Thursday, March 25, 2010

Penny's (Near) Famous Gravy; Only At Zeke & Earl's

Penny's almost-famous gravy is made in the true Southern way, fresh from bacon fat with generous portions of chopped sausage. Penny learned how to make her gravy in the true Southern way when she was very young, cooking right alongside her grandmother who raised her.

After impressing a panel of very discerning taste testers (that would be Jack), Penny's gravy and biscuits were added to the Zeke and Earl's menu shortly after opening in the summer of 2008. Many customers order their steak biscuits smothered with gravy and needless to say, it rocks over turkey! Word has it that we even have one customer who laps it up as if it were a cup of soup. We're not naming names.

Remember that Zeke and Earl's serves breakfast all day. Any time can be gravy o'clock!

Friday, March 19, 2010

Brookings' Cashiers Village Outfitters - Let Us Guide You!

As we said in the previous post, Brookings', at the Cashiers Crossroads, "is owned and staffed by experienced fly fishermen, hunters, outfitters and guides...We offer fly fishing schools and lessons, as well as guided day trips. Custom trips for the experienced fly fisher are available upon request. Our fishing trips take place primarily on the Davidson and Tuckasegee rivers - Western North Carolina's best-known trout rivers, a fly fisherman's dream."

We thought you might like to meet our very experienced, friendly and passionate guides:

Matt Canter
was born in Greensboro, North Carolina, and has been in love with anything that involves water and fish since the ripe age of eight. He spent his youth fishing farm ponds in between family trips to the mountains and coast, where fishing tended to be the activity of choice. While attending Western Carolina University, Matt spent as much or more time on the rivers as he did in the classroom. After graduating, he immediately started guiding full-time and decided to call Brevard, North Carolina, home. When Matt is not managing the Brookings' Cashiers Village Outfitters store, he can be found on a backcountry stream or floating down one of the region's many rivers in pursuit of trout and smallmouth bass.

Marc Hipp grew up in Western New York and fished the spring creeks of the Southern Tier for trout with PhDs. When the cold months of winter arrived he turned his attention to the “hunt for steel” (Steelhead) in the tributaries of the Great Lakes, better known as “Steelhead Alley.” Living in upstate South Carolina for the past 13 years, Marc has made the rivers and streams of Western North Carolina his “home waters.” As our latest edition to the staff at Brookings’ Cashiers Village Outfitters, Marc divides his time working in the shop and guiding clients.

Simons Welter grew up in Statesville, North Carolina, and is currently living in Spartanburg, South Carolina. After graduation from Clemson University in 1988, she decided to major in Domestic Goddess, becoming a wife and mother to two now-teenagers.
Simons spends all of her spare time on the rivers of North Carolina and upstate South Carolina, with a special love of fishing small streams for native brook trout on dry flies.

She has been guiding, mentoring, and teaching fly fishing for the past six years, including working with Becoming an Outdoors Woman and Casting for Recovery.
Simons has fished in 10 states, Argentina, Spain, and Germany and is a board member of Mountain Bridge Trout Unlimited.

Jack Mincey was born and raised in Cullowhee, North Carolina, next to the Tuckasegee River where he caught his first trout. As a child he fished the lakes and streams in Western North Carolina. At the age of eight he started fly fishing for pan fish in the local lakes with his father. This progressed into fishing the local trout streams with a fly by the age of 12. Jack has fished every mile of many of the streams in Western North Carolina and has been guiding the local waters for more than 23 years. Over the last few years he has specialized in fishing the Tuckasegee River with clients.

(Fishing photo to follow but Jack is an artist as well! His gorgeous turned wood products can be purchased at Brookings'.)

Travis Collins, a native of Jackson County and now a resident of Haywood County, has spent the last 30 years of his life in pursuit of any fish species willing to tug his line. From Southern Appalachian brook trout, to river smallmouth, to common carp, Travis gets twitchy whenever he passes over or near a body of water. “One of my secret dreams is to be able to cast through the front doors of Red Lobster with a 2 weight and catch one of the fish out of their large tanks in the lobby” Travis explains.

For the past ten years Travis has guided for Brookings' and is keenly interested in helping others learn about the sport through guide trips and teaching at the Brookings' Fly Fishing School. As a professional educator of 15 years, Travis is as passionate about teaching and learning as he is about catching fish of his own. He looks forward to sharing his obsession with you.

Travis' first baby photo. (Not really. That's his daughter Ruthie. She wants to be just like Simons when she grows up.)

Travis and son Jack.

