What I Did on My Summer Vacation 2013 (Waynesville: A Journey “Home”)

If you’re reading this in email or on Facebook, click on the title! It will take you directly to the blog (an easier viewing page.) If you’re already in my blog, WELCOME! (One more hint: If you click on any of the photos in the blog, they should open up in a browser window so you can get a better look!)

In my “Prologue” to this group of posts I wrote about Waynesville, North Carolina. As I read that post again, I realized I’d poured my heart into it and wouldn’t change a word. Here is that text again.

My aunt grew up in Waynesville, North Carolina. I had listened to her talk about her home town for so many years, I felt like I knew it, too. Years later, my parents were offered the opportunity to purchase land on Eagle’s Nest Mountain in Waynesville. A neighbor was involved in a partnership to development a portion of the mountain and offered my parents the chance to get in on the ground-floor at the pre-development prices. They jumped at the chance. I’ll never forget driving up Eagle’s Nest for the first time to choose our lots. I immediately fell in love with the mountain and knew I’d come “home.”

“Waynesville has, ever since, been a magical place for me. Even after our home on Eagle’s Nest burned to the ground in late 1980, Waynesville has held a very special place in my heart. Memories of spending happy times with family (immediate and extended) are part of the reason for this; however, there is just something about the town, and the people who live there, that makes me feel warm and welcome.

Beautiful Waynesville, NC (Eagles' Nest Mountain in the Background)

Beautiful Waynesville, NC
(Eagles’ Nest Mountain in the Background)

Waynesville is the county-seat of Haywood County. The courthouse is right on Main Street.

Haywood County Courthouse Waynesville, NC

Haywood County Courthouse
Waynesville, NC

Main Street has changed quite a lot since we had our home in Waynesville. Most of the storefronts are still the same, but the change is in what’s inside. I was afraid that I would find the loss of the stores I used to visit hard to accept. I was wrong. Main Street, now, has some beautiful stores with artisan-quality goods. There are galleries of all kinds. Some world-class artists now call Waynesville home. There are also restaurants, chocolate shops, and clothing stores. Several real estate agents have offices on Main, as well as several attorneys’ offices.

Banjo & Wash-tub Base Main Street @ Miller Waynesville, NC

Banjo & Wash-tub Base
Main Street @ Miller
Waynesville, NC

Main Street Waynesville, NC

Main Street
Waynesville, NC

Looking Down Main Street Waynesville, NC

Looking Down Main Street Waynesville, NC

Mast General Store (one of several in North Carolina) is also on Main. Mast has a little of everything – clothing, shoes, housewares, furnishings, food, and the largest selection of old-time candy found anywhere.

Mast General Store Main Street Waynesville, NC

Mast General Store
Main Street
Waynesville, NC

I think the biggest surprise for me was that there are now three active breweries in Waynesville! We visited Tipping Point Tavern, but there are also Headwaters Brewing and Frog’s Leap Public House. Those two we will check out on our next visit.

Tipping Point Tavern Waynesville, NC

Tipping Point Tavern
Waynesville, NC

Tipping Point Tavern was a fun place to visit. Their in-house brews are quite good. We tried both the “Hiking Viking” (my Northeast High School friends will certainly understand this) and the “Chunky Girl Amber.” They also have an IPA called “Punch in the Face IPA.” We found the brews quite hoppy, so we can imagine what the IPA must be. Next time…

We had both a lunch and a dinner at Tipping Point Tavern. Lunch was quite enjoyable. The food was quite good – can’t say “great” with regard to sandwiches and beer, but very good. We started with the beer-battered jalapeno poppers which were hot from the fryer and had very good flavor. I had the Tavern Reuben and really enjoyed it. Jim had Fish Tacos. I must say, you really shouldn’t be leaving Tipping Point hungry! They don’t skimp on portions!

