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October 11, 2021

Recipe for “Buckhorn Brew” Mulled Wine

I always associate mulled wine with happy occasions.  The first time I was introduced to this splendid drink was when Jack and I lived in Chicago.  It was a cold December evening and we were visiting the Christkindlmarket

This mulled wine is flavored with apple cider, honey and spices.

My mulled wine recipe is perfect for crisp fall evenings. Photo by Edward Howell.

http://Www.christkindlmarket.com in Daley Plaza. It was gently snowing and we were surrounded by sparkling holiday lights, the sound of festive music, and the aromas of roasted nuts and spiced wine.  The mug of wine warmed my hands, the scent delighted my nose, and the flavors tickled my taste buds.  Since then, I have made hot spiced wine for my family’s Christmas Eve Celebrations.

This October we are offering my autumn mulled wine in our sitting room on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday evenings.  If it meets with a positive response we will continue through November.  My recipe is full of fall flavors:  dry and fruity red wine, apple cider, honey, orange, and a variety of warm spices.  I recommend making it and serving it in a crock pot.  If you are entertaining a crowd this recipe may be doubled.   If you have any leftover, it may be kept in the refrigerator for a few days then gently reheated.

Use your favorite red wine in this recipe.  I prefer a somewhat dry Cabernet Sauvignon with notes of dark fruit and firm tannins as I like the way it blends with the other ingredients.

Buckhorn Brew Mulled Wine Recipe

1 bottle red wine (Merlot, Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon all work well)

3 cups of apple cider

1/4 cup honey

1 orange, sliced

5 whole cloves

4 cardamom pods

2 cinnamon sticks

1 star anise

Add the wine, cider, and honey to a slow cooker.  Stir to be sure honey dissolves.  Put the spices in a cheesecloth bag and add to the cooker.  Float slices of orange on the top.  Cook on low for 45 minutes to an hour.  When ready to serve, turn the slow cooker to the “keep warm” setting.  Ladle into mugs and garnish with an orange slice and/or a cinnamon stick.  Makes 6-7 servings.

I hope this aromatic drink helps you to welcome autumn to your house!



October 4, 2021

A Guide to Buckhorn Inn’s Nature Trail (Part 1)

As many guests know, the Buckhorn Inn Nature Trail is about a mile long and takes about an hour.  It is important to wear appropriate shoes as some sections are moderately steep.  A complete map of the route and a printed guide is available in our office.  To whet your appetite, here are some highlights!

Beginning the Trail

The Nature Trail begins with this historic 1938 Inn itself.  Before the Inn was built, a mountain cabin with rough hewn timbers, shake roof, and stone fireplace occupied the site.  Douglas Bebb purchased the property from Lying Bill Price—a mountaineer who was well-known for his tall tales.

Inside the Inn’s front door is the dining room and veranda.  This spot offers a beautiful view of Mt. LeConte, the third highest mountain in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.  This is a popular spot for dinner guests to enjoy a glass of wine before their meal.

Back outside the front door and to the left you will see a sloping path through the woods.  To your right you will see Rosebay rhododendrons which usually reach

The Nature Trail features several specimens of this attractive evergreen.

Many birds and deer feed on the bitter holly berries. Photo by Annie Spratt.

the peak of their white blooms in June.  As you continue down the trail you will see American holly on both sides.  

To your left you will see the John and Nettie Hill Garden which features native plants.http://www.tnps.org

Near trail marker number 5 you will see the Callaway Garden, which was established in 2001.  This garden features both sun and shade plants, including many native flowers and shrubs.

You will than go to the right to pick up the trail down to the Buckhorn Pond.  On your way you will see the Umbrella magnolia at marker number 6.  If you examine the trunks carefully, you will see neat rows of holes made by sapsuckers eating the sap and the insects trapped in it.  

Approaching the Pond

Near marker number 7 you will see redbud and white-flowered dogwood trees that make a beautiful spring combination. There also is an American chestnut tree in this area.  We are thankful it escaped the blight.

One of the most abundant trees in the area is the tulip tree.  A member of the magnolia family, the tree was called the Apollo of the Woods by poet Walt Whitman because it grows tall and straight.

You will now find yourself near the spring fed Buckhorn Pond.  It is home to two mute swans, Bubble and Squeak.  Bass, carp, koi and perch all call the pond home.  You also may see frogs or the occasional turtle.  Birds attracted to the pond include wood ducks, spotted sandpipers, and herons.

Please visit our blog next week for the next segment of our Trail Guide!