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A Gathering on the Ridge with Novel Adventures

I had an Outlander adventure last week -- an amazing weekend packed with Outlandish activities -- that I was very privileged to share with a diverse group of Outlanders from all over the US.

We gathered together on Thursday at The Mast Farm Inn in Valle Crucis, historic lodging in the Western High Country of North Carolina -- the area that inspired Fraser's Ridge -- and just a few miles down the road from the Grandfather Mountain Highland Games.

Mast Farm Inn

The weekend was organized by Novel Adventures, a unique and full-service travel company that makes your dream of immersing yourself in your favourite fiction come true. I can't say enough about the all-inclusive experience that Kim and Andrea put together.

Fortunately, I've got lots of pictures to help me tell the story.

The Fiery Cross

After a welcome reception on the ground of Mast Farm, we hopped in vehicles and headed down the twisty mountain roads to the Torchlight Ceremony of the Grandfather Games.

Kim and Andrea had contacted the organizers of the games to request that Clan Outlander be allowed to participate in the Calling of the Clans that night, and when a member of our group, Sheryl Hess, took her place on the field, I think we all got the shivers.

The next morning, I was up bright and early to get ready for my big part of the weekend. I designed two Outlander menus, and guided 4 different groups through their preparation.

Menu A Menu B

It was one of the biggest thrills of my life to have these women gather with me in a couple of rather rustic kitchens that were short on modern tools. We improvised, just as Mrs. Bug would have done, and put together what we all agreed was a very tasty lunch made from the basic, whole-food ingredients called for in most of Outlander Kitchen's recipes.

As Kim from Novel Adventures observed, there's no better way to build community than to join together to make a meal.

Photo by Mary McMillin-Koski

Photo by Mary McMillin-Koski

After a demo, everyone crimped their own bridies.

Photo by Mary McMillin-Koski

Photo by Mary McMillin-Koski[/caption]

Edie was part of the team that put together Mrs. Bug's Gingerbread & Crud...a recipe that is not here on the blog, but will be in the Outlander Kitchen Cookbook, coming in 2016.

Photo by Lindsay Henderson

Photo by Lindsay Henderson

A tasty lunch of Brianna's Bridies and Claire's "Weed" Salad.

Native Storyteller

That evening, after a delicious dinner prepared by the Mast Farm Inn Kitchen, we were treated to oral stories by Perry Ground, Turtle Clan member of the Onondaga Nation. After Perry, we were treated to a selection of songs from Gillebride MacMillan, who plays Gwyllin the Bard in the TV series.

Again, the video is dark, but you can just see Gillebride as he introduces, and then sings, the Skye Boat song in Scottish Gaelic.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ky-l5wiPldI

The next morning, Saturday, we rose early and headed back to the Grandfather Games for a full day of Highland events, lineage tracing amongst the Clan tents, and maybe just a wee bit of shopping. As you can see, I have a thing for thistles.

My Englishman calls it a problem, but I like to remind him a thing for jewels would be a whole lot worse.

image

Gillebride MacMillan and me

photo by @Sheugs on Twitter

The best part of the day was another meeting with Gillebride...and you can actually see him this time. He is an ageless, gentle soul, and my picture with him is my favourite souvenir of the weekend.

Outlanders at the Bar

Back at the Mast Farm Inn, we made our way across the road to their 18th Century Barn where we had a good old pig roast, complete with 6 bottles of Outlander Kitchen Cherry Bounce...

Pig Roast

We were joined by Seven Nations, the Celtic rock band who rocked the crowd at the Games earlier that afternoon. After dinner they played a (mostly) acoustic set complete with Bodhran, Fiddle and Pipes.

Thank you to everyone who was a part of this weekend -- I will remember it for the rest of my life. If you're looking for your own Outlander adventure, I recommend contacting Novel Adventures.

There is talk of doing this all again next year, and I'd love to meet more Outlanders in the High Country of North Carolina, so reminscent of the Highlands of Scotland.

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Comments

15 Jul 2015 - 8:35pm

Leslie Vinson

What a fabulous outreach for the seasons' interim! I am quite certain that there are thousands of Outlander fans out there saying to themselves, "Why didn't I know about this??" Novel Adventures will be busy all year! Can't wait for your wonderful cookbook to come out next year. You have managed to keep our kitchens feeling and smelling like we have been part of Diana Gabaldon's stories, and we can't thank you enough.

16 Jul 2015 - 6:50am

Yoshimi


Hi Theresa - thanks so much for sharing your wonderful adventure. I baked Brianna's bridies today - yum!

16 Jul 2015 - 8:02am

LoneRanger

Beautiful..!! I envy all these guys!!!!!!!!!!

19 Jul 2015 - 8:57pm

Bullrem


I have been to the gathering on the Ridge before with a wonderful group of Outlanders. However, I was not able to attend this year. July 10 is my bday and July 11 is my twin granddaughters'. This was a big bday for both of us and we needed to be together and at home. Your blog is making me second guess that decision - well not really. I had a great time here. Maybe another time I can be on 'The Ridge' with you all again. I am loving the recipes. Helen in Ark.

