Crippen's County Inn and Restaurant

RIGHT NOW: Fall foliage in the North Carolina mountains is at its peak. Another two weeks and the leaves will fall at a faster rate and then the trees will be naked and then I'll REALLY be sad about Fall being here. I'm still taking my time to adjust to the change and I'm looking for ways to help me during this difficult time.

Okay, I lied: we planned our trip months ago
An impromptu trip to Boone, N.C. led me and two of my good friends to their alma mater, Applachian State University. "DON'T WEAR PURPLE!," they said, hoping I wouldn't walk the streets yelling Pirate chants.

A mountain! With clouds/fog on top! And there were 234 more like this.
After an afternoon of tailgating and cold weather, we started to head home. On 421 South, I saw a sign: BLOWING ROCK 10 MILES.

I said to myself, "I cannot come this far up the mountain and not see Jimmy."
Only, I really didn't say it to myself. I said it aloud and we pulled a U to head to Crippen's County Inn and Restaurant.

OUR PLAN: get a drink at the bar, act fancy for 45 minutes and then drive 90 minutes home.
WHAT HAPPENED: dinner, drinks, dessert, a tour of the restaurant AND the kitchen and lively conversation with Jimmy, his wife Carolyn, his stepdaughter and granddaughter and then drove home 3 hours later.

If you're ever in the area and you're in the mood, expect an experience at Crippen's. It was singularly one the most memorable, fantastic dinners I've had in a long time.
Via Crippen's website:
Young, up and coming, Chef Stan Chamberlain shares his passion for fresh, North Carolina agriculture showcasing produce from the mountains, coastal seafood, NC farm raised beef, pork & fowl cooked creatively simple. Genuinely friendly, knowledgeable staff in crisp, black and white uniforms serve you and your guests discreetly. Weekend live music in the parlor. Outdoor porch and garden dining.
Crippen’s makes all their bread on-site. Slices of olive loaf, sundried tomato, herbed and cheddar  breads were available with fresh, whipped butter, habanero infused oil, white bean and garlic dips.
Note: Don't pig out on the bread. You'll be full.

The new Fall menu had just been posted online and we got to pick what our hearts desired.

Crispy duck breast with butternut squash, baby carrots, lamb sausage

Bittersweet chocolate Infused espresso crusted beef tenderloin with Irish cream sauce, white cheddar potato au gratin, sauteed snap peas

Seared lamb with acorn squash pudding, parsnip strips

Jimmy wouldn't let us leave without trying dessert. Our seams were already bursting due to all of the bread, wine, and @#&!ing delicious food. We were told the tale of "Il Dolce"... Crippen's resident pastry chef. Jimmy spun a story of how the man makes magic. And he didn't lie. Look below:

Almond Joy
Left to right: Kaffir lime gelato, coconut tuille, chocolate ganache cake with white chocolate garnish.

I've forgotten what this was called, but I believe it was a stack of Granny Smith Apple meringue disks, apple gelee, Granny Smith apple foam, caramel, walnuts, crisp apple garnish
Il Dolce and Jimmy Crippen
If you're anywhere near the Blue Ridge Parkway, point your GPS to Crippen's. You're in for an experience of a lifetime.

Crippen’s Country Inn and Restaurant
239 Sunset Drive
Blowing Rock, NC 28605
(828) 295-3487
Open Table Reservations

Crippen's on Urbanspoon

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About the author

Nikki Miller-Ka

Nikki Miller-Ka

Ms. Miller-Ka is a classically trained chef with a BA in English from East Carolina University and a Culinary Arts Associate Degree from Le Cordon Bleu-Miami.

Formerly, she’s worked as a researcher, an editorial assistant, reporter and guest blogger for various publications and outlets in the Southeast. She has also worked as a catering chef, a pastry chef, a butcher, a baker, and a biscuit-maker. Presently, she is a food editor, freelance food writer, and a tour guide for Taste Carolina Gourmet Food Tours.

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