A Travellerspoint blog

Turkey & Pineapple: An island-style Thanksgiving Day 4

All Roads Lead to Trunk Bay

We had promised the MIL her two favorite St. John things today: Trunk Bay and a Pina Colada from Shipwreck Landing.

We spent the lazy morning hours at the house, watching the rainbows over the water below.









Then it was off to Trunk Bay.

For me, Trunk Bay is like that uncle that gets too drunk at every family reunion and talks too loud and always brings the tuna noodle salad that no one wants to eat, but that always tells the funniest jokes and seems makes you smile every time you see him.

I love it and I hate it.

I hate it because it's the one beach that EVERYONE within a 100 mile radius of St. John ends up on. I hate it because every cruise ship day tripper heads there first. I hate it because hordes of people in bright yellow vests bob around in the water, dropped off by this tour or that taxi. I hate it because you actually have to pay to walk out onto the beach.

But I love it because it's still one of the most beautiful beaches I have ever laid eyes on.











I also love the fact that it has the softest, finest white sand and most brilliant blue water of any beach on St. John. I love that it is big enough that, no matter how many people are there, you can always carve out a private little slice of paradise.

And I hate to admit it....but I love the fact that it has beach chairs for rent. I know all the "concessions on National Park beaches" arguments, but I love me a good beach chair.

Our villa had beach chairs, but they weren't very comfortable. Trunk Bay has REAL chairs.

After Matt made 2 trips to the concession area to get 4 chairs, made a return trip to get a replacement chair for his mom, and then made a return trip to return the replacement chair because she decided she preferred his chair and he had to get himself a new one.....we settled down to enjoy the sun, the surf, and the sand.

Ahhhhh.......Trunk Bay. You're too popular for your own good, but I love you anyway.












It was a beautiful drive as we headed over to Coral Bay to grab some lunch at Shipwreck Landing.



We found Shipwreck Landing just as we had left it....right across the street from the water, in ever present danger of disappearing behind a wall of glorious vines and green things, and churning out some of the best frozen drinks on the island.





Crispy conch fritters, a spicy mahi burger with fries, and a dark and stormy made a perfect lunch.





We spent the afternoon relaxing at the villa, enjoying the pool, and soaking in the final rays of the sun. Before we knew it, it was dinner time.

It was Tuesday night and that meant one thing: Lobster Night at Morgan's Mango!


Matt and I have always eaten at Morgan's Mango on our first night on St. John. It happened by accident and simply became tradition. He had missed arrival night and was still waiting to get his Morgan's Mango fix.

We started off with the seafood soup du jour and the mussels cooked in Argentine malbec, tomato, garlic, butter and parsley.



It was a good start.

Things fell apart at the lobster, however.

Don't get me wrong, it was delicious. We just misordered.....that's all. Here's how it went down:

Waiter: It is lobster night. You can get a 1 lb. lobster tail for $35.

Vicki: I want the lobster.

Waiter: How large?

Vicki: (in head) If a 1 lb. lobster is $35, a 1.5 lb lobster must be about $50. Yeah. Let's get the big one.

Vicki: (to waiter) I'll go with 1.5 lbs.

Waiter: We can also offer it stuffed tonight. We have a delicious crab stuffing.

Vicki: (in head) How much can stuffing be? Sounds good. Yeah. Add the stuffing.

Vicki: (to waiter) Sure, add the stuffing.

Matt: (in head) Mmm....that sounds good.

Matt: (to waiter) Make that two.

And that, my friends, is how you turn a $35 lobster special into a $400 dinner.


I did the only thing I could. I drowned my pain in chocolate raspberry cheesecake.


Posted by vicki_h 10:48 Archived in US Virgin Islands Tagged tropical coral_bay stj st._john virgin_islands usvi cruz_bay Comments (2)

Turkey & Pineapple: An island-style Thanksgiving Day 3

Getting Our St. John Groove Back

It was a fantastic morning high above Peter Bay. We watched rain clouds and rainbows rolling around below us.




We had not been on St. John for over 5 years. Would it feel the same? Would we still love it? It was time to climb in the Jeep and go find out.



