Saturday, January 18, 2014

"Roanoke: city of unexpected delights" plus some!

Roanoke: city of unexpected delights
The Miami Herald thinks Roanoke is pretty neat! 

“Hey, y’all, we’ll move over. Come sit on down,” the scruffy bearded man called to us. We had heard the Texas Tavern eatery in Roanoke was small, but didn’t realize it was this small — a tiny hallway of a cafĂ©.

The Tavern’s loyal clientele flocks to it 24 hours a day, no matter that they have to stand outside and wait for one of the ten bar stools. Those $1.70 bowls of “chile” and $1.30 burgers and dogs hit the spot, as they have for Roanokers and others since the 1930s.

On this day, the stools were occupied by an extroverted South African, two burly bikers from Miami, our bearded new friend and his buddy, the three of us, and a spiffily dressed businessman. All races, all professions, all income levels rest their feet on the old foot rail. The Tavern even sports an ancient cigarette vending machine.

Just as the Texas Tavern surprised me, I was delighted by Roanoke during a recent visit. It’s a hodgepodge, with unexpected discoveries at every turn. “Star City” — called that because of the 100-foot-high man-made star that overlooks it from Mill Mountain — is not to be confused with North Carolina’s “lost colony of Roanoke.” This Roanoke is very much alive. more here

They left off Black Dog Salvage and Kirk Avenue Music Hall (both worth visiting!)


As always, the articles are written with pretty much the same flavor, stay at the Hotel Roanoke or the Cambria Suites or Best Western? Come all this way and stay at a chain hotel? Really? Go to the Market Square, see the Star, etc etc. They always branch out and include area sights like the National D-Day Memorial in Bedford, McAfee's Knob for those who like to strenuous hikes, and so on.

What they NEVER mention the amazing bed and breakfast inns in and around Roanoke. Places where you will rub elbows with other guests from all over the USA and world. Where the innkeepers will cook you a hearty delicious home-made breakfast and pour your coffee! 

They will be able to tell you the name of the fella at the Dairy Queen who plays the fiddle every Thursday morning at 9:00am while patrons dine on heaping platefuls of hot biscuits and sausage gravy! 


This is the difference, y'all. This is what this area is about, it is great to see the sites, bit it is even greater to see the people of these mountains, to experience the culture here. It goes back quite a while...while the colonists were farming the coasts and Piedmont, the rugged outcasts were trying to eke a living out of these rugged mountains. 
As they plowed the hard red dirt fields after cutting back the trees by hand, and hauling the timber out by mule, they uncovered woolly mammoths... yes, here in these mountains of Virginia.

Articles need to be written about real people doing real things...the beauty of these mountains is not just on the outside, not the landscape out your car window as you cruise down the Blue Ridge Parkway....

It is about the hand hewn log cabin made of chestnut where Aunt Orlean, the Granny Midwife lay to rest her 24 babies by the time she was in her 30's. During the next 49 years, she successfully delivered over a thousand babies. Traveling on foot or by horse, Orlean never failed to make her way to a birthing. When ice covered the mountain paths, she hammered nails into the soles of her shoes to assure proper footing. You can visit the Puckett Cabin near Milepost 189.9 on the Blue Ridge Parkway. Many folks around here had family "birthed" by Aunt Orlean.

I am just saying...if come to these mountains and you will miss them entirely if you do not meet the people who live here, who have lived here for hundreds of years...tough independent genuine God-fearing mountain people. They keep the  Blue Ridge traditions alive.