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…
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.
As often as I have heard about the Cape Fear River Trail, it wasn’t until this morning that I actually had a chance to check it out. I met a friend there and strapped my baby to my back, she strapped her toddler in a stroller, and we were good to go for a 4 mile trek. It was a strenuous walk for me, but thoroughly enjoyable with forested trails that wound over waterfalls and under train bridges. We spotted lizards and herons and other critters to the toddler’s delight.
I was pleasantly surprised by how well the trail was planned out. About a mile into our walk there were toilets and a mile further was a water station with coolers that supplied ice cold water. Benches were sprinkled along the trail and the path was wide enough to easily accommodate pedestrians and bikers. Although we did not make it to the end of the trail, my friend informed me that there is a nature center at the end near Clark Park. She said her toddler really enjoyed the animals and the educational displays. Just a heads up, the trail is not a loop; so, do take that into consideration when starting on the trail. The trail is 4 miles from end to end; so, you could easily end up walking a total of 8 miles from your car and back
It was so nice to escape from the city for a while. Honestly, it felt like we were in another world. So, if you need a peaceful break from the busyness of life, or just a good workout outside of the gym, Cape Fear River trail is worth checking out.
For more info,visit: www.fcpr.us/cape_fear_river_trail.aspx
Ever long for simpler times? Maybe just a chance to get away from city hustle and bustle? A trip to Gillis Hills Farm may be just what you are looking for. You can enjoy home-made ice cream from a comfy rocker on the front porch of the farm house or stroll about the grounds and step back in time as you peruse outbuildings and farm tools that have been used for centuries. You can watch as water flows over the giant wheel of the two-story saw mill, see the various livestock that live on the farm, or even have a picnic by the pond.
Just down the road is the Gillis Hill Road Produce, a pick-your-own produce farm, open from the beginning of strawberry season in April to the end of collard season in January. This produce stand sells a wide variety of fruits and veggies, jams and jellies, honey and apple cider. In October, they even offer a haunted house, a haunted corn maze, a corn maze for kids, and wagon rides!
“Competition of Elegance,” that is the meaning of the name behind the classic car show that is coming our way. This Friday, 50 unique classic cars will caravan from Pinehurst to Ft. Bragg where they will circle past the Iron Mike at Randolph and Ardennes to their final destination at the Polo Field. The cars will be on display from 1:30 to 3:00 and admission is free for soldiers and their families. Soldiers will have opportunity to vote for their favorite automobiles, the winner of which will receive the Soldier’s Choice Award. Also in attendance will be Miss North Carolina, The Golden Knights, and the 82nd Airborne Division’s All American Chorus (my especial favorite since my husband is one of the singers).