Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Morrison's Drive-Inn

When Lauren and I visited my parents over Labor Day weekend, we made it a point to go to Morrison's Drive-Inn. I grew up going to Morrison's and I remember the slight sense of embarrassment when my dad would honk the horn to let the waitresses know we were there. The building looks the same as it did when I was growing up, which is to say it looks the same as it did when my mom and dad were growing up. The river is still on one side, Route 10 and the rail road tracks on the other. The menu is still a hand-painted billboard. They still serve chicken livers and gizzards. A whiteboard has replaced a chalkboard for the daily specials. Their cheeseburger is the best I've ever had. Here are some pictures from our late summer visit. Maybe when we're visiting after Christmas we'll go again.

[caption id="attachment_119" align="alignleft" width="490" caption="Morrison\'s Drive-Inn: It\'s looked the same for years."][/caption]

[caption id="attachment_121" align="alignleft" width="490" caption="The onion rings are awesome. The fries, not so much. "][/caption]

[caption id="attachment_120" align="alignleft" width="490" caption="The Daily Specials board. We had cheeseburgers but thought they were pretty special."][/caption]

[caption id="attachment_118" align="alignleft" width="490" caption="It\'s not listed on the menu, but I think you can get a beer delivered to you in your car."][/caption]

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

The Floyd Country Store

[caption id="attachment_93" align="alignnone" width="500" caption="The Floyd Country Store sign is a beacon for cloggers, pickers and fans of bluegrass music."]The Floyd Country Store[/caption]

When I lived in Virginia, I used to go to Floyd twice a month to eat at Oddfellas Cantina and go to the Friday Night Jamboree at The Floyd Country Store. I've been telling Lauren about it for years and we've never had the chance to go, but, much to her delight, I finally took her to Floyd for an evening of great food and great music.

If you've never been, Floyd is an interesting town. Nestled in the midst of the Blue Ridge Mountains, it has managed to embrace a couple of decade's worth of artists, hippies, and back-to-the-earth farmers while staying true to its traditions. Friday night is and always has been one of those traditions.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Writing in the Rain

While Lauren and I were on Bald Head Island for the North Carolina Food and Wine Weekend I got to thinking, what is there to do on Bald Head Island in the rain? A couple of days later I got a call asking for an entry for the Bald Head Island Limited Blog. Check out my list here.

And while you're at it, check out the picture of Old Baldy I took.
[caption id="attachment_77" align="alignleft" width="500" caption="Old Baldy during a break in the storm."]Old Baldy during a break in the storm.[/caption]

Friday, October 2, 2009

On the Blue Ridge Parkway

My wife, Lauren, and I went to visit my family in West Virginia over Labor Day. To get from Wilmington, NC to Logan, WV you have to endure two things: 1) Interstate 40, one of the most boring drives ever, and 2) an eight and a half hour drive, half of which is on I-40. Sirius Satellite Radio makes both of these things better, but the trip is still long and dull. We decided to break up the trip and stay at a bed and breakfast in Floyd, VA and enjoy the Friday Night Jamboree at the Floyd Country Store (more on that later). To get there we took the Blue Ridge Parkway for the last hour of the drive and it could not have been better. The scenery is beautiful and the temperature dropped 12 degrees when we got into the mountains. Here are some pictures from the Blue Ridge Parkway.

[caption id="attachment_55" align="alignnone" width="500" caption="The Blue Ridge Parkway from our car."]The Blue Ridge Parkway from our car.[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_57" align="alignnone" width="500" caption="Barns and a wide-open blue sky."]Barns and a wide-open blue sky.[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_59" align="alignnone" width="500" caption="Groundhog Hill is one of the greatest names ever."]Groundhog Hill is one of the greatest names ever.[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_60" align="alignnone" width="500" caption="Those groundhogs get all the best real estate."]Those groundhogs get all the best real estate.[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_61" align="alignnone" width="500" caption="The little barn on Groundhog Hill."]The little barn on Groundhog Hill.[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_62" align="alignnone" width="500" caption="A fawn by the road stopped long enough for this."]A fawn by the road stopped long enough for this.[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_63" align="alignnone" width="500" caption="Haybales."]Haybales.[/caption]

North Carolina Food and Wine Weekend on Bald Head Island

My wife and I went to a wine dinner at the NC Food and Wine Weekend on Bald Head Island and I wrote about it for the Bald Head Island blog. I'll write a little more about it later.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Going Green, The Old Thing To Do

Go Green--A popular slogan that's become nothing more than a marketing ploy to most people, producers and consumers alike.

I keep thinking about how I can "go green" in my everyday life. The idea of getting all new Energy Star appliances, installing a solar hot water system or replacing all of our windows with new, energy efficient ones is just financially out of reach. I still get 30+ mpg out of my 2000 Ford Focus. My wife and I use our own bags at the grocery store, we visit our local farmers' market religiously, we grew our own herbs and vegetables this summer (and we're going to try growing some lettuce this fall) and I recently bought two rain barrels from Coastal Water Watch in Brunswick County, NC. These are small steps, and, with the exception of the car, steps backward rather than forward in our effort to go green.

Think about it. Producing your own food, buying vegetables that are locally grown, saving rainwater to use later. These are all very old-fashioned ways of going green, and all very easy ones. Last night as I watered our flowers and herbs using, for the first time, water from the rain barrels, I couldn't help but feel good about what I was doing. I didn't go to the water hose and waste the money, time, energy and chemicals to use the city's water, I just used what I had collected. Houses used to have cisterns and water collection points, and farmers and ranchers still rely on gathering rain to water their crops and livestock, but we've gotten away from that for some reason. Using my rain barrels has me wondering what other steps backward can I take to be a little more green and a little more conscious of my impact. Something tells me that neither my wife nor my neighbors would appreciate a chicken coop in the back yard, but I can expand my farmers' market purchases to include eggs. I think I'll try that. Maybe the egg people have those crazy green ones.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Death Valley Poem 2

Ubehebe Crater to Teakettle Junction


Near the edge, a gust of wind
pushes a butterfly beyond the rim.
Seven hundred feet of clear air to the bottom.

Fighter jets    silver
streaking                    gone behind Tin Mountain
back again      looping one
around the other.

Coyote cross the road ahead.
First one
then one and one and another
six total, crossing with heads down.

With each mile the air gets cooler, but
foreign, still: too sharp, sound becomes
animate, and in this clear cool air I can see too far.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Death Valley Poem

Teakettle Junction to Racetrack Playa


Dozen and a half teakettles hanging like moons.
They carry the afternoon heat like a handful of bees.
A wind-chewed sign at the center of their orbit.

Six miles to the impossible furrows of my dreams. The last
time I saw them I read their lines like a palm.


Here in the crook of these radioactive mountains,
the lakebed holds nothing but rocks and the rocks
hold nothing but the secrets of their inertia.