July 22, 2006
Wally & Marta
We have been busy the past few days, exploring North Carolina and trying to experience as much of this wonderful area as possible. We made a nice day trip to the "High Country", where we visited the mountain cities of Boone and Blowing Rock. A mere 8 miles apart each nestled high in the Appalachian Mountains, the two places are totally different. Boone, home to Appalachian State University, has the feel of a cool college, hippie town. There are people along the street playing banjos for change, a plethora of vegetarian restaurants (we loved Melanie's), and lots of shops geared toward a more youthful, active crowd. Over in Blowing Rock, the crowd looked as if they had just stepped off the back nine, yuppies everywhere and shops filled with expensive "mountainy gifts". We preferred Boone.
We also took the opportunity to drive along the Blue Ridge Parkway through the mountains, visiting the Cone Manor House visitor center and passing along the route purportedly used by Daniel Boone. The Cone Manor is the estate and summer home of the textile magnate, Moses H. Cone and is very similar to the mansions we saw in Bar Harbor complete with a set of carriage roads that serve as trails through the mountains.
The next day we were back in a more urban setting, helping Marta purchase a television at Circuit City for her new home, then deciding to look around Winston Salem after we delivered it. Winston Salem is a small, but rapidly growing little city. It is clean and nice and has a cool arts district. We visited Old Salem, which is the restored area of the original Moravian settlement from the 1800s which includes Salem College. There are many examples of early American houses including a delightful Moravian bakery which still functions making bread and delightful Moravian cookies.
As a nightcap, we joined Marta, Marika & Brain and their good friends, George & Susan Edmonds for dinner at the Foothills Brewery then a Winston-Salem Warthogs game. The Warthogs, a class A Carolina League farm team was playing a double header against the evil Myrtle Beach Pelicans. Minor league baseball is quite a treat, they put on all sorts of special promotions (tonight was Fireworks Friday), the tickets were only $8 each for box seats and it is really, really fun. We got to witness Wally the Warthog dancing in the aisles, the nightly "Eyeball Race" in which huge eyeballs race to determine who gets a gift certificate from a local optometrist and we each got a free loaf of bread on our way out. The Warthogs split the games, as if anyone really cared, the real joy was just seeing another fun slice of Americana in action.
front:Brian & Marika back: Marta, Michael, Susan & George
Blue by an eyelash!
One more note, if you ever find yourself in Madison, NC, try Bob's restaurant for some tasty and inexpensive treats. Not only did we get the fun of sitting in the Dale Jr. room, but a full delicious home style dinner for four complete with drinks and dessert came in at a whopping $21.
In the Dale, Jr. Room