You may have picked up (or not!) that I’ve been a wee bit quiet around here the last few days. My husband and I took the opportunity last week to abscond for a mini vacation.
It had been a while since we went anywhere for more than a long weekend. It’s just been a busy year, and it’s rare for all the stars to align so that we’re able to make plans in advance.
We rented a cabin in West Virginia at Lost River State Park. The park was recommended to me by a co-worker, and it sounded like just the kind of low on planning/high on relaxation trip that we needed.
The mountains in West Virginia are truly gorgeous. Typically we do our mountain trips to Douthat State Park or Warm Springs, VA, which are excellent, but the mountains in West Virginia just seemed endless. Rain was really only intermittent, and the weather behaved at a perfect 70-75 degrees.
If you like the mountains, cabins at state parks really are the way to go. If you’re a technophile you might go mad (no television, no cell phone reception, no internet), but the cabins are inexpensive, well-maintained and generally spacious. The cabins we’ve stayed at have fireplaces, bedding and towels and a fully functioning kitchen with a stove, fridge, microwave, pots and pans and utensils.
I’ll throw out another plug while I’m at it – if you’re looking for something a little less rustic, on our last night in West Virginia we ate at a nice restaurant attached to a gorgeous inn with great mountain views – The Guest House at Lost River. The owner encouraged us to walk around and explore the property after our meal. It was beautiful and the rates are pretty reasonable for how nice it is. There’s not much in vicinity, but I thought my husband broke it down nicely, “if you just want to chill in opulence, it’s your place.”
Getting back to cabins – because you’re in remote regions, cooking your own food is usually the only game in town. There was nearby no grocery store to run to for eggs and milk, but luckily we picked up a few things before we left. I was able to throw together some curried home fries for brunch one day.
I just don’t buy into the idea that meals need to be complicated or time consuming to be good. I have a great memory of enjoying brunch at a friend’s house a few years ago – omelets, home fries with rosemary and thyme and mimosas.
I tried to pack only a few spices so that I wasn’t carrying the entire kitchen with me, so we brought salt and pepper, curry powder, cayenne, Nature’s Seasoning and paprika. I cubed two russet potatoes into 1 inch pieces and seasoned them generously. I cooked them for about 20 minutes in the cabin’s heavy cast iron skillet; they probably would have cooked faster if I had covered them. Whether you’re vacationing in the mountains or enjoying brunch with mimosas, home fries are a delicious addition.
Lost River Home Fries
1 medium onion, diced
2 russet potatoes, washed and cubed
non-stick cooking spray
salt and pepper, curry powder, cayenne, Nature’s Seasoning and paprika as desired
Heat large skillet to medium temperature and spray with non-stick cooking spray. Dice onion and add to skillet. Wash potatoes well, cut into thin slices and cube. Add potatoes to skillet about 2 minutes after onion. Add seasonings and stir potatoes frequently so that they don’t burn or stick to the pan. I was most heavy handed with the curry powder and salt.
Cook for about 20 minutes, or shorter if your skillet has a cover (if you have a cover, cook for half the time covered and half the time uncovered). You should be able to pierce the potato with a fork without resistance. Season with a little extra curry powder and salt on top before serving, as some of the spices do get cooked away.