Dominique and I tried a Carmel apple recipe tonight. They were amazing! Carmel apples were also on my autumn bucket list, scratch that one. I loved getting to cook with with Dominique Jackson making memories I will cherish forever! Recipe soon
My fall bucket list included make homemade mushroom soup. This one is far and beyond the best one I have ever had anywhere! Roasted mushroom soup with grilled chicken with cheddar cheese, onions, apples, and homemade honey mustard sauce. Mmmm!
I had plans to go to Black Balsam. It was so packed they were parking on the parkway and walking up. So my great idea was to drive 100 miles north on the parkway and go to Linville gorge. Turned out to be a wonderful idea. It was beautiful up there! Crank the music up, open the sunroof, and become one with the road. Certain areas were definitely beginning to show color, unfortunately, some of the best colors were in the watershed area and you are not allowed to stop. The sun bleached out a lot of the color but every now and then a cloud would pass and all of the leaves would release all of the energy from the sun and just glow! When I got off the parkway, instead of waiting for camp food I stopped by mountain crossing for a burger, They also had a small bar where I could grab a beer while I waited for my burger after being on the road all day that beer hit the spot. Nice little setup they had there with very friendly people! Got to Linville there was one parking space left for me. I had thought about camping in the car so so no need to set up camp I headed up the mountain to take photos of the sunset. I walked past some amazing campsites it did not seem to be crowded up here at all. The cars must have been day hikers. So I changed my mind turned around went back to the car got a backpack and went back up. I started to set the tent up. where the heck is my tent poles? CRAP, CRAP, CRAP No tent camping. I carried the pack back down to the car and went on for the sunset. The sheer beauty of the place quickly took my mind off tent poles. Besides my car would prove to be a very warm, comfortable night’s sleep. The next day I took off on an epic hike along the Carolina wall. It has been quite a few years the last time I went on this particular trail, it involved a lot of bushwacking. The trail was hidden but when found, it seemed like it had used it recently. Turned out to be one of the best hikes I have had in quite a while. I almost took the interstate back but the allure of the parkway and the resplendent views won me over. So almost 100 miles back..
Let me rephrase my thoughts on this bar. Sort of tucked in on the long-forgotten side of town where industry once ruled. From the unpretentious exterior to when you open the door and cross the threshold it is like stepping back in time. Raw wood walls with a patina from a multitude of celebrations adorned with various framed newspaper clipping and plaques of little league sports teams that were sponsored in the ’70s and ’80s. Old fashioned pool hall lights dimly light the place. A smell lingers in the air that you can only describe as an old bar smell, beer, burgers, and sweat. I pull up to an old cracked vinyl bar stool the bartender calls out “what are yea drinking?” my reply “whatever IPA you have on tap” was met with a quick “what regular beer in a can?” “Yuengling please” he smiles “That I can do” I was sitting right in front of the grill where I saw some of the biggest burgers I have ever witnessed being made. I saw one double cheeseburger with bacon that would feed a family of four for a week. Wiping my drool off the bar I ordered a Redneck Ruben made with turkey instead. Oh my, it was delicious!! A barmaid would pick up my beer ever two minutes. It never had a chance to sit empty. The guy next to me struck up a conversation we talked about his time the in Iraq with the military and how as bad as the war was how it turned his life around, carp fishing and the North Carolina mountains I nibbled on homemade chips and drunk cold beer as I listened to his story’s I sort of hated to leave but I must be getting home. Cute barmaid’s, amazing food, cold beer, and good people. Some may call it a dive bar but sure feels like home sometimes.
Wow! We had so much fun! We scared each other but we promised Sherri that none of the actor’s came inside of the maze. Apparently we lied.We were attacked by angry chainsaw wielding, wrong turn children of the corn! We were so lost in the corn maze we ran out of time. We did not get the haunted hay ride. Next year maybe.