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A Sweet Treat


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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Sir Charles Inn


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.


Nestled in the hills of West Virginia is one of America’s best kept secrets — the city of Buckhannon. This quiet little town is home to one of only a few remaining Main Street districts in the nation and one of the best festivals. The West Virginia Strawberry Festival draws spectators from all over the country every year to the small town of Buckhannon, and it’s quickly approaching. This year the festival is set to happen between May 15 and 19th, and is sure to have something fun for everyone.

As is customary of the Strawberry festival, it will host a fireman’s parade, a carnival, a muscle car parade/show, a plethora of baking contests and stands, and the feature parade. This year the festival committee has added a few pre-festival items to its repertoire to enhance the experience. If you get into town on May 11th, you can get a horse-drawn carriage ride through town, and watch the carriage parade later that evening. After its huge success last year, I’m certain that it will draw another big following this time around, too.

Some of the events that will be happening every day during the Strawberry Festival include: Courthouse entertainment (Strawberry Idol, Opening Ceremonies, the Sweetest Berry Competiton and various musical performances); the carnival hosted by Gambill Entertainment; the quilt exhibit; the photo expo; the art exhibit; Concessions Alley (people come from miles around just to get their mitts on some Chapel Hill sugar cookies!) and various other contests. Speakin’ of Chapel Hill Methodist Church, on Thursday and Friday during the festivities they will be offering some homemade strawberry ice cream, shortcakes and, of course, their world-famous sugar cookies.

Whether it’s the sights, the smells, the sounds or the hospitality of the folks in town the Strawberry Festival will be an event well worth the trip. If you’re looking to experience all of the local charm that this town has to offer, then stroll on over to the ‘Great Finds’ page on this blog. There you will get some great info on a wonderful inn full of charm and flavor. Only being located a few blocks from the courthouse, I’m sure its vacancies will fill up fast for the week.

For more details and information on the Strawberry Festival, please click on the link below:

http://www.wvstrawberryfestival.com/

Fields of Gold


It has been a while since I last posted on here, and for that I must first apologize. I guess writing (among other things) can pull you in one too many directions. In this installment, I want to share a phenomenon that has remained close to me for a long time. Some folks talk of Memory Lane in the abstract sense. What if I were to tell you that mine existed? Not only that, but I can give you its physical location: Stephens Run Road just off of WV State Route 20 on the other side of a small hamlet called Craigmoore. My Gram’s old homestead was right across the street from Stephens Run, so I spend a lot of time out this way as a kid. So, walk along with me if you’d like. I’ll give you a little tour of one of the many hidden gems in the state that I call home.

When you first come upon Stephens Run Rd. it would appear very unassuming and ordinary. Don’t let this fool you, though. It’s merely a deterrent for those passersby that like to judge things by their covers. Once you cross over the one-lane bridge you will find yourself standing at the fork in the middle of a gravel road. To the right is Hasting’s Run, and to the left is our destination. A small barbed-wire fence stumbles off into the distance up the left hand side of this little worn path. The once mighty Elk Creek still gargles lazily past that over the left embankment. If you’re lucky you might run into a small group of folks still out atop the massive moss-covered boulders fishing in the creek. There were many days that I would come down this way to go fishing on that very spot. Still rather unassuming, but hang in there. We’re just getting into it.

You then follow the little worn road down past a couple of open properties before it winds down among a few of the holes at Belle Meadows Country Club. To our left is the green for hole number twelve as I recall. To our right is the tee box for the thirteenth — a par four with a mild dog leg to the right over a pond for you fellow players. I still have many fond memories of playing this course in school. It used to be our home course in competitions. Nothing beat the smell of the fresh-cut hay in the fields beyond thirteen, or the way the sunset lay on the pond’s wakes as you approached. As I alluded, next you come across a large open field. In the late spring and early fall the waves of golden weeds dance in the summer breezes creating a majestic scene. By now, the fresh air is filling your lungs and the sun has gone to hide behind one of the billowing cumulus clouds that now sails on its unending voyage across the deep blue skies.

As you round the next bend in the road, you’ll come upon a rare real estate find. It’s an old two-story home made entirely from stone with a small wine house just behind it. I would always stop here and pick an apple off of the trees in the side yard when they were in season. The woman who lives there was an old family friend, and on occasion, I would let their little shepard dog tag along with me on my walks. As you walk farther down Stephens Run, you will hear the bubbling of a small nearby brook to your right. Several elms and wild cherry trees call this stretch of the journey home. If I timed the walk just right I could pluck a handful of blackberries from the bushes that grew down this quarter-mile stretch of the road. Beyond this, you will come across an old two-story farm-house on your left. It’s old and worn, but the white paint is applied every year. There’s an old tall windmill that lazily spins in its yard. The old fella that owns the place will likely toss you a wave as you wander past his piece of Heaven.

