Monthly Archives: October 2012

Lovely Lake Lure

TEDDY’s RATING: 

Nestled in the heart of Hickory Nut Gorge, just east of Asheville, is Lake Lure. Yes, it is a lake, but it’s also the name of the town. And as every tour guide will tell you, it’s the location where they filmed the 1987 version of the movie “Dirty Dancing,” starring Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Grey.

          

The centerpiece of the lake is the 1927 Lake Lure Inn & Spa, renovated in 2005 with original antiques and artwork. The inn has hosted a wide range of guests including celebrities, like Swayze and Grey, but also Presidents Roosevelt and Coolidge. It’s a beautiful location for weddings or a quiet romantic getaway.

In addition to the historic inn, there are some absolutely amazing homes around the 720 acre lake.

          

To explore Lake Lure, you can take one of the boat tours from the Marina. From April through October, hourly tours are conducted. During summer months, they offer box lunch cruises and dinner cruises.

          

If you’d rather just soak up the scenery on dry land, relax on the Beach at Lake Lure. Here you can picnic, build sandcastles or play in the water park.

          

And if you’re into something more strenuous, take one of the challenging hikes around nearby Chimney Rock State Park. At the top of Hickory Nut Falls there are fabulous views of the lake.

Whatever you’re interested in, swimming, golfing, hiking, rock climbing, canoeing, fishing, boating, water skiing, or just relaxing, you can find it at Lake Lure.

Dates of Visit:  May 2009

http://www.lakelure.com/

If you enjoyed this post, you might like my other blog:  http://ilovebritishtv.com

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Categories: North Carolina, Play | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Catfish Place-An Apopka Landmark

TEDDY’s RATING: 

If you’re a follower of my blog, you already know that I’m not a big fan of seafood. Yet, I keep checking out seafood restaurants and writing about them. I wouldn’t normally choose a seafood restaurant if asked where I wanted to eat, but I had been wanting to write about The Catfish Place for a while.

Steve Johnson opened the first location in St. Cloud, Florida, in 1972. At that time, it was called the “Brew and Chew,” but soon the name changed to The Catfish Place when they became known as a place to get great catfish. Several years later, Steve convinced his son, Bob, to open a second location in Apopka and it’s been a success for over 35 years, becoming a landmark in Apopka, Florida, and the oldest independently owned restaurant in town. The building was once a railroad depot and the atmosphere, like the food itself, is southern-style, down home.

To me, what really stands out here is the super friendly wait staff and great service. The food is great too, but it makes the experience all the more enjoyable if you have a waiter or waitress who really likes his or her job. Our waitress, Lisa, was very friendly and knowledgeable. She even mentioned that the sweet potato fries weren’t an extra charge of $2.00 as the menu said. And even though she brought me regular fries by mistake, she was incredibly apologetic and brought me the sweet potato fries right away.

They have a great early bird menu available from 4pm to 6pm, offering some of their most popular items at a nice discount. For an appetizer, our group tried the fried green tomatoes. I wasn’t crazy about them, but everyone else seemed to like them a lot. For my entrée, I had the grilled chicken breast which was very tender and tasty. My sides were their wonderfully sweet cole slaw and the sweet potato fries, at no extra charge. All meals come with their fabulous hush puppies, crispy outside and tender inside with just a hint of their own sweetness.

For those of you who are seafood eaters, you can get shrimp, scallops, clams, flounder, and of course, all you can eat catfish. Their catch of the day when I went was Mahi Mahi, grilled or broiled. And for the more adventurous eater, The Catfish Place offers gator tail and frogs legs. Their Florida Cracker Special includes both of those along with boneless catfish.

Though we didn’t partake of dessert, they have home made key lime pie, New Orleans style bread pudding and the chocolate volcano, which I’ve read is something else.

The Catfish Place is open from 11am to 9pm Tuesdays through Thursdays, 11am to 10pm Fridays and Saturdays. They’re closed Sundays and Mondays.

Dates of Visit:  October 2012

http://mycatfishplace.com

If you enjoyed this post, you might like my other blog:  http://ilovebritishtv.com

Categories: Eat, Florida | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Who the heck is Zebulon B. Vance?

TEDDY’s RATING: 

I asked that question every time I visited Asheville, North Carolina. On the way to Well Bred Bakery in Weaverville, I always saw the signs to “Vance Birthplace.” But I never took the time to actually go there until my last trip. And I have to say, Zebulon B. Vance’s birthplace is an interesting historic site.

If you’re a native to North Carolina, you probably know who Zeb is. The third of eight children, Zebulon Vance practiced law in Asheville and at age 24 was elected to his first public office. His mountain upbringing helped him achieve success. He was a man of the people, promoting basic human rights, and was “a champion of local self-government and individual liberty.”

