October 2013 Vacation

On Saturday morning, October 5th, 2013, I started out on my October 2013 Vacation.  I headed up Hwy. 401 to Fuquay Varina, and then on to Hwy. 55 through Holly Springs, Apex and finally stopping for breakfast at Brigs just shy of where Hwy. 54 crosses Hwy. 55.  My friend and old boss, Leo Tayor, had first introduced me to Brigs for breakfast.  I think we’ve been there twice, and I’ve been there about three times now.  I really like the flavor of their bacon.

I think the olive oil and vinegar shop in Hickory, NC was called the Crushed Olive, but had changed owners and the gift bags still had the old name on them.  The new owners are a younger couple, with a daughter.  The previous owners have moved to NY to be near family.  The Crushed Olive website shows a couple of locations up North.

I got into Asheville and headed up to Weaverville about 10 miles north of downtown Asheville.  I wanted to have lunch at the Stony Knob Cafe.  I got right in and was seated in a booth at the door.  I ordered a dish that was reminiscent of beef stroganoff, with noodles, but seasoned with Rosemary and not nutmeg.  Needed only half a serving, and should have had a salad or something to cut the heaviness of the main dish.  I saw Erin, but she didn’t recognize me, although why should she?  It has probably been a year or more since she was my waitress for several days.

After lunch, I headed up to the Blue Ridge Parkway via the back roads from Weaverville.  I’ve done this before when I stayed in Weaverville about a year or so ago.  I made it to the Parkway and headed south.  The Government Shutdown had closed the mountain arts museum and shop.  Maybe I bought the Space Mug here.

Again, I visited the New Morning Gallery, in Biltmore Village, at the entrance of Biltmore Estate.  I think I bought my Space Mug there.

I then headed south, but detoured off of I26 and headed over to Brevard.  I wanted to visit the Food Matters Market, organic foods grocery, over there.  I found it and bought some pink salt.  I enjoyed the back route to Greenville, off the Interstate.

I stayed at a LaQuinta Inn in Greenville, SC and then had breakfast at Stax Omega Restaurant.  I ordered the corned beef hash, scrambled eggs and potatoes.  I forget that I shouldn’t order potatoes with corned beef hash since it already has potatoes.  The couple in the background of my picture were at “ground zero” when another waitress (not the one shown here) dropped a tray of food.  I think she managed to save one plate but the rest crashed to the floor loudly.

Many years ago, probably about 1984, I lived for about 11 months on a little farm (S.I.F.A.T.) between Wedowee and Lineville, AL.  It was just after I had withdrawn from Southern Seminary (Louisville, KY).  At some point, several of us made a trip to Americus, GA to work on a Habitat for Humanity house.  The notorious Civil War prison at Andersonville is located nearby.  I recall that the downtown had some old buildings which looked like they might have existed before the Civil War.  I made a quick tour, down and back, along two long one-way streets and stopped in to do some quick shopping at a local grocery store.

I wanted to eat at Liam’s in Thomasville, GA for lunch, but saw that they were closed on Mondays so found Jonah’s (which ended up being right next door) and enjoyed my lunch there.  I think this location had been Liam’s when I first visited Thomasville.  Next visit, Liam’s had expanded into both locations with the courtyard in the middle.  Now, Liam’s is on the right and Jonah’s on the left, I guess sharing the courtyard.  I had visited Liam’s web site and thought it strange that they had a “7 Deadly Sins” themed site.  After eating at Jonah’s and walking next door, it dawned on me why this might be.  Jonah’s is unabashedly Christian in it’s witness.

I had seen that the Sweet Grass Dairy store (now restaurant and store) had moved.  Ha!  I found that it had moved just around the corner from Jonah’s & Liam’s.  They have very little in the way of cheeses and specialty items and appear to be mostly a bar/restaurant.  The person behind the counter mentioned that they no longer offered goat cheeses.  *That was the main part of my original visit to the farm.  They had goats, lots and lots of goats.  I did buy a soft, white cow’s milk cheese called “Lil Moo” which is tart and goes very well with jam (Smuckers Sugar Free Raspberry) .

My visit to St. Petersburg, FL, Piney Point, the Pier, Sunshine Skyway Bridge, and Piney Point were much as expected, but great to actually visit to get a feel for it all.  Probably the neatest thing, besides the telephoto shot of the St. Petersburg skyline from the Piney Point side, was as I was leaving and disturbed a flock of pink flamingos.  Unfortunately, the shot was out of focus and they did not return before I decided to leave.

On my way to Savannah, I detoured to St. Simons Island late in the afternoon.  There had been a car accident on the other side of the Causeway and traffic on that side was backed up forever.  I drove past many of the old haunts and then further down the Island.  On my way back, traffic was stopped on a different road by an officer that had “pulled” a woman driver and she was not fully off the road.  Waited and waited and finally a few of us could get around.  The original accident and traffic was no longer a problem (all gone), and I came back and headed up to a restaurant (Marshside, I think.).  It was a bar/restaurant with a boisterous crowd.  The prices were high, but the cole slaw was “perfect”.  It was sweet, but not too sweet.  Wet, but not too wet, and delicious.  The fried oysters had good flavor.  I think I paid about $24 including tip.

I missed my turn onto Bay Street in Savannah, GA and ended up below the bridge.  I think this is an interesting perspective on the bridge.

I had to make a Krystal’s visit for “brunch”.  I had already eaten a waffle with sugar-free syrup at the LaQuinta, just off of I95 (Exit 94), and knew I was going to have a late lunch at the Water Side in Charleston, SC later, but I wanted to be reminded of that familiar smell and taste of the steamed burgers & onions on a soft bun.  I ordered four, but threw away the buns from one of them and consolidated the meat into one of the others.

I travelled Hwy. 25 out the back way to Hwy. 17 (Port Wentworth, GA – SC) and then detoured into downtown Beaufort, SC before heading up to Charleston.  I went to the Water Side Restaurant on Shem’s Creek first thing.  I had a good waiter and sat out on the glass enclosed porch to dine.  I had a meatloaf with tangy (spicy heat) tomato sauce (I’ve had this sauce before as something that one of the canned tomato sauce companies tried.)  They gave me a bunch of meatloaf.  I figured it was late and they were getting rid of it because they didn’t have enough for someone else.  I had collards which they had added a little tomato to in cooking.  I asked for some Vidalia onion (got red onion) and the waiter proffered hot vinegar.  It also came with wild rice which was also good.  I had unsweetened tea with some sweetner.  Very relaxing, good food, and I checked emails during and afterwards.

Funny, I just realized that Bay Street in both Savannah and Charleston had some meaning during this trip.  When leaving Charleston, I wanted to take Hwy 52 to Florence, SC.  Bay Street in Charleston is Hwy. 52 so that made it easy, although my phone had started to die.

NOTE:  My Galaxy S III phone has a good GPS/Mapping System… as long as the phone has power, but several times (every day) just before arriving where I would be spending the night, the phone would start to die.  Fortunately, I was able to find my destinations… except in Savannah, I had passed by two LaQuinta Inns before getting the phone to work enough to get back to one of them… not the one, but they called and the one I needed to stay at was only about 8 miles back (Exit 94 off of I95).