Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Sometimes giving a second chance is worth the risk!

I wrote a review of ‘Bert's Hometown Grill and Pizzeria' in Madisonville, TN in early February of 2016.  My husband and I had visited the restaurant on a Saturday afternoon which was a mistake.  The restaurant is not very big and it was jam packed and there were more kids than adults it seemed.  I was not impressed with the atmosphere or the food.  I also stated I would only give them another try if it was a weekday when kids were in school.

Glad we gave Bert's a second chance!

A few weeks ago we found ourselves in Madisonville.  We had no plans to eat at Bert’s.  We had visited a local nursery for plants and when we realized it was time to eat we were close to Bert’s….the parking lot was fairly empty so we gave it a second chance. It was like night and day – we were seated instantly.  Our server was friendly, helpful and seemed to anticipate our needs.  There was one booth, far enough away, where there were 3 kids, loud kids, but they were finishing as we were seated so it wasn’t bad.

During our last visit I had overcooked steak, I decided to try their chicken this time.  I ordered teriyaki chicken, baked potato and the salad bar (which is extra).  The chicken was perfect, the baked potato was hot and the salad bar wasn’t overly done, but it held enough items to satisfy me.

My husband had their beef tips with peppers and onions, baked potato and salad bar.  He said the beef tips were tender and his potato was the same as mine.  They give you two slices of garlic bread, which is really white bread toasted.  We don’t like garlic very much so our server brought us two slices of non-garlic white bread toasted.

One of their drink choices is lemonade and that’s what I ordered.  Not many restaurants serve it.  There were customers in and out and it seemed that many them were locals.  Not only that, the majority were senior citizens!

They are in the process of enlarging their dining area.  From the looks of the construction they are not really adding all that much square footage to the building, but looks are deceiving!  It will be interesting to see how this remodel turns out.

Now if anyone asks me about Bert’s in Madisonville, TN I say  - go for it!

Bert's - off of Highway 411 in Madisonville, TN

I am sorry I don’t have any photos of this visit’s food to share with you.  The photos in this post were taken at my previous visit. I was not planning on taking photos so I did not have my camera with me and, believe it or not, I don’t use a cell phone! 

411 and Tellico Street
Madisonville, TN

Friday, April 21, 2017

Our route to the Alaska Highway

This is my anticipate route to drive to Alaska. It looks like I am going around my elbow to get to my arm. In reality, it's not so bad. A friend and I are going to drive the Alaska Highway by going from Tennessee, stopping in New Mexico and then through Washington. The route through Washington has been recommended to me by several people.

Part of the reason for the extended route is to see supporters along the way. This isn't a vacation. We are hauling mission team supplies and have a pretty tight budget. The two stops added six hours to the trip. It also gives us two free places to stay, an opportunity to wash clothes for free and a couple of meals. We'll have plenty of other expenses on the drive to Alaska, so cutting costs is a must. Hands down, this is a much less expensive route than the others we considered.

My teammate and I will be leaving in 90 days. The rest of the mission team will be flying out about ten days later. We have to catch up with them when the step off the plane, so there's no time for much sightseeing along the way.

You know the feeling you get when you're running late for work? I'll have that for about 10 days. The pressure starts when we pull out of the driveway.

So, why drive to Alaska?

The two of us can take the journey for what it would cost to fly. Our overland trip may save the mission team between $1,500 - $2,000. This takes into account the cost of shipping supplies, renting another car, shipping luggage and other items. This means a little less fundraising and more that we can do at the work site.

I'll be vlogging and blogging on the way. If you've ever wanted to drive the Alaska Highway, we're your team to follow. Feel free to follow our progress on YouTube, my Facebook page or this blog.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

A trip to Murphy, North Carolina

Murphy, North Carolina:  The County Seat of Cherokee County.  Murphy is located in the Appalachian Mountains with views that will entice you to visit and enjoy the sights, sounds and tastes of the area. Whether you are into hiking, all kinds of water activities, eating at established restaurants, or you just want to lay in a hammock by a quiet stream – Murphy has it all.

Beautiful mountain scenery surrounding Murphy, NC

Several years ago we packed up the dog and the car and headed to Murphy, NC for a few days.  We had a cute little rental that had a huge pond (more like a lake) for fishing and they provided some small boats.   There was maybe a total of 6 other cottages.  I was going to give you the link for their website since they were very clean and very reasonable.  However, when I went to the site I found out that they are now only renting by the year.  Strange…I can’t imagine why?

Anyway, it was different in Murphy back then, less action, quieter and not a lot of hot spots.  We live within a two-hour ride of Murphy, it’s easy to get to and since we like ‘short rides’ it’s perfect.  The scenery on the ride there is lovely and relaxing. I did some checking last summer and found a rental I really liked.  It said pet friendly but when the manager replied to me she said only small dogs…Ruby is not small by any definition! 

So again, a few months ago, I went online looking for that particular rental.  It sits up on a ridge and overlooks the Hiawassee River – the view in the photos online are amazing.  I chatted with the manager and she said that Ruby would be allowed there!  That was the deciding factor for me!  I wanted this to be a birthday trip for my husband, but the house was booked until the end of May.  So, I changed his birthday LOL!

Not only are there many restaurants, they are all conveniently located to where the rental is.  No driving an hour for a steak dinner – the rental is just two miles from town.  There were several cute rentals right in town, but they didn’t meet our needs. There are so many rental cottages and cabins you might have to search for hours before making your choice!

It is easy to search for a pet friendly rental, don't leave Fido at home!

Another draw for many people is the fact there is now a casino in Murphy.  We are not gamblers, but we might stop by to check it out.  There are lots of antique shops and specialty shops.  We also plan to check out a bagel shop that we went to during our first stay in Murphy.  It’s actually in Georgia, just over the NC border.  Their bagels were fantastic and since they are still in business we hope they are just as good now.

As I’ve stated many times, we are foodies and since we don’t have access to many options in our neck of the woods, we vacation where the food is!    Just in case we don’t get enough good beef to satisfy us, we will be visiting Brasstown Beef.    They are only open to the public two days a week and we plan to be there one of those two days.  Their beef is supposed to be the best around….I’ll let you know if that’s really true!

Between restaurants such as:  Brothers Restaurant, Doles Cedar Hill and the Murphy Chop House; bagels and fresh beef, it should be a fulfilling trip to Murphy, North Carolina!

I look forward to sharing our Murphy experience with you in future articles!  For now, I’ll be counting the days until our trip.

Photos belong to AbbyG

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