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road trip day 2: biscuits to beer

We decided not to drive on as far as planned the first night to avoid the driving rain and the rain-hampered drivers; we stopped in Ashland and woke up to see that the flood was up to the edge of the highway on the other side of the road! The rain had stopped, the sun was out - and we sat in the car and did a phone briefing and then stopped at Rajah's for amazing biscuits, sausage gravy and country ham. After that we drove out of Kentucky, into West Virginia and on into Virginia itself past endless vistas of green slopes and mountains, over rivers, past gleaming cold capitol cupolas, past coal seams showing where passes have just been blasted through hills and mountains, up hill and down dale. We stopped at Tamarack, which is a triangle-topped craft centre, conference theatre and service station that's very Logan's Run Carousel (carousel! lastday! shopping!) - despite temptation we only bought two Fiestaware plates, but I was tempted by knitted top hats and a shrug done in modular knitting and crochet so I shall pull out my needles and knit something or other tomorrow...

We were enjoying the road but decided to stop reasonably early so we could do some more work; we fancied staying in town rather than on the outskirts and we got the visitor centre discount at the McCampbell Inn in Lexington. This is right in the centre of the historic downtown - between the realtors, the dress shops, the restaurants, the chic homeware shops and the other historic buildings - and dates back to 1809. The host dated back rather further, telling us about his descent from Jefferson, his ancestor the tobacco assessor who was imprisoned by King James and his distant Norman ancestors... We sat in rocking chairs in the dusk and worked until dinner, up the street at the Southern Inