Have you ever tried to recreate an old college experience?  Gathered with friends you haven’t seen for a while? Planned a weekend trip and hoped everyone got along?

I highly recommend doing it, especially if it turns out as ours did.  The weekend was one of the funniest, most enlightening and joyful experiences.

Dave had reconnected with several Duke classmates in the last few years.  We invited those classmates, Jeff and Carson Howard and Dan and Susan Nunn for a weekend in Cashiers, NC.

To hike, to eat great meals and to reminisce about old college times.

Our first hike was to Whiteside Mountain and Devil’s Courthouse near Highlands, NC.

Standing at the highest point on Whiteside.  (I know the great photographers will say, “their faces are in shadows!”  I say, “but look at the sky!”)

The very top of Whiteside Mountain photo by Kathy Miller

 This mountain is spectacular in its sheer cliff and rock face.  It towers over the headwaters of the famous Chatooga River; its rainwater flows off the mountain, into the Chatooga River and eventually flows to the Savannah River and into the Atlantic Ocean.  I love the thought of this journey.

On The Face of Whiteside Mountain Highlands, NC photo by Kathy Miller

The views are spectacular and from this vantage point we can see 2 states, South Carolina and Georgia as we stand in NC.

Overlooking Whiteside Cove Road from Whiteside Mountain photo by Kathy Miller

The face of Whiteside…see the brow, the nose and the chin in profile?

The Face of Whiteside Mountain photo by Kathy Miller

One of Dave’s favorite books, The Mountain at the End of the Trail by Robert Zahner is an endless lesson on Whiteside and its many secrets.

Dinner that night was a special treat,  Canyon Kitchen in Lonesome Valley.   Chef John Fleer oversees a fabulous dining experience in Jennings Barn.

Canyon Kitchen in Lonesome Valley Cashiers, NC photo by Kathy Miller

Canyon Kitchen serves a prix fixe meal that changes weekly, using the freshest local ingredients.  We like to go early to enjoy drinks on the back lawn.

 Guests can wander through the trout raceway organic gardens while gazing up at beautiful Laurel Knob and Cow Rock.

Organic Gardenin in Trout Troughs Canyon Kitchen photo by Kathy Miller

The view from the barn at Canyon Kitchen in Lonesome Valley Chef John Fleer photo by Kathy Miller

Families gather together before dinner

Guests enjoying the view at Canyon Kitchen at Lonesome Valley photo by Kathy Miller

and children run through the meadows, one doing a cartwheel.  Brings back lovely childhood memories.

Cartwheels are fun photo by Kathy Miller

The Barn is anchored with large fireplaces, and multiple barn doors open on each side of the structure for beautiful views and mountain breezes.

Most of us chose the Charmoula Roasted North Carolina Grouper as our entree,  but Dan ordered the Syrah Braised Lamb Shank with Wild Mushroom Gravy…

Braised Lamb Shank With Mushroom Gravy photo by Kathy Miller

Desserts choices included Lemon Meringue Goat Cheese Cheesecake with Summer Solstice Sorbet, Hibiscus-Vanilla Bean South Carolina Peaches and Lemon Buttons….delicious!

Lemon Meringue Goat Cheesecake photo by Kathy Miller

or Tennessee Black and Tan Pie with Tennessee Bourbon Meringue and Pretzel-Peanut Crust and on the side a Fudgesicle Coke Float with Peanuts….See what I mean?

Tennessee Black and Tan Pie with fudgesicle Coke Float photo by Kathy Miller

Next day’s hike to work off that wonderful dinner….a beautiful waterfall hike in Panthertown Valley, Frolictown Falls.

Frolictown Falls in Panthertown Valley photo by Kathy Miller

 Granny Burrell Falls, a great lunch and wading place.

Granny Burrell Falls in Panthertown Valley photo by Kathy Miller

Carson wading and looking at Granny Burrell Falls photo by Kathy Miller

Susan & Dan at Granny Burrell Falls photo by Kathy Miller

Jeff and Carson at Granny Burrell Falls photo by Kathy Miller

The guys at Granny Burrell Falls photo by Kathy Miller

Sheldon is our happy hiker.

