Hocus Pocus, It’s October

Today I’m sharing Five Fabulous Things to celebrate October (& one of them is a pair of cocktail recipes!)

With so many ways to safely celebrate the season, I’m sharing a few of my favorites in this “what to do for the rest of October?” post. A few require travel, so remember to take good care, be cautious, wear a mask, wash your hands and keep your distance. You know the drill, its all the ways we’ve begun to learn to safely adapt.

Please don’t let your guard down, if you don’t feel well, stay at home, take good care and call your doctor. But, if you’re feeling like you want to safely get out and explore a bit, or have some fun on the home front, I’ve got some suggestions and they all take place this month.

Potters Pumpkin Patch in Seagrove, NC -Saturdays in October

I love a pottery studio crawl and no one does it better than the potters who live and work in Seagrove NC. This season, the Potters’ Pumpkin Patch experience has been open all October long with special events taking place every weekend. Two weekends left to go. Visits are free. Be sure to wear a mask. Most of the shops’ Saturday hours are 10 a.m.-5 p.m.

These events are hosted by Blue Hen Pottery, 247 W. Main St.; Seagrove Stoneware, 129 E. Main St.; The Triangle Studio, 1140 N.C. Highway 705; Crystal King Pottery, 2475 N.C. Highway 705; and Thomas Pottery, 1295 W. N.C. Highway 705. 

Stop in at one of the shops listed and get your Potters’ Pumpkin Patch map and list of events. Visit each participating shop to meet the artists, shop for fall specialty items and take part in special events that vary from location to location.

For more details follow each of these studios on instagram or Facebook. Visit the Potters Pumpkin Patch website for list of special events each weekend.

October 30, 2020 – Maker’s Mark Bourbon Dinner at 34° North Restaurant in Beaufort NC

The Beaufort Hotel is a stunning waterside resort in Beaufort NC. I can’t wait to write about a 3 day getaway to North Carolina’s Crystal Coast. It’s coming, stay tuned.

One of my favorite places to stay at Coast is in Beaufort at the beautiful Beaufort Hotel. The hotel is a perfect landing spot if your keen to visit lighthouses, look for NC’s famous wild horses, go for a bike ride, take a golf cart into town, kayak or relax for a spell on or along side the water.

beaufort skies

At the Beaufort Hotel, you will enjoy gorgeous sunrises – where you can still catch the moon making a final decent for the day; and stunning sunset’s that look like a piece of art, painted especially for your visit to the coast.

You can drink it all in, literally, on Oct 30, 2020 as the hotel’s restaurant, 34° North celebrates the season with a four-course Maker’s Mark Bourbon Dinner on Friday, October 30 from 6 – 8:30 pm. I suggest you make it a long weekend and book a room for a Friday -Sunday ( or longer) stay.

Roll Out The (Bourbon) Barrel

A year or so ago, the Beaufort Hotel has partnered with Maker’s Mark to create its own bourbon. One of only a handful of locations in North Carolina to feature a custom barrel, 34° North Restaurant is the first such restaurant for the Crystal Coast. The original barrel is in the lobby of the hotel at the restaurant’s entrance.

As you can see, its a perfect place for a photo op. In my hand in the photo, the delicious “34 Degrees of Separation” cocktail, made with Maker’s Mark Private Select, fresh mint, Flor de Cana rum and Pineapple Syrup. Yes, please!

bourbon cocktails

The special October Bourbon Dinner will include a welcome cocktail, and tastings from the Maker’s Mark Bourbon family – including the Beaufort Hotel’s Maker’s Mark Private Select and Maker’s Mark Wood Finishing Series Limited Release Bourbon.

In addition to this special dinner 34° North Restaurant regularly offers an extensive Whisky List guests and visitors may enjoy on a nightly basis. The public is welcome each week to enjoy “Whisky Wednesdays” with bar’s featured Whisky Flight. I can tell you from experience, its a tasty way to start an evening.

Make your reservations now…

For the Maker’s Mark dinner, limited seating is available. Due to social distancing guidelines, the restaurant is doing it right with the safety of guests and staff a top priority. Reservations are available for tables of 2, 4, 6, and 8 guests only. Tickets for this very special evening are $125 per person (inclusive of food, beverages, tax and gratuity). For reservations, call 252-728- 3000, option 5.

Overnight accommodations are available at the Beaufort Hotel at $179 per night, plus valet and taxes.

34° North Restaurant is located in the lobby building of the hotel at 2440 Lennoxville Road. 252-838-7250. Visit them online for more information.

October means Family Fun in Archdale, NC

Archdale, NC is a little town nestled in the Heart of North Carolina just outside of Asheboro. I’ve traveled the area a lot and written about this part of the Old North State several times; but in all my trips to Asheboro, I’ve never been to Archdale. We are correcting that soon as Tom and I are headed that way for a November media trip, so stay tuned for details on another 3 Day Getaway.

