BOILING SPRINGS - Murder Mystery Weekends are a special treat for those who like to guess "whodunit."
But at Allenberry Resort Inn and Playhouse, when the guests "resort" to murder, the question is not so much whodunit, but how much fun the "detectives" can have in solving some delightfully gruesome murders.
Allenberry Playhouse, 1559 Boiling Springs Road, doesn't shutter its doors once the spring-fall theater season concludes, but presents memorable weekends (late November through mid-April) of warm-hearted hospitality and cold-blooded murderous mayhem.
This year, after events on the weekends following Thanksgiving and New Years Eve, Allenberry's Murder Mystery Weekends will resume on Feb. 21-23 and continue every weekend through April 25-27.
What sets Allenberry weekends apart from others is the exceptional service, scrumptious food and festive cocktail parties in rustic surroundings.
There are two cocktail parties with elaborate hors d'oeuvres (roast suckling pig, Cajun shrimp, quesadillas, Oysters Rockefeller, fried calamari and caviar pie) preceeding the delicious dinner entrees and capped off with mouth-watering deserts - I would almost kill (figuratively speaking) for the banana fosters crepes with hot fudge sauce.
At each meal, the actors in character rotate tables, dining with the guests and answering what inquiring minds what to know, which often makes the diabolical plot thicken more than the piping hot soups.
This year's theme is dubbed "A Time to Kill" with time travel coming to Allenberry and the guests invited along for the wild ride.
A mad scientist arrives to unveil his spectacular time machine in front of all interested investors. To prove that his crazy contraption works, the mastermind pushes buttons and pulls switches to transport everyone from the 1020s to present day.
Suddenly, the raucous fun of the Roaring Twenties overtakes Allenberry. Flappers! Jazz! Prosperity! But have no fear - prohibition is left behind. What isn't left behind is murder. With the '20s come the mobsters, their molls and especially their tommy guns. Bullets fly and booze flows.
Guests will be immersed in the murderous mayhem of the 1920s and, who knows, maybe some other time periods will makes appearances too. As bodies pile up, guests will analyze the clues and solve the mystery to win a bevy of prizes. After a Saturday night costume party, the festivities end with a champagne brunch on Sunday morning when the murderer's identity is revealed.
Part of the fun is that the mystery "moves" as the meals, music and the murders are presented in different banquet halls and sites on Allenberry's specious grounds.
Having been to eight mystery weekends, I agree with Allenberry's marketing, which claims it's almost like being on a cruise (there's even a mid-afternoon serving of tea and pastry).
The only time that the guests will have "time to kill" is on Saturday afternoons. With a break from corpses cropping up or dropping down, guests have an opportunity to either take a walking tour of historic Boiling Springs, visit its village artists' galleries, or attend antiquing demonstrations in Carlisle. Those who don't want to wander too far can take a horse-drawn carriage ride around Allenberry's resort, or simply curl up in their rooms or in front of one the lodge's fireplaces.
For a weekend of shameful secrets, questionable motives and red herrings - not the ones on the hors d'oeuvres menu - it's almost a crime to miss out on what guests get: two nights lodging in one of the rustic or modern lodges, six gourmet feasts, a gala dance party, wine, soft drinks, taxes, gratuities and, of course, murder and mystery. Plus a lot of Allenberry's famous sticky buns.
Talk about something to kill for!
For prices, reservations, and weekend availability, call 717-258-3211 or visit www.allenberry.com.