First order of business was a driving tour.

We saw the crazy signs.





We saw the donkeys.

And chickens.




We saw the sweeping views along the East End.











So far so good....but the real test was yet to come.

Would a Skinny Legs burger and a coconut swizzle still taste like heaven on earth or would we suddenly wonder why there were no frozen drinks or french fries and start complaining about the smell from the bathroom?

It was time to find out......






Oh yeah......we were back, baby.

We had already wasted half a day and I was in need of a serious sun fix, so we headed to Maho for some beach time.








Wanting to catch the sunset, we headed out for an early dinner to Waterfront Bistro. This was a new restaurant for us. Yes, it was there the last time we visited. We just didn't eat there.


It didn't disappoint.

The night started off with a table by the water with a gorgeous view.


Then came the delicious cocktails, a charcuterie and cheese plate, and local sugarcane skewers wrapped with shrimp sausage and a passion fruit chili dipping sauce.




Next up was a stunning sunset.




And then more cocktails....


For dinner, I had the house made yukon gold potato gnocchi with smoked red bell pepper broth, sautéed leeks & greens, and fried parsnips accompanied by a dish of fried brussels sprouts with an herb citrus vinaigrette.



The only thing left was to inhale an equally delicious dessert:


The only thing that could possibly follow a meal like that was a food coma back at the house. I promised myself I would swim some laps in the pool or run up and down the crazy hill to Upper Peter Bay the next day.

But I knew I was lying.

Posted by vicki_h 05:56 Tagged tropical coral_bay stj st._john virgin_islands usvi cruz_bay Comments (1)

Turkey & Pineapple: An island-style Thanksgiving Day 2

Hail, Hail! The Gang's All Here!

It didn't feel quite right waking up on St. John knowing poor Matt was stuck in Charlotte and still had another hellish travel day ahead of him. He and Elaine would arrive on St. Thomas at 1:30 p.m. and take the passenger ferry over to St. John.

The views from Azul Peter Bay quickly made me forget anything except the simple fact that I WAS ON ST. JOHN.


Who could be anything but blissfully happy while looking at that view?

Because we had arrived in the dark, I took some time to walk around and check out our new digs. We were staying in a villa in upper Peter Bay and it was simply beautiful.











And sure, the upstairs master was beautiful and had a balcony with sweeping views.....


But the downstairs master was twice as big and had a shower built for two!



I hadn't been to St. John in years. I wasn't even sure what was still open, what had closed, or what was new. I had done some research, but places without a web presence were hard to find information about.

Like Miss Lucy's.

My MIL and I LOVED Miss Lucy's Sunday jazz brunch, but was it still there? I guess we could have called first, but we had time to kill and both of us wanted to make the drive over to Coral Bay anyway.


We piled up in our Jeep and made the drive along the North Shore Road toward Francis Bay. The views were spectacular. Nothing changes here. It was beautiful yesterday, it is beautiful today, and it will be beautiful tomorrow.

It's nice to know there are certain things in life you can count on.

St. John being beautiful is one of them.





When we arrived at Miss Lucy's about 30 minutes later.....there was a chain across the driveway.


Oh dear. I was getting hungry. And we were in Coral Bay. We drove to the other restaurants and nothing appeared to be open at 10:00 am on a Sunday.

Oh dear. We all know what happens when Vicki gets hungry.

I remembered reading that Chateau Bordeaux had reopened some time back as a new casual restaurant. Located about halfway between Coral Bay and Cruz Bay, this might keep us from having to drive all the way into Cruz Bay to eat.

Of course it was closed.


There was nothing left to do but drive into Cruz Bay.

We had now driven the entire circumference of the island and I was starving. We parked at Wharfside Village. It may simply be because I had been away for so many years, but everything seemed brighter, bolder, and more beautifull, just bursting with island color.





We headed for High Tide. I have never been a huge fan of the food, but you can't beat the location.







We watched the boats rocking lazily in Cruz Bay harbor as we ordered up some food: coconut shrimp for the MIL and a deliciously cheesy Brie-L-T for me. Apparently, I also did my very best to match my cocktail to my dress.






