENDLY: We've had such a request for accommodations for folks traveling with their pets that we now have three cottages that are pet friendly. We have placed pet pillows in each cottage as well as treat bags and watering bowls. Here is a picture of Maqelle’s latest pet friendly cottage endeavor. Our high school classmate and good friend, Butch Bosak, and his family are the owners of a great, all natural pet supplies,
so check them out at bullysticks.com. They have provided some gift packets that will be waiting for you and your canine friend when you check in. Here are some photos of the charming job Maqelle has done with Cottage #3, our third pet-friendly cottage.
GUESTS: The third visit from Myrtle (“Pete”) and Paul Cagle brought this nice comment – “We enjoyed our time at Mountain Brook and appreciate all the personal attention that made our 3rd visit so special”. Rene’ Anderson, on her third visit also, left us this sweet note: “Thank you for giving me such a wonderful place to decompress! Mountain Brook is a perfect slice of heaven and will always be a special place to me.” Returning guests put a smile on our faces, whether it’s when the reservation is made, or when guests check in. Wayne and Rena, if you’ve been with us lately, we’re watching for your return. If you haven’t visited us yet, we’d love to have you! Here are Philip and Sara Bailey, back for their 7th visit. As with all our returning guests, reservations for their 6th visit and all future ones will have an automatic “frequent visitor” discount!
THIRD GENERATION: Chad Julien’s folks stayed with us, and he thought our property would be the perfect place to propose to lovely Khara. That was in 2008, and they returned for their first anniversary. Two years later, here they are with their precious daughter Leah!
#9, #9, #9,: (does anyone remember this song by the Beatles?) Anyway, since Dennis and Connie have come on board to help Maqelle manage the property, Gus and I are no longer living in Cottage #9. Maqelle has worked her charm and given it a sparkling new revamping. It is quite cozy (see photos) and will become the favorite of anyone who stays in it.
Safe Travels! The staying-cool-here-in-the-mountains McMahon’s, Gus, Maqelle and me (Michele), and Dennis and Connie Seely, our management team.
Connie's Mulligatawny Soup
2 T olive oil
1 large white onion, chopped
2 –3 carrots, sliced
2 stalks celery, sliced
4 large cloves garlic, minced
2 Granny Smith apples, cubed
3 T flour, 2 tsp curry, or more to taste, 1 tsp ginger, 1 tsp corriander or more to taste, a pinch of cayenne pepper, 1 tsp black pepper
6 C chicken broth
1 C red lentils
2-3 potatoes, cubed
2 - 21/2 C turkey breast or chicken breast, cooked and cubed
½ C sweetened coconut
In large soup pot, sauté onions, carrots, celery in olive oil until transparent. Add garlic and apples, sauté for about 1 minute. Add combined flour and herb mixture and sprinkle over sauteed ingredients. Stir until coated. Whisk in chicken broth until smooth. Add red lentils, potatoes and turkey or chicken breast. Cook over simmering heat until lentils are soft and cooked thoroughly – about 1 ½ to 2 hours. Add coconut ½ hour before serving. When serving, sprinkle additional coconut on top for garnish.