Fort Lewis Lodge and the Mrs. Rowe Cookbook

The book group at the Fort Lewis Lodge was a great deal of fun. Set against the beautiful mountains with incredible autumn colors, the lodge is spread out over fields, with exquisite views, and a river cutting through rocky terrain. During the summer, fishing and tubing and swimming are encouraged. But we were there on crisp, cool autumn days.
The book group rented a house and Saturday afternoon we discussed the book—along with American Tragedy by Theodore Dreiser—while we ate apple dumplings that Mike DiGrassie sent from the restaurant. For me, the only facet missing from this scene (other than Mrs Rowe) was Lily Binns, the young woman that edited the book so thoughtfully. She was very much on my mind this weekend, though I’ve never even met her. The book was so celebrated and appreciated and I wanted her to be there to feel that, as well.
The Lodge is about an hour from Goshen, Va., where Mrs. Rowe lived and started her first business. One of the members of the group was interested in seeing her first restaurant. So, we stopped at what is now the Mill Creek Cafe and saw the place with the paneling and formica counters that Mrs. Rowe gave what was nothing more that a cinder block restaurant then. She wanted the place to be cozy and remind travelers of home.
We also went to Mrs. Rowe’s church. Unfortunately, it was Sunday and the parking lot was brimming with cars and an influx of people going to church. But we walked around a bit and enjoyed the car-obscurred views as much as we could.
Goshen’s biggest days are most assuredly behind it. But it still sits as a beacon to what used to be.

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