Theresa


I hope you and your granddaughters had a great weekend together, Helen!

08 Sep 2015 - 10:15pm

Kimberlee Puhrmann

Karen, Theresa WILL be there again in 2016, and registration for the event is now open. Follow this link for more info and to get registered: http://www.noveladventuresvacations.com/#!a-gathering-on-the-ridge/c18es Hope to hear from you soon! ~Kim

08 Sep 2015 - 10:15pm

Kimberlee Puhrmann

Ann, Theresa WILL be there again in 2016, and registration for the event is now open. Follow this link for more info and to get registered: http://www.noveladventuresvacations.com/#!a-gathering-on-the-ridge/c18es Hope to hear from you soon! ~Kim

08 Sep 2015 - 10:16pm

Kimberlee Puhrmann

Katie, Theresa WILL be there again in 2016, and registration for the event is now open. Follow this link for more info and to get registered: http://www.noveladventuresvacations.com/#!a-gathering-on-the-ridge/c18es Hope to hear from you soon! ~Kim

08 Sep 2015 - 10:17pm

Kimberlee Puhrmann

Denise, Theresa WILL be there again in 2016, and registration for the event is now open. Follow this link for more info and to get registered: http://www.noveladventuresvacations.com/#!a-gathering-on-the-ridge/c18es Hope to hear from you soon! ~Kim

08 Sep 2015 - 10:18pm

Kimberlee Puhrmann

Kim, Theresa WILL be there again in 2016, and registration for the event is now open. Follow this link for more info and to get registered: http://www.noveladventuresvacations.com/#!a-gathering-on-the-ridge/c18es Hope to hear from you soon! ~Kim

08 Sep 2015 - 10:18pm

Kimberlee Puhrmann

Lei, Theresa WILL be there again in 2016, and registration for the event is now open. Follow this link for more info and to get registered: http://www.noveladventuresvacations.com/#!a-gathering-on-the-ridge/c18es Hope to hear from you soon! ~Kim

08 Sep 2015 - 10:19pm

Kimberlee Puhrmann

Lynne, Theresa WILL be there again in 2016, and registration for the event is now open. Follow this link for more info and to get registered: http://www.noveladventuresvacations.com/#!a-gathering-on-the-ridge/c18es Hope to hear from you soon! ~Kim

08 Sep 2015 - 10:19pm

Kimberlee Puhrmann

Anna, Theresa WILL be there again in 2016, and registration for the event is now open. Follow this link for more info and to get registered: http://www.noveladventuresvacations.com/#!a-gathering-on-the-ridge/c18es Hope to hear from you soon! ~Kim

08 Sep 2015 - 10:20pm

Kimberlee Puhrmann

Kathleen, Theresa WILL be there again in 2016, and registration for the event is now open. Follow this link for more info and to get registered: http://www.noveladventuresvacations.com/#!a-gathering-on-the-ridge/c18es Hope to hear from you soon! ~Kim

08 Sep 2015 - 10:21pm

Kimberlee Puhrmann

Alylene, Theresa WILL be there again in 2016, and registration for the event is now open. Follow this link for more info and to get registered: http://www.noveladventuresvacations.com/#!a-gathering-on-the-ridge/c18es Hope to hear from you soon! ~Kim

15 Jul 2015 - 6:59pm

thompsonpat


You're the best for giving us a "taste" of your experience! thank you!

15 Jul 2015 - 7:10pm

Kimberlee


This was truly an incredible weekend filled with fellowship, community and activities! We were so honored to have you be a part of it, and eagerly look forward to next year!

15 Jul 2015 - 7:13pm

Merry Miller Moon


That must have been an amazing experience. Thank you for sharing with us Theresa! :)

15 Jul 2015 - 7:23pm

Steph Taylor


That is an absolutely stunning experience and I thank you so much for generously sharing with us. I am at work, so I must need skip the video until this evening. As a solo practitioner, I have a very demanding boss! I look forward to the video experience (which will require a few tissues for tears of happiness). Fabulous!

15 Jul 2015 - 7:24pm

Karen Vallaire


How marvelous! I may just reserve my place for next year, if you will be there again.

15 Jul 2015 - 7:24pm

ann


OMG, my eyes teared up just thinking about how wonderful this weekend must have been! If they do it again, maybe i can come? Sounds like so much fun! Thank you for sharing... :-)

15 Jul 2015 - 7:38pm

Robin Haynes

It sounds like a lovely weekend! How fun!

15 Jul 2015 - 7:47pm

The Suzzzz


I'm a big 7N fan, very cool that you got 2 sets from them, it's been ages since I've seen them live. The menus look great, I may have to try one of them for dinner before the first episode of season 2 airs.