The girls at Granny Burrell Falls Panthertown Valley photo by Kathy Miller

After hiking we did our usual….eat… at The Gamekeeper’s Tavern in Sapphire Valley.

Susan and Dan at The Gameskeepers Tavern in Sapphire Valley photo by Kathy Miller

Jeff and Carson at The Gameskeepers Tavern in Sapphire Valley photo by Kathy Miller

Then off to show our guests one of our favorite spots, High Hampton Inn in Cashiers.  We have hiked Rock Mountain many times.

The lawn at High Hampton Inn looking at Rock Mountain photo by Kathy Miller

 High Hampton Inn is a great family vacation spot.  Lots of activities for kids of all ages.  Speaking of kids how about a game of Corn Hole?

A little corn hole anyone? photo by Kathy Miller

Susan aims, winds up and

Susan winding up her corn hole toss photo by Kathy Miller

Fires!..A near miss.

Dan almost gets it corn hole photo by Kathy Miller

The main entrance High Hampton Inn at tea time.

High Hampton Inn at tea time photo by Kathy Miller

After a long fun day we made it back to the porch in time for our next meal.

Dinner on the Screened porch photo by Kathy Miller

 My go-to appetizer, Kathy’s Hot Artichoke Dip.  It is the traditional artichokes, parmesan cheese and mayo, but with my twist,  black sliced olives and Rotel’s tomatoes and green chilies.  Always a favorite!

Kathy's Hot Artichoke Dip With Green Chilies and Tomato photo by Kathy Miller


  • 1 (13.75-ounce) can artichoke hearts (quartered), drained & processed in food processor
  • 1 cup shredded parmesan cheese
  • 1 cup mayo
  • 1 (10-ounce) can Rotel diced tomatoes & green chilies, drained
  • 1 (2.25-ounce) small can of sliced black olives, drained
  • Paprika sprinkled on top


  1. Drain artichokes.  After processing artichoke hearts, combine all other ingredients.
  2. Bake in a 350 oven for 30-45 minutes. Be sure to drain tomatoes and olives before adding.
  3. Serve with crackers or blue corn chips.


I make this all the time!!! Kathy's favorite hot appetizer. Jeff suggested using Rotel diced tomatoes & green chiles with LIME. We tried it with fresh lime juice and it was delicious. Think this will be a great new addition.

By KathyMillerTime


Recipe Printed from www.kathymillertime.com

Susan pouring water at table photo by Kathy Miller

The napkins are actually bandanas printed with a map of the Cashiers area designed by Beth Townsend.

Cashiers Map Bandana used for napkins photo by Kathy Miller

Dinner set with Cashiers bandana used for napkins photo by Kathy Miller

The salad that night was my version of an old favorite “The Market Basket” Salad

Cashiers Salad photo by Kathy Miller


  • 2 heads Bibb Lettuce
  • Strawberries, sliced
  • Blueberries
  • Hearts of Palm, sliced
  • White Stilton Cheese with Mango and Candied Ginger, crumbled (found in the Cornucopia Cheese Shop in Cashiers)
  • Pine nuts
  • Light French (Catalina style) dressing or your favorite vinaigrette


  1. Tear lettuce into bite size pieces.
  2. Sprinkle with remaining ingredients.
  3. Toss when ready to serve.

By KathyMillerTime


Recipe Printed from www.kathymillertime.com

Cashiers salad with strawberrie and hearts of palms photo by Kathy Miller

After a day filled with hiking and touring I served my favorite make ahead main course, Chicken Lasagna Florentine.  I had made it earlier in the week;  put it in the freezer; took it out the morning of our hike; and it was ready to go when we got home.

