26 July, 2012

As American as App' Pah Ah l'Mowed

This post has been in draft for almost a month...but here it is anyway, the old news, because I need to get back into the habit of writing and posting...and because the tossing together of 22 relatives in a sweltering hot old-fashioned resort is great source material.

Every summer my family retreats to the mountains of West Virginia for a week.  We leave behind the miserable masses of Washington, DC tourists and commuters and enter a land where the sun shines, the homey food just keeps a-comin', and the roads have names like "Branch of Kump."  (What exactly is a kump?  I am equal parts curiosity and trepidation.)  We go to our happy place, Capon Springs and Farms.  At Capon ("CAYp'n" or "CayPON") there is no cell-phone reception, and only one room with internet access.  This may be the only place other than an airplane where you can be completely unplugged, guilt-free.

We are always at Capon Springs for the Fourth of July.  I've never experienced "A Capital Fourth," and I'm okay with that.  I love the annual trek up to the top of the golf course (the lone spot in this vale of leisure where one may obtain a cell phone signal) at dusk.  We eat dinner at long wooden tables and then play games while we wait for the sun to slip behind the distant Shenandoah ridges.  A "pre-show" of low-flying sparklers announces that it's almost dark enough for the BIG show to begin.  We spread blankets on the ground as far down the hill as we dare; we have learned after years of Capon fireworks shows that if you lie on your back far enough down the hill, your entire field of vision is monopolized by the falling trails of fire, and you are left laughing with dizzy awe, having lost all sense of space and depth.
I look forward to this chicken all year.

Some of my favorite times at Capon are the family-style meals.  Some of the food is fantastic -- I look forward to the spit-roasted chicken all year long -- and some of it is not.  But it's all offered to you in the same wild and wonderful West-Virginia-ese:

"App'-pah-ah-l'mowed" = Apple pie a la mode
"Chockl' puddin' w'whipp c-ream" = Chocolate pudding with whipped cream
"Keenaloape" = Cantaloupe



Sometimes when I'm attempting to describe Capon to people who've never been, they say, "Ohhh, like the place in 'Dirty Dancing'!!!"  I never know how to respond, because while there are lots of little guest houses nestled among trees and the patrons are mostly soft city-folk, there is most definitely nothing like a Patrick Swayze on the premises.  Capon's still fantastic, but do NOT expect anything like this to happen:

"Welcome to West Virginia."

2 comments:

Sarah said...

Ginny, I will have to visit this place soon. My husband and I are moving to Martinsburg, WV (this very weekend) and we've been looking for a few fun places to camp and explore this fall. Thanks for the information!

Ginny said...

Oh my goodness! Best wishes for a smooth move, Sarah - and I hope that you are able to quickly find good community and feel settled into a new home. Yes, I definitely recommend Capon! I've been going there since I was a kid and instantly feel relaxed whenever I arrive there. It's close enough that my mom even sometimes goes just for a quick overnight if she needs a little break.