Dinner was something of a different story. We had planned to go to The Bourbon Barrel, but they weren’t interested in seating us – even though there were many open tables. I guess that’s a place for locals only. Out-of-towners need not darken their doors. So… we ended up back at Tipping Point Tavern. Yes, the portions were huge (especially the Pulled Pork Burrito)! What was really off-putting was the noise level. We were there on a Wednesday night, so we didn’t expect the crush of people or the noise. Obviously, this is the place for the younger crowd to meet for drinks after work. If we’d been there just for a beer or cocktails (and had been several years younger), we probably would have had a wonderful time. For dinner, well it was rather hard to enjoy ourselves. If you go, it’s probably wise to stick to lunch, or go for their terrific beer and after-work party.

Now for the best meal of our entire trip. It was at The Sweet Onion restaurant on Miller Street. This restaurant would be at home in any large city in the U.S, but it’s nestled in beautiful, downtown Waynesville, NC.

Sweet Onion

Sweet Onion
Waynesville, NC

We had been told by the innkeepers at our bed & breakfast (Andon-Reid) – complete review in a dedicated post coming – that reservations were strongly suggested, so they made them for us. This lovely restaurant was bustling and after our experience, I understand why. The service was superb. We were warmly welcomed and shown to a comfortable table next to the window. Our server took our beverage order and gave us a couple of minutes to take-in the menu. What a menu! It was incredibly hard to decide.

We settled on splitting the crab cake appetizer. This was chock-full of lump crab loosely bound and served with a terrific lemon-basil aioli. Our entrees were amazing. Jim had the Blackberry BBQ Short Ribs. He proclaimed that they were the best he’d ever had. They were fall-off-the bone tender and the sauce was incredible. I had the Shrimp & Grits. Now, these are no ordinary shrimp and grits! The white cheddar grits were topped with huge, perfectly-cooked shrimp and big pieces of bacon. On top of all that lusciousness, there was a delicate, yet flavorful, lobster cream sauce. Heavenly! I even got one of my all-time favorite sides with this entrée. Marinated Cucumber and Tomato Salad is one of the food items I most closely associate with my Aunt Jean (who grew up in Waynesville). To have this on the menu, and on my plate, brought me nostalgically home with her.

Dessert wasn’t necessary; but, then again, we were on vacation. We decided to splurge on splitting an amazing crème brulee. It was absolutely perfect. It was creamy and soul-satisfying, yet light enough to leave us comfortable. All in all, one of the best meals either of us had ever had.

If you are going to be in Waynesville for any length of time, I highly recommend you make plans to have at least one dinner at Sweet Onion. You won’t be sorry.

 

Up Next: What I Did on My Summer Vacation 2013 (Eagle’s Nest Mountain)

 

Would you like to subscribe to my blog? (Oh, yes, it’s free!) If you have already clicked on the title and are now directly in my blog page, go to the bottom left hand portion of the page. If you have not gotten to the blog page, click on the title of the Posting and it will take you to the blog. That’s okay, we’ll wait! At the top of the blog, you should see a button with “Follow” next to it. If you click that button, a checkmark should show up. At that point, you should be subscribed. (WordPress is one of the easiest blogs to work with, and I’m still frequently befuddled with how it works!)

What I Did on My Summer Vacation 2013 (Folk Art Center & The Grove Park Inn)

If you’re reading this in email or on Facebook, click on the title! It will take you directly to the blog (an easier viewing page.) If you’re already in my blog, WELCOME! (One more hint: If you click on any of the photos in the blog, they should open up in a browser window so you can get a better look!)

 

After enjoying a sumptuous breakfast at Oakland Cottage, we were off to explore Asheville. Our first stop was the Allanstand Craft Shop at the Folk Art Center (Milepost 382 Blue Ridge Parkway).

Folk Art Center - Blue Ridge Parkway (courtesy HCPress.com)

Folk Art Center – Blue Ridge Parkway
(courtesy HCPress.com)

It was raining (as usual) when we arrived, so I didn’t get to take photos of the outside. Once, inside, photos were forbidden, so I won’t be able to share with you. I do understand why no photos are allowed as there could be some who would profit at the expense of the artisans who display and sell their goods here. The photo below is from their website (http://www.southernhighlandguild.org/pages/guild-shops/allanstand-craft-shop.php).