Once you make your way over the small hill in the distance, you’ll come down the other side into what is my favorite part of this whole experience. I often used to gather inspiration from just the sight of this wonderous settlement. The road opens up wide on either side into huge meadows of golden grass. Several head of cattle lumber along the banks of the brook that has still tagged along with you to this point. There is a long row of mighty oaks that march off into the distance on the right. What tales could they tell if they could talk? Beyond these guardians of the glade stands a large hill with a lone tree adorning its crown. What I would give to be able to set in its branches and just stare off across the rolling hills that surrounded this place. As you come to the end of Stephens Run Road, you will notice a bee farm on your right and an old two-level barn on your left. The smell of the open farm might overwhelm you if you’re not used to it here. The view of raw beauty that lies here is well worth the small sacrifice. I always wanted to buy a couple of jars of the fresh honey, but I could never catch the owner when his hives were flowing. Then, you’d get to turn around and repeat the process to walk back. It’s an eight mile trek roundtrip, but it was always just right for gathering thoughts and getting some fresh air.

So, that’s my Memory Lane. I don’t know if anyone else out there relates to this or not. I feel a bit odd having a real embodiment of this concept. Do you have someplace like this, too? Feel free to share.


A Day In The Life

If you enjoyed the science fiction noir motif of ‘Blade Runner’ then my latest work will be right up your alley:

They are a well-oiled killing machine given the legal authority by their government to assassinate US criminals. The agents’ targets are clueless as to who they are, when they’re coming, or where these assassins will ultimately take their lives. Conspiracy theorists speculate on their existence. The local authorities turn a blind eye to their aftermath. That’s exactly how the Hunter Cell wants it to be.
 
Now the threads of the Cell’s perfect system are unraveling. A simple embezzlement contract in the Pacific Northwest turns into a nationwide manhunt. Faceless vigilantes are interfering with it and other contracts across the board. A segment of the nation’s citizens will no longer stand for the wool being pulled over their eyes. Hunter Cell agents’ identities are being leaked into the mainstream…

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Being a dad of three wonderful children myself, I feel that it is my duty — nay, obligation — to share some of the most closely guarded secrets to our Ancient Order of Dad. These little-known truths have been entrusted to dads all around the world for generations. If you are a new dad, or are soon to be one then save this post. Stick it in a secure location for future reference because it just might save your hide.

1. Intentionally screw up the household chores. Put the dishes in the washer upside down. Fold the clothes inside out. Eventually, she’ll get pissed and do them all herself.

2. Do not screw up taking out the trash. It will likely be one of your few escapes from the house.

3. When your baby goes to DEFCON 2 (poops – and not if, but when), the first couple of times are cute. That wears off somewhere around day three. At the first sign of a DEFCON 2 emergency make yourself busy. I personally tend to randomly pick up a screwdriver and do something. I’ve been know to be ‘screwing in the power socket’ for no known reason, or gassing up the mower to mow grass in the middle of February.

4. They’re never too young to try a nip of beer. Especially if they won’t go to sleep. Ok, I’m just kidding on this one, or am I?

5. Once they start crawling, your baby will get into everything… and I mean EVERYTHING! Now would be a fantastic time to strategically redeploy your porn collection.

6. If you don’t have an old radio set then now would be a great time to invest in one. Your Sunday football will soon be replaced (if it hasn’t already) by the Wiggles reruns, and that Fat Purple Nightmare that isn’t your Aunt Edna’s ass.

7. If you’re not using them by now, two little words will save you more grief than any others… ‘yes, dear’.

8. If your wife is still pregnant, you will (at some point in the next several months) find yourself half-awake at 3AM baking brownies for reasons beyond your wary mind’s comprehension. Just go with it. You’ll thank us later.

9. When your child is first-born, never turn to your wife and say, ‘congratulations, hon. It’s a lizard.’ I still have the scar from that one.

10. There’s no law out there saying that you can’t customize your baby’s stroller so that you can maintain some semblance of manhood in public… flames on the sides, fog lights, fuzzy dice, an 8-ball hood ornament or two…

You now have been indoctrinated into the Order. You must vow to guard these sacred laws of wisdom with your lives. You mustn’t divulge them no matter how yummy that cake looks. Welcome to the Ancient Order of Dad. Go forth, and procrastinate, my brother.

 

 

New Weekly Feature Page


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