We had a couple of hours to kill before Matt and Elaine would arrive on the ferry so I headed to the closest beach: Hawksnest.









It's also one of the few beaches with a very short walk between the sand and the parking area. Given that I had to carry all the chairs and bags like a broken down pack mule, this didn't make the beach decision too tough.

I got the MIL settled and sat down to enjoy the glorious St. John sunshine.









It was past 2:30 p.m. Matt and Elaine had landed and I expected them to be getting close, so we packed up and headed back into town to wait for them. I wanted to be waiting with drinks in hand when they finally got off the ferry.

I have never been so happy to see anyone! Poor Matt and Elaine walked off the ferry, sweaty, bedraggled, and still wearing their travel clothes from yesterday. But they were here! We celebrated at the Beach Bar.







We took Matt and Elaine to Azul Peter Bay for some down time. They needed it!

After showers and naps, they were finally ready to get their vacation started. We cleaned up for dinner and headed to the Fatty Crab.






When I made the reservation, I did not realize it was tapas style dining....which I LOVE....but which the rest of my party HATED. No matter. We ordered a papaya salad and spicy potatoes for the table to share and then everyone ordered their own tapas dish as their entree. It all worked out.

Except that all the food came out in random order!

Nonetheless....it was delicious. And fun. Kind of a "tag, you're it!" version of eating.

"Oh! It's Elaine's turn!"

"Now it's Matt's turn!"

"Here's Vicki's dinner!"

"Who ordered THAT?"










After dinner, we decided to grab a cocktail at a bar that was new since our last visit: Motu Bar. It had an excellent waterfront location and an even more excellent pumpkin bushwhacker!




You can't really stay out and party when your travel companions are almost 80, so we called it a night and headed back to Azul Peter Bay.

Posted by vicki_h 05:51 Archived in US Virgin Islands Tagged tropical coral_bay stj st._john virgin_islands usvi cruz_bay Comments (0)

Turkey & Pineapple: An island-style Thanksgiving Day 1

Travel Day: Hurry Up and Wait.

When I tell my girlffriend that Matt and I will be spending Thanksgiving in the Virgin Islands, she sighs with envy..."How Romantic...."

Then I add that my 76 year old mother-in-law and her friend will be coming with us. To which she says: “Are you insane?”

To be fair, I’m famously lucky to have a mother-in-law who is funny and adventurous, who loves most of the same things I love, and who I truly enjoy spending time with.

She is not mean. She does not talk about other women my husband used to date that she thought would be better mates for him. She does not rearrange my kitchen. As far as mother in laws go, she's pretty much tops.

Still, no matter how lovely your mother-in-law is, a family trip – especially one of the multi-generational variety that includes someone who recently had hip replacement surgery – is bound to be fraught with potential problems. Throw in a remote island location that is not exactly known for being ADA accessible, and you're simply asking for it.

Nevertheless, we had promised this trip as a bright spot on the horizon when she was valiantly struggling through rehab after her hip replacement, and we wanted it to be amazing.

I was determined to make this trip everything it should be....a romantic island vacation for me and Matt, a wonderful tropical retreat for my sweet mother-in-law and her good friend, Elaine, and a smashing Thanksgiving all rolled into one.

Who says you can't have it all?


I started to get nervous when it was an hour after our departure time and our plane still hadn't arrived. Mechanical issues, they said. Getting another plane, they said.

When a plane finally arrived, I thought we were saved. We had a pretty long layover in Charlotte, and we still had just enough time to make it.

That was, until the replacement plane also had mechanical issues and we sat on the runway for 45 minutes.

There was now no way to make our connection. We landed in Charlotte 10 minutes AFTER our flight to St. Thomas left. I wanted to cry.

It was the Saturday before Thanksgiving. They say the Tuesday before Thanksgiving is the worst travel day of the year. THEY are liars. All the other flights were sold out. On every airline. Until the following day.

