Whirlwind Spring 2010 Trip to Asheville (Post)

US20 at Bush River Road

I stayed at the Best Western on Bush River Road in Columbia, SC, arriving on Friday night and leaving about 10am on Sunday morning.  The motel has the blue roof in the picture above.

On Saturday morning, I ate at the Cracker Barrell just across US 20 (upper left of photo), and on Sunday morning ate at the restaurant at the Radisson.  I’ve stayed at both the Sleep Inn (in photo) and the Radisson.

I headed up I26 after breakfast.  The morning was sunny, but pleasantly cool.  After a while, I found that gas was running low and I started looking for “cheap” gas.  There were several times, when poor sign placement led to me passing by the “turn off” instead of turning.  Finally, I reached Spartanburg, and made one of the exits.  The fueling station at which I stopped had a two tiered pricing system for cash & credit.  I only got a few gallons on credit and then headed on up I26.

Making it to Landrum, SC, I made the turn onto Hwy 14 and turned into an Ingles gas station (adjacent to the grocery).  Their per gallon price was about $2.569, which was 3 to 10 cents cheaper than I had seen along the way from Columbia.  From some signage along the roads, I realized that there was some type of “race” scheduled for the day.  I picked up that it was probably a horse race (didn’t know if buggies, steeple, etc.).  I passed through town and a few miles on the other side made my turns and then was at Spanglers.  There were no “honey” signs at the foot of the road, so I had an inkling that he might not be in business (or alive).

Les Spangler’s Honey

*The short story on this is that I’ve never ever met Mr. Spangler.  I have bought a couple of jars of honey a couple of years ago, but that was on the “honor” system.  He displayed his honey in jars behind a little pull up window.  You took what you wanted and left the money (I don’t recall if it was a money box or jar.)  The “retired” sign is where the honey was displayed.

How did I find out about Spangler’s honey, in Landrum, SC.  At some point, I found the “33 Liberty” restaurant’s web site.  They were located in Greenville, SC, but seemed to have closed sometime before 2009.  They offered haute cuisine, and they had a nice web site.  In one area, they explained about where they purchased some of their ingredients, and Les Spangler’s honey was one of these “mentions”.  — I think the 33 Liberty site was also where I learned about the Sweet Grass Dairy in Thomasville, GA. (I have been to Sweet Grass Dairy twice.  The first time was before they had built their new store, and you actually went to the farm to make your purchases.  The new store is a short distance from the dairy farm, and a little outside of Thomasville.

Les Spangler's Home & Honey

(Above: This is Les Spangler’s home, near Landrum, SC.  He no longer sells honey, see sign below.)

Les Spangler - "I no longer sell honey. Retired" sign

From Landrum, I made it up to Asheville fairly quickly and found that Exit 33 off of I26 provided a sharp U-turn and you were almost immediately at the intersection, with the Toyota dealer to the left.  I turned left at the light and drove a few miles coming upon the Farmers’ Market on the right.

Western Carolina Farmer’s Market (Asheville, NC – Saturday, April 17, 2010)

Western Carolina Farmers' Market - Asheville, NC Saturday, April 17, 2010

Small "B" potatoes

 (Above – Small, white “b” potatoes for “ramps & potatoes”.  The sales people were friendly and attentive, while going about straightening and moving produce about. )

Bunches of ramps ($3 per bunch)

(Above – RAMPS for “ramps & potatoes”.  These were slightly larger bunches of ramps at $3 each.  The smaller bunches at the other end of the display were $2.)

Mountain Sunshine Cheeses - WCFM - Saturday, April 17, 2010

(Above – Bought several cheeses, one of which was a small white, chevre frais (goat cheese), for “ramps & potatoes”.)

Piazza Restaurant, Asheville, NC (the location was formerly “Trillium, a Bistro”)

My waitress was personable, and friendly and the shrimp & basil pizza, and salad I had was good. 

Piazza Restaurant - main

Piazza’s bar area.

Piazza Restaurant - Asheville, NC - bar area