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!
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.
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.
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
Before we moved to North Carolina, my husband and I had no idea that we really liked wine or beer. Back in Texas most of our wines are dry reds or whites with a sharp, almost sour aftertaste… not to ever knock Texas, that would be a sin. When we ventured to take a wine tasting in the little town of Cameron we learned, to our delight, that North Carolina offers some very smooth, very sweet, Muscadine wines. Thus began our education. Why not try beer too? Why not try Mead?
For a lot of information on booze in one place, we found Bob and Sheree’s Beer and Wine Shoppe. At first I thought we were stepping into just another liquor store or class six, boy was I wrong about that! Not only was I shocked by the variety, but next to each wine or beer was a hand-written index card rife with information about flavor, grapes, possible pairings, and location of vintage. The staff is extremely knowledgeable and could help us find beers to our liking, even though we didn’t know what sort of beer we liked. They also offer free wine tastings!
I must admit that Bob and Sheree’s is on the pricey side, but considering most of their drinks are hard to find in good ole’ Fayetteville, I would say that it is worth the expense. They often hold our favorite Duplin wine, which is really hard to find, called Mothervine. We snatch that bottle up any time we happen to see it. Also for the beer snobs out there, this is one of the few places in town to find a ‘decent’ beer.
Next door to Bob and Sheree’s is a pub called “The Office” (to my husband’s nerdy delight). We haven’t checked it out yet, but they serve a lot of the same beers offered in the shop.