"We'll get you a room at a hotel," they said. Matt and I looked at each other in our thin shirts and flip flops. We didn't even have socks for goodness sakes, much less coats. How were we supposed to survive a night in 28 degree Charlotte? We also had 2 elderly women with mobility issues in tow.

We would also lose our rental car reservation on St. Thomas and they were sold out for the week. We wouldn't likely get a car the next day.

This was not awesome.

"Well, there is one final flight today and we can put you on standby," they said.

What were the chances that 4 people wouldn't show up for this flight? The odds of getting 4 seats on that plane were impossible. One? Possibly. Two? Maybe. What would we do if we only got a seat or two? Both of our travel companions needed help getting on the plane and carrying their luggage. I was suddenly regretting my decision to insist everyone do carry on only.

I sat nervously biting my nails as the plane boarded. Happy passengers on their way to paradise smiled and practically danced onto the plane as we sat dismally on the sidelines....hoping....waiting.....

The flight was completely boarded and I was trying to figure out where I could buy a pair of socks in the airport when the gate attendant called our name over the loudspeaker.


But how many?????

Matt and I ran up to the gate.

"We have two seats," she said.

We looked at each other miserably.

"You take Mom and go," Matt said. "You love St. John more than I do. I'll stay here with Elaine and we'll meet you there tomorrow."

Wonderful sweet man.

I was so excited about getting on the flight that I didn't really think through the logistics of helping my MIL through the travel process......

She has difficulty walking and certainly can't carry anything. I sent her onto the plane with her purse as I wrestled with two overstuffed rolling carryon suitcases and my ridiculous beach tote that was literally overflowing with 13 pounds of camera equipment, a zip-loc bag so filled with toiletries that the seam had split, bags of snacks, my wallet, sunglasses, hand sanitizer, 4 magazines, my iPod, iPad, and iPhone along with all the necessary charging equipment, a GoPro, and a chapstick.

God help me.

Why do I always overpack? I cursed myself.

I don't want to sound like a helpless female, but I suddenly realized how wonderful it is to have a man that you can simply shove your bag at and say, "Get that."

I awkwardly pulled the two suitcases down the jetway behind me as my giant tote kept slipping off my shoulder. I had no idea what I was going to do when I actually got to the plane, with its narrow little aisles.

My seat was in row 8. Not too far. This should be okay. I pushed one bag in front of me and pathetically pulled the other one behind me as I walked sideways down the aisle. I could do this.

My confidence was short lived. Because the plane was fully boarded when I got on, that meant that there was ABSOLUTELY NO OVERHEAD SPACE LEFT ANYWHERE. The bins were 100% packed. People had put EVERYTHING in there. Their personal items. Their suitcases. Their shoes. Their jackets. Pillows. Boxes of crackers. I think I saw a crate full of chickens.

It also meant that everyone on the plane didn't realize I was a standby passenger and simply thought I was late. And that I had an excess of luggage. They hated me. I could see it in their eyes. It didn't help that I hit everyone in the head with my tote as I walked by.

Hundreds of eyes glared at me.

I tried finding a flight attendant, but they refused to make eye contact lest they be forced to actually help me.

I was on my own in a sea of angry passengers.

I opened every bin. Nothing. I started to sweat. My breath was coming in shallow little gasps. I'm pretty sure I had a torn rotator cuff.

When I reached row 24, I found some space. Unfortunately, it was on the inside of the plane. You know, the side that won't possibly accommodate a rolling bag but is just big enough for a small purse? Just as I was about to give it up and ask them to check my bags, a man grabbed his backpack out of the side I needed and started rooting around in it for something.

"Excuse me?" I said, "Do you mind moving that to this space on the inside bin so that my rolling bag will fit?"

He glared angrily at me, but then put his backpack on the other side.

I was elated until I figured out that I had to lift a suitcase that weighed over 1/3 of my body weight over my head. Have you seen my arms???? Somehow, I managed to shove it up there without taking off anyone's head, but I still had one more suitcase. This was hopeless. I looked over as my MIL sat happily in her seat, munching on Cracker Jacks. I whimpered.