Folk Art Center/Allanstand Craft Shop (Courtesy Southern Highland Guild website)

Folk Art Center/Allanstand Craft Shop
(Courtesy Southern Highland Guild website)

I was particularly excited by the stained glass art there. Unfortunately, it was priced appropriately for the work and that was beyond my pocketbook. As a dabbler in the medium, I was thrilled to see such innovation, and it gave me renewed interest in seeing what I could do with the ideas I got from the work in the shop.

 

Other crafts included beautiful pottery, unique glasswork, jewelry, needle arts, woodworking/carving, and painting among many others. So many talented individuals make up the Guild. The volunteers who man the shop are so nice and welcoming. I really recommend a visit to the Folk Art Center if you are on the Parkway, or to any of the other locations (see the website for locations and hours). We’ve been in four of the shops and each one is unique and carries art from the 200+ guild members.

Grove Park Inn Asheville, NC

Grove Park Inn
Asheville, NC

From the Folk Art Center, we were off to explore The Grove Park Inn. This is a destination I’d been wanting to experience for a long time. As I mentioned in earlier posts, I’ve been in the Asheville area many, many times over the years; however, never had I been to The Grove Park Inn. Our friends, Eric and Gloria, confirmed that this was a destination that must be experienced.

 

I was always fascinated by the story of the Grove Park Inn. There seems to be so many tie-ins with my own, personal history. No, I’m certainly not related to Edwin Grove or his son-in-law, Fred Seely, but their lives were lived in and around many of the same locations as mine.

 

Grove was born, and began his pharmaceutical fortune in Tennessee until doctors told him to seek the fresh air of Asheville. He also was a real estate developer in Atlanta (my home for over 20 years). He purchased the land on which the Grove Park sits around the same time as George Vanderbilt was building his famous mansion.

 

Fred Seely was a pharmaceutical pioneer whom Grove met in Detroit (my current home area). Seely married Grove’s daughter, and the two men planned and built the Inn which opened in 1913. Today, it is part of the Omni hotel system, but it maintains its timeless elegance and incomparable position overlooking Asheville.

Enjoying the Rockers Grove Park Inn

Enjoying the Rockers
Grove Park Inn

One of the nice touches is the presence of the many rocking chairs in front of the Inn. It’s a nice place to wait for your car – or to just sit and wait for the rest of your party to arrive.  

Giant Brass & Art Glass Lamps Outside Grove Park Inn

Giant Brass & Art Glass Lamps
Outside Grove Park Inn

While sitting and rocking, one can enjoy the massive brass and art-glass lamps, the pretty flowers, and the cute bear & butterfly statue.

Adorable Bear & Butterfly Statue

Adorable Bear & Butterfly Statue

I enjoyed making “rock pictures.” I think the one below looks like a bear. Do you see it?

Do You See a Bear?

Do You See a Bear?

The Arts and Crafts movement is beautifully on display in the Grove Park. Everywhere we looked, there were masterpieces of stone, glass, wooden furniture, and space. The fireplaces on either end of the lobby are massive! I believe they are every bit as big as the one in the Biltmore. A six-foot-plus tall man can stand in the opening and still be dwarfed. The stacked rocks are magnificent. I could imagine how cozy it must be to sit in a comfy chair in front of one of these fireplaces when winter is raging outside.

One of the MASSIVE Fireplaces in the Lobby Grove Park Inn

One of the MASSIVE Fireplaces in the Lobby
Grove Park Inn

All of the fixtures and furnishings are kept completely true to the period in which the structure was built. As beautiful as the interior is, it doesn’t detract, even slightly, from the amazing view. 

Two of the Beautiful Arts & Crafts Style Lamps Lobby - Grove Park Inn

Two of the Beautiful Arts & Crafts Style Lamps
Lobby – Grove Park Inn

We were there on a gray, rainy day, and even that couldn’t spoil the enjoyment of the Inn.

IMG_20130818_135352_924

View from Sunset Terrace Grove Park Inn

View from Sunset Terrace
Grove Park Inn

We had lunch on the Sunset Terrace. We had their “famous” Lobster Cobb Salad. Honestly, it was a very nice salad, but the lobster was limited and the price was outrageous. Of course, the view, the service and the ambience are what you are paying for, so the experience was worth the price – once.

"Famous" Lobster Cobb Salad Grove Park Inn

“Famous” Lobster Cobb Salad
Grove Park Inn

We also had dessert. (Oh, come on! We’re on vacation!) I ordered the chocolate cake with the cherry in-between the layers. It came with a generous scoop of vanilla ice cream. I’m sure that this is normally very, very good, but mine was pretty dry. I took most of it back to the B&B. On the other hand, Jim had the butterscotch pudding (in a Mason jar – isn’t that novel) with caramel topping. He finished every last spoonful.

Chocolate & Cherry Cake Grove Park Inn

Chocolate & Cherry Cake
Grove Park Inn

Butterscotch Pudding with Caramel Grove Park Inn

Butterscotch Pudding with Caramel
Grove Park Inn

There are all kinds of terrific shops in the Grove Park. There are also conservatories, a grotto pool, and so many other sites that we didn’t even get a chance to see. We’ve decided that, some day, we will have to book a stay at the Grove Park so that we can experience it all.

SO Much More to See Grove Park Inn

SO Much More to See
Grove Park Inn

Up Next: What I Did on My Summer Vacation 2013 (Waynesville: A Journey “Home”)

 

Would you like to subscribe to my blog? (Oh, yes, it’s free!) If you have already clicked on the title and are now directly in my blog page, go to the bottom left hand portion of the page. If you have not gotten to the blog page, click on the title of the Posting and it will take you to the blog. That’s okay, we’ll wait! At the top of the blog, you should see a button with “Follow” next to it. If you click that button, a checkmark should show up. At that point, you should be subscribed. (WordPress is one of the easiest blogs to work with, and I’m still frequently befuddled with how it works!)

WIDMSV – Eagle River Inn; Brockway Mountain Drive; Visiting an Old Friend’s Family

If you’re reading this in email or on Facebook, click on the title! It will take you directly to the blog (an easier viewing page.) If you’re already in my blog, WELCOME! (One more hint: If you click on any of the photos in the blog, they should open up in a browser window so you can get a better look!)

 

WIDMSV? What I Did on My Summer Vacation!

 

We reached the upper parts of the Keweenaw Peninsula expecting cooler weather. Unfortunately, the ‘weather gods’ didn’t get the memo. It was in the mid-90s! Again, it’s not SUPPOSED to be that hot in the Keweenaw. For the most part, they don’t have air-conditioning. They usually don’t need it. Phew!

Eagle River Inn (Beach side)
Photo from their Website

Representative Room
Eagle River Inn

We checked into our room at the Eagle River Inn (which was so clean and newly refurbished, we could still smell the fresh paint). The Eagle River Inn has been a labor of love for Mike and Marc (the proprietors). They have spent every penny they could come up with on fixing up this wonderful inn which is only steps away from one of the prettiest, most accessible beaches in the Keweenaw. Their attention to detail is amazing. They have turned this location into a comfortable, friendly, destination inn that we will look forward to visiting over and over again.

One of our “neighbors”

 

Did I mention that the Eagle River Inn is DOG FRIENDLY??!!!! They are! I believe that the future of inn-keeping is in pet-friendly accommodations. More and more, people consider their pets integral parts of the family. The idea of leaving a family member behind in a kennel or alone at home is troubling. A key to enjoying a family vacation is for the WHOLE family to enjoy the time together. I really have to commend The Eagle River Inn for being so forward thinking.

