Saturday, January 6, 2018

It's Fall Y'all!

Where has the time gone?! 
This outing took place in November, and I let time (aka the holidays) slip up on me!

It is FALL!
We ‘know” it, the calendar “shows” it, but around here, it is still green!
So today, I asked mom to meet me in Wakefield, and from there, we’d head west together in search of the elusive fall leaves that ‘should‘ be gracing the countryside by now!

Highway 460 west of Petersburg is a beautiful drive with four lanes, divided highway with lovely groves of trees and farm houses. Today I had the quaint town of Farmville on my mind. While visiting years ago, I ate at a great restaurant named Charlie’s Waterfront Grille, and felt certain mom would just love it. It would be a 2 hour drive straight through, but we two rarely ever drive ‘straight through’! There are just too many cute stops along the way! And I am notorious for – turning the car around if mom sees a good camera shot she missed!

The more we headed ‘west’, the more color change we spied! Green, Green, Yellowish green, then…. OH LOOK! One patch of scarlet, or one of deep peach! We were excited!

Soon we were graced with more and more color. It made me remember my dad. For his last several years, as Alzheimer’s robbed him of so much, I would put him in my car and we’d travel the back roads gathering colorful leaves along the roadside. Once home, we put our treasure on the table and we’d make a stain glass piece laying leaves on clear contact paper, folding it over, then hanging it in the window so the sun would shine through. Each one was beautiful to us! I miss those moments, and gathering fall leaves is one of many great memories I have of my dad.

Today, was all about mom. And the joy she was getting finding those colorful treasures. She loves the fall, getting out, exploring, taking pictures of the country side, and eating at new places. All the ‘boxes’ would be CHECKED today!

We arrived at Charlie’s Waterfront Grille but the parking lot was full. I made several loops looking. Finally I spied a couple loading up their bikes (god bless them) and stopped to ask if they were leaving. They were in search of a gift shop, but once they realized there wasn’t one nearby, they offered to move their car to another area and we could take their spot. So sweet!

Charlie’s Waterfront Grille is located near Green Front Furniture Company, once a huge manufacturing area.  I could imagine it was the life force of this town back in its day. Charlie’s sits on a nearby narrow brook-creek-stream which incidentally we realized was indeed the Appamattox River! It babbles over rocks nearby as you eat out on the deck. Today was cool, but we wanted the view (but not the breeze)! Our hostess seated us indoors, near the window which was large enough to take in all of the outdoors! It was so calming, and beautiful, I just knew mom would love it! And, she did.

After viewing their incredible menu, mom selected the Chicken Salad Sandwich with a cup of their famous Roasted Red Pepper Crab Soup! I chose the Prime Rib Sandwich with Sweet Potato Fries. 

Mom’s plate looked amazing! We were tempted to take a quart of the soup home, but decided it would be more fun to return and order it again! My sandwich was huge! But I managed! 


We were so full, THEN….our waitress returned, saying something like home made deserts, chocolate brownie, with fudge…I am sure she mentioned several others, but I didn’t hear anything after she said ‘brownie’! Mom had her heart set on the German Chocolate Cheese Cake! Of which, part was saved for a later time!

On our way out, we passed twelve huge warehouses that make up Green Front Furniture Company. Over 50 years ago, these buildings were tobacco warehouses and old department stores! Now they are all owned by Green Front Furniture and  boasts over 700,000 sq ft of warehouse space. Today, we chose to forgo the shopping, and headed for the car!

A quick stop at Farmville Wholesale Electric Supply to look at all the unique and beautiful lighting fixtures. I was secretly hoping I would find a great one for my entree way! But, honestly. I was so full, I couldn't concentrate! But we had fun, non the less! 

On our way home, we made a stop at a quaint greenhouse gift shop on highway 460 named The Farmers Daughters. It is always packed with seasonal d├ęcor and plants. We loved browsing and we each found something special we just ‘had to buy’. And, we were on our way again!

Perfect fall day. Perfect outing! 

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Lunch and a Little Girlie Fun

It was beautiful today, and I was in the mood for ice cream! So, I drove to Suffolk and as soon as mom finished her PT, I scooped her up for lunch. Then, maybe if I was lucky, we’d  get ice cream too!

We drove to the downtown area of Suffolk and stopped in at Amici’s Restaurant. They specialize in Pastas, Hand Tossed Pizzas (baked in a New York Style Brick Oven), sandwiches and meals. It is a quaint restaurant with amazing food! Today we elected to eat outside on their patio.

I was starving- so I ordered their Philly Cheese Steak with Onions and Peppers, served with their house cut potato chips!

Mom was more reserved…she ordered a salad and an order of bread sticks. When I commented on the bread sticks, she chuckled…”Oh, just wait to you see them!” Then after a short wait, the waitress brought our meals. Then….the platter of bread sticks arrived. Oh my gosh! Those things were HUGE! And so delish!

I opted to take my homemade chips home, and pigged out on mom’s bread stick order!

Mom recently has been feeling down. Losing a close friend always hurts. So today, I decided she needed some pampering! After our lunch, I drove her to Remedies Salon, to get pedicures!

She was really excited! Once in, I opted on a manicure instead. Our stations were just around the corner from each other and I could hear those two talking. Then I heard my mom laugh, then laugh again. It made my heart happy to hear her like that again! She needed this outing. She chose sassy peach for her toes.

 I had gel polish in light pink, we were feeling very girlie when we left!

