June 4th, 2015 , 1:30

Well, we did more today than I thought we’d be doing! After going and wishing the birthday person a very happy 100th birthday (and she was looking spry for 100) we headed out toward Lexington and Four Roses brewery. Joe picked it because the buildings looked interesting and because we were told the whiskey was much better now. My idea of Four Roses bourbon was a nasty harsh cheap rotgut. But we were assured that they had started brewing much better bourbon and we should give it a try. So off we went. Got there a bit after the noon tour started, but they let us join that tour. It was very interesting. We got history, how the bourbon is made, and then a walk around the grounds and then into the distillery. Got to see and taste the mash and then a tasting session at the end. And everyone was correct, the bourbon is much much nicer now and the single barrel is lovely. Hope we can get it at home!

We then had lunch and pottered back to Richmond. Another visit for the birthday and photos, then off for dinner at Hangers. We made the mistake of getting a starter as well as our main course and we finally managed to leave very very full! Now just relaxing before shopping and maybe another distillery tour tomorrow.

Frog Blog


June 3rd, 2015 , 14:54

So, long update ahead!

On Sunday got together for breakfast with family – large amount of food at Cracker Barrel (this is a tradition with Joe, must have at least one Cracker Barrel breakfast in Kentucky). Then we got on the road. I64 to Blue Ridge Parkway. Got to Peaks of Otter Lodge with no problems – really lovely area and nice lodge. Met up with friend and had a lovely dinner. The restaurant at the lodge is very good. And then lots of sitting looking at the lake chatting over a drink. Cause every room has a view over the lake from a back porch.

So to Monday. Our friend was up early and saying he saw an otter crunching a fish. I missed the otter. And the turtle. But saw a turtle floating in the lake. So into breakfast. Which was very nice (did I recommend the restaurant at the lodge yet?) But friend had the Sharp Peak breakfast. So that meant we had to go up to Sharp Peak. So after a bit of doing bits and pieces that is what we did. Well, Joe and friend went to the peak (friend would probably like me to mention that he did that with a 15 month old child on his back, thank you very much, while I wussed out about half way and just watched the birds and butterflies).  There is a black bear in the area with two cubs, but obviously there were enough people around talking that the bear decided the area was best vacated. So no bear spotting, though I did hear something moving in the underbrush. Probably a bird. Oh and we did a fawn on the way up!

As I was sitting on a rock watching things, I noticed a huge storm moving our way and could hear the thunder rumbling. One group passed me and stopped to say that Joe and co had just reached the top as they were heading down, so I knew where they were. Then another stopped and said they were hanging out in the hut in the top. I had a look at the storm, listening to the thunder, and decided I’d rather be off the mountain than wait! So headed down. Got most of the way when the rain started and it really opened up when I could see the shelter at the bottom – stupid rain! But I didn’t get too wet. However, Joe and friend did! They got caught about .1 mile from the bottom (they were next to the sign when the downpour started, handy). So they were about 15 minutes behind me.

Joe is working on the photos for flickr!

So sat in the shelter and watched the downpour and when it eased up we headed for the country store and ranger station. The power had been knocked out so the store couldn’t sell anything (and a note that they do not have beer or wine! Or booze). So back to the room round the lake (so we did manage a full circuit of the lake) to dry off and warm up a bit. Friend picked up a bottle of pinot and we sat and watch the lake and the storms moving through – Sharp Peak was shrouded in cloud. But that all blew over and we had a lovely evening.

Back to the restaurant for dinner – three fried chicken. That’s a wait of about 20 minutes while they cook the chicken. But we were stymied because without power they couldn’t fry anything. So we dithered – friend was in the rec room playing with child, so Joe was going back and forth. Steak. Yeah, we could do steak. So back up and as Joe got to me the power came back up. So it was fried chicken after all! And boy was it worth it. Lovey light coating and crunchy and very very good. And way too much for someone who only went about half way up the mountain. Have I recommended the restaurant? Because it is excellent.

We all ended up early in bed which meant on Tuesday morning I was wide awake at 5am. So I dragged on some clothes and my boots and headed outside. Still dark, very dark as there was lots of cloud cover. I listened to everything waking up and then saw the sky go all pink, but that was in the west between the two peaks. So I knew it wasn’t the sun. Stood and watched as a full moon (or near as) appeared through the clouds between the peaks, it was lovely with the mist coming up off the lake. Behind me the sun started to come up over the lodge and the birds became more active. As it got lighter the frogs started jumping in to the lake, so you’d get the deep croak of a bullfrog then plop. And then, as I was getting cold and ready to go back in, I saw a wake. Kept watching and sure enough a little head peeked up, then the otter dove into the reeds. Eventually reappeared a bit further off with a fish. So I got to see the otter after all!

After breakfast we all packed up and headed off – friend back to DC and us down the parkway. We drove and looked at fog off overlooks – it was a wet day. Saw several deer, cardinals, large raptors, lots of little brown birds, and some big ones! But not enough to id anything (besides someone forgot the bird book!) We drove south as far as Mabry Mill before turning off and headed back toward Kentucky. We took 58 W just about the entire way and a warning – once you get along that highway, about the time you’re thinking of maybe finding a place for dinner and a stop, there is nothing. Not a thing. Well, there was a park and ride, but we never did figure out where you’d ride to. Because there was nothing until Kentucky (and seriously, you go over the border and there are tons of places!) and by that time we were close enough to our destination that, aside from a brief “hmmm, should we stay in London?”, we just headed on here. So here we are.

Not much more to update after this. The rest is family visit and shopping!

Frog Blog