Sunday, July 29, 2007

NC Tour - Day 4, Thurs 26 July, 2007: Blowing Rock, NC

Getting on the road early has its advantages. We see groundhogs, skunks, wild turkeys and 25 white tailed deer before breakfast. We stop to take photos of the historic Brinegar Cabin, in the quiet of the mountains, before breakfast at Doughton Park, where we get our first taste of grits. We meet a guy who's brother has land in Cochrane, ON, where my aunt lives. Some bikers from Quebec arrive. Small world.
Our timing is perfect when we park at the North Wilkesboro Speedway which has been closed since 1996. Caretaker Paul Call, who has been connected to the track for decades, kindly opens the gates to let us look around. He chats with hubby while I make friends with his pug dog Belle and take lots of photos. Grass is growing up through the track but the atmosphere persists with authentic NASCAR Winston Cup signs here in the heart of moonshine country.
In Blowing Rock, NC, we have lunch at Knight's on Main - black eyed peas, collard greens with vinegar and sweet potatoes for me. The food and service were great. At the Marian & Robert Hayes Performing Arts Centre we catch the 2 o'clock matinee show about the musical Carter Family - Keep on the Sunnyside. Both the theatre facility and performance were exceptional.
We check into the Boxwood Lodge where we got a friendly welcome and I walk down Main Street looking for signs of Mitford, the fictional town made famous by Jan Karon in her books based on life in town. Blowing Rock is more like Niagara-on-the-Lake, ON, or Lake Placid, NY, than Mitford - far more touristy than local. Many of the shops have signs outside saying -No food, No drinks, No strollers, No unsupervised children etc. It sure didn't encourage me to go in and browse. I ventured into the only bookstore I saw and bought a copy of Karon's Mitford Snowmen and the service was indifferent. There are plenty of small towns in the south that are more like the home of Karon's well loved characters.

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