I definitely didn't have time last night to put together a prep post on the 2nd Annual Cider Mill Crawl, but I'll combine my prep with the recap today instead :) First of all, if you have no idea what I'm talking about when I say Cider Mill Crawl, you can read about the first one here.
Luckily, my good friend Shelly really took the reigns planning this year's event. We had decided to keep last year's winner in the competition and revolved the rest of the crawl around that. We picked two other mills to add to the challenge.
Last year we had lunch prior to leaving and then I had dinner for us back at my house afterward. That on top of mounds of doughnuts was way too much. What? Last year was a learning process :) To improve this year, we opted for no lunch prior, to get an earlier start, eat a liiiittle less doughnuts and then just have a nice big salad bar waiting for our return while we rated the mills. This also made the planning a little easier since everyone could just bring some of their favorite salad toppings and we'd have a huge selection.
So that brings us to my actual prep which was mostly cleaning and decorating.
- Finish buying decor, flowers, etc.
- Clean dining room and living room
- Choose all platters
- Set up table
*And as always, you can click on the pictures to see them larger
- Finish cleaning the first floor- kitchen, living room, 1/2 bath and foyer
- Finish up little details- hard boil eggs for salad, wipe down platters
- Get ready
I tackled all the above projects in about 2 hours prior to our start time. We left as soon as everyone arrived (after putting any refrigerated salad items in the fridge) since we had 3 cider mills to get to and each one was about 15 minutes away from the next. Like I said before, we kept the doughnut tasting at the mills to a minimum- a much better plan than last year. We bought 6 doughnuts and a 1/2 gallon of cider at each location. We weren't all in doughnut comas before even getting home, so that was a positive! As soon as we got back, we made our really yummy salads and started tallying up our scores.
I had to rush off to work after we were done, but once I got back I finished cleaning up and now I'm just waiting for the dishwasher to finish so I can unload...and reload, but for now, please enjoy for your viewing pleasure, a little photographic proof.
Baby H's first Cider Mill Crawl:
In the midst of our final tasting/scoring:
The whole gang with bellies full of cider and doughnuts, the best kind of belly :)
My Crawl Tips:
1. Have a GPS system to make navigating a breeze.
2. Limit yourself to 3 Cider Mills- trust me, you will have more than necessary to test :)
3. Keep your non-doughnut menu items light- the salad was a much better choice this year.
4. Be sure to check hours of operation before finalizing plans.
My General Tips:
1. As always with any function, do as much ahead of time as possible. Having the table set the night before is such a time saver!
2. Guests notice the little details- fresh flowers, the little location cards, bows on the glasses, candles, etc. Small touches make a big difference :)
3. Take note of the things that didn't go the way you thought they might and make it a learning experience.
We were already discussing plans for next year. For those of you not near cider mills, get creative! Maybe you have a local festival that has different foods you can rank or maybe you want to find the best pizza in the area. Get a group of friends and make an event out of it! Then, of course, tell me about it :)
Thanks girls for another successful crawl!