*** SHOW NOTES ***
Off the eaten path, North Carolina.
There’s a lot of family history in North Carolina. My Grandmother’s brother was president of Lenoir Ryan College from 1949 – 1967. Just for reference in 1965 school enrollment was 1200, in 2015 it was 2300. Since I’m not much of a statistician so I can’t tell you if that’s an amazing increase.
My mother spent years managing the Olde World Christmas Shoppe located in the historic village and then she moved on to the now-defunct T.S. Morrisons. T.S. Morrisons was a tribute to the five and dime stores that I frequented in my youth. Thankfully T.S. Morrisons rose from the ashes as the “LAB”. Lexington Avenue Brewing, which has since closed in the last 6 months.
The summers of my formative years were spent at Camp Ridgecrest in Black Mountain, NC. Here’s a peek inside… I never went to college so I look at all of those summers as my youthful male bonding times, minus the girls and booze. At camp, we set out on 3 or 4-day hikes on the Appalachian Trail, the Foothills Trail, up to Mount Mitchell (the highest peak east of the Mississippi), and in the Linville Gorge Wilderness. We spent our afternoons rafting down the Nantahala River. As silly as it might sound, there was a tremendous focus on doing what was right and good, not only to ourselves but to others. The current camp director was one of my counselors in the 70’s and 42 years later he’s still there.
Moose Cafe – Colfax, NC
The Moose Cafe is located inside the Piedmont Farmers Market. Take it from this road warrior anytime you can inside a Farmers Market don’t pass it up. It’s as close as farm to table as you can get unless you happen to own 100 acres or so. My visit was on a rainy cold fall day and of course, that called for chicken and dumplings. Picture a warm flavorful chicken broth infused with chunks of chicken and a wonderful perfectly cooked dumpling. Don’t forget to start your meal with fist-sized biscuits and a side of homemade apple butter. My dining partner went with the meatloaf and their slice was at least 2″ thick.
Banner Elk Cafe – Banner Elk, NC
The Banner Elk area also hits home. During the late 70’s there was a huge push for folks to buy “weekend” property around the Banner Elk area. Located at 3700′ feet it offered cool temperatures in the summer and skiing in the winter, and part of the appeal was that most of the homes were round. There’s not much of a reason to visit Banner Elk but if you do check out the Banner Elk Cafe. They offer trivia on Tuesdays and karaoke on Thursdays with a complementary view of the mountains. Since this about food, start with the Bang Pow Shrimp, Golden Fried popcorn shrimp tossed in Thai Chili sauce w/toasted sesame seeds, fresh scallions & carrot straws. All that minus the extra Bang. Go with the Pecan Trout 10oz Pecan encrusted Rainbow Trout sauteed and drizzled with a honey-lemon burre blanc.
Black Mountain Ale House – Black Mountain, NC
Stopped in on a rainy Sunday, and I’m glad I did. Tucked down a set of stairs off of Cherry St. this place is worth searching for.
We ordered the adult grilled cheese and their oven roasted wings and we weren’t disappointed. The wings were honey & sriracha and delicious. The grilled cheese was hot gooey and better than your Mom made. Plus the bread was soaked in extra butter.
The Ashville area is a beer hub, and our waiter knew his beer. He was familiar both north and south of I-40.
White Duck Taco Shop – Ashville, NC
Worth the trip, tucked in the River District this isn’t the easiest place to find, but search for it.
I ordered two tacos, Thai Peanut & Spicy Chicken, both amazing. Filled with a cornucopia of ingredients each bite presented a different taste. Some of the best Queso cheese I’ve ever tasted. If you’re in Asheville stop in.
There you have it, thanks for listening and safe travels.
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