On the Road: WV, VA, NC

Posted by: on Feb 28, 2013 | 4 Comments

WV RoadtripI’ve spent the last two weekends away from home, which means I’ve done a good amount of eating at restaurants lately. President’s Day weekend my husband and I used a bed and breakfast gift certificate my friends gave us for our wedding to go skiing at Snowshoe in West Virginia. And last weekend I went first to Norfolk to see Grace Potter and the Nocturnals at the Norva and then to Raleigh, NC to visit with my girlfriends.

Snowshoe was a lot of fun, but I have never been downhill skiing before. We left the Shore on Friday, driving through Williamsburg at lunch to pick up ski equipment from my in-laws and Cheese Shop sandwiches. The Cheese Shop is a Williamsburg staple. They specialize in rather simple but delicious sandwiches. First they make their bread in house. Second they use really high quality and fancy ingredients. Instead of lettuce and tomato they offer watercress and sun dried tomatoes. You can also get Route 11 potato chips. The Cheese Shop is always packed. You have to sneak through the crowd to get chips and a drink, running into others as they make for the counter or wait for their name to be called. We usually call our order in. And in the summer you can pick it up at the outside window, which beats bumping everyone’s knees and elbows.

Snowshoe

Snowshoe Village

Once we had our sandwiches, we headed off toward the mountains. From Williamsburg it’s a 4.5 hour drive through the Shenandoah area of Virginia and into the Appalachian mountains. Once past Staunton, Virginia the road becomes windy and progressively steeper passing fields of cows and horses, even the occasional pig. As we headed for the mountains, the sky grew cloudy and heavy grey. In the mountains it began to snow a little and by the time we reached Snowshoe Mountain Resort it was snowing in earnest. We checked into our bed and breakfast, Serenity Now (complete with a season of Seinfeld on DVD in our room). We had to pick up skis and the B&B host suggested we eat at a place called The Fiddlehead down the mountain and near the cheaper ski rental.

Fiddlehead

Cantina Burger at the Fiddlehead

We ordered a local beer from Mountain State Brewing Company and the nachos to start. The nachos were okay. They didn’t come close to the ones we had in New Mexico, which may be the best nachos I’ve ever had. The cheese on the nachos was a saucy nacho cheese, the kind that never hardens. I’m not a huge fan of that kind of cheese. It was not the bright yellow Velveeta type. It was white and had peppers in it but it didn’t have a lot of flavor. The cheese could have been forgiven but the toppings were slim. It had black beans and tomatoes but not many of either. My husband ordered the mahi mahi fish tacos. And I had their Cantina Burger, a black bean burger with roasted peppers, tomatoes, avocado, and the same cheese. This burger was delicious.  Maybe it was the roasted pepper that made it so good. It was a little hard to eat because the black bean burger was made in house, meaning it squished a little when I bit into it and tried to escape the bun.

What real snow bunnies look like

What real snow bunnies look like

Saturday morning was our first day of skiing and my first day ever. I fortunately signed up for a ski lesson. They have adult beginner lessons on the bunny slopes. So, you have a bunch of adults with no clue what they are doing and a slew of 4 year olds scooting around fearless. I think the 4 year olds had more skills than most of the adults. But I made it through my lesson without falling and learned all the basic moves. Unfortunately, we didn’t get to practice going down some of the steeper parts of the bunny slope. After eating a quick lunch at the B&B, my husband and I headed back to the slopes. He was going to help me down some of the easy slopes. And although I did eventually make it painfully and painstakingly down an easy slope, I chickened out on the first run. I was too scared to hurtle myself down the hill without more bunny slope practice. When I finally did head down the easiest trail with him, I was feeling much more confidant. The first section of the slope went pretty well. I managed to follow his lead and not fall too often. Then things got dicey. The slope got steeper and they threw in a few steep curves to the trail. I started falling every other time I tried to make a turn. On the first particularly steep curve I managed to get myself facing backwards. I couldn’t turn around or stop myself so I slid uncontrollably down the hill, falling on my face, and then slipping off the trail. I am fortunately pretty good at getting back on my feet when I fall. But once on my feet in the ditch, I struggled to get out. My husband tried to help me stabilize with his ski pole.  I eventually had to remove one ski to get back on the slope.