A few more rows down, I found a space, jammed her suitcase in it, and dashed back up to the safety of my seat.

I was hot. I was sweating. My back hurt. This sucked.

I spent the 3 hour flight to St. Thomas wondering how I was going to get back to Row 20-something and retrieve 2 suitcases when everyone was jammed in the aisles trying to go in the opposite direction.

And there was still the matter of the rental car. We were late. We were very late. I had emailed Budget to let them know, but we all know that rental car agencies at Caribbean airports aren't always known for their customer service. Did they even check email anyway??

I hoped my Jeep would still be there when we arrived, but I needed to get off that plane fast. Before 200 other passengers got off and filled up that line and got my Jeep.

When the plane landed, it was every man for himself. I pushed and shoved my way through bodies to get the two suitcases, leaving my tote in my seat. I then pushed and shoved my way back up through those bodies to get back to my seat. People scowled. Some cursed. At least one forked the sign of the evil eye at me. Somehow, I managed to get back to my seat with all the luggage before the door opened.


My elation was cut short when I remembered that there is no jetway in St. Thomas. You have to go down a rickety, wobbling, extremely steep and ridiculously narrow set of stairs to deplane onto the runway.

I had to do this with two 35 lb suitcases and a giant tote bag.

Why did I wear a maxi skirt???? With an elastic waist no less. Oh dear sweet Jesus. I just knew I would step on the hem of my long skirt as I deplaned and pull it right off. That would likely happen just before I crumpled under the weight of the bags and tumbled down the stairs, where I would land on the runway in my underwear.

I almost wished I was back in Charlotte, trying to figure out how to get my flip flops over my socks so that I could go to dinner.

Forget the whole "I immediately loved the rush of warm air and smell of the sea and looked forward to my free rum punch as I got off the plane" bullshit......I grunted and groaned my way down the stairs, legs shaking, unable to hold the handrail every time the stairs wobbled, and somehow got off without pulling off my skirt. I bolted to the Budget counter.

My Jeep was still there. Thank you, God, for small favors.

I again realized how much I take Matt for granted as I tugged the luggage across the median, up the steps, and through the parking lot to the rental car. Even more when I remembered I still had to drive us across the island on the narrow, winding roads, on the wrong side of the road, and then had to back the Jeep onto the car ferry in the dark.

I had a moment of panic when I pulled up to the gate at the airport where I was supposed to hand the gate agent my ticket to depart. I couldn't find the window button. My MIL and I both started looking everywhere.


WHERE IS THE %&$#@@@@**&$ WINDOW BUTTON????????

This was simply more than I could take. I was moments away from having a full blown nervous breakdown when the sweet gate agent walked around and showed me the window button.

Now, who the hell thought putting the button in the middle of the console was a good idea? That's just dumb.

We managed to get out of the airport and I even found my way across the island to Red Hook without getting lost.

Now came the fun part. Our Jeep was crammed in with 50 other Jeeps on a ferry dock in the dark. It was now time to back the Jeep onto the ferry, about 6 inches from the Jeep next to me. I wanted to vomit.


Miraculously, we made it onto the ferry without me crying, cussing, or hitting another car.

I was exhausted.


But we weren't done yet.

We had to get to St. John, get our groceries, and get to our villa before travel day would be done.

When we drove off the ferry, our villa agent was waiting for us. I have never been so happy to see another human being. She would lead us to the villa.

I was super happy that I had decided to pay the small extra fee to pre-order my groceries online. They were packed in boxes and waiting at Starfish Market. All I had to do was pick them up.

Then it was on to Azul Peter Bay! Woo Hoo! We were almost there.

I did my happy dance a moment too soon.

As the villa agent pulled away, it started raining. No, not raining....POURING.

It was in this downpour that I had to unload all our luggage along with 6 heavy boxes of groceries, 2 gallons of water, and 2 cases of soda.

The cherry on top? I had no choice but to give my MIL the beautiful upstairs master bedroom with a giant walk out balcony because I didn't want her going down the stairs to the downstairs bedroom.

I was sleeping in the basement.

