As promised, we visited Basil and Wick's this afternoon and were not disappointed. Located on Route 28 (across from Stewart's in North Creek), the cedar shake and rustic log exterior and spacious front porch invited us in and nearly brought us our pipe and slippers. The uncluttered post and beam structure, reminiscent of a remodeled barn, with natural finish knotty pine cathedral ceiling, was warm and inviting. Not overly-decorated, typical icons such as an old sled, a snowboard, skis and antler chandelier create a rustic, outdoorsy theme. In contrast, huge black-and-white murals featuring vintage photographs placed throughout the restaurant, depict scenes from Gore Mountain, Whitewater Derby and, I assume, the original Basil and Wick's. In the Lodge or bar area, three wide-screen TV's are unobtrusive but visible if desired. It was fairly busy when we arrived shortly after the 3:00 opening, though not crowded or noisy. Several tables and booths offer plenty of seating, and a flagstone fireplace occupies part of one wall. Expansive windows bring the outside in, and I kept a watchful eye on weather developments; 6-8 inches predicted.
Peter, whom we encountered first and may be uncomfortable with having his privacy violated if we mention his last name, came over to take our drink order as Kate handed us the beer and wine list. Breaking the ice (the staff heard "bloggers" were going to be in attendance), Peter shared his jellybeans with us, a gesture he surely reserves for "special" customers (Peter, let us pretend we're special). Kate came over to say hello (Kate and I go waaaaayyyyy back; like first grade) and gave us the extensive beer and wine list. Thirteen draft beers with several more on the specials board, and well over 20 bottled choices, all moderately-priced, make up the beer list. Pam is learning to appreciate beer, and had the Ultra. I chose the Smuttynose (New Hampshire) Old Brown Dog Ale, one of the more popular choices. (Personally, I think people like saying "smuttynose" and I'm no exception.) Other craft beers included brews from the Adirondack Brewery, Blue Point (Long Island), and Southern Tier Brewery. There were also plenty of domestics and imports, and the wine list boasts over thirty choices. Finally! Someplace with White Zin. Duly noted.
Soon an enthusiastic Jeannie, who reminds me a little of Ashley Judd, danced in for her shift, pigtails bouncing, with greetings for all. Apparently everyone had heard there were "bloggers" in their midst, conjuring images of strange bespectacled Blackberry-yielding geeks (I wore my contacts and I have an iPhone).
Jimmy, our bar neighbor and owner of a B&B, offered historical information about area taverns and suggested several places for us to check out. Our list grows. Please feel free to leave comments and suggestions. We can't promise we'll get to every bar, but we can sure try! (It's a tough job...)
Kate offered answers to our questions and referred us to Jane, the owner, for those she couldn't help with. Jane is obviously quite proud of the establishment, and rightfully so. Her knowledge of the history of Basil and Wick's enhances her enthusiasm for the future. Jane has a lot of good ideas to make Basil and Wick's a year-round success, with the possibility of adding live entertainment in the future. We wish her all the best and can't wait to go back.
Please visit their website at http://basilandwicks.com/
Here's a link to an interesting article about the history of Basil and Wick's http://www.denpubs.com/Articles-c-2009-05-06-58909.113116_Site_of_Durants_Restaurant_today.html
Thank you to Jim Donnelly for permission to use his breathtaking photo, a view of flowed lands from Algonquin, for our background. Jim has provided us with several images, which we will change from time to time.