15 Jul 2015 - 7:53pm

Jan Anderson


Fantastic post Theresa! This looks like SO much fun! With your pics and videos and descriptions I almost feel like I was there. I love Gillebride's Gaelic version of the theme song. So lovely! Wonderful that you not only got our and enjoyed yourself, but that you also took part in the event and made other's trips special by sharing your gift! :-)

15 Jul 2015 - 7:56pm

Jane Butkus


Theresa, it was such a pleasure to cook with you and my group of ladies. Thanks for this post which gives a great summary of our fabulous experience with Novel Adventures.

15 Jul 2015 - 7:56pm

Katie


Wait, when are you doing this again next year? Will you be doing the cooking courses then too? I would love to learn from you! Every recipe I've tried on this blog, (and I'm ecstatic for the cookbook next year) have turned out beautifully. I requested the Sweet Potato Pie from Fiery Cross for my birthday dinner yesterday.

Theresa


Watch www.NovelAdventuresVacations.com for more info, Katie!

15 Jul 2015 - 8:47pm

Denise


I couldnt go this year, but I'm definatley going next year.!!!

15 Jul 2015 - 9:28pm

Kim


What a fantastic time! I hope there is another event next year. I want to be there! I have a thing for thistles too. And news of a new cookbook- a very exciting post indeed!

15 Jul 2015 - 9:59pm

Samantha


If you see Clan Leslie, say "Hello!" Many of us attend the Grandfather Mountain Games. Love your site.

15 Jul 2015 - 11:31pm

Lei Lashua


This sounds so amazing! Sign me up for next year's event. I would love to meet other Outlander fans.

Kimberlee Puhrmann


Hi Lei, Follow us at www.facebook.com/noveladventure for info on next year's event. info to come out soon!

16 Jul 2015 - 12:20am

lynne cunningham


What can I say Im so jealouse. What a wonderful adventure -would have loved to have joined the fun. Hadnt heard about this. Will difinitely look into. Sincerely Lynne Cunningham

16 Jul 2015 - 12:27am

Gloria Storms


What a wonderful time I had! The cooking and companionship of us all working together was so much fun! Not to mention the food was delicious! I am looking forward to making my own Birdies! I know many of us that we're there are looking forward to doing it again next year! Can't wait for the cookbook to come out!

16 Jul 2015 - 1:16am

Katherine Cooke


WE had the best time with YOU! Thank you for working so diligently on the recipes you brought to us, shuttling back and forth between the two kitchens, and teaching us how to crimp! Loved every second!

16 Jul 2015 - 2:15am

Anna Lapping


I'd love to attend next year, and we're so close! It looks like a grand time.

16 Jul 2015 - 12:28pm

Connie Overton


Your recipes are a treat and make the Outlander novels seem even more real. Enjoyed reading this post and seeing the activities around the highland games. I have tried to get to Grandfather Mountain for this huge event but traffic is pretty bad during the games so I never made it that far. ( Poor planning?) I live just across the mountain in East Tennessee and have been hoping that the Outlander TV series lasts long enough to get everybody to this region.

16 Jul 2015 - 3:00pm

Kathleen Heldenbrand


thanks for giving me a "taste" of your adventure! I would love to go sometime. I'm so looking forward to the release of your cookbook, although I use your website recipe's frequently and make your bannocks on a weekly basis.....they are so yummy!!

16 Jul 2015 - 9:48pm

Alylene Fields


how wonderful!!!! I would so love to experience this. I am so excited about this. You make the book come alive in such a tasty way. <3

18 Jul 2015 - 9:52pm

judy


wow!!! what a total blast!! thanks for sharing you good times. The cooking would have been a highlight for me; but the whole trip sounds "perfect"!

21 Jul 2015 - 12:37am

Edie Sine


Theresa, Cooking with you was such a highlight of our weekend at Mast Farm Inn! I surprised myself at how it all came back to me (re:cooking) when you started the instructions! Now, I have just heard you talking about our cooking class on your radio interview (CFAX 1070) and you hit the nail on the head. We all had such fun and lea ed, ate and enjoyed! That's what's missing in today's cooking! It was the best! Thank you!

Theresa


Thanks right back at you, Edie! And to everyone at the Gathering. It was a memorable weekend for so many reasons.

21 Jul 2015 - 2:33am

Sharon Tomlinson


Sounds like a wonderful weekend. Seven Nations is AMAZING!! I saw them years ago in my home town of New Bedford, Ma. at the Irish Immigrant Pub.

25 Jul 2015 - 4:04am

Laura


Theresa, We were at the Grandfather Mountain Highland Games also, and I am so sorry I missed seeing you! I did talk with someone who was a the Novel Adventures weekend who had a great time, and we raved together about the wonder that Brianna's Bridies are! We spent the week at Grandfather Mountain Gaelic Song and Language week and spent time with Gillebridge also and found him most enjoyable! Thank you for sharing your experiences!

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