Escape to Season’s

Photo by Rimas Zailskas

Photo by Rimas Zailskas

“I love that Season’s is part of the fabric of Flat Rock,” said Katherine Gee while finishing up lunch with me in the beautiful glassed in dining porch of Season’s Restaurant. Katherine, who lives nearby, has long been a fan.

Ensconced in the pastoral grounds of the Highland Lake Inn Resort in Flat Rock, Season’s is renowned for its Sunday and special occasion brunches. But it’s open to the public seven days a week so we decided to try a weekday lunch.

The setting feels so secluded it’s hard to believe the restaurant is only three miles from Downtown Hendersonville. Even the drive into the 26-acre property is lovely…don’t worry about finding it; you’ll have plenty of signage to guide you. You’ll pass a waterfall at the entrance, the glistening lake and several of the other Highland Lake outbuildings as you drive along the heavily wooded lane. It sets a relaxing tone for any meal to come.

We chose a late lunch and were seated by the windows looking out over the meadow. Our waiter, Robert, brought the wine list (to me; guess my reputation precedes me) and a menu that made choosing difficult. Luckily, my tablemates all dine regularly at Season’s and helped me navigate.

The enormous wine list has won the Wine Spectator Award since 2000. Season’s manager Marlena Owenbey pointed out the “Favorites Under Forty” list that offers wines by regions at affordable prices. Jere Dabbs, another dining partner, said, “I love the big wine glasses they use…and I like a restaurant that uses proper linens.” Small things make a difference to people, and Season’s is classy without being stuffy.

Armed with a lovely glass of Chard, I chose the curried chicken salad tossed with baby spinach, grapes, toasted pecans and dried cherries and a cider-curry dressing. We also ordered the trio of quiche (changes daily); and a Prosciutto Caprese sandwich on sourdough with mozzarella, tomato, basil and arugula with balsamic. Robert recommended the Seaside Lavash (one of the Flat Bread Pizza Picks) which was described as sautéed shrimp over wafer thin flat bread with artichokes, spinach, feta and lots of other stuff I can’t recall because he had me at “What can I get you, pretty lady?” I’m such a sucker for a handsome waiter.

Rimas Zailskas
Other, tempting choices included an Achiote pork loin sandwich served with fried pickles, organic Sunburst trout, shrimp and grits, and even a hamburger with Applewood smoked bacon (highly recommended by a burger aficionado I know).

Sipping my wine, I relaxed and enjoyed the serene view while soft music played…and then came lunch. Every dish was a winner, but my favorite by far was the Caprese sandwich. The sourdough was divine, sourced from the one-and-only Flat Rock Village Bakery. The classic Italian sandwich was the perfect balance of all things wonderful about Italy’s food…a simple composition of mozzarella, tomato and the salty prosciutto. I sampled more than my share. And the fries…absolutely delicious!

Much of the organic produce is grown by the Inn or sourced from local growers. Executive Chef Peter Fassbender said, “We’re a mature restaurant with sustainability as one of our main goals. We support local farmers whenever possible.”

Brent Fleury
An Argentinean wine dinner is slated for July 21 that sounds amazing. And for those of you have haven’t heard me preach on the wonders of wine dinners, let me say it again. It is kind of like going on a cruise…wine dinners allow you to talk to a perfect stranger sitting next to you without feeling intrusive. You try things you might never order off a regular menu and you know you are sitting next to like-minded folks who love food and wine (my favorite kind of people). If you haven’t ventured into wine dinner territory, you really should.

My friend Kat summed it up for me, “Season’s has consistent, interesting and progressive food. Mountain food at its best!”

History in the Making

Highland Lake Inn is celebrating 100 years of amazing history. In 1789, John Earle established a grist mill. In 1910, a group of visionaries from Columbia and Charleston developed the short-lived Highland Lake Club; over the years, the property has served many purposes from camps to prep schools and was even the start of the illustrious Flat Rock Playhouse (Robroy Farquhar opened “The Old Mill Playhouse” in the original grist mill in 1941!). The Grup Family took over the property in 1999 and it’s now the Highland Lake Inn – A Country Retreat. Stop by the restaurant and ask for a copy of the history; it is an interesting walk through time.

History in the Making

Highland Lake Inn is celebrating 100 years of amazing history. In 1789, John Earle established a grist mill. In 1910, a group of visionaries from Columbia and Charleston developed the short-lived Highland Lake Club; over the years, the property has served many purposes from camps to prep schools and was even the start of the illustrious Flat Rock Playhouse (Robroy Farquhar opened “The Old Mill Playhouse” in the original grist mill in 1941!). The Grup Family took over the property in 1999 and it’s now the Highland Lake Inn – A Country Retreat. Stop by the restaurant and ask for a copy of the history; it is an interesting walk through time.

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