Sunday Driver, Yeah

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Maggie Valley, Western North Carolina

 “She was a day tripper

Sunday driver, yeah”

– The Beatles

All dressed up and no place to go. My brunch plans with friends were canceled. It was a chilly Sunday morning and I could have stayed warm under the covers.

Plan B. Get in the car and drive. Take myself to brunch. I decided to try my buddy’s new diner by the old truck stop. Still unfamiliar with all the country roads, it took me forever to find the place. Once I arrived, people were turned away (including me) due to unforeseen plumbing issues. So my brunch plans were also flushed down the toilet.

Plan C. Keep on truckin’. Next stop? The Swag. Since I was in the neighborhood, why not treat myself to a spectacular view and a killer meal? The sunlight kissed me through my sunroof as I headed up the mountain. I drove by old barns, farmland, and rushing creeks. Amazing.

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“Old Black Water, keep on rollin'” – The Doobies

From cows, sheep, chicken, and horses, I felt personally greeted by every animal I passed. I even stopped and talked to the animals a la Dr. Dolittle.

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Getting a kick from the donkey.

 

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B S-ing with the Bull.

After a very steep drive I finally reached the highest peak. With my appetite as grand as the mountain, I was so ready for my long-awaited lunch! The recording at the gate said, “Welcome to The Swag. We are closed until late April.” What?!

Plan D. Around and around she goes. Where she stops, nobody knows. “Time for a drink”, I chuckled, just as I drove by Popcorn Sutton’s home. Coincidence?  I nearly drove off the cliff laughing. Seems as though the sun wasn’t the only thing shinin’!

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I’ll shut up my mug if you fill up my jug with some good ole mountain dew- Gr’pa Jones

Cruisin’ down the mountain and into Maggie Valley I stopped by the Stompin’ Ground. This literally was my old stomping ground, where I learned to clog as a little girl. Oh the memories of me in pigtails hoedowning in my handmade patchwork skirt. Hee haw!! Yep, I still use those dance moves.

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Oh play me some mountain music like Grandma and Grandpa used to play -Alabama

I kept driving and saw a sign for Cataloochee Ranch. Oh yeah! Ain’t no mountain high enough to keep me from lunch over yonder! Climbing in my car, I arrived at last. How breathtakingly beautiful! But the signed posted on the door read, “Closed until late April.” Huh?! Okay, where is Alan Funt and his Candid Camera?

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Cataloochee Lodge, Maggie Valley

Alone, I walked around and gazed out onto the majestic scenery that I had all to myself. Starving, I sat on top of the mountain and ate my emergency granola bar from the bottom of my purse. Funny, it was not exactly the culinary experience I had pictured but somehow it now seemed perfect.

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“Standing on a hill in my mountain of dreams, Telling myself it’s not as hard, hard, hard as it seems.” – Led Zep

Plan E. Exit, Stage Left! She’ll be coming round the mountain when she comes! Since I skipped Sunday Mass for brunch, (don’t tell my Grandma) I decided to swing by my Church to give thanks for this unforgettable day. I parked and walked up the path. The Church was locked! On a Sunday?! Wow, even He has a sense of humor!

So, I bundled up and sat outside on the Church bench and prayed. The sun caressed my face just as the cold wind tossed my hair. A baby blue sky accented the fluffy clouds floating by like angels. The fragrant early spring flowers were blooming beside me. Now I know why the Church was closed.

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This Sunday I had a spectacular time driving and exploring Western North Carolina. You never know where life will lead you if you just laugh and go with the flow. I would never have traded this day to meet my friends for Eggs Benedict. Even for extra Hollandaise sauce!

Do you ever have days that go better than your original plan?

Original photos by Seedy Lawyer.  All rights reserved.

Shared with Fiesta Friday, Gluten Free Fridays, Crafty Spices, Natural Family Friday

Hoedown at Haywood County Fair

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“County fair, county fair,

Everybody in town’ll be there

So come on,

Hey we’re goin’ down there.”

County Fair, Bruce Springsteen

What do you get when two city slicker lawyers visit the County Fair?  A whole lot of fun! My friend and I hit the Haywood County Fair this past weekend. We loved it!

