Sheila and David come to visit

October 30, 2014

Roanoke, VA  USA

Happy Halloween…almost.

     Last weekend our friends Sheila and David came 4 hours from Ashland,VA for a too short overnight visit.  Randal and I have a tiny one bed/room apartment so they stayed with my sister Harriet.  Coincidentally, Phil and Marie, Jim’s ( my brother-in-law) brother and sister-in-law had visited on their drive from Maine to Florida leaving Saturday morning inspiring Randal to rename the house to “the Harriot.”  One of these years Randal and I will have a house with guest rooms and then we hope everyone comes to visit us!  Sheila, Harriet and I were all at U Mass together years ago so lots of annual catching up gets done.

     Of course we had to take a drive up to our land.  As it turned out the land played second fiddle to the two sweetest dogs that came for the walk with us.  Not sure who owns them but hopefully someone nearby so they can visit us when we finally do live there.


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A puff ball with legs and a tail.  They just loved us and we loved them right back.  It was all Sheila could do to keep David from taking this one home. 



Actually you would have to take both as they seemed like such pals!

The bigger dog was a bit standoffish at first but then was as friendly as the little fellow.  They looked well cared for but were so willing to come anywhere with us that I just don’t know.  The bigger dog had a collar but not a tag.  Makes my heart hurt thinking they might have no home.

Our next stop of the afternoon was the Parkway Brewery in Salem.

Sheila had come across a “what to do in Salem” brochure that mentioned the Parkway Brewing Co.  She and David are wine and beer aficionados so we stopped for a visit on the way back to my sister’s. 

clip_image006  established 2012 in Salem, VA 

The Brewing Company is actually located along The Hanging Rock Battlefield Trail greenway and we saw some bicycles in the parking area as well as cars. 

     “Opened in 1999, the Hanging Rock Battlefield Trail in Salem (just outside of Roanoke) is associated with Southern Virginia’s impressive Civil War history. The northern trailhead at Hanging Rock was the site of the 1864 Hunter’s Raid, in which General John McCausland’s Confederate forces won a substantial victory against the retreating Union army under the command of General David Hunter. The site is marked by a monument along State Route 311.

     Start at the Hanging Rock trailhead with the understanding that this is primarily a pleasant walk if you’re already in the neighborhood, and not necessarily a destination trail. Parking is plentiful, and you can hit the convenience store and gas station next door to stock up on provisions. On the trail, you can absorb the Roanoke Valley’s beautiful wooded scenery; the corridor winds along Mason Creek and Kessler Mill Road.

     After passing under Interstate 81, you will soon enter the township of Salem. The trail curves through a residential area, and houses flank the trail until you reach the southern trailhead at Timberview Road. If time permits on your return to the northern trailhead, take a quick jaunt on the short hiking trail at the Hanging Rock trailhead. It meanders along Peter’s Creek right up to I-81

.  The trail is 1.7 miles so you could walk back and forth and deserve a beer!



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On tap and in bottles :  take notice of the Factory Girl beer!

Searching the brewery’s web site found this interesting page.   The brewery has created a brew called Factory Girl to coincide with the book by Beth Macy  Factory Man soon to be a movie thanks to Tom Hanks. The book is about John Bassett III and “his fight to keep Vaughan-Bassett Furniture going – and made by American hands.” 

And excerpt in the Galax Gazette talks about the book and Tom Hanks.

     “Vaughan-Bassett is the largest wooden bedroom furniture maker in the U.S., with sales of more than $80 million and with about 700 employees.

     Is there a chance “Factory Man” will be shot on location in Galax? “That’ll be a decision that the production company makes,” said Doug Bassett. “But there’s no better place to play Galax than Galax. It’ll be nice if it’s able to play itself.”

     The full title of Beth Macy’s first book is “Factory Man: How One Furniture Maker Battled Offshoring, Stayed Local and Helped Save An American Town.”

     “It needs to be handled with sensitivity and respect, but in that regard you can’t do better than Tom Hanks,” said Doug Bassett. “We’re thrilled with who ended up with the story. What a wonderful place for it to land.”

     The book has spent its first seven weeks in publication on the New York Times nonfiction hardcover bestseller list. It received glowing reviews from a variety of sources, including The New York Times, Garden & Gun Magazine and Publishers Weekly.

     Macy is a former reporter for The Roanoke Times and won the J. Anthony Lukas Work-In-Progress Award at Columbia University Journalism School for “Factory Man” in 2013.”

Factory Girl brew

“Brewed in celebration of Beth Macy’s first book, “FACTORY MAN,” and as a nod to American workers everywhere, we are proud to present FACTORY GIRL Session IPA. This deliciously complex Session IPA is lighter in alcohol, but not in flavor – a tropical sweetness with a hoppy finish – its all-day drinkability will leave you wanting more! Perfect for Summer days by the water with a good book!”

Look for more in our BOOKS & BREWS Series!

     Coming this Fall: the revival of THE REMEDY Brown Ale, honoring the upcoming book by SW Virginia’s Martin Clark, “THE JEZEBEL REMEDY.”

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$5 entitled you to taste lots of beer!  Light to dark. 

I’m not a beer drinker so you can’t go by me.  But Sheila and David have studied up and preferred the two in the middle.   Randal liked the lightest beer.  I actually sort of liked the dark beer which tasted like coffee to me.  But a few sips were enough.


Sheila and David


More people arrived and as we left there was a band just setting up to play. 


Salad and pizza for dinner.

     Sheila volunteered to make the salad to go with our Pizza Hut pizza.  You can create them online and I concocted  one with a thin crust, no sauce, extra cheese, chicken and sausage and onions and mushrooms.  Yum!  Everyone else thought it was dry but I really liked it.  We ordered 3 different kinds size large so there was lots for the next day.  Once, years ago, Sheila’s friend Larry referred to Sheila and me as contenders for the Olympic Eating Team as we all scoffed down lots of Joe’s Pizza in North Hampton.  Sheila and I also finished off a Baked Alaska each at the end of a multi-course meal at the Miss Florence Diner.  But then I once finished two servings of U Mass enormous pancakes just before my Constitutional Law final.  It did the trick and I pulled up my grade two notches!

Randal’s sister refuses to have her photo taken and my sister isn’t so fond of it but one of these days I’ll do some family photos and force them.  For much of Saturday my brother-in-law Jim was off volunteering for Habitat for Humanity.  Three cheers for Jim!  He volunteers two days each week.  Har volunteers at a Medical Center.  I’m looking forward to some volunteer time when we’re home for good. 

Miss Florence Diner 

99 Main Street, Florence, 413-584-3137

      The diner’s Art Deco sign lends an Edward Hopper touch to this sleepy burg on the outskirts of Northampton, where generations of bleary-eyed Five College students have packed the Worcester Lunch Car No. 818 for homemade corned beef hash. It’s a glorious mound of brisket cooked low and slow, a staple dating from the 1940s. (Manager John Zantouliadis says that “Eddie the Butcher” — a neighbor related to the original owners, the Alexander family — slipped him the recipe.) True gluttons should request the Breakfast Club, stacks of homemade French toast layered with eggs, sausage, and bacon. “It’s not the easiest sandwich to put together,” Zantouliadis admits.

16 must-visit New England diners: Have you tried them all?

Housed in those fabulous prefab buildings of yesteryear, these restaurants greet their guests with good food, down-to-earth atmosphere, and friendly prices.  is what I think of as Joe’s Pizza