 

It was far more comfortable driving in the car – with air-conditioning –so we decided that the Brockway Mountain Drive sounded like a good idea. The drive is a beautifully scenic road that runs from just north of Eagle River up to Copper Harbor. The views winding up the road are just beautiful. There are views of Lake Superior

 

Inland lakes

 

 Valleys

 

 Rock outcroppings

 

I have read that there were plan to put a cell tower on Brockway Mountain. (Okay, y’all, this wouldn’t be considered a “mountain” in the south – well, except maybe Florida. In Michigan, however, this is surely a “mountain” as the glaciers really scraped most of the state flat.) It is the highest point around and I understand the need for communications, but I certainly hope that they figure something else out that won’t mar the beauty of this amazingly pristine area.

 

Wild Berry
(World’s Best Ice Cream!)

As we reached the end of the road, we found ourselves just a little ways from the Wild Berry. I had found out that one of my high school classmates had grown up in Copper Harbor, Michigan. She and her family (the Nousiainens) had owned and run the Wild Berry Ice Cream store. Her brother, George (who had been a few years ahead of us in school), had moved back to Copper Harbor and was still running the store.

 

ICE CREAM!!!!! What a marvelous idea! It was especially welcome in this heat. We would have loved to visit more with George and his wife, but we weren’t the only ones thinking that ice cream sounded like a good idea. The place was packed! We did, however, get the opportunity to treat ourselves to sundaes made with local fruit and some of the best, smoothest, most delicious ice cream I’ve ever eaten. (In retrospect, I wonder if the ice cream was really as fabulous as I remember or if it was just because it was so very welcome.)

Thimbleberry

 

I opted for thimbleberry. A thimbleberry is related to raspberries. It’s a delicious, tart fruit with LOTS (and I do mean to capitalize that) of seeds! It’s absolutely delicious, but the pips… I tend to think they’re worth dealing with.

 

Bilberry

Jim opted for bilberry. Bilberries are related to what we call blueberries. In fact, in Europe, these are what they know as blueberries. This special variety only grows in the Keweenaw and especially in the wilds around Copper Harbor. Bilberry is known to be good for maintaining healthy blood-sugar levels and the leaves make a tea that is good for blood pressure. I guess that means that Jim was eating “health food.” Yeah, uh huh…

 

All I can tell you is that we both thoroughly enjoyed our sundaes, and it was great to be able to visit with family of an old friend. We immediately made plans to come back the next day for more camaraderie and, of course, more ice cream.

 

By the time we finished our ice cream and said good-bye, we were getting pretty worn out. It had been a very long day starting with birding (and getting eaten alive) in the morning and lots of driving in the middle. We decided to head back to the Eagle River Inn, grab some dinner, and try to get some sleep.

 

The road that we took back south followed the shoreline of Lake Superior. What a gorgeous place this is! We stopped at a couple of outlooks along the way. At one, there was a couple who were tossing a ‘duck’ out into the Lake for their chocolate lab to fetch. We enjoyed watching the dog swim out again and again (obviously enjoying his game), retrieving his prize, and returning it to his people.

 

We wanted to make certain that we got back to Fitzgerald’s (the superb restaurant at the Eagle River Inn) for our dinner reservation. The special was smoked prime rib! They have a huge smoker in the parking lot of the Inn. It smelled so wonderful when we left that we wanted to be sure not to miss out.

Fitzgerald’s
(Photo from their Website)

We were rewarded handsomely! That was one of the finest meals we’ve had in a while. The meat was smoked to perfection and the accompaniments were excellent. Jim had a smoked-fish appetizer. I tried it, but I decided that I’d save the room for dinner. I did, however, have a nice ‘Bookers.’ I must make a special note of the tremendous variety of whiskies that Fitzgerald’s stocks. Whether it’s bourbon or scotch whiskey that float your boat, they probably have your brand – or a brand that you’ve been wanting to try. They also have an excellent selection of whiskies from other parts of the world (Canadian, Irish, even Japanese).

