Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Things I never expected to find in East Tennessee

I may have told you about things we can’t find in Tennessee, like good New York style bagels, but now I will tell you about things we never expected to find here.  I guess you really can teach an old dog new tricks!

Having lived most of my life in New Jersey there are things I always considered to be northern things.  One such thing would be apples.  In my mind apples grow up north.  I still have a hard time with that even after 16 years here!

When we first moved to Tennessee we lived in a rental cabin for a month.  It was rather boring and every day we tried to find a new place to visit or just take a ride.  That’s how we came to find out about an apple orchard in Cosby.  They had a little restaurant and a shop where they sold, what else, apples!  That was a shock to the system, a good shock! We have also frequented apple orchards in other parts of East Tennessee, so I am OK with southern apples!

Another product we didn’t we did not expect to hear about, and never thought about, a cranberry bog.  Yes folks, there is a cranberry bog in Ducktown, Polk County, Tennessee.  It is, according to what I heard, the most southern cranberry bog in the US.

We have been to, through and around Ducktown several times on our way to McCayesville and Blue Ridge, Georgia and the color of the soil there is orange.  That is due to the copper and sulfur mines in that area.  Those mines left a lasting impression on the land.

How do you get to that bog?  You can’t.  This wild cranberry blog is well hidden and no one is giving out the location.  There are no trails to get to it.  I do know that it is in bloom and that cranberries will be forthcoming. 

It seems a shame not to share this rare cranberry blog with the public, but then again, I get the point.  You can read about it in links provided.  Sorry you can’t go there and witness nature calm, beautiful and undisturbed.

My husband's fried seafood feast at the Yellow Jacket, McCayesville, GA

However, you can visit McCayesville where there are several antique shops and a few restaurants such as Yellow Jacket Restaurant on Blue Ridge Drive (heading toward Blue Ridge of course!)  We have eaten there a few times and while they have a small salad bar the ingredients are always fresh and their beets are excellent!

Christy Lee's Courtyard Grille, Downtown Blue Ridge, excellent in all regards!

Once in the Blue Ridge area there are several restaurants that I would recommend such as Cristy Lee’s Courtyard Grille.  You cannot go wrong at Christy Lee’s, another restaurant where we ate our fair share of prime rib quite a few times.  

Chicken Pot Pie at Southern Charm Restaurant, Blue Ridge, GA

Another fun place is Southern Charm Restaurant right across from the train depot.  I am a chicken pot pie fan and I had one there that was delightful. 

There are so many places to eat and things to do that you probably won’t mind the fact you cannot get to the southernmost cranberry bog in the USA!

Photos belong to AbbyG

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Where in the world would you like to make memories?

Where in the world do you dream of visiting?  We are not into flying, so any of our dreams must consist of places in the continental United States.  Even at that, we prefer a 3-4-hour ride over an 8-hour trip.  We made the 13-hour trip back and forth from Tennessee to New Jersey many times and I think that cured us of long range travel!

Finding new and interesting places to visit with that criteria is hard enough, throw in the fact we have the dog.  It isn’t quite as easy to travel with Ruby, but she is worth the effort.  That reminds me of a dog story…

I remember years ago (too many to count) I was about 11 and we were traveling from New Jersey to Louisiana to visit my paternal grandparents.  We had a little furry dog named Barron.  We stopped at a mom and pop motel (not sure if Holiday Inn was invented back then LOL!).  In those days people, including us, had to sneak their dogs into motels.  There was no such thing as ‘pet friendly’ rooms!

They had a pool in the front of the motel.  My father took Barron out for his last walk of the day, therefore, it was dark. I guess my dad was paying more attention to not getting caught than he was to his surroundings.  They both fell in the pool.  I remember that he didn’t think it was funny at all.  By the time we got to my grandparents’ home and told the story over and over my father did laugh more.  And to be honest, I’m laughing right now just remembering it.

Vacations are about having fun but they are also about making memories.  That memory has stayed with me for more years than I care to tell you…if I told you then you would know how old I am and a lady doesn’t tell!

I have a bank of memories of trips that my husband and I have taken, some might be funny to you, but all of them are memories I cherish.  No matter where you go, or what you do, when it is all said and done all you have are memories – and perhaps photos LOL!

I make sure to take photos since we enjoy looking at them over and over.  Especially those like the day we took our previous lab to Rock City in Chattanooga, Tennessee on a very hot summer day.  Dogs are allowed on leash and by the time we got to the top my husband’s right arm was a foot longer since Abby pulled him up that mountain….

Or the time my husband tried to catch shrimp in Beaufort - he got  a few but they were tiny......

Or the many days we watched the shrimp boats heading in with delicious (large) fresh shrimp….

Or the day we found the best ever NY style bagels at the Palm and Moon in downtown Beaufort, SC.....

Or….well, you get the point!

Photos belong to AbbyG

Wednesday, September 06, 2017

If you see something, say something

I am sure you’ve heard this expression.  It can apply to so many aspects of life such as if you see abuse, say something – call the police, do whatever you can to help.  Ignoring things and pretending they don’t exist will never make it better.

In a less serious aspect, it can apply to…oh let’s say a rental cabin!  We recently stayed at a rental cabin in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee.  It was our third time at the same cabin.  We like the location, very close to the Parkway which is where the action is.  We like the price, very reasonable compared to others in the area.  

New recliner with good view of the TV

 When you rent sometimes you find the unexpected and we did at “American Charm”.  We  don’t care for the toilets at this cabin.  I call them kiddo toilets.  They are very low to the ground.  I have decent balance for an old lady, but I can see how these toy toilets can be lethal for some older folks.  That’s bad enough and we knew to expect that…what we didn’t expect was the new toilet seat on the master bath’s toilet.

I am not sure how you feel about ‘plastic padded toilet seats’ but I can tell you that I despise them for several reasons.  First, I don’t consider them to be sanitary and if you ever sat on one for more than a few seconds you would know how ‘warm’ they get.  After the my first visit to the bathroom I also found out that this plastic padded seat had a rip in it, which made it worse.  

This cabin is human and pet friendly, just ask Ruby!

Last year I made it a point to let the owner know that the ‘fake leather’ recliner had a rip and every time I sat in the chair my hair got caught in that rip.  He was very kind about my remarks and said sine he is tall and sat is the chair many times he never had a problem.  Guess what?  There were two new recliners this visit and that put a smile on my face.  It proved that he listened to what I said and did something to fix the problem.

With that in mind I sent him an email telling him about the toilet seat.  He replied that about a month ago he got a call from the renter that the toilet seat broke and he got his handyman fix it with a new toilet seat.  He said a padded seat would not be something he would have chosen for sure.  He told me he had planned on visiting his rental after we checked out and he would now replace that seat. (The owner lives in another state.)

He told me that the only way he knows things are wrong is if the cleaning crew notifies him or a renter does.  I am still not sure why his cleaning person didn’t ‘notice’ the seat.  Anyway, I am sure by now there is a nice clean un-padded toilet seat on that mini-kiddo toilet!

My reporting this little problem didn’t help us, but I’m sure the current renters have benefited by me saying something!

If you see something, say something! 

Photos belong to AbbyG