Monday, April 14, 2014

Welcome to the Wettest County in the World

If you know me at all, you are aware how much I love the mountains.  And not just any ole mountains, The Appalachian (here is how to say it properly) Mountains.  Growing up 25 minutes from the parkway instilled a love and respect for these beauties that I can't even begin to describe, so I wont attempt.  Either way, I had only seen MY side of the mountains, and when I found that I had a free weekend last week, I set to planning my Virginian adventure.  Now, I love planning and thinking and mapping, but I wanted to go somewhere off the beaten trail, somewhere small but rich in culture.  And through my research on Historical VA, I found exactly what I needed: Franklin County, VA.  Haven't heard of it?  I'm not surprised.  Have heard of it? I bet it has to do with moonshine!  Of the people who know about Franklin, most know it from the movie "Lawless" (with Shia-LaBeouf and Tom Hardy!) that is based on a book, "The Wettest County in the World" (I'm reading it now!).
     When I told Mom and Dad about this, Mom called dibs on being my co-pilot and Daddy surprised us by getting us a room at a Bed and Breakfast, the AMAZING Claiborne House in Rocky Mount, the county seat of Franklin.  The Leete's are literally the best innkeepers you could imagine!  My mom and I were so impressed at the warmth of their B&B and the hospitality the entire family has!  (See my entire separate post on the B&B HERE)
I'm a sucker for a big front porch...

When we arrived, we realized we had left the house before breakfast and drove straight through lunch!  The innkeepers suggested El Rio, an AMAZING Mexican restaurant on the corner above our B&B.  I don't usually love Mexican food, but it was DELICIOUS!
this spread was a meal for of course we split it!
Afterwards, we explored a little in town, and found the nicest people at Renick's Antiques, who told us about things we needed to do in the area, and really gave us a taste of the small town hospitality we are so blessed with.  
When we finished at Renick's, we headed down Booker T Washington Highway to find the heaven of all creameries:  The Homestead Creamery!  As you can see, we had HUGE ice cream cones (no preservatives!), bought some cream and lemonade (that was smooth and perfect), and played with the animals they had!  After that, we went back to the room and relaxed, snacking on pralines and cream cheese bars mom had made for the trip and left overs from El Rio.  We watched Lawless on my laptop, and went to sleep in the most comfortable sheets in the world!

Saturday, we woke up and had an amazing breakfast at the B&B, and Shellie made a post about our trip on their Funky Blog!  Mom and I drove up to Roanoke and visited one of her favorite places on TV, Black Dog Salvage.  And....WE GOT TO MEET MIKE!  Mom and I both were freaking out!  He walked up to us and asked us how we of course we got a picture with him!!
After that, we went to the Texas Tavern and had their chili and Cheesy Western!  It has been in Roanoke since 1930, and is open all night!  We got tons of pictures and a t-shirt for a souvenir!
The waiter talked us into going to the Roanoke Star!  It's the tallest man-made free standing star in the world!

When we were done there, we ran back to Renick's to pick up something mom had decided she had to have (and that I loved too!) and went...right back to the creamery.  It was so good we had to get it twice!  After that, we visited the Booker T Washington Memorial, which we barely got to before it closed!

We went back to the inn then, and I picked up some delicious wings and pizza from Franks.  We turned in from the night after an exciting day, and packed up to leave the next day.

Sunday, we got up, had breakfast, and before we could check out and go to church, Daddy surprised us by getting us another night at the Inn!  We had some car trouble on mainstreet that caused us to miss the morning service, but we picked up some lunch and took some pictures around the inn.  

When 2:45 rolled around, we grabbed our tickets and boarded the bus to go on the Moonshine Express! put on by the Franklin County Historical Society.  They had "likker" stills, banjo pickers, and merchandise for sale before boarding, and they took us across town, showing different historical homes and having volunteer actors boarding the bus, telling parts of the story!  I felt like it was a personal view of this very historically based town, and I felt like I was taken back in time!  Tour only runs twice a year, so definitely check out the events page on their site!

Me and Tim Smith!
The tour lasted over an hour, and we got t-shirts and a guidebook (and a copy of "The Wettest County in the World" for me ;D) and went back to get ready for church.  
We visited the Rocky Mount Church of Christ Sunday night, and it was like being welcomed in to the family.  The sermon was amazing, the people were kind, and we really felt at home.
Surprisingly, we found the BEST Italian restaurant in Rocky Mount, still open when we got back from church.  Hema's was just below our B&B, so we settled in an were AMAZED at the prices, and the quality of the food.
Mom got the special (not pictured), I got a "Chicken Loca" and we split some cheese bread and a dessert.  I was SO impressed, I would say you should definitely not drive past the restaurant without trying it out.

The next morning, after breakfast and a bittersweet check-out, mom and I visited the historical society.  We got to meet some of the volunteers who had been on the moonshine express tour, and we were shown around the museum by one of the volunteers!  It was like stepping back in time, and being guided through that by someone who had lived through it was absolutely magical!

For our last stop in Rocky Mount, we had lunch at The Hub Restaurant!  Everyone at the Historical Society suggested we go, and we were delighted at the food!  Mom went with biscuit and gravy, while I ordered the Hub Club!

Overall, I'm so blessed that I got to go on this trip with mom.  We had some really amazing quality time, and got to really enjoy just hanging out with each other.  We are a lot alike, and though we sometimes butt heads, it's because we just want each other to be happy.

Rocky Mount was the perfect little town for the start of this blog.  I don't think we could have happened up on a better place with better people to start this amazing 50-state adventure.  

Thanks for reading guys, and stay tuned, you never know where I'm gonna end up next.

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