Published: Wednesday, July 23, 2014
LAKEVILLE >> Calling all Land Rover enthusiasts. Pack up your oriental rugs, leather chairs, Land Rover flags and signs, gourmet grub, camp grills and lots and lots of gusto and head up to Lime Rock Park for a weekend of off road adventure, fine food and drink and lots of camaraderie.
Preregistration is required at http://muddychef.com/.
Aside from a camping fee of $35 a night, the event is free. Proceeds from a weekend raffle will benefit Autism Speaks, for more info visit http://www autismspeaks.org#sthash.iaELlP2p.dpuf.
“Land Rovers are your sort of rugged, safari, adventure-type vehicle,” says event creator Eric Yohe. As an owner of an unrestored, 1961 Land Rover Series IIA, the Madison resident is passionate about all things Land Rover and is a foodie.
Yohe arranged the first Muddy Chef in Stowe, Vermont and went on to host last year’s event in Mystic. Bringing the road race/cook-off to Lime Rock was a natural progression and embraced by the park’s Director of Business Development Walter Irvine, another Land Rover enthusiast, and former owner of a Land Rover LR2, who enjoys the “culture.”
“Off-roaders (are) very adventurous, typically very philanthropic, really up to doing crazy stuff like off-roading all day and then coming back and putting on a blazer and making a gourmet meal AT their truck,” Irvine explains.
Cooking a gourmet repast is part of the challenge. Attendees may cook whatever they can transport in their Land Rover. The dishes are then judged by an esteemed panel of fellow epicureans. No one walks away hungry and everyone has lots of fun concocting what they think is the tops in haute cuisine.
“It’s exciting and it’s nerve-wracking and you have to adapt, but it’s tons of fun,” says Madison participant Kristen Feeney.
How do fresh Nantucket bay scallops on a bed of local roasted sweet corn sound? To Yohe it sounded like a winning entry last year. Alas, other venturesome gourmands apparently served entries better tasting, better presented and better liked by the judges.
Away from the rugged terrain, attendees will put on their best cocktail attire – blazers and shorts and Lilly Pulitzer shifts – and visit two local venues.
The Falls Village Inn, complete with a taproom designed to honor the Lime Rock legacy, is “intimate and comfortable…A feel that honors not only Falls Village, but also that of Lime Rock Park, our famous neighbor,” says their website, http://www thefallsvillageinn.com/taproom.php.
Up the road in Dutchess County, New York, a long winding road will take guests to the Madava Farms where Crown Maple Syrup is tapped and refined to make a one of a kind maple syrup. While feeling like they have entered a Napa Valley winery, guests may partake in a maple syrup tasting in a finely appointed tasting room complete with a copper bar, website: http://www.crownmaple.com/visit-madava-farms.
Some of the events sound outrageous: “For those of you who want super rock crawler, smashed body panel gnarly you have access to Old Florida Road and MaBelle in Western, MA,” according tomuddychef.com. Yet Yohe stresses there is something for everyone.
“What I like about it the most is, despite the stressful things you have going in your life you really can’t think about anything else in your life except how am I going to get this vehicle and myself through these woods, over this obstacle,” Robert Wollschlager says. “It’s fantastic.”
Wollschlager, of Mystic, will join in on the fun with his dad, James. They will bring two of their four Land Rovers – a 1972 Land Rover Series 3 88 and 1982 Series 3 Stage- 1 V8 109.
Each morning there will be vehicle inspections and safety talks. The only prerequisite is that “your vehicle should be in good repair without any serious frame rust and able to handle basic off-road challenges.”
“The majority of our vehicles are the rare ones, the early ’60s ones, the ’70s … the classic Land Rovers,” Yohe says. In addition, the event draws drivers of “the Defender, which is what you see on safari…we get lots of those.”
Every morning, before venturing out there will be vehicle inspections and safety talks. The only prerequisite is that “your vehicle should be in good repair without any serious frame rust and able to handle basic off-road challenges.”
In need of a break from the rigors of off-roading, guests can head over to Orvis Sandanona Shooting Grounds in Millbrook, New York to experience sporting clays at “the oldest permitted shotgun shooting club in the country,” they boast on http://www.orvis.com/sandanona.
Back on the road, how about the Overland Challenge in the Housatonic State Forest?
“It’s sort of a high-tech Easter egg hunt,” says Yohe. “Drive to a spot with the GPS, get out and use the compass to go in the direction we tell you to go, start walking and you will find what ever it is. Somewhere in that forest is something to find like an orange flip-flop nailed to a tree.”
Whether you are an experienced off-roader or want to try it for the first time, love adventure and the thrill of the ride, or want to spend a weekend in the country learn more at Facebook/The Muddy Chef Challenge.