About 10 miles from Julian Price lies a quaint town called Blowing Rock, North Carolina. This town, according to Captain Jim, was designed, created and populated to attract women. From it’s flower gardened main street to it’s many chic stores it does seem he has a point. We chose a perfectly comfortable, overcast day to stroll it’s main street. You will want to find one of their several free parking areas to stow away your vehicle as parking on the main street is at a premium. We found ample parking between their public pool and a very lovely park. A steep hike up some hidden steps and you are close to Main Street. You can walk from one end to the other quite comfortably, as it’s not very long.
There were many fascinating shops and storefronts. Myself, I’m not really a very girly-girl so the shops only really interest me from a “viewing” standpoint. I like to see all the interesting wares and what-nots. I love the architecture and did get to take some interesting shots of some of the buildings. I was drawn to one shop though, much to the detriment of my pocketbook. It was a lovely yarn shop named Unwound Yarn http://www.unwoundyarn.com/ I enjoyed perusing the many colorful and varied yarns. Even Jim and Kaelin found the different yarns to be interesting, noting the textures and varied softness. I did buy a wonderful kit to make a Christmas present for my oldest daughter. Of course, I can’t share what it is yet, but I can say it had 21 different colors!
Of course, when you stroll through little towns like this you do work up an appetite and this is when you search out restaurants that are unique to the area. We were drawn to Town Tavern http://www.towntavernbr.com/ and were fairly pleased. The food was mostly pub style food and spirits. It was a little pricey as probably most all restaurants and stores are in Blowing Rock. It had a neat atmosphere and I can imagine it gets to hopping on weekends and evenings.
Blowing Rock is definitely worth the stroll whether you are a shopper or not. And the area offers more than just the downtown shopping excursions. Not far from there is The Blowing Rock itself, which we visited last year. It is located off The Blueridge Parkway, a must do! And it is close to Boone. You cannot go wrong visiting this lovely area. For more information visit this link: https://blowingrock.com/
Father’s day brunch. Haven’t eaten yet but what an interesting place. Ecletic decor in what appears to be an 1800s building. Playing 60s music at a nice conversational friendly volume. LP album covers adorn the wall above original dark wood paneling. The waitresses are very friendly. If the food (breakfast all day on Sunday) is as good as the rest we are in for a nice treat. Attached are other shops and a salon
; Perhaps we will pick up a few New Hampshire souvenirs on this rainy day.
Addendum: the food was stupendous, more than adequate to quench our hunger. We even left with a loaf of homemade black olive bread and peach amaretto jam.
Part of sailing is, of course, visiting nearby land and exploring. We go ashore every couple of days for supplies, sometimes showers and laundry, and the occasional restaurannt meal. I dedicate this section to those places we eat a meal different from boat fare.
***** = best ever $ =$15-25 for all 3 of us to eat, $$ = 25-35, $$$ = 35-45, $$$$ = over 45
Fresh Market / Dinner Key: Panini sandwiches mine was an italian, Jim’s was roast beef, and Kaelin had a turkey. They were very large on a toasted italian or cuban type bread. We were starving so it made sense to eat there before getting groceries. The store had an immense selection of premade foods; like I’ve never seen before. You would think they would have an area inside to eat at, but no we had to go back outside under a canopy. The sandwiches were okay. Bread was hard for me to chew due to recent dental work. Kaeliat his inside out but thats what 3yr olds do. Jim liked his. The left overs werenot good the next day, became fish chum. Our rating 3 stars ***$$
Hobo’s Cafe / Key Largo: Again heading to get groceries. On the way I saw Hobos and suggested we eat. As it was already past lunch time and we had not had breakfast (very common on the boat) Jim was all for it. It was very crowded, nice waitresses, but honestly food was not good. Jim and I both had fish sandwiches. Thhe fish was grey and very strange tasting. It was also on toasted whole wheat bread which I find doesnt go well with fish. I love tarter sauce and theirs tasted weird. Jim said they probably make their own sauce to hide the taste of bad food. Kaelin had spaghetti (way too much for little guy!) Kaelins was
good but what he enjoyed more was a video of ocean life playing on the t.v. we give it a *** only because it was airconditioned and the video was cool.$$$
Roccos Dockside Bar and Grill / Boot Key Harbour Marathon: Jim treated us to this meal after
a tiring 5hr sail on rocky rolly waves. At first I was a little disappointed as it was outside but
it turned out to be my favorite so far. Jim had blackened fish on linguine. I had a taste of it
and was sorry I didnt order it. It was delicious. Kaelin was given a neat goody bag and juice box to go with his hot dog and fries. I had delicious fish and chips (fries). The fish was white, mild and lightly breaded. Excellent meal. To top it off I had 3 rum runners. They were more rum than runner but very refreshing and needless to say I was rather “happy”. I think Jim gets a kick out of seeing me tipsy. They also had a gentleman playing 70’s music on a guitar and singing. He was pretty good and Kaelin enjoyed bouncing his head to the tunes. ****$$$$
Hurricane / Marathon: this was a welcome relief from the rain. Very air conditioned. It had an awesome Lego display of Miami Beach that Kaelin looked at for a long time. The food was okay, better than Hobo’s but not as good as Docksides. Jim had a fish sandwich, Kaelin had pasta and I had an Oriental stir fry. Mine was not great. the rice was quick cook rice and that just goes against all I believe in. Jim said his was okay and Kaelin liked his. *** $$$
Cracked Conch Cafe / Marathon: This is an old favorite for Jim. He has been waiting for some time to revisit this place. I love it when Jim gets the “man” mode going and orders for us both. He ordered the Cracked Conch Cafe burger plate. I had never eaten this before so it was a new experience. The conch is beaten, breaded and fried then eaten on a bun like a burger. It had a decent flavor, didnt taste like fish. I did have trouble eating it as it is chewy and again my teeth arent being nice to me. For me it was good but not great. Jim loved it! Kaelin had a nice plate of pasta with butter and garlic and a side order of veges which Jim and I kept pilfering. We all shared a piece of keylime pie. It was good but not tart at all. Jim said the resteraunt has changed since he was there, more run down, less Keysey. **** the one waitress was cranky just like reviews on their website said. To funny. $$$
McConnells Irish Pub /Key West: after walking all over Duval Street , tired and sweaty Jim decided we would head back to this gem of a restraurant. We looked at the menu for awhile unsure what to order as everything looked good. Jim wanted the lamb kabobs but then he also wanted the corned beef and cabbage so I suggested we share the two that way he and I could try both. Both dishes were delicious, especially the corned beef and cabbage. i miss having cabbage and it was cooked perfectly, not cooked to mush. Kaelin had mini corn dogs if memory serves me. He also ate a lot of our veges. Jim had a Guinees then switched to a lighter beer. I started off with a rum runner (I’m comparing the different ones( and then at the suggestion of our waitress, Maria, had a Key West Sunset. Both drinks were the best I hsve had so far this trip. I really like the sunset drink, yummy. We of course also shared a slice of Key Lime pie. Our waitress was not Irish, but was very sweet and patient. This was by far our favorite and would recommend it to anyone looking for some wonderful Irish food. *****$$$$