The Lufkin Supper Club tours Sandy Mush
Last week, we created a custom Cycle To Farm tour for a group of friends who have been meeting as a Supper Club for many years. Members of the group traveled from Texas and Tennessee to spend a long weekend in Asheville. Each member of the group planned portions of the trip and it was Elaine’s idea to create a cycling tour for her friends.
Many of you know that I am a climbing junkie. I tend toward creating routes that give riders some bragging rights. This tour needed to be a little different. Elaine wanted a tour that was doable for a casual cyclist, included a visit to a farm and an artist, and finished with a farm-to-table meal that included wine. Those of you who have ridden in Cycle To Farm Sandy Mush may remember that the epic climb up Doggett Mountain was preceded by some of the most beautiful and flat miles in Western North Carolina — the valley of Big Sandy Mush.
The weather was ideal and Big Sandy Mush looked like a postcard. We picked up the group at the Biltmore Village Inn, a B&B tucked away on a hillside above Biltmore Village (members of the group raved about the rooms and the innkeeper) and took a van ride to Leicester with rental bikes from Liberty Bicycles loaded in the trailer.
Some of the riders were a bit apprehensive about the tour given that they had not ridden a bike recently. Posing in front of the Paynes Chapel sign provided some comic relief. Paynes Chapel sits at the intersection of Sandy Mush Creek Road and Sandy Mush Road.
Blue skies and green pastures greeted the riders as they rolled past Dave & Kim Everett’s Farm. Notice the grassy field near the gap of Beaverdam Mountain in the distance which marks one of only two routes leading into and out of the valley.
Riders made the turn onto Willow Creek which lead to the first rolling hills of the route. The riders rolled over the hills as if they were nothing and arrived at the first stop well ahead of schedule.
You may recognize Terri Wells because she was my assistant for all four Cycle To Farm events in 2014. We visited her at Bee Branch Farm where she spends her days growing vegetables for her CSA farm family members, tending to some very beautiful flower beds, and a whole host of other projects. Terri provided a tour of her farm and explained how her husband, Glenn, raised three queen bees for their bee hives this year.
If you loved the Cycle To Farm Bowls that served as the rider giveaway in Black Mountain and Sandy Mush, you would love to visit Jones Pottery to see the many lovely pieces that Matt Jones and his apprentice, Dean Pieranunzi, have created.
One of the riders works for an employee-owned grocery store chain in Texas and she took a special interest in this old general store. The store sits at the intersection of Sandy Mush Road and Willow Creek Road.
One significant hill stood between the end of our tour and the vineyard and many of the riders decided to tackle the climb. A victorious group arrived at Addison Farms Vineyard where owner (and dear friend) Jeff Frisbee provided a wine tasting accompanied by yummy appetizers.
Tricia Baehr and her helpers, Brandt & Katie, prepared a farm-to-table meal using locally sourced ingredients including vegetables from Bee Branch Farm. Tricia, who is not only a talented chef, but also a farmer in her own right, prepared the meal for Cycle To Farm Sandy Mush last fall.
Lunch was served in the vineyard and it was simply delicious. Fresh vegetable, edible flowers, pasture raised meats, goat cheese, heirloom tomatoes, wine, good company, great conversation…what’s not to love about Elaine’s dream?
And that’s what I love most about being the Velo Girl…creating the right route, riding hard, eating well, living local. Beautiful Cycling Experiences created just for you.
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