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Archive for the ‘Travel in Virginia’ Category

Bill and I just discovered a golden restaurant to return to again and again.

Golden Garden3 Sign

 

The Golden Garden is comparatively new in our little town of Lexington, Virginia.  It specializes in Sushi and Pan Asian Cusine.  “What is Pan Asian Cuisine?” I asked Google and came up with foods originating from the greater continent of Asia including, but not limited to, Chinese, Japanese, Thai, Vietnamese, Korean, and Indian.

Let’s try it,” we said.

Over the years we have devised our own criteria list for ranking local restaurants:

  • Must be quiet enough to talk without yelling,
  • must be very clean,
  • have pleasant wait staff,
  • and hopefully serve great tasting healthy food.

The Golden Garden surpassed all our criteria. The restaurant is quiet enough, very clean, and the staff are lovely, kind, eager to please and welcoming.  Not only is their food delicious but it is beautifully presented and there is so much of it, you inveitably wind up boxing up for lunch the next day.

We were so impressed with this new restaurant in our little town that we returned for dinner the following week.  I loved the Shrimp with Mixed Vegetables (with optional White Sauce and Brown Rice) and also tried their Wonton Soup, Spring Rolls, and the Seaweed Salad  – all truly scrumtious!  To give you an idea of the size of the entree, Bill had General Tso’s Chicken (see photo below).

Golden Garden2 Gen Tso

Bill’s General Tso’s Chicken after he added rice on top and stirred around the initial presentation.

I wish I had taken photos of the entrees as they were presented, as yet untouched.  Guess I was too eager to dive in!

Anyway, if you live in or near Lexington, Virginia, or if you are simply visiting, remember that Dor highly recommends The Golden Garden.

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Like New Cars

Was this a Precursor of Today’s Used Car Lots?

I was driving to Staunton, Virginia (pronounced “Standtin” by the locals) on what was once a major north-south highway now displaced by the Interstate.

This stretch of U.S. Route 11 (known as Lee Highway here) is a country road now that slows for thriving little towns and interesting stops along the way, with farms and barns and majestic mountain views.

But what I love most is to see the remnants of a bygone era – abandoned gas stations, diners, pre-chain motels, and other businesses I actually recall as they were in their “haydays” in the 1950’s.

There are crumbling buildings as timeworn as I sometimes feel.    

Surely they have stories to tell of lives and lifetimes.

Would that we could get close enough

and remain still long enough to hear the echoes of the past.

 

 

 

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cheese shop candy

What do dogs, health food and beer have in common?

A day in the outside world with son and youngest grandgirl.   (Two more grandgirls are also  expected here this week).

Dogs, Dogs, Dogs

Knowing how much Bill and I wish for a four-legged friend, our son and grandgirl took us on a dog search at PetSmart in Waynesboro, Virginia.  Every Saturday from 10AM to 2:00PM various foster people bring available rescue dogs there for open air viewing and visitations.

How exciting and sometimes sad it was to meet and greet all the homeless canines available.  Many were being adopted quickly and of course I fell in love with one.

“Paddy” is a big dog in a 20 pound body – an Aussie/Sheltie mix with the most intelligent adorable face.  He seemed as calm as could be in the face of maniacal barking all around him and sat by my feet allowing me to stroke his sweet head.

Even so, I was advised that Australian Shepherds are extremely high energy and difficult and I took the handler at her word. The message was that Paddy needs a young family to take him home and of course he was snatched up immediately.

I still have regrets and miss Paddy even though I only knew him for a few minutes.  I hope he is happy in his new digs.

Healthy Eating?

Next Stop:  The Cheese Shop in Stuart’s Draft, Virginia.  This is where you can get old fashioned candies (healthy?), magnificent cheeses, and all sorts of nuts, jams, jellies, and spices!

The Cheese Shop has been on my favorites list for over 20 years and it just keeps getting better as well as more and more expensive than it was way back then.  We wound up with peanut butter pretzel pillows, several varieties of candies like caramel creams, chocolate covered coffee beans, elderberry jam, beef sticks, muenster and farmer cheese, and more!

Bound for Beer

Next was the Devil’s Backbone Outpost for dinner.

It’s a brewery just north of Lexington, Virginia that has recently opened a “kitchen” in addition to their well established beer bar/tap room.  A great big dining area was bustling when we arrived and there was even musical entertainment brought in from Lynchburg, Virginia.

We wound up sitting outside with a stellar view of the Blue Ridge Mountains on a cool, delicious evening of beer tasting, happy talk and uniquely tasty grub.

It was a grand day.

And even though we returned home with no dog to cuddle, I am grateful for a grand family, good times, and all that candy on my “no/no” list.

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Homeward Bound

The road is long to my old Virginia home

but sunlight shines the way

and I recognize clear skies and

empty roads, and I can

watch the tall trees sway.

It looks like home just there

where the road rises and dips

with its artistic flare, and

where honeysuckle scents the air.

I am homeward bound  

and I am almost home.

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My BigFoot “Expert Doctor” is in Charlottesville, Virginia.

It’s about an hour and a half drive over the legendary Afton Mountain.

And even on a clear day you can be confronted with fog.

There are lights embedded in the roadway but it still feels treacherous.

And it may not actually be fog, but the signs say so.  Last time we went “over the hill” we could see a low lying cloud enshrouding the roadway, and then drove right into it.

What a thrill it is to creep along and wonder how bad it could get and would we careen over the edge?

Can you tell I am a worrier?

We have survived the winter with several visits over Afton Mountain and actually this was the first time to experience fog.

From Virginia Living:  “The drop-dead gorgeous scenery disappears when clouds blanket the mountain. Fog and ice make for a white-knuckled grip on the steering wheel. VDOT (Virginia Department of Transportation) has addressed safety by installing expensive airport runway lights along the 64 roadway to guide motorists…”

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Bananas for Safari Park MonkeysIn the checkout line at the supermarket there was a fellow ahead of me who was buying a big pile of bananas.  The strange thing is I noticed the bananas before I did the guy. (Is this just another sign of aging?)

Anyway, I was thinking, “He must love bananas.

  • Maybe he has a big family.
  • Maybe he is a camp counselor buying snacks for the kiddies.
  • Maybe he wants to make banana bread?”

I was still lost in imagining what he would possibly do with all those bananas when he turned back toward me and smiled.

Safari Park Guy

Cute Safari Park Guy

And there was an emblem on his shirt that said, “Safari Park.”

Aha!  Mystery solved.  This was a representative of the Virginia Safari Park, a magical place near me and just a few miles north of Virginia’s Natural Bridge.  Safari Park is where my  grandgirls (all grown up now) still demand to go every time they visit.

“Are the bananas for the monkeys?” I boldly asked the Safari Park man.

“Yes, and the giraffes love them too.”

“Do you mind if I take a picture of all those bananas?  Oh, and a picture of you too? I want to write a blog post about the park.”

“Of course, he said, “And thank you.”

If you are interested in going to the Virginia Safari Park, my young friend told me they will be open until Thanksgiving.

Virginia Safari Park is a 180-acre drive-thru adventure featuring 1,000 free roaming animals. Drive along 3 miles of road in the beautiful Shenandoah Valley.  With the Blue Ridge Mountains as your backdrop, animals of all sizes, shapes and colors approach your vehicle in search of a tasty bucket of feed. Their website is http://www.virginiasafaripark.com .

Safari Park 07

My youngest grandgirl, Mackenzie, all grown up now but still loves the Virginia Safari Park.

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Sweeping Landscapes and Barns En Route

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