abk Traditions: The First Weekend in November

For the past 73 years, on the first Friday in November at Unionville Elementary in Unionville, NC, barbecue and brunswick stew have taken center stage. As a child, my parents would drive the twenty minutes from our house on an often cool and overcast autumn day so that we could pig out that evening. The barbecue was great, but the brunswick stew was phenomenal, so much so that I’ve still not found a version that is better.

Regrettably, I have not partaken in the Unionville BBQ in a long, long time. First, I no longer live in North Carolina, and second, for whatever reason, the first weekend in November has become my jam. Five years ago this weekend, I ran my first New York City Marathon. Four years ago, I did it again. Three years ago, I vacationed just outside of Chattanooga, Tennessee at this beautiful place called Paradise Pointe with my family. Two years ago, I played golf throughout Arkansas and Missouri en route to Kansas City for the Panthers-Chiefs game with my friend Jay. Last year, with a seven week old in tow, we rented this little cabin in the woods, did a little leaf peeping, but in retrospect, it was a bust. (Why does anyone travel with a newborn?)

So we had to come back this year with a bang!

As much as I love going to new places and experiencing new things, there really is SOMETHING about this place. My sister randomly found it online a few years ago, and after a wonderful experience there almost exactly three years ago, we all made our return to Paradise Pointe. However, I did have one special request.

Just over a month ago, I sent my sister and brother in law this text.

Very important stuff here. Load up on the goods and let’s have a big Saturday night dinner once we arrive. Let’s eat, let’s watch football, and let’s check out the incredible view.

Then let’s get back to doing exactly the same things we did three years ago.

It was the exact same weekend. We stayed in the exact same house, in the exact same rooms. We ate at two of the exact same restaurants. We played golf at the exact same golf course. It is very un-abk behavior to do things exactly the same, but the place is just so damn cool.

What are the odds that we find this place halfway in the middle of both families that is crazy affordable, has bananas views, has a massive swimming pool on site, is close to both a nice sit down restaurant and tasty hole in the wall, overlooks fall foliage, and is fifteen minutes away from a Top 50 Modern golf course in America? Sprinkle in some Unionville barbecue and brunswick stew, and what is there to change?

(It could have been colder because I love sweater weather and we were about a week past peak leaf season, but I digress.)

Throughout the entire four days, I was just constantly fulfilled. Every little piece of the puzzle brought me joy. I got my family fix, my football fix, my food fix, and my fall foliage fix.

If we can do this every three years, that would be incredible. But in the meantime, I wonder if the Unionville BBQ would just ship to Mississippi?

Have a great week.-Benj

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