Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Mountain Homes at WolfOak's spring bonfire

There are those instances when a series of events unfold that make it seem as if it were destined for everything to work out. Last year we attended our Dutch friend’s spring bonfire down in Piedmont, but this year we were slated to be traveling that weekend; I was super disappointed that we were going to miss what had been a fantastic evening with friends, food and great music. The event was rescheduled, but the new date didn’t work much better, as Roberts was traveling and we had a large group of people over to bid farewell to friends of ours moving out of state. So it was fate that the entire week prior to the new proposed date it rained, and the spring bonfire was once more rescheduled – to a date when we could make it!

The wolf oak

In the Netherlands it is an important Easter tradition to light a bonfire on Easter Sunday that has often been weeks or sometimes even months in the making. The paasvuur are lit as darkness falls, with entire villages coming out for the event. This past weekend as evening approached, friends bearing homemade dishes descended on WolfOak, the idyllic spot for this spring gathering.

As the horses watched from their pasture, Mountain Homes set up their equipment and launched into their first set. My friends had first heard them at Bohemian (a restaurant in our neck of the woods), immediately fell in love with their unique sound and invited them to play the night of the bonfire. Their folksy Americana was perfect in the country setting of Monique’s estate, the audience gathered at picnic tables under the majestic wolf oak that gives the property its name.

Mountain Homes seamlessly blends guitar, banjo, mandolin, cello, bass, drums and viola to present a sound verging on bluegrass. The sun slowly set to the stories contained in their melodic ballads, and to the children’s delight the bonfire was finally lit. The band kept jamming, shadows growing long and light from the fire reflected on their faces.

We filled plates with delicious food, going back for seconds and thirds and topping everything off with s’mores. The kids were drunk with the freedom only afforded at WolfOak, freedom to do as they pleased all night long. They danced, then disappeared for what seemed like hours at a time only to reappear with instruments with which to join in and jam with the band. They fed the fire, with sticks and with pine needles, the bonfire flaring at moments seemingly in arrangement with the music. The animals hovered, hoping for a stray fork full of food to land at their feet but settling in at our feet hypnotized by the fire and tunes.

If only the evening didn’t have to end. It was long after the band had played their final notes and packed up that we found ourselves around the fire with three very tired children. I can’t wait to see what Monique has in store for us next year!

If you would like to catch Mountain Homes live, they are playing events at Quest Brewing Company tomorrow at 7pm, and at Chief’s next Monday. I urge you to check these guys out – how great is it to have awesome talent like this right here in the Upstate! And more on the guesthouse and urban farm WolfOak here; you can also follow them on facebook or book them on


  1. You really have a way with words, I LOVE how you captured the essence of this beautiful evening! We had a blast and were grateful we rescheduled it, so you guys could be there too. Roberts really did built a killer bonfire, you taught him well!!:)

    1. Thanks Monique: for having us over, sharing WolfOak with us, for the beautiful words! Next year we're taking the bonfire to a whole new level!

  2. Sounds like an absolutely wonderful evening!! And I'll defend Roberts, as he was building bonfires at Garezers long before he knew you. ;-) There was nothing he, Matiss, Dainis and Iggy loved more as kids than playing with fire!

    1. Ha, building bonfires with 'skautu ūdens' (gasoline) maybe! Playing with fire is one thing, a quality, one-match fire is another!

  3. This bonfire building man sounds like a good catch. Feed him well!


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