Those of you who know me well, know that I am not really one for Haunted Houses or anything one might attend or watch that results in getting scared to the point of screams on purpose.

However, as I am writing about October events, this seemed like a perfect fit.

Even though a haunted attractions isn’t my jam, I’ve done the research and wanted to let you know how incredibly impressed I am with all the precautions the team at Kersey Valley Spookywoods in Archdale, NC is taking to keep visitors who enjoy the howls and hauntings as safe as possible.

Stay Safe and Be Scared

Timed ticket entry, virtual wait lines until its time to enter the house and the length they have gone to to create incredible protective yet creepy masks to keep both their actors and their guests safe. The Kersey Valley team is also following all the North Carolina Count on Me NC guidelines and setting an example for others to follow. Plan your trip in advance and order your Spookywoods tickets online here.

Go see them this season and support local businesses like this and others in this post. They have done a lot of work so that you and your friends and family can still enjoy the fun and frivolity of the season while staying serious about keeping staff and guests safe. If you are like me and not so into haunted houses, know these folks offer lots more for you to enjoy and they run a series of quality venues,, all of them in Archdale, NC.

But Wait, There’s More…

In September there was the Sunflower Extravaganza , now past, but be sure to put it on your calendar for next year. This month and next, make family plans to have fun getting lost in the Kersey Valley Maize Adventure . In November, I’ll explore all Kersey Valley Inc offers and more in the area and I can’t wait!! Might even take in a little Ax Throwing or try out the Kersey Valley Zipline while I am there – say what??? Stay tuned…

October Treats

While I’m not one for all the scary stuff, I’m certainly all in for the sweeter side of Halloween. Pumpkin breads and muffins; fun cookies and themed treats are how I love to celebrate the season. If you are with me, but aren’t inclined to bake then take a look at Magpies in Charlotte, NC.

pumpkin handpies with funny eyes

You’ll find Magpies’ mother and daughter team Aarthi and Addy Parthasarathy selling their made-to-order, fresh baked and frozen pies online and at area farmers markets in and around Charlotte. On Saturdays they are regularly at the Uptown Farmers Market and the Waxhaw Farmers Market. You’ll occasionally find them at the SouthEnd Market at Atherton as well.

If you haven’t already heard about Magpies, I suggest you check them out! The sweet and savory 4-inch round handpies, each with a from-scratch, light and flaky crust, have become a fast favorite of ours and you will love them, too. These pies come baked and frozen, ready to reheat or defrost, in a variety of popular flavors – ham & cheese; caramelized onion & beef, Buffalo chicken, chickpea and hummus, and PB&J, just to name a few.

If you have little ones about, these are a quick heat and serve option for lunch or as they come already baked, they travel perfectly in a lunch box.

On the sweeter side, look for apple, chocolate hazelnuts, a mix of berries and more. Flavors and fillings vary with the season.

This October, think Pies for the win…

For the 2020 Holiday season, from now thru Thanksgiving, Magpies is offering a delicious pumpkin handpie as their featured seasonal flavor. You can see in the photo above, I’m dressing the ones I’ve ordered up a bit for fun Halloween gift giving.

Pro Tip Time – Always keep a package of edible “googley eyes” on hand – you just never know!

And heads up, for the Thanksgiving holiday. The Magpies team is making individually boxed mini pies. These will be about twice the size of their regular handpies. Plenty for two to share; perfect to give to friends and neighbors.

Here’s the delicious deal. These pies are available in four different flavors – local NC pecan pie ( made with pecans from High Rock Farm in Gibsonville, NC) Local NC apple pie with a sugary lattice crust, chocolate mousse pie and pumpkin pie.

pecan pie

Visit Magpies website for all the delicious details.

You may select 3 different flavors ( or three pies of the same flavor) to make a personally curated package. The pies must be ordered in advance and will be delivered to your home (check the website for the specific delivery area) on the Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday before Thanksgiving. Each pie comes in a cute little box tied with a ribbon, so not only are they perfect for your holiday dessert, but for gift giving as well. Pricing is 3 for $30 and includes delivery to your door!

How to Drink Local this October (and on into the Holiday season, too!)

Celebrating October’s cooler climes and crisp air at home? Say cheers with these two delicious ways to drink locally cider-centric cocktails.


In September, Tom and I enjoyed a wonderful three day weekend in Pinehurst and Southern Pines, I can’t wait to tell you about. Stay tuned for all the details.

For now I’ll start with the stop we made at the end of our trip.

Don’t miss a visit to James Creek Cider House in Cameron, NC. The tasting room offers bottles of cider for sale and flights on tap; with outdoor and limited indoor seating, Look at the calendar of events for occasional cellar tours and apple pressing demonstrations. The line up of James Creek ciders have been a favorite of mine since I first tasted them at the now past Terra Vita Festival in Chapel Hill several years ago.

