This weekend, Zach and I joined some friends for a trip to Marlinton, WV for their annual Fall Festival and “Roadkill Cook-off” — all of us had seen advertisements for the Festival when we’ve visited Pocahontas County, so our curiosity was peaked. Our friend Mandee’s husband Garrett’s family happens to have a cabin located right along the Greenbrier River and they invited us down to hang out at the cabin and check out the Festival.
See Zach and Garrett?
The cabin was great! All the comforts of home. We arrived on Friday evening and left Sunday morning, so minus our Roadkill Festival fare, we concluded that we would need three meals while we were there — dinner Friday, breakfast Saturday, and dinner on Saturday. So each couple was responsible for one meal. Mandee made us an excellent chili on Friday evening (I threw together a quickie cast-iron skillet cornbread also). I’m sad I didn’t take any photos, but I was ravenous and just inhaled it! I was responsible for breakfast Saturday morning. Since we were right on the Greenbrier River Trail, I wanted to get a run or two in, so I decided on a low-maintenance breakfast: quiche!
Quiche is the easiest. You just crack some eggs, add in some cream, cheese and veggies then cook it until it’s not runny anymore. I even used a store-bought crust because I was going for quick and easy. I love easy meals that are delicious and seem labor-intensive. This quiche turned out great. Usually I go the asparagus route with quiche, but this time I threw in some broccoli and peppers. It was very delicious. I made two, and we had plenty of leftovers to heat up and eat while we were packing up on Sunday morning.
Speaking of running (was I?), like I mentioned we were right on the Greenbrier River Trail. It’s a 78 mile trail that goes through the mountains of West Virginia, and it is breathtaking. On Saturday morning, I did a three-mile loop in one direction and then on Sunday I did a six-mile loop in the other direction. It was a really pretty run, and the weather was chilly enough that once I started sweating I was still comfortable.
I must have stopped to take a million photos.
Our cabin was located on mile marker 77, so on my six mile loop I ran until I got to mile marker 74 and then turned around. I love running in the solitude and nature, but do not try to do it without music. When I run in town, there is plenty to keep my interest, but miles and miles of river and trees, while lovely, can get pretty repetitive pretty quickly. The first morning I realized that I forgot my headphones, hence the shorter run, but then on Sunday morning I realized I brought that hat you see on my head up there, which has built in headphones. Luckily it was chilly enough to run in a hat.
Enjoying the view from the cabin porch, post-run.
Let’s talk about the Roadkill Cook-off, shall we? The Pocahontas County Autumn Harvest Festival and Roadkill Cook-off has been happening for 22 years now. The first rule listed in the WV Living Magazine article about it last year reads: The main ingredient must be any animal commonly found dead on the side of the road, including groundhog, possum, deer, rabbit, squirrel, or snake. Pigs, cows, chickens, horses, and goats are also acceptable. The animal need not actually come off the side of the road, and in fact, most of the judges prefer that it didn’t.
I’ll have to admit, I was pretty nervous. I’ve been a vegetarian in the past, so going beyond my usual chicken or fish was a bit of a stretch for me. But, these are once in a lifetime opportunities, people!
After a rainy Friday, we had some fabulous weather for the festival on Saturday. Blue skies, fluffy white clouds, hot sun and cool breeze — perfect fall weather. The Festival itself was pretty standard — crafts, food, etc. But the real fun was located in the town square. For three dollars, you got a wristband that allowed you to sample any of the food that was being judged for the cook-off:
The first line we got into was a booth that was serving “Possum Burgoo” I’m pretty sure they were trying to go for a traditional Kentucky Burgoo (which is amazing!), so I figured if nothing else I would like the stew itself.
This possum was incredibly life-like.
The stew itself resembled chili. I got a huge chunk of meat in mine, which I bravely ate. It tasted exactly like chicken. In fact, I swear it actually was chicken because possums are kind of gross and I don’t want to think about eating them. The stew itself, however, was bland. After that I went into it with a new attitude: Food Critic.
After the first booth, we got straight into line to try a squirrel meat rice dish. It was a little better than the Burgoo, but I was still searching for my favorite.
The next line we got into had the best presentation, in my opinion. They were serving “Porcupine Quill” which was basically a skewer of porcupine meat (are porcupines typically roadkill?) with vegetables and a yummy sweet and a little spicy sauce.
The boy in the middle said that Native Americans would use this recipe and use the porcupine’s quills as skewers for the meat and veggies. This was by far my favorite of the cook-off. They claimed to use the traditional Native American recipe, but it seemed a lot like teriyaki sauce. It was still delicious.
After that, we tried a bear meatloaf, which I found to be a little mushy, but everyone else seemed to like.
A few of the booths were closed down because judging was happening. This is the one I would have liked to try:
In case you can’t read that menu, they had a Teriyaki Venison, a Rabbit and Dandelion salad and Venison fried rice. Yum! I’m really sorry I missed that one.
All in all, we thought the Roadkill Cook-off was just so-so. While the food was interesting and exciting, other than the samples of the food being judged, there wasn’t many food vendors around. There was a stand selling goat meat sandwiches (not my thing) and a stand selling Polish sausage (so my thing). Everyone got a goat meat sandwich, but when I went over to get a sausage they were out of onions and peppers so I passed. We ended up going to a restaurant and having a few bites there before heading back to the cabin for the evening.
We got back to the cabin just as the sun was setting. I ran to the river to take some photos of the view, and I got the above gem. Despite the festival being kind of a bust, we had a great time hanging out, enjoying nature and each other’s company so the trip was a success!
Question of the Day:
Did you do anything fun this weekend?