The Baum Shelter

As has been our practice for many years now, in late summer we often visit good friends Merry Sue and Fred Baum at their home of 16 years in Nazareth, PA lovingly dubbed “The Baum Shelter.” Their expansive panoramic view of the Blue Ridge Mountains (with the Appalachian Trail on the other side) is to die for, and it is so blissfully peaceful one can’t help but relax and decompress. So after some quick chit-chat, we don our swimsuits and head down to the in-ground pool to get our chill on…

In the early evening we’re back up in the house for cocktail hour. My view from the kitchen barstool was watching Freddie prepare dinner. I’d be remiss if I didn’t blog about his chicken wing contraption. It was brilliant! He got the main piece from a local tractor supply company and did his mechanical engineering magic on it so that the drumsticks fit perfectly in the notches on one side, and the wings are threaded onto a skewer on the other side.

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Freddie threads the wing pieces onto the skewer side.

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The foreground displays the drum knuckles in the notches, while the wings hang in the background.

First, he made a dry rub mix, coated the chicken pieces, assembled them appropriately onto the wing gizmo, and then set the entire thing on a hot grill, resulting in perfectly cooked, nongreasy, crispy deliciousness. I liked mine with a squirt of Sriracha (I know, you’re shocked…)

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Russ and Fred pose in front of the wing gizmo, while Merry Sue buzzes by in the background.

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The wings are cooked over a hot fire on Fred’s engine grill.

Along with the wings, we did “simple” for dinner including our shrimp cocktail, and the fresh corn on the cob picked the day before at our local farm market—can’t get much easier than that. Also on the menu were Fred’s homemade baked beans in a bourbon sauce, and his ginormous burgers made from a mix of ground beef and pork, chopped onion and spices, with your choice of cheese (I did Swiss), sliced red onion and fabulous tomatoes—compliments of the neighbor’s garden. I can’t believe I ate the whole thing!

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The aroma of Fred’s tasty homemade baked beans in bourbon sauce wafted through the house upon arrival earlier that day.

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The burgers dwarfed the buns but allowed plenty of room for toppings.

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Weimaraner Lucy looks out from under the table hoping one of us will accidentally drop some food.

Sunday morning Merry Sue was the hostess-with-the-mostest serving as a short order cook making individual breakfast requests, one at a time. Apparently their new son-in-law-to-be who works in the hotel industry, informed them of the correct ordering system:

(Eggs over easy are a Merry Sue specialty)

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Russ’s #47: 2 eggs over easy on a bed of crispy hash browns with a side of bacon—hold the toast.

All four of us are crossword aficionados, and Sunday morning/afternoon we outdid ourselves solving four different versions in a row—which included the two biggies: The NY Times and Los Angeles Times. My head was hurting after that marathon…

As we filled in those squares, a conversation over a trip to the NY Finger Lakes in October began to take shape. So online we went only to find out every single B&B was booked up through Thanksgiving—people are serious about their fall foliage sightseeing in the Northeast. I guess I had a few brain cells left because I suggested the Hudson River Valley as an alternative, and luckily we scored—that story to be continued…

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Attire for the weekend is T-shirt and sandal casual.

Only an hour and a half away via several major interstates, yet it feels like another world when visiting The Baum Shelter. Late Sunday afternoon crept up on us and it was time to head back to reality—but we know in a few short weeks we’ll be getting together again and exploring the Hudson River Valley… and patronizing some of their restaurants…

 

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