No worries. I WAS FINALLY HERE! I took a deep breath and let the stress of the day wash away as listened to the sweet sounds of tree frogs coming in on the breeze.

It was late, and we hadn't eaten since breakfast. We were so worried at the airport that we didn't even think to stop and grab a bite of lunch while we waited.

It was dark and drizzly, but that didn't stop me from driving down to Morgan's Mango for a bite.

It's amazing what a tall frozen drink, an order of mahi tacos, and a giant slab of key lime pie can do.




All was right with the world.

We were on St. John and the week was just beginning.

Posted by vicki_h 09:41 Archived in US Virgin Islands Tagged tropical coral_bay stj st._john virgin_islands usvi cruz_bay Comments (3)

An Impromptu Fall Road Trip

Sometimes you just need to pack up and go. No plans, no reservations, just pure spontaneity.

Nothing can make this happen faster than having plans to go somewhere else that fall through at the last minute.

That's what happened to us in October. We had planned a trip down to Abaco to soak in the last of the sun's rays before the chill season set in. Unfortunately, the day before our trip, we realized the weather down there was going to be crap. Rain, storms, rain, more storms, and then some rain.

After being stuck inside for 3 days thanks to Tropical Storm Arthur in July....I said "no thank you" to this repeat possibility.

Sure, we could have just cancelled and gone to work instead. But why the hell would we do that????? We had a few days off. I had to go somewhere.

It was a little past peak color season, but we decided to pack up the pooches and head to the mountains of NC. It's quick, it's easy, and I scored an amazing last minute deal on an absolute PALACE of a house.

First order of business is to introduce you to the newest member of the family. In order to do that, we must say goodbye to my absolute sweetheart, the best dog in the whole wide world, my favorite travel buddy Zoey who we lost in September.


When we found out she was sick, we worried about Bella, so we got her a friend to help her transition. Best. Decision. Ever. This little bundle of sunshine saved us all. Say "hello" to Rooby:


She's Shihtzu and Yorkie. I call that a shittie.

So, with no plans at all, we packed up Bella and her puppy. We were off to the mountains!!!!


On the way, we stopped at the best hole-in-the-wall pizza place I have discovered to date. Hidden in the middle-of-nowhere, Smoky Mountain Bakers makes some of the most amazing artisanal pizzas and breads in their wood fired oven. And they do it all in what is a glorified garden shed.





Bellies full of dough and cheese, we headed up winding mountain roads to find our home for the weekend. And what a home it was. This place was AMAZING. HUGE. GORGEOUS.

I wanted to live here forever.









Two living rooms. A study. A huge deck with amazing views to forever.

Trying to choose from the FIVE gorgeous bedrooms was nearly impossible. I was tempted to sleep in a different room every night. I wanted to sleep in them all.





We settled on the upstairs master. Not only because it was beautiful, but because it was the only bedroom on the main level. Little Rooby had not yet mastered the art of stairs. She was only 6 inches tall, after all.



We got settled in and made sure we had the essentials. Yep. Booze and candy. We were set.



The house was on a golf course and, despite the fact that it was a beautiful day, no one was playing, so we let the dogs run loose. Bella quickly let us know that she loves golf course grass and wants us to move.




Rooby agreed.



When you are surrounded by this much pure dog joy, how can you not feel happy?

All that golf course dashing worked off our pizza, so it was time to search out some dinner. In the 24 hours that I had to actually put this trip together, I had discovered that the Switzerland Inn, a cozy old fashioned mountain motel not far from where we were staying, had a Friday night seafood buffet with all you can eat crab legs.

All you can eat crab legs is the only thing Matt loves more than 50 cent Happy Hour Oysters.

The drive down was on the winding Blue Ridge Parkway. The peak color was past, but there was still some beautiful color left.






When we found the Switzerland Inn, it took me back to my childhood. It was exactly the kind of place we would have stayed on a road trip with my parents, right after we had lunch at the Waffle House and stopped 7 times along the interstate so that my parents could threaten my brothers and I with severe bodily harm if we didn't stop fighting in the backseat.

