Monday, June 12, 2017

Half a World from Myrtle Beach to China

It was the annual Kirby/Talbert/Loyd Beach Trip!

With Hunter ...

and Bri ...

and half a world away, Claire, Ryan, and Evan!
 Yes, the annual trip was missing the Kirby's, who were
around the world in China, welcoming four-year old Ryan
to our family.  The rest of us will have to wait a few days.
But we await the homecoming with great anticipation!

 For now, I can share what I witnessed firsthand
at Myrtle Beach.
Hunter's seashell collection

A gorgeous day followed several rainier or cooler days (when
I wasn't there).

What's this-- an alien bounty hunter?

The female is pretty fearsome, too!

Actually, they're pretty friendly when humored.
So I humor them.
 At the Pavillion
In one of those airborne projectiles, upside down are Brianna
and cousin Caleb.  It was their first ride and may have been
a little surprising.

The Fun House is about to get a lot more fun when these three enter.

Lauren chaperones the kids on the Saucers.
I don't do round-and-round rides any more.  My inner
ear can't handle the radical changes, apparently.

Bri braves the next ride alone.

This ride is a little tamer.  In fact, they're not even real!

I've heard of a fish out of water, but these boats
were a new twist. This pair make great stunt drivers.

Watching an electrician fiddle with thousands of volts while our
grandchildren sailed through the air et cetera really inspired
confidence, let me tell you!

This tells me that 16 will be plenty soon enough for Hunter
to get to drive for real.

Bri and Stephen rode the swing to end all swings.
Can we say G-Force?

Even the Ferris Wheel seemed calm after some of those other rides.
Now you see 'em ...

now you don't.  But they're up there somewhere.

I'd heard Myrtle Beach was a haven for rough tough biker gangs.

Sure beats the slide at home.

Nope.  None of our crew is up on the Bungee ride.
So Amanda's record is safe (you'll have to ask her).

A slide turns into a magic carpet ride.

I slipped away to get a picture of the beach without all the people.

Even a beach needs a break (er) from all the activity.

Some real swingers.

There was no adult roller coaster this year, but the kiddie one
was low-stress.

Hardly death-defying, but still fun.

My last beach picture was this collection in the Golden Griddle
Pancake House where we enjoyed our Saturday breakfast.


We loved our beach trip.  Now we can look forward to
a Kirby/Talbert/Loyd get-together on dry land real soon!



Friday, March 10, 2017

Small Street Cafe and B&B, Pittsboro-- Nothing like it!

If you're not going to read any farther, click this link instead.
http://smallbandbcafe.com/

In Pittsboro, NC, there's a street called Small Street.
On that street is the Small Street Cafe.
And the Small Street Bed & Breakfast.
And now the Small Museum.
You'll have to see it to appreciate it.

Not only are the people there our kind of people.
The food is our kind of food.  Simple, farm to table, special.
And the humor is our (my) kind of humor.
Yep.  We're all about eating local(s) when in season.

Ditto this.

The decor and ambience are everything you'd expect
in an artsy little town this close to Chapel Hill

Don't let the slightly "untended" look throw you off.
It's just that they've got better things to do.  Like cook.
And just enjoy what they're doing

Here's your welcome to the cafe.  Dine in or out.

Here's the Bed and Breakfast.  What you see is what 
you get.  But don't be fooled.  TripAdvisor. com
has 53 ratings.  The average?  FIVE STARS.

Not sure what this "Guest House" is all about, but
I imagine these fine people have all kinds of drop-in
friends all through the year.

A sample of the landscaping and yard art.

This is the entrance to the Small Museum.
Its full name is the Small Museum of Folk Art
and it is now open on Saturdays and Sundays.
Hours are on the link at the top of the blog.
We'll go back to see it sometime.

Is the saying "Art imitates life" or "Life imitates art?"
It would seem to work either way here. Eat your
meal in a large sewer pipe if you get the urge.

The full menu is on the website, but you may be able
to read this. Reasonable prices and portions.  


Rather than getting a sandwich, I put together a meal
from three side dishes: sauteed chicken ($3!), smashed
potato ($2) and egg salad ($2.50).  All were simply great.