Chicken Lasagna Florentine with summer squash casserole and watermelon salad photo by Kathy Miller


  • 6 lasagna noodles, uncooked
  • 1 (10-12 ounce) package frozen, chopped spinach, thawed and pressed dry between paper towels.
  • Sometimes I add more spinach.
  • 2 cups cooked, chopped chicken. ( I use a rotisserie chicken)
  • 2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1/3 cup finely diced onion
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch or flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 tablespoon low sodium soy sauce
  • 1 can cream of mushroom soup
  • 1 (8 ounce) carton sour cream
  • 1 (8 ounce) can sliced mushrooms
  • 1/3 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese

For the Topping

  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup chopped pecans


  1. Cook noodles according to package directions. Drain and set aside.
  2. Drain thawed spinach and squeeze out as much water as possible, using paper towels.
  3. Combine spinach, chicken and next 11 ingredients in a large bowl. Stir well.
  4. Arrange 2 noodles in a lightly greased large rectangular baking dish.
  5. Spread 1/3  of chicken mixture over noodles.
  6. Layer 2 noodles on top and spread with 1/3 chicken mixture.
  7. Repeat with last 2 noodles and chicken mixture.
  8. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese and Butter- Pecan topping.

For the Topping

  1. Melt butter in a skillet over medium heat.
  2. Add pecans and cook for 3 minutes.
  3. Cool completely.
  4. Sprinkle on casserole over parmesan cheese.
  5. Bake, covered, at 350 degrees for 55-60 minutes or until hot and bubbly
  6. Let stand 15 minutes before cutting.


This is delicious and a crowd pleaser. It is wonderful as a tailgating main course. To keep warm at a tailgate, cut and wrap in foil. Transport with a Pyrex microwaveable Hot Pack in a Pyrex Portable Container.

By KathyMillerTime


Recipe Printed from www.kathymillertime.com

 Nothing could be finer than closing out a great weekend with a fire on the screened porch, celebrating good times with good friends.

Fire on the Screened Porch photo by Kathy Miller

 Watch for upcoming stories from my summer travels.

Football time will be here soon.  We will be traveling to the Duke/UNC game in November.

 I welcome your comments, recipes and any inside information on your favorite tailgating spots.

Come celebrate with me.  I’ll save you a seat at the table.


  • Sally says:

    What a great trip and great pictures! Thank you for sharing!

  • Carson howard says:

    What a wonderful weekend full of reminiscing, laughs, wisdom, challenging hikes and great food! So happy to reconnect with dear friends and to meet tha “Tail Gating Champion”, Kathy Miller, whose lhospitality is legendary.
    Thank you for sharing your mountains with us.
    Carson and Jeff

    • Thank you for joining us and sharing all! Sure don’t know about Tailgating Champion, but I do have fun with it. Love meeting all the fans and hearing about the schools’ traditions. See you in November!

  • Dave says:

    Carson, Jeff, Susan and Dan made it feel like we were all best friends. You would never guess it had been 40 years. It has been a long time since I have had that much fun. A special thanks to Kathy for her cooking and hosting talents extraordinaire and for listening to all of our Duke stories.

  • Laura Huffman says:

    Looks like a great weekend! We have shared so many of those hiking spots and recipes with you, I almost feel like I was there!

  • Joanne says:

    Looks like you had a fabulous weekend with friends. Exercise, good food, and sharing memories are some of my favorite things. Enjoy the rest of the summer, Kathy.

  • Darleen Robertson says:

    I absolutley loved the pictures and story about your visit with the Dukies! Going to share with Daryl, he’ll enjoy it. Maybe one of these times it will be a story with us in it ~ that would be so fun! Keep it coming Kath, so enjoyable 🙂

  • Susan Nunn says:

    Dave and Kathy are the most gracious hosts, leaving no stone unturned in their hospitality. Laughter abounded throughout the generous blend of visiting, gorgeous hiking, excellent food and relaxing. Life is about relationships and we were quite fortunate that the Millers took the plunge and enriched ours !

    • Thanks Susan! Don’t think there is anything better than hearty laughter. We had plenty of that. Look forward to seeing you in the fall, hopefully at the Duke UNC game.

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