It was quaint and homey and had a view that stretched across the mountains. The dining room was set up with a variety of stations that had large peel-and-eat gulf shrimp, several fish specialties, a prime rib carving station, various salads....but the belle of this ball was definitely the crab leg station.


No one went to bed hungry that night.


We woke up the next day to beautiful weather and decided to do nothing more than drive a scenic portion of the Blue Ridge Parkway, taking in the Linville Viaduct and Moses Cone Park along the way.











Then it was on to a boozy lunch at Bistro Roca in Blowing Rock. It had become a favorite stop of ours on previous trips. Lunch cocktails were followed by mussels and a spicy habi burger. Delish!




The only proper way to follow a boozy lunch is to do some shopping. The quaint shops of Blowing Rock provided the perfect place to do just that.

I was grossly disappointed that no one told me it was costume day, though. A Wonder Woman costume would have rounded out the day nicely.






We spent the afternoon relaxing by the fire at the house, letting Bella bounce on the golf course turf, and catching naps. It was a wonderfully lazy day.




Dinner that night was at another of our favorite places in the area, Artisanal Restaurant in Banner Elk. The restaurant is not only beautiful, but the food is heavenly.




We started things off with a couple of their house cocktails and a cast iron pan of deliciously buttery rolls.



For a small plate I had the house made gnocchi.


Next up for me was the quail. I love quail, but I hate the presentation of it. It just looks too much like....well....like a LITTLE BITTY BIRD. ON A PLATE.

But that didn't stop me from sucking the bones clean.


Of course we had to have dessert.


The next morning, we found ourselves faced with another beautiful day with absolutely no agenda.

We drove.






We ended up at the Daniel Boone Inn. The huge line coming out the door and wrapping around the building told us the food inside must be good. We had nothing else to do, so we got in line.


After about 45 minutes, we were ushered inside the old farmhouse and seated at a table. Bowls of food were brought out and covered the table. Fried chicken, biscuits with country ham, mashed potatoes and gravy, banana pudding, fried apples.....I now knew what that whole line thing had been about. We set about the business of stuffing our faces with country goodness.






We waddled out of the Daniel Boone Inn fat and happy and full of mashed potatoes.

And we drove some more.










When we found this pumpkin patch, I just had to get out for a photo.

I look insane here.

I blame in on all the mashed potatoes. I was high on carbohydrates.


We kept driving.










Before we knew it, we found ourselves at the Banner Elk Winery. Okay, it was no accident. We were in need a wine down afternoon. We grabbed a couple of bottles and sat outside in the glorious sunshine.












After that, we all lapsed into a mashed potato and wine induced coma and napped the afternoon away.

We woke up in time for dinner. Yay!

We had reservations at the Gamekeeper Restaurant and were not sure where to find it. After driving an eternity into the pitch black darkness of nowhere, NC and winding forever and ever and ever up a lonely mountain road, we were certain the GPS was WRONG. Instead, we found ourselves at the coziest restaurant imaginable.



The atmosphere was rustic and warm and the food was delicious. They specialize in game, so the boys were able to eat all the wild beasty things they wanted. They ordered a mixed game grill. Then they had some emu, bison, elk chops and god knows what else. I went tame with the cornmeal crusted rainbow trout with polenta and a caper salsa.

You know how sometimes things look a lot better in person than in a photo? Sometimes a food photo just doesn't work out. Blame it on the lighting, the four glasses of wine you had before trying to take a picture in the dark by lighting it up with your cell phone, what have you, but sometimes it's simply a FAIL. Despite the appearance of these photos, I did not, in fact, eat a plate of vomit, a bloody pile of grits and a tapeworm salad.





It was time to head home, so we took the very scenic route home.









Because this was a fantastically uneventful trip, but you, dear reader, have persevered through my blog nonetheless, I will reward you with the delightfulness of puppies running through leaves and baby cows, because really, what's better than that?



Posted by vicki_h 12:33 Archived in USA Tagged fall autumn boone blue_ridge_parkway north_carolina banner_elk blowing_rock linville banner_elk_winery Comments (0)

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