Owners Ann Marie and David Thorton, pictured above, have been picking and pressing Southern heirloom apples from their home orchard for their award winning ciders since 2016. With over 65 different varieties of heirloom and heritage apples on site, the flavors in their cider are well blended and distinctive in taste and aroma. I love them because they lean more to wine than beer; but these ciders are honestly in a beverage category all their own.

Crafting Seasonal Cocktails

In addition to sipping them as they come from the bottle, I also enjoy using them to craft seasonal cocktails. Here are a pair of recipes Ann Marie and I conceptualized for a private team building class I hosted on zoom just a few weeks ago. Ann Marie shipped class participants the cider and a few apples while I sent out boxes with all the other ingredients. Together in the class we made these two cocktails and a trio of hors d’oeuvres. If you are interested in hosting an online, hands on, interactive class, I’d love to chat and get a date on the calendar. You can email me at Heidi@HeidiCooks.com or HeidiBillotto@gmail.com

You can find James Creek Ciders around the state at restaurants and bottle shops – or now, if you’d like a bottle ( or two or three) to sip, for gift giving or to make these cocktails at your home bar, you can order direct online for home delivery via UPS.

To craft these two cocktails, other than the cider, you’ll need local honey ( I uses Cloister Honey’s arbol infused honey) from Charlotte ( also available to order online here) , cinnamon and sugar and cinnamon sticks from the Savory Spice Shop, an orange, an apple, ice and your choice of bourbon, run, vodka or gin. Enjoy!

James Creek’s Stone Fence Cocktail

A delicious craft cocktail featuring cinnamon, sugar and apples along with your favorite Bourbon of rum and splash of James Creek Stargazer Shooting Star cider.

Course Drinks
Keyword apples, bourbon, cocktails, drink local, GotToBeNC, James Creek Cider, local, rum
Servings 1 cocktail


  • 3 Tbsp. , each orange juice and a mix of cinnamon and sugar to coat the rim
  • 4 oz your favorite bourbon, rye or rum I love keeping it NC local and enjoy this cocktail with TOPO Distillery Eight Oak Whiskey or Muddy River Distillery's Queen Charlotte rum
  • 2 Tbsp. (more or less to taste) of Saigon Cinnamon and organic sugar available at the Savory Spice Shop
  • ice cubes
  • James Creek Ciderhouse Stargazer Shooting Star cider, to taste
  • apple slices and a cinnamon stick, for garnish


  1. Begin by dipping the rim of your glass first into the OJ and then into a bit of the cinnamon/sugar mix. Do not twist the glass as you dip. Simply dip in straight in and lift it straight out for a perfect cinnamon and sugar rim.

  2. Pour bourbon and sugar/cinnamon mix into the glass; carefully stir till the sugar melts into the bourbon.

  3. Add ice to the glass; top with the James Creek Stargazer Shooting Star cider.

  4. Garnish with slices of apple and a cinnamon stick to finish. Cheers!

James Creek Orange Harvest Moon

a refreshing blend of spicy honey and orange mixed with vodka and gin and a splash of James Creek cider

Course Drinks
Keyword apple cider, cloister honey, gin, honey, James Creek Ciderhouse, orange, vodka
Servings 1 cocktail


  • 4 oz your favorite vodka or gin My local North Carolina go-to's for this one are TOPO Distillery Vodka, Chemist Spirits Navy style Gin, or Sutler's Distillery Gin
  • 2 oz orange juice
  • 3 Tbsp. Cloister Honey arbol infused honey
  • 2 slices fresh orange seeds removed
  • 2 slices fresh apple seeds removed
  • 1 candied roselle blossom, this is an edible hibiscus flower


  1. Pour vodka, OJ and honey into the glass; stir till the sugar or honey melt.

  2. Add orange and apple slices  to the glass. Top with ice

  3. Pour James Creek Cider House Harvest Moon cider to the top of the glass.

  4. Garnish with the candied roselle and, if you would like, a spring or fresh mint.  Cheers!

Recipe Notes

red hibiscus blossomsLocal roselle blossoms are available at area farmers markets in and around Charlotte until we see the first frost. These blooms came from Seven Sisters Farm and are at the SouthEnd Market at Atherton and the Uptown Farmers market.

To make your own candied roselle, use a pairing knife to pop out the seed in the center of the blossom. Reserve.  Blend together a mix of equal parts sugar and water in large saucepan. Bring to a boil and then reduce the heat to simmer until the mix forms a syrup. Add the seedless roselle blooms and allow them to steep in the simmering liquid for 15-20 mins. Remove from heat. Cool. Store candied blossoms and syrup in a jar in the refrigerator. For a tasty add on – add 2-3 springs of fresh mint to the syrup as you add the roselle. 

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