Sunset at
The Eagle River Inn

 

After eating a huge meal, and the long day, we were ready for a good night’s sleep. This was the first time it really occurred to me that we were much further north. At 11:00 p.m., it was still light (and still HOT)! After snapping several photos of the amazing sunset and a late lakes’ freighter, I finally drifted off to sleep. Tomorrow is the Fourth of July! I figured I wouldn’t be getting much sleep at all then.

Lakes Freighter

 

Up Next: The Fourth of July – Keweenaw Style

 

Would you like to subscribe to my blog? (Oh, yes, it’s free!) Hopefully, you have already clicked on the title and are now directly in my blog page. If you have not gotten to the blog page, click on the title of the Posting and it will take you to the blog. That’s okay, we’ll wait! At the top of the blog, you should see a button with “Follow” next to it. If you click that button, a checkmark should show up. At that point, you should be subscribed. (WordPress is one of the easiest blogs to work with, and I’m still frequently befuddled with how it works!)

 

Looking forward to “seeing” you here on Colmel’s Blog!

WIDMSV – Big Bay: A B&B in a Lighthouse; Gwinn: Up North Lodge

If you’re reading this in email or on Facebook, click on the title! It will take you directly to the blog (an easier viewing page.) If you’re already in my blog, WELCOME! (One more hint: If you click on any of the photos in the blog, they should open up in a browser window so you can get a better look!) 

Big Bay Point Lighthouse
B&B

WIDMSV? – What I Did on My Summer Vacation!

The next time we go to the Marquette area, we want to stay at Big Bay Point Lighthouse Bed and Breakfast (http://www.bigbaylighthouse.com/home3.html). What an incredibly beautiful location! We didn’t go inside, but the outside was breath-taking. The lighthouse still operates (although it is now automated) and it sits on a high bluff. The only sound – even during the heart of the afternoon – was waves lapping at the bluff and birds singing. The grounds were lush with rugosa roses which smell incredible. There were lawn chairs to sit in so that you can relax and enjoy the scenery. We had actually gone to the lighthouse to do some birding. We did find very confiding American Redstarts and Song Sparrows, however it really wasn’t a good time to be birding. It was, however, a great time to find a jewel of a B&B. I have read that the B&B is for sale. I can only hope that it remains a B&B. I would imagine that it has to be a wonderful place to simply relax and to enjoy the stars.

View from
Big Bay Lighthouse B&B

 

One thing worth noting if you go to the Marquette area – most restaurants are closed on Sunday. While I appreciate this for everyone in the restaurant business, it can be somewhat difficult for tourists and vacationers. Thank goodness we found The Up North Lodge in Gwinn, MI (http://www.theupnorthlodge.com).

(Photos Courtesy of
The Up North Lodge)

 

Gwinn is between Marquette and Escanaba (in the moonlight or otherwise – Michigan/Jeff Daniels joke). It’s a nice little community, but there really isn’t much around there. What is there, however, is The Up North Lodge. This is a log-built restaurant and lounge. It’s really a beautiful building on a nice parcel of ground. They have outdoor seating available, but it was so terribly hot on July 1, that we definitely wanted to be inside. What an inside!

Inside the Up North Lodge

 

The lodge is well laid-out with huge windows and comfortable seating. We were seated very close to the windows. I’d hoped to see some of the birds that they attempt to coax with feeders. It was (apparently) too hot for the birds, as well.

 

We started with ‘Squeaky Cheese Curds.’ Okay, y’all, this is a benefit of being up north and near Wisconsin. To explain cheese curds, I went to my old ‘friend’ Wikipedia. “Cheese curds are little known in locations without cheese factories because they should ideally be eaten within hours of manufacture. Their flavor is mild, with about the same firmness as cheese, but with a springy or rubbery texture. Fresh curds squeak against the teeth when bitten into, a defining characteristic, due to air trapped inside the porous material.”