Judy stared with a big bowl of oatmeal and I urged
her to get one more thing afterward, just for variety.
She got this soup and raved about it.  She knows her soups,
and this one was prepared right!

We've got several other places in Chapel Hill, Pittsboro,
and Sanford where we have enjoyed fine meal on our
journeys north.  So it's a credit to the folks at Small 
Street that as Judy and I were leaving we had already 
decided to eat here again at the very first opportunity.
There are still a lot of new things to try.
Highly recommended!

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Ken and Judy's Valentine's Day at Raven Rock

If you know me and Judy very well, you wouldn't
expect us to spend Valentine's Day like most people.
Well, I don't think we did.

We set off at mid-morning for Brenda's Jewelers in
Sanford.  Mission:  to replace Judy's lost diamond.
In the end, we resized her wedding band and bought 
an all-new engagement ring with princess setting.
Besides Valentine's Day, this is always our "half-year"
anniversary, so this was 40.5 years and a perfect time
for something new and beautiful.


After that, where can you shop but ...
you guessed it ... THRIFT SHOPS!  And Sanford
has some good ones. No pictures, but we got some
really good books and other items.

LUNCH TIME!
It was our first visit to Mrs. Lacy's Magnolia House
Tea Room, which Trip Advisor rates as the # 1
eating establishment in Sanford.  

It was the perfect place for us.

Nice and homey.

Judy got the quiche and pasta salad.

I got the double-stuffed baked potato with ham,
turkey, bacon bits, broccoli, sour cream, and an
ocean of butter.  Wow!

Judy had coffee and strawberry lemonade.  Yum! 
We shared a divine strawberry shortcake but
I failed to take a picture.  You'll just have to go
there yourself!

Now, on to the second stage of our big day--
hiking at Raven Rock.


We always smile and think of our dear friend and
daredevil Liz Taylor when we see signs like these.

Don't jump, Liz!

Let's begin our steep descent to the Cape Fear River,
where we can view Raven Rock, which is far more
than just a rock.  Watch your step!


Almost there!


We had been to Raven Rock a few years ago, but 
were surprised to see rock formations we had missed 
last time.  A variety of photos follow, plus much more.
And I must add that the last time we were here the 
Cape Fear River was much higher and we could not 
safely get past this ledge.  It's also the ledge where
we and numerous other hikers saw a NINE-FOOT
black rat snake swim out of the river and underneath
the cliff.



The slope made this a little treacherous, 

But it was worth a little risk to see what was beyond.


In fact, both Judy and I ventured a little past
the established trail.  With no regrets.


Then we ventured up river as far as we could go.



The tangle of roots was as fascinating as the 
rock formations.


Bye-bye, Judy.  If I'm not back in an hour please
mount a search party.



This was as far as I could go, so I rejoined Judy in
much less than an hour.





Deer tracks intermingled with human footprints.

 On the return loop of the trail we were treated to
a great view of the upper Cape Fear River as it
descends from the direction of Lillington.

Judy mentioned that we need to come in the fall
sometime to compare views.

Our token "selfie."

Even though it's still winter, several of my favorite
plants are already on display.  I've written about some
of these in other blogs as well as on my Sandhills
Farm Life Nature Trail blog, so I won't offer details here.

This is Wild Ginger.


 Cranefly Orchid-- top side

Cranefly orchid-- underside

A cool knotty old tree

Hillsides were blanketed with Christmas fern.

I don't know the name of this shrub.  It seems similar
to mountain laurel, but I don't think that's what it is.

This plant demonstrates how even a tiny plant can
find its niche on a stony wall.

This early flower may be in the violet family.

I wouldn't have seen this Rattlesnake Plantain if
we had not fortuitously stopped at a rest bench.

I'm not sure what this fungus is, but it caught our eye.

Last, but not least, one of my all-time favorites:
Resurrection Fern.  These are before and after 
pictures of a couple of sprigs I found on the ground,
totally dried out.

After lying in a saucer of water overnight the
Resurrection Fern is totally rejuvenated.  And it
can do this over and over, unique among ferns.
I'll be sharing this with the grandkids, for sure.


The Raven Rock adventure was the ideal way
to celebrate Valentine's Day-- at least, for Ken and Judy.