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Archive for the ‘Great Finds’ Category


With summer in America, baseball is sure to follow. Any more, the major leagues get the limelight and dominate the coverage in nearly every market. To a point, they should. It is important to remember, though, that the other tiers of the sport are just as important, if not more so to the future and growth of baseball. All of the great young draftees and trades get the first shot at any given position, but where do the pros turn when their starters are forced onto the DL list? You’ve got it — Minor League Baseball. This is a level of a great sport that fields a team in just about every major city in the U.S. It’s easier to access, the prices are more affordable and sadly — they’re practically forgotten in today’s bustling societies. You can spend upward of fifty dollars for you and a date to go to a Major League game, and that’s just for the seats. Once you throw in some snacks and souvenirs, the damage to your pocket book is likely to top $100 in a hurry. If you’re attempting to take a family of four out for a day at the old ballpark, it will be five times as much money.

For a fraction of that same level of family funds you could take our family or date out to a local Minor League ballgame and enjoy the sport on more of a pure level. It can be argued that juicing and illegal enhancers will find their way into any level of any sport, but the majority of the players on the Minor League rosters and those of the Class-D farm teams in particular are playing for the love of the game. There are scores of teams to choose from and follow these days, and with the improvements in modern technology you can have your teams at your fingertips.

This is merely an example of what I am referring to: I follow the Martinsburg Bluesox in the Class-D semi-pro Blue Ridge League. You can go to any of their home games for free. Yup, absolutely free. In Class Single-A, I follow the WV Power. Again, you could go to one of their home games with drinks, hats, and snacks included for under $30. In Class Double-A, I’m a fan of the Tennessee Smokies. Their tickets are $8 for adults, and $6.50 for kids. Their gift shop prices are a little steeper, but a day at their park for a family of four would still be well under $50. If you plan your trip right, you can stay at the Hilton Inn and Suites on the hill behind the park. Then you can walk out to the front hill on any home game night and watch the game for free. The last tip that you can use to follow the majority of these teams is to download a free app to your device or phone called ‘Tune-In Radio’. From there, you can search up your favorite team, and then listen to their radio stream live on game nights. Tonight, for example, the Smokies try to even their series with the Huntsville Stars at 7:46 PM. The bottom line, our favorite pastime doesn’t have to drain your bank account , nor is it limited to the big boys under the bright lights.

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Queen City Creamery. Courtesy of Queen City Creamery.

Queen City Creamery. Courtesy of Queen City Creamery.

 

 

Nestled in the Appalachians in the city of Cumberland, MD is one of the region’s hidden gems: the Queen City Creamery. Located at 108 Harrison Street, this little restaurant offers quite a big surprise. This establishment makes chocolate, vanilla and strawberry custards from scratch every day. This is why you’ll only find the big three flavors at Queen City. Not to say that their custards are out of this world, but they won blue ribbons for both their chocolate and vanilla custards  at the National Ice Cream Retailers Association convention this year. Yeah, they’re REAL good.

Their menu offers everything from sundaes to floats and milkshakes. If you’re watching your waistline you can opt to indulge in one of Queen City’s many fruit smoothies. Aside from their well-known frozen treats, Queen City Creamery also has a nice menu for both breakfast and lunch. They offer an assortment of eggs, French toast, sausages and coffees. For lunch the restaurant serves up pitas, wraps and an array of sandwiches, soups and  salads. Take a blast to the past with their old fashioned 1940s styled soda fountain atmosphere. It’s a short hop off of I-68, and is a stop well worth it.

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courtesey of William Brandon. All rights reserved.

courtesey of William Brandon. All rights reserved.

This time around, we’ll take a look at a hidden gem nestled in the small town of Buckhannon, WV.

courtesey of William Brandon. All rights reserved.
The Sir Charles Inn is an elegant Bed and Breakfast located at 85 West Main Street. The Inn was once a regal Victorian era home, and has since been refurbished into a business. The Sir Charles offers three palatial guest room, a huge continental breakfast, fine dining and a large wrap-around porch for that morning cup of coffee or evening tea.

The Inn is located in one of the best small towns in America. Buckhannon, WV is one of the few small towns left that have a functioning Main Street district. With the annual Strawberry festival quickly approaching, their rooms will book quickly. The Inn can be reached by phone at (304) 472-1415.

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