He was a well-known political leader during the Civil War and after. He was elected governor of North Carolina three times and was also a three-term senator for the state. He was known as the “War Governor of the South,” helping out soldiers and their families during the difficult years of the Civil War.

The birthplace site, in the Reems Creek Valley near Weaverville and off the Blue Ridge Parkway, is a collection of buildings furnished with household items representative of the period of 1795 through 1840 when the Vance family lived there.

        

The Vance family home has five rooms, an unusually large size for the time period. Also on site are a corn crib, springhouse, smokehouse, loom house, slave house and tool shed. The visitor’s center has exhibits about the famous Vance family and a short film about the life of Zebulon. Throughout the year, there are special events at the site where costumed interpreters demonstrate life of the early settlers in the Blue Ridge Mountains during the Zebulon Vance’s time.

        

        

What I found most interesting about the site was how you really felt transported back in time to the late 1700s when the Vances lived in the log home.  We had a guide take us through the house and explain what life was like at that time. The guide was very, very knowledgeable about the time period and the site itself. You could almost picture the family by the hearth, women sewing, men chatting, children playing.

The Vance Birthplace historic pioneer farmstead is open Tuesdays through Saturdays, 9am-5pm. Admission is free, but donations are appreciated.

Dates of Visit:  May 2012

http://www.nchistoricsites.org/vance/vance.htm

If you enjoyed this post, you might like my other blog:  http://ilovebritishtv.com

Categories: North Carolina, Play | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Get a Taste of the World

TEDDY’s RATING: 

It’s time once again to tempt your taste buds at the 17th annual Epcot International Food and Wine Festival going on right now through November 12th.

If you’ve never been, it’s definitely worth going to try some of these culinary creations. I love having the chance to try new foods, which are in tapas-sized portions. I’m not that courageous when it comes to foreign dishes, but over the years I’ve enjoyed some interesting and yummy things at the Food and Wine Festival.

        

More than 25 booths, or marketplaces, are set up around Epcot’s World Showcase. This year features two totally new food stops: Terra, where you can partake in vegan treats like Trick’n Chick’n Curry; and Florida Local, which features the Sunshine State’s local flavors like Zellwood Sweet Corn Salad.

Other new exhibits include The Chocolate Experience: Bean to the Bar, hosted by Ghirardelli where you can try their drinking chocolate; The Mr. Food Watermelon Patch; and the Festival Center Wine Shop.

          

My favorite foods and drinks are Canada’s Cheddar Cheese Soup, the Caribbean’s Bacardi Frozen Dragon Berry Colada, Morocco’s Mimosa Royale, Ireland’s Chocolate Lava Cake with Bailey’s Ganache, Belgium’s Belgian Waffle with berries, Australia’s Lamington cake and Scandinavia’s Swedish Meatballs with Lingonberry sauce. Oooohhhh, I’m so hungry.

I tried a couple of new things this year: the Wild Mushroom Beef Filet Mignon with Truffle Butter Sauce in Canada and Linda Bean’s Perfect Maine Clam Chowder at the Hops & Barley place. Both were good, but unfortunately, not great. I had hoped to try the Chocolate Cake with Passion Fruit Sorbet and Coconut Foam at the new Terra marketplace, but by then I was stuffed.

There are also celebrity chef demonstrations and wine seminars throughout each day. HGTV hosts home entertaining seminars featuring their celebrity designers.

“Eat to the Beat” is a concert series that takes place at the American Gardens Theater each evening of the festival. In addition to regular bands like Air Supply, Gin Blossoms, Survivor, and Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, there will be some new performers appearing this year: Smash Mouth, Blues Traveler and Dennis DeYoung from STYX.

Here are some fun facts about the festival:

Each year more than 3,000 gallons of Canada’s Cheddar Cheese soup are made. I eat about half of that!

The Kielbasa and Potato Pierogie dish is one of the most popular menu item at the festival. I concur.

The lingonberry is a staple food in Scandinavian cuisine. I compare it to cranberries, but not as tart.

More than 100,000 desserts are eaten at the Epcot International Food and Wine Festival. Of all the dishes I try, most ARE desserts!

          

One big change to the Festival this year is the use of Earth-friendly food containers. I completely understand Walt Disney World’s dedication to recycling, but these containers tend to make the food look much less appetizing.

Dates of Visit:  Various years

www.epcotfoodfestival.com

If you enjoyed this post, you might like my other blog:  http://ilovebritishtv.com

Categories: Disney, Eat, Play | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

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