I was so happy and relieved to finally make it to the lift. My body hurt, my shins and my ego were bruised, and I was looking forward to sitting and looking at the snowy trees from above. We loaded onto the lift and enjoyed a quiet and cold ride to the top. I leaned my head against my husband’s shoulder and took a few deep breaths. I’d been on a lift a few times that morning, so as the top approached, I sat up and got my skis facing straight ahead of me, slightly lifted. I was ready to hop off, get out of the boots, and head back to the B&B. My skis hit the top of the dismount but before I could get off the lift, I found myself a few feet in the air. Unfortunately, I was already in the process of getting off and quickly found myself on my back in the hard packed snow. My tailbone took most of the impact (it’s still bruised). My husband also missed the dismount and they stopped the lift. I scrambled out of the way into the on-looking crowd. However, as we regrouped from our fall, we watched at least 3 other people do the exact same thing, which made me feel a little better.

snowshoe cantina

Dinner at Sunset Cantina

Snowshoe has a handful of restaurants on top of the mountain. We of course went for the Mexican place, Sunset Cantina, where we found margaritas and a friendly face: An old friend of my husband’s was our surprise waiter! We had their jalapeno margarita, guacamole, and ordered vegetarian fajitas (even though they weren’t listed on the menu). We enjoyed it so much we had dinner there both nights. While the food was very good, it came nowhere close to eating at Luna Maya in Norfolk last Thursday. My friends, my friend’s parents, and I went to dinner before going to see Grace Potter and the Nocturnals. Luna Maya has amazing margatinis with chipotle salt and their menu is extremely vegetarian and vegan friendly. They have a rather large space but it was packed when we got there. We ended up eating at one of their bar tables, a high table with stools that allowed us to still sit around the table and across from one another instead of just in a line down the bar. I ordered enchiladas stuffed with potatoes, poblanos, and onions. The enchiladas come with a red sauce, rice, and beans. I ordered them spicy. I think they are the best vegetarian enchiladas I’ve had at a restaurant. It’s refreshing to have enchiladas that aren’t filled with refried beans and cheese.

busybee

The Busy Bee

After spending the night in Norfolk, my friends and I headed to Raleigh for the weekend. Raleigh and Durham actually have really great food culture. There are lots of great restaurants, markets, and food trucks. I have a lot more experience with the Durham options since my friend used to live there. But now that she’s moved to Raleigh, we have been exploring the places within walking distance of her house when I visit. This time we went to the Busy Bee, which I think I’ve now been to 3 times. The Busy Bee is on the first floor of an old brick building in downtown. The inside has exposed brick walls. The bar runs down the left side of the room and tables run on the right. There are thick wooden slabs mounted on the wall behind the bar to hold the liquor. Every waiter in The Bee had beards or mustaches. The Bee has a huge list of beers bottled, on tap, and local. I ordered salad and soup. The weather was grey, rainy, and cold. The soup was a creamy tomato. It had a slightly spicy flavor and just enough cream. It wasn’t heavy but it was warm and filling enough to complement my salad. The salad was apples, cranberries, and walnuts over greens. The sweet apples complimented the soup well. And every now and then I got a bite of spicy arugula.

Despite all the very good food this past weekend, I was relieved to come home to my husband preparing giant pots of vegetable pho broth. No restaurant, no matter how fancy, can top home cooked soup with love.

4 Comments

  1. Grandma
    March 1, 2013

    What a lovely trip! And terrific food pictures. If you like beans, I have some great (cheap!) recipes for you. I’ll send them along.
    Stay warm,
    Love, Grandma

    Reply
    • Hali
      March 7, 2013

      Yes, send them my way! Love you, Grandma!

      Reply
  2. Betsy
    March 2, 2013

    Hi Hali!
    I must say you were very brave to try the main trails without any real bunny slope practice! I am glad you are not too injured! I have not been skiing since I was a teen… but my first bunny slope runs were the stuff of legend (well… Family legend!) I was only five!
    You have become so adventuresome with food! All I have to contend with are the innovations we are fed at Putney…. often too far off the “simple” form I prefer! I love home cooking best… just wish I had a “cook” at home!!!
    I Love you!
    Auntie Betsy

    Reply
  3. Hali
    September 22, 2014

    I do not use Twitter. I’m glad you are enjoying the blog!

    Reply

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