In between stuffing our faces with fair food, (Hint: eat AFTER the rides!) we cheered on the contestants in the tractor pull. “Full pull, full pull!” We never won a cake in the Cake Walk, but burned fair food calories trying. The humongous cabbage that took home the winning Blue Ribbon was bigger than my entire garden!

After impersonating Dr. Doolittle at the viewing zoo, we decided to mosey on over to the Country Hoe Down. Hee-Haw!! (I took some clogging lessons at the Stompin’ Ground during summer vacation in NC, but I have never seen such spectacular dancing as this!) (Check out the video below!)

My cotton-candy fingers kept getting stuck to the camera, but I managed to get a few snapshots of our fair adventure.

Fair Food

Candy Apples


And more food

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Kids of all ages


Old Tractors

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And modern tractors

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Prize-winning produce

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“The Cabbage Patch”


Viewing Zoo

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“Talk to the Animals.” – Dr. Doolittle


Hoedown: Clogging!

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(Clogging video link)

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If a County Fair is coming to your town, be sure to go! Be there. The Fair.

Do you have fun memories of your local fair?

“In fact, my heart would break should you not take me to the fair.”

Take Me to the Fair, Camelot

 

Original Photos courtesy of Seedy Lawyer. All rights reserved.

 

When Life Gives You Lemons, Make Herbal Lemonade

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Deep summer is when laziness finds respectability.

– Sam Keen

Summer is definitely here.  My herb garden is growing wild. Lemonade stands are popping up everywhere.

I spotted this classic lemonade stand while driving down a mountain road in Western North Carolina. These smart girls even sold Moon Pies!

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This adorable family was serving cold lemonade on a hot day in South Florida. It reminded me of my childhood in Miami.

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Not sure she was so happy when life gave her lemons…

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You can always find frosty lemonade during the summer at the farmer’s market.

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Fortunately, you don’t need your own lemonade stand to indulge in refreshing lemonade.  Just mix lemons, water and a sweetener of your choice to create your own tasty treat.  For an extra twist, add fragrant herbs from your garden. It’s simple:

Squeeze lemons…

lemonsMix in a handful of fresh garden herbs…

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and…Pucker up!

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Experiment with your favorite herbs and fresh fruit.  Though you many not have a lemonade stand, these mouth-watering recipes are sure to have friends lining up for more.

Here’s my absolute favorite recipe. My friend Birgerbird can relate to the lemonade story, so I invited her to guest post a recipe.  She offers a refreshing, floral and aromatic lemonade enhanced with strawberry and basil that will disappear when you serve it.  The addition of a few strawberries gives it a lovely, almost amber, color. Cheers to Summer!

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Lemonade with Strawberry and Basil

Serves: about 8

INGREDIENTS:

1 cup raw sugar
1 cups fresh strawberries, hulled and cut into quarters
about 20 medium-size basil leaves, torn into rough pieces
3½ cups fresh lemon juice (from about 24 lemons; wait to juice the lemons until after you’ve made the sugar syrup)

PREPARATION:

Make syrup:  Put the sugar in a heatproof bowl. Wash the lemons and rub the sugar over the outsides of them, which releases some of the aromatic oils into the sugar, gently flavoring it.  Scrape off sugar back into bowl to the best of your ability! Then, pour 1 cup of boiling water over the sugar and stir until the sugar dissolves. Allow to cool.

Combine the strawberries and 15 basil leaves in a blender (use the remaining leaves to garnish in a pitcher) along with ¼ cup of the syrup. Blend for 1 minute.  Pour into a pitcher with all of the lemon juice and stir well.  Add ice cubes.  Alternatively to make a glass of lemonade, stir together approximately 3 Tbs. strawberry mixture with 3 Tbs. lemon juice and 1 or 2 Tbs. sugar syrup. Add ice cubes and top with a bit of cold water (still or sparkling water are both tasty). Stir well. Enjoy!

I am sharing this recipe with Fiesta Friday #22!

Do you have memories of your childhood lemonade stand?  Have a special summertime lemonade recipe?

Photos courtesy of  Rob Bertolf,  Nina Frazier

Original photos by BirgerBird and Seedy Lawyer. All rights reserved.