A couple weekends ago I enjoyed a long and relaxing weekend in the mountains of Virginia. My dad’s side of the family, The Gallaghers, owns property there. Gallagher Gate was built in the 70’s by my father and his brother’s though it was mostly constructed by my uncles Pete & Dan. We used to go there when I was a kid for family reunions, though sadly the reunions were pretty scarce. I had almost forgotten about the property entirely until about 5 years ago. I mentioned that my family owned a house in the mountains in Virginia to Lady Linzi and the Hub and instantly we planned our first trip.
The very very first time we tried to go to Gallagher Gate was memorial day weekend 5 years ago. However we got no further than Marietta Ohio, which is when our car hydroplaned and swerved out of control and crashed into the retaining wall only seconds before crossing the bridge over into West Virginia. Needless to say we never made it that time.
Driving to the cabin successfully first time (four years ago), was flat-out the scariest drive of my life. We didn’t leave till about 2:00pm because we had to pick up Lady Linzi at school in Columbus. It is an 8 hour drive from Cleveland. We got lost in the George Washington National Forest for three hours. It was late. I mean REALLY late… like 3:00am in the morning late. Deer were jutting out in front of the car left and right. I drove like 15 miles an hour just to avoid a car accident. We got to the cabin and went to bed at 5:00am, slept most of the day away and then turned around the very next day. BUT it was on that trip that we became the Three Shillelaghs.
A Shillelagh is an Irish wooden club made from a knot in a branch. When we first entered my family’s cabin we saw a Shillelagh on a side table full of old knick knacks. The Hub had always wanted a Shillelagh and so we went outside and found a perfect branch and after a lot of back and forth motion with a rusty hand saw, created him a Shillelagh. Lady Linzi and I immediately wanted our own and it was then that the Three Shillelaghs were born.
When we come to the cabin there is a certain list of things we do that are considered tradition: Hardy breakfasts of bacon, eggs, toast , hashbrowns, coffee, and orange juice; S’mores by the fire (or stove like we had one year when the fire wouldn’t start no matter what we did); Horror movies (though last time we watched the Back to the Future Triology); and the photos taken from Blue Ridge Parkway.
This year we added some new elements to our adventures. We went to a restaurant called “Thai Mex II” We had seen the restaurant before but never went in. We figured it this was as good a time as ever, plus I was hungry. Thai Mex II is run by a Thai woman and (we think) her Mexican husband?, though we have no proof of this. I had wonton soup and a green chili cheese burger with fries. It was delicious.
We stopped at a beer supply store/ local brewery called Wild Wolf and Jimi got a Growler (a large jug that gets filled with beer). His Growler is filled with Honey Pear Saison. It was pretty tasty. I may even have another glass sometime even though I despise beer. Linzi got a Growler filled with their root beer made with local honey. It was very unique and yummy.
We also spent some time on our porch, which we have never really done in the past. We are usually here only during the fall and so lounging on a porch is not ideal. It was a chill 54 degrees the two days we were here, but the sun was out and it was warm enough to sit out with a blanket and a hoodie and read. It was gorgeous outside.
This year the movies were more B then horror. The first movie night we watched Godzilla and Mothra: the Battle for Earth and Drive Thru (both excellent choices). Then the second night we watched Troll & Troll 2.
We went to another grocery store then the one we normally do…we know we are wild. 😉
We still took pictures of Blue Ridge Parkway, but additionally we got some excellent pictures of State Road 666 and around the cabin.
We usually cook our own dinners. This year we were able to have a meal at another local brewery, The Devil’s Back Bone. This was incredibly exciting because two years ago when we were at the cabin last, we saw the beginnings of the brewery, which is just down the road from Gallagher’s Gate.
This year I slept well. Did some reading, some writing, memorized lines, did some crafts, and some brain storming. It was exactly what I needed. I wish I could have spent the week there! I’m actually surprised I was able to relax at Gallagher’s Gate. Usually I have massive amounts of anxiety. I should mention I usually have a massive amount of anxiety on most trips I take. However this time around I didn’t. Additionally its surprising because the truth is Gallagher Gate can be creepy. Yes, this area is BEAUTIFUL during the day and locals are friendly, but at night surrounded by woods and no lights, it can be downright creeptastic (I have a vivid imagination and I watch far too many horror movies), thankfully though we always have our Shillelaghs to protect us.