These last few months I have become more conscientious of the need for good stewardship in the treatment of our livestock and the quality of the meats we consume. My quest for traditionally raised meats did not take me far from home. Noble Meats is just down the street at the intersection of Manchester and Lillington in Spring Lake. Not only have I found them to be great butchers, but they also sell some outstanding barbeque!
Before I adopted Noble Meats as my family butcher, I had no idea what I was missing! There is something special about having somebody who knows me, who knows exactly where their meat is from, and can cut my meat just the way I request it. There is a kind of sense of community.
Whether you are concerned about the quality of meat you feed your family or you would just like to be able to know your butcher by name, Noble Meats is well worth a try!
Going antique shopping is like going on a treasure hunt, you never know what you are going to find but when you pair a great antique with a great deal, you feel like you have won. One of my favorite places to go for antiques is a quaint little town north of Ft. Bragg called Cameron.
Lining the main street are charming old shops stocked to the brim with treasures. Wine tastings are offered at McPherson’s Store (this is where my husband and I discovered North Carolina wines for the first time) and Old Hardware Antiques boasts the Dewberry Deli in its basement, where shoppers often stop for lunch.
Cameron is a fun town at any time of year, but my absolute favorite time to go is during the “Cameron Antique Street Fair.” Vendors pack the streets, alleys, and fields throughout town. Last year we arrived at 9am and stayed til 5pm and STILL didn’t get to see everything. By the end of the day, the Radio Flyer wagon we had brought for my son, Jeremy, to ride in was filled to teetering and eventually Jeremy got kicked out and had to ride in the Ergo. We got so many good buys, my favorite being a set of Pyrex bowls I’d had my eye on for several weeks. I told my husband the specs on the Pyrex I was looking for: Eggshell blue, Cinderella bowls with Amish print, set of four. He told me there was no way we would find exactly what I wanted and truly by the end of the day I was beginning to believe him. We were down to the very last booth of the evening, when lo-and-behold, there they were! A little bit of haggling and we had them for compatible price. I had won!
This year the fair is on May 7th; so, mark your calendars, this is an event you don’t want to miss!
It’s almost that time of year again! Strawberry season is just around the corner, and here in Fayetteville that means it’s time to pull out the straw hats and the sunscreen and go pick your own. It’s much cheaper to get your strawberries and blueberries this way and more fun too!
Last year we picked about eleven pounds of strawberries and made tons of strawberry jelly and strawberry rhubarb pie. In fact, we only just ran out of last year’s jelly one month ago… not too shabby! There are a ton of farms around here to pick your fruit; last year we went to Gross Farms. My son was just a year old at the time and I spent most of my time trying to keep him from making his own strawberry jelly in his clenched little fists. Now that he’s two and has better motor skills, I am really looking forward to going strawberry picking again.
Strawberries aren’t the only popular crop around here either, blueberries are the other major fruit crop. We didn’t get to pick blueberries last year, but I am hopeful we can try it this time around. These are just a few strawberry and blueberry farms in the local area:
I’ve got to say, of all the date nights with my husband, most of my favorites involve going to plays and musicals. There is something spectacular about the experience of the theatre: the flashing lights of the marquee, the bustle of excited patrons, and of course the play. Every place we have ever lived, one of the first things we look up is the local playhouse; here in Fayetteville that happens to be Cape Fear Regional Theatre.
For my husband’s birthday last year, I thought I would surprise him and take him to see “Man of La Mancha.” Before coming to see this play, the most I knew about Don Quixote was what I had watched on Wishbone as a kid… something about a knight and windmills, right? Turns out there is much much more. One scene actually had me crying pretty heartily (although I was 9 months pregnant at the time, so that might have had something to do with it).
My most recent excursion to Cape Fear Regional Theatre was for the opening night of “The Wiz.” The house was packed and the mood was light. I went with my church group and were rolling at the antics of Scarecrow, Tin Man, and Lion. The music was superb and I couldn’t get the song “Ease on Down the Road” out of my head for a week.
Now I am anxiously awaiting the upcoming production of one of my favorite stories, “Arsenic and Old Lace.” This riveting farce keeps you on the edge of your seat. Now to find a babysitter…
Can I just say, “Yum!” This brand new restaurant, near downtown Fayetteville, came to my attention when one of my girlfriends suggested we meet there for lunch. We got there slightly before they opened and already the place was buzzing. Open just for the lunch crowd, Fayetteville Pie Co. serves both sweet and savory pies for a sweet price of $12 for one of each.
The menu is always changing as this new company is constantly trying fresh recipes and testing which ones are the favorites. I tried a delicious pulled pork and sweet potato pie and a s’mores pie and was blown away. The pulled pork and sweet potato was a robust medly of flavors that kept me coming back for more. Each bite of s’mores pie was full and creamy, the sort of flavor you just let sit on your tongue for a while to let it all sink in. My only regret was that I ordered two very rich pies. My friend tried a chicken cordon bleu pie which was astounding and I may have gotten a little bit of order envy.
I give Fayetteville Pie Co. a thumbs up and can’t wait to come back with the husband!
It is supposed to rain all week next week and since I am alone with the kiddos for a couple of weeks I HAD to get them out of the house while I could. I have been been meaning to go to the Aloha Zoo for a long time and my neighbor has been singing it’s praises; so finally today we went!
Firstly, let me say, don’t go into it expecting a typical zoo experience. Aloha Zoo is more of an animal sanctuary and rescue facility than an actual zoo and is almost completely run by volunteers. Almost all the animals residing there have been rescued from unfortunate circumstances: a giraffe who had been kept in a garage until his growth was stunted, a pig who had been left in an undersized collar until the collar grafted into it’s skin, and several tigers and a bear saved from euthanasia and malnutrition, to name a few.
The basic cost of admission is $8 per person, but there are many ways to add to your zoo experience. I strongly recommend taking the “safari” for an added cost of $3. On the safari you can see animals such as camels, zebras, bison, and antelope and bread is provided to feed the animals. A tour guide accompanies you on the safari and can provide a lot of information on the animals as a species as well as their individual rescue stories. My son had a blast throwing bread and watching all the animals run alongside the trailer. When you purchase admission you have the option to buy food for the animals that aren’t on the safari (not including the giraffe, who eats carrots from your hand for an additional $1). There are a ton of goats and pigs and peacocks that you can feed, but personally I don’t think it’s worth the additional $3. If you were to opt out of the safari the extra food might be worth it.
I first discovered Betsy’s Crepes a year ago this summer, when my girlfriends and I met in Southern Pines to take advantage of the farmer’s market. We stopped at Betsy’s Crepes for brunch and, oh my goodness, their crepes are delicious! With choices of sweet crepes, such as Le Sweet Gabby (Brie cheese, brown sugar, strawberries & honey) or savory crepes, such as the Soprano (Sausage, ham, bacon, onions, green peppers, mushrooms, mozzarella & garlic cream sauce), it was impossible to decide what to order. I finally settled down with a steaming cup of coffee and a Marie Antoinette (strawberries and Nutella).
Besides the charm of Betsy’s Crepes, it is worth making the excursion away from Ft. Bragg simply to bask in the culture of Southern Pines. The combination of this cozy cafe, along with the draw of the various shops and boutiques that line Broad Street is certainly worth the drive.
For more info, visit: www.betsyscrepes.com
A relevant resource for getting around in your military community