Wait, we hadn’t had our ice cream treat yet! We racked out brains trying to think of a good place to go to get dessert (NO, I wasn’t quite full of bread sticks, still had room for ice cream!). And since I needed to go to Chesapeake to the dry cleaner, mom suggested we grab dessert (with ice cream) at a nearby Cracker Barrel. So off we went!  We ran a few errands (mom bought a piece for her GPS, and I dropped off our winter coats to be cleaned) Then, we were on our way again.

As we pulled into the parking lot of Cracker Barrel, I realized it was THURSDAY! Thursdays special is moms all-time favorite here, Turkey and Dressing. We laughed. We had come for dessert, not dressing. A new plan quickly materialized…order dessert with ice cream and a takeout order of dressing! Perfect.

But, as we sat there, looking at each other, smelling the aromas of home cooked food both started laughing! I KNEW exactly what was on her mind, because I was thinking the same thing! DRESSING it was! Yep, we ordered two plates! It was delish! And she even had a little bit to take home.

As we left, we realized, we never got any ice cream. Happy, and full, we headed home.

Our Ice Cream Adventure would have to wait until another day! 

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Eastern Shore Adventures

After a long winter of busy schedules and bad weather, I decided a GIRLS LUNCH was long overdue!  So, I called mom, told her to grab her camera and I would pick her up early! We two girls were off on an adventure!  She had no idea, and that is what makes these treks so fun! Today’s surprise would be on Virginia’s Eastern Shore!

Our travels today would take us over the beautiful Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel! This spans across the bay for 17.6 miles, and has two tunnels, two man-made islands and one high bridge. In the 1930s a ferry operated this route delivering passenger cars and train cars across the Chesapeake Bay from Virginia's Eastern Shore to Virginia Beach. In 1964 the bridge-tunnel opened. There are two one-mile long tunnels beneath the two navigational channels in the bay and you often see huge tankers and Navy ships on the waters there. The Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel is considered one of the seven man-made wonders of the world. And you can truly see why!

When I was young, my father was head of communications aboard the USS Boxer stationed in Norfolk. He would be out to sea for months, then mom would get the call from the ‘officer wives phone tree’ that the ship would be returning! One of my favorite memories was getting dressed up to meet the ship as it came in to port. And now, I wonder what he must have felt, being gone so long, and passing through the Bay Bridge channel turning toward home.

Once on Virginia's Eastern Shore, we were amazed at the untamed and natural surroundings - water to your left (the Bay), and the right (the Atlantic Ocean)! You are immediately greeted by a Welcome Center and we proceeded our way up the highway enjoying the views.

We were headed to the Historic Cape Charles Harbor today to The Shanty, a restaurant that made the “Top 10 Virginia Restaurants With A View” List. We twisted around the town, laughing at our GPS which was obviously sending us on a sightseeing path rather than a direct one! Finally we turned on an oyster shell parking lot with nautical decor pieces everywhere. We had arrived! Mom and I both needed seafood today! And, you can’t come to the Eastern Shore and NOT EAT seafood!

The restaurant was charming! With three walls of windows facing the Bay, their Marina and the Coast Guard Station there was plenty to view!

 I immediately spied a Fresh Shrimp Basket served with Old Bay Fries. Mom selected her favorite, a Crab Cake Sandwich with the Old Bay Fries as well! The restaurant prides itself on serving local ingredients and this food was amazing! My shrimp were big, juicy and had a great exterior crunch. Fries were lightly seasoned. Moms Crabcake was filled with lumps of crabmeat and not a lot of filler. We loved our meal! 

As we walked down their Marina’s pier, mom spied an Osprey. She is a budding photographer and loves to chase down birds to capture ‘just the right shot’! She also uses her zoom lens to identify things out of view!

 We learned that the town of Cape Charles served as the terminal for ferry service years ago. Rail barges still depart from Cape Charles, transporting railcars over the open waters to Norfolk. Trains drive down the Eastern Shores peninsula, detach, load onto the rail barges and make their way across the bay to be reattached to another engine, and continue their travels west. There were a lot of tracks- coming in, and heading straight to the bay, then stopping! Mom and I even walked across a few of them.

Neither of us had been to Cape Charles before so we took a drive around this quaint town. The road we entered was lined with small shops. Its water tower is a creative sight! I even pulled over so we could get a few good pics!

There were several blocks of older homes, definitely from an era long ago. The Cape Charles Beach hosts hundreds during the summer months, but today it was quiet and calm. On the way out of town, I spied a small flower stand and pulled in. I announced, “We each HAD TO buy one plant, so pick a pretty one”! We jumped out and made our selection, and both, of course, selected the same flower! Like mother- like daughter! We laughed.

We had tons of fun but it was time to head home. This time, as we crossed the Bay Bridge, we spied something unusual on the water making its way to the bridge. I asked mom if it was on fire. Or was it smoking. No. It was spraying water all around it as it made its way up the Bay. As we approached, mom had her camera perched, trying to get a better look. Note: Peering through a zoom lens on a bridge in a moving car is not a great idea! But, we soon were on it. Or rather, it was on us! The craft passed over as we went down through the tunnel. I pulled over after we cleared the tunnel and mom quickly took pictures! It was “31 LCAC” ! (hovercraft) Used as a landing craft by the US Navy-Little Creek. Only 91 have ever been built and at a max speed of 70 knots this thing was spraying water everywhere!

It was a great outing! A long one, but oh, so worth it! I love spending time with her, and we have such a great time out exploring the countryside and great restaurants together.
Can’t wait til the next one!