(Photo to follow)
Henry Williamson has been fly fishing for trout and bass for 40 years and a full-time guide and instructor for 27. He credits his patient and loving wife with his longevity. Henry is passionate about teaching fly fishing and truly believes that he found his niche in life as an instructor. He offers both float and wade trips on the Tuckasegee and Toccoa Rivers. When Henry is not living to make other fisher people happy, he spends 100 days out of the year fishing for his own pleasure and enjoyment.

(Photo to follow)
Ernie Sipler was born and raised in the Pocono Mountains of Northeastern Pennysylvania. While working in the hotel industry as an Executive Chef of resorts and corporate hotels, he often dreamed of being a Bassmaster or even fishing for a living. After retiring, Ernie decided to move to the Smokies, enticed by the over 3,000 miles of trout water to explore and the challenge of these wild fish in their habitat. Ernie finds instructing a novice or an experienced fly fisherman even more rewarding than landing the trout himself. He is always eager to share the techniques used in our mountains to increase their chances of having a good day on the water.

After going to the Fly Fishing Masters twice and other fly casting tournaments in the area, Ernie developed a love for the art of a great cast, even if there is not always a fish at the end of the line.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Select Regional Handcrafted Art Now at Brookings' Cashiers Village Outfitters

A little background on Brookings' CVO, a Cashiers retail fixture that joined the Cashiers Village family in 2009:

We stock a full line of men's and women's gear for the outdoor sportsman or sportswoman - clothing, boots and shoes, fishing rods, reels and accessories, hunting and shooting supplies, plus everything you need for your "best friend " - your dog. Brookings' CVO is owned and staffed by experienced fly fishermen, hunters, outfitters and guides.

We offer fly fishing schools and lessons, as well as guided day trips. Custom trips for the experienced fly fisher are available upon request. Our fishing trips take place primarily on the Davidson and Tuckasegee rivers - Western North Carolina's best-known trout rivers, a fly fisherman's dream.

As if those weren't enough reasons to stop in, Brookings' CVO now offers an array of premium, handcrafted items from local artists - creations that blend perfectly with the theme and spirit of our store and our love of the outdoors. Meet the artists:

How, you ask, can One Of The Very Best Guides on the Tuckasegee River possibly find the time to turn out such gorgeous turned wood products? We ask Jack Mincey this question all the time but he just ignores us. After a twenty-two year stint as a fly fishing instructor and twenty-six years teaching high school shop at Blue Ridge School, we suspect the answer is "patience". Jack's finishes are clear, allowing the wood's natural tones to shine. All wood is found locally in the mountains of Cashiers and other areas of Jackson County.

You don't want to wash these off in the river. Simply wipe with a light coating of furniture polish or a dry cloth for a lifetime of beauty.

Cashiers own Evie Auerbach has a self-confessed fur and fin fetish. For twenty-five years she's been captivated by colorful fish creatures and the expressive character reflected in the faces of her very unique porcelain dog figurines.
Evie's skill as an artist far surpasses her skill as an angler. Her one big fish story involves finding a set of Barracuda jaws sans body at the end of her line.

And no, there is nothing redundant at all about serving your freshly-caught trout on a freshly-glazed earthenware trout platter. Of course there is no such thing as “too much trout."

Hang it on the wall and (depending upon how much wine you've had) it almost appears to be swimming.

Question: What do you get when you cross a musician, stringed instrument repairman, machinist, and nuclear power plant inspector?
Answer: An exacting wood artist who uses historic joinery techniques such as hand-sawn and hand-chiseled dovetails to craft his creations.

Nelson Woodhouse keeps quite busy in his Virginia studio producing one-of-a-kind step stools built along the famous Shaker design using nary a screw or nail. Even the pencil marks used for measurements are left visible in accordance with tradition.

Custom work is invited! Select the American or imported exotic wood of your choice from our sample display. In addition to his step stools, Nelson makes French rolling pins, cutting boards, spoons and spatulas. All his pieces are elegant in their simplicity, yet sturdy and designed for practical use or display.

What's a poor woman to do when you're a non-fishing female in a family of fanatical fly fishermen?
Matt's mom, Sharon Canter of High Point, NC, (yes, that Matt, our store manager), hiked her hiney off on all those weekend fishing trips while her spouse and sons hit the stream but still found herself with an awful lot of time (and no fish scales) on her hands.

So she grabbed a camera and parlayed her love of the outdoors into a passion for nature photography.
Sharon's cards and prints capture the exquisite beauty of the Western North Carolina landscape with not a fly rod or Wooly Bugger in sight.

What are the odds in life that you would ever have the chance to encounter a World Class Champion in the medium of found wood? It's your lucky day!

Maggie Valley resident Jon R. Dennis can carve you a wood spirit, wildflower or canoe paddle from aspen, butternut, red spruce, pine, cottonwood bark, mahogany and basswood.

We suggest you commission a basswood trout, just because it's funny.