Town Scout Blog

Feel Good Friday: It’s Indian Summer in the South

Happy Friday, y’all!  It’s been a few weeks since the last Feel Good Friday and I’ve spent that time driving around the South, where summer is hanging on, not quite giving way to fall.  It feels a little wrong to be tailgating at college football in a heatwave (thanks, Georgia!), but I did have a taste of fall when I headed to Virginia last weekend.  The leaves had just started to turn in the Shenandoah Valley and I woke up to a few cool mornings in Charlottesville.  Oh, Virginia . . . how I miss you.

For now, though, I am loving the bright, sunny days back home and waiting patiently for slightly cooler days ahead.  And now, on to Feel Good Friday!


This week’s playlist is a random collection of old and new, sing-a-long songs and songs you may not know quite as well (at least not yet, anyway).  You may find yourself riding down the road, windows down, doing your best Stevie Nicks.  You’re welcome.

Townscout-Road Trip

We’ve all been this girl // Photo: Averie Woodard


As always, you can find the Indian Summer playlist–and all of the others!–on Spotify.  Enjoy ?

What I’ll Be Cooking This Weekend

As you all probably know by now, I am a Smitten Kitchen superfan.  I’ve been reading Deb Perelman’s blog for years and, despite the fact I have never met her, I feel like she’s one of my oldest friends.  If you’re like me, you have a group of girlfriends who get together, share the latest in your lives, and solve the world’s problems all while cooking a huge meal and cracking yourselves up.  When I read Deb’s blog, I see her sitting in my kitchen, laughing along with all of my other friends, cooking up something amazing (and easy).

Which is all a long way of saying, I really like her.  And everything she cooks.  If you don’t know Smitten Kitchen, I suggest you check it out this weekend and also MAKE THIS CAKE.

Two years ago I had a pile of fall apples and no idea what to do with them.  I came across Deb’s recipe for her Mom’s Apple Cake and decided to give it a try.  I mean, if it’s from Deb’s MOM it has to be good, right?  It was.  In fact, it was amazing.  It instantly became a favorite in our house, to the point that my younger daughter would ask when I was going to make The Cake.

It may be 85 degrees and 95% humidity this weekend, but I’m going to pretend it’s fall in Charleston and make The Cake.  Too bad my daughter is away at college . . . maybe we’ll see how it ships:)

This is Deb’s recipe–word for word–from Smitten Kitchen.  I am not tinkering with perfection.


mom's apple cake

Apple Cake on point // Photo: Smitten Kitchen

Mom’s Apple Cake

For the apples
6 apples, Mom uses McIntosh apples, I use a mix of whatever looks good
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
5 tablespoons (65 grams) granulated sugar

For the cake
2 3/4 cups (360 grams) flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon fine sea or table salt
1 cup (235 ml) vegetable oil (safflower, sunflower, olive and coconut oil also work, as does melted butter)
2 cups (400 grams) granulated sugar
1/4 cup (60 ml) orange juice
2 1/2 (13 ml) teaspoons vanilla extract
4 large eggs
1 cup (130 grams) walnuts, chopped (optional and to be honest, we never use them)

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a tube pan. (I use this one.) Peel, core and chop apples into 1-inch chunks.Toss with cinnamon and 5 tablespoons sugar and set aside.

Stir together flour, baking powder and salt in a large mixing bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together oil, orange juice, sugar, vanilla and eggs. Mix wet ingredients into dry ones; scrape down the bowl to ensure all ingredients are incorporated.

Pour half of batter into prepared pan. Spread half of apples (and their juices) over it. Pour the remaining batter over the apples and arrange the remaining apples on top. Bake for about 1 1/2 hours, or until a tester comes out clean.*

Cool completely before running knife between cake and pan, and unmolding onto a platter.

Do ahead: This cake is awesome on the first day but absolutely glorious and pudding-like on the days that follow, so feel free to get an early start on it. I keep it at room temperature covered with foil.

* Tip: The apples love to hide uncooked pockets of batter, especially near the top. Make sure your testing skewer or toothpick goes not just all the way down to the bottom, but does a shallow dip below the top layer of apples to make sure it comes out batter-free. Should your cake be browning too fast, before the center is baked through, cover it with foil for all but the last few minutes in the oven.

A Few Things To Make You Smile 

This pug in a blanket (you see what I did there . . .).

Townscout-Pug-Indian Summer

ready for fall, already // photo: Matthew Wiebe


My Ongoing R. Eric Thomas obsession meets My Ongoing Hamilton obsession.  Not sure I can handle it, but I can try:  Eric Reads The News.


And the Pulitzer in facial hair reporting goes to . . . // photo:


Enjoy the weekend, friends!  Eat, read, and be merry 🙂

xo, jen


  1. Jennifer Owens

    So true, Jimmy! I drove up the Shenandoah, across to Charlottesville, and back down through your neck of the woods. All beautiful, but all different!

    date: September 30, 2016
  2. Mary Garrison

    Headed to Charlottesville next weekend to see a residency friend. Excited to experience some true fall weather!
    Smitten kitchen is the best!!
    Hope you are well.

    date: September 30, 2016
  3. Jennifer Owens

    Hope you had fun in C’ville! It’s such a beautiful town, especially this time of year! Hope you got to try Lampo or Mas–two of my favorite dinner spots:) xoxo

    date: October 14, 2016

Comments are closed.

Contact us, or see what’s new!

Contact Us...

Let us make your next trip easier. A little help or a lot, big family gatherings or a weekend for two. We will plan a visit that suits your fancy and fits your budget.