Up North Lodge in Winter
(Great snowmobile destination)

 

For dinner, Jim opted for their “famous” barbecued ribs. I chose the filet. Both meals came with salad bar (which, by the way, was exceedingly fresh and well stocked). Jim really enjoyed his ribs (although, being from the south, we are used to ‘barbecue’ including some smoke). I just have to tell you about the filet. Now y’all know me (well, most of you do). I’m a southern girl who has been blessed to do quite a bit of traveling in my life. I’ve eaten filets in some of the largest cities and in some of the most ‘famous’ restaurants. This filet – in Gwinn, Michigan – at The Up North Lodge – was one of the finest, most tender, and tastiest I have ever put in my mouth. It wasn’t over seasoned or over-done and it wasn’t over-priced. As a matter of fact, It WAS downright reasonably priced. The first bite was one of those “Ah HA!” moments. You know what I mean? It was one of those times when you just close your eyes, taste the food, and know you are eating a great piece of meat. (To all of you vegetarians out there, I just have to remind you that I am an unabashed carnivore!)

 

I don’t know how, but we found room for dessert. (Funny, when not on vacation, we almost never have room for dessert.) We split a piece of ‘Snickers’ pie. In many places, this kind of pie will be something the restaurant buys frozen in a box. This pie did not taste like it had ever been in a box or in a freezer. It was just enough sweetness to finish off a terrific meal.

 

Between the heat, the birding, the black-fly bites, and the copious quantities of food consumed, we were ready to make our way back to the B&B for a good night’s sleep. As Scarlett once said, “Tomorrow is another day.”

Up Next: Munising

 

Would you like to subscribe to my blog? (Oh, yes, it’s free!) Hopefully, you have already clicked on the title and are now directly in my blog page. If you have not gotten to the blog page, click on the title of the Posting and it will take you to the blog. That’s okay, we’ll wait! At the top of the blog, you should see a button with “Follow” next to it. If you click that button, a checkmark should show up. At that point, you should be subscribed. (WordPress is one of the easiest blogs to work with, and I’m still frequently befuddled with how it works!)

Our Fantastic Journey – Day 2

Day 2: Nashville, TN

We got up very early so that we could eat at The Loveless Café. You may recognize the name from several television shows. Most notable, probably, was the “Throwdown” Bobby Flay had with Carol Fay “The Biscuit Lady.” We had made up our minds that The Loveless was going to be on our itinerary after watching this show. Carol Fay was such a charmer! I really looked forward to watching her during our visit.

Sadly, this was not to be. Carol Fay passed away quite suddenly in early April. So, I could eat the wonderful biscuits (previously, lovingly made by Carol Fay) that were now being made with care and reverence by one of her “disciples,” and some of the best jams I ever tasted. Those HAD been made and jarred by Carol Fay in past years. I knew, immediately, that I would have to buy some of those wonderful concoctions and bring them home.

After a stop in the Loveless store for t-shirts, mugs, and – of course – JAM, we were on our way back to the hotel to drop off our goodies. Seems we probably should have just gone directly to, but we wanted to pick up materials for, The Hermitage (Andrew Jackson’s home). Wouldn’t you know, Betty took us right back to The Hermitage which was on the way to The Loveless.

 The Hermitage is beautiful. The household furnishings, photos, carriages, implements, and other exhibit items were all very well set up. I learned a lot about the Jacksonian presidency and the history of those times. However, I’ve always been more interested in the physical plant (the landscape and lay of the land) when visiting historic locations. I get more out of seeing the trees, gardens, barns, sheds, pump houses, and slave quarters than I do from exhibits and home furnishings (although learning that the Odyssey mural on the upstairs walls was a teaching tool was really cool). Those who have taken on the extreme chore of restoring and caring for this important, historic, landmark have done a tremendous job. They were having to deal with the flooding that brought such devastation throughout the Nashville area. Pumps were going, and a few of the outbuilding were closed, but all-in-all, it was a peaceful, beautiful and fascinating place to visit.

Our final sightseeing stop for the day was at the Tennessee State Museum. We just beat a pretty big storm. We had heard about this museum from some really nice people we met at Jim Beam. They told us that the museum was definitely worth the visit, and with Monday being Memorial Day, we knew we’d have to take in as much of it as we could on Sunday.

There’s a whole lot of walking involved, and I must admit I was pretty walked out, but it’s definitely someplace I’d like to go to again – with more time. Admission is free and there’s plentiful parking.

The highlights of the museum for me were actual belongings of Daniel Boone and the bench built by Davy Crockett. There were lots of early, native-American artifacts that I barely did justice to, and we virtually zoomed through the materials from the War Between The States. Again, this is someplace I’d like to visit often to really take in the different areas.

Early dinner at Caney Fork Restaurant was fun. The restaurant was on Music Row, but it was just high enough that the water didn’t reach there during the flood. They have really big catfish swimming around in the water feature inside. Would you believe that those fish actually BEG? We were warned not to feed them and complied, but it was more than a little disquieting to see a fish beg.

We headed back to the hotel and a well-earned night’s rest.

Our Fantastic Journey – Day 6

Day 6: Enterprise to Louisville

We had hoped to be able to stop at Maker’s Mark distillery on the way to Louisville. Unfortunately, this was not to be as we got stuck for several hours sitting stock still on the highway just a few miles from the exit (glad we weren’t IN the accident). So, we decided that this would have to wait until our next trip to Kentucky.

Our hotel was, once again, in a very good location. The Best Western was the nicest place we stayed in. We will probably use it again in the future. It was especially close to Churchill Downs and allowed for easy access to highways.

Another great find in Louisville was Flanagan’s Ale House. It’s a great little restaurant that features over 150 beers. They have a fun menu, good specials, delicious food, and great service. We’ve decided that this will be a regular stop on our future trips to Louisville.

Our Fantastic Journey – Day 4

Days 4: Nashville to Enterprise, AL

Our last stop in Nashville on the way out of town was the Pancake Pantry! This place had gotten terrific reviews in Urbanspoon, and Rachel Ray had gone there in one of her shows. We’d been warned that there are always huge lines, so we planned to get there just after they opened. We hoped that getting there early on a Tuesday after a Monday holiday would be the trick to not having much of a wait. We were right. We had absolutely NO wait. We were seated immediately and the place was virtually empty. It surely had to be the timing, because it wasn’t their food. The pancakes were delicious and enormous. Pancake Pantry isn’t inexpensive, but it was worth a visit.

We got right back on the freeway and headed south. Next stop…Enterprise, AL!

I guess at this point, I should mention that Caitlin didn’t know that we were coming down for her graduation. She had told her parents that she really wanted us there, but understood that we both work and that it’s an awfully long way from Michigan to Lower Alabama. What she didn’t know is that we’d been planning this for a very long time and that there was no way we would miss her high school graduation. This became extra important when she was invited to attend the Naval Academy in Annapolis, MD. We knew that it would be even more difficult to spend time with her once she headed off to the Academy.

Our hotel in the area (the Jameson Inn) was actually in Ozark, AL which was about 25 or 30 miles from my brother’s house. Naturally, Cait’s grandmother, Molly (Megan’s mom), would be staying at their house so we found the closest AVAILABLE hotel. Normally, it would have been much closer, but this was also the week-end of Bama Jam, and almost everything was sold out. The hotel was fine. What was exceptionally good was the staff. The front desk was amazingly helpful and housekeeping was exceedingly friendly and conscientious.

Bama Jam is a modern-day, country-music Woodstock. (We’d never heard of it – go figure.) Apparently, this started out as a rather small deal a few years ago in Enterprise that grew like kudzu into a huge affair. People come from all over the country and the world for the music. Acts are the Who’s Who of current country music (such as Hank Williams, Jr.).

When we arrived at the Hubers’, Caitlin was surprised. She was also very happy. I don’t know how on earth we managed to keep her in the dark, but we’re so glad it worked out that way. We had such a lovely visit with everyone. The first night, we were the only out-of-town relatives to have arrived. All of Megan’s family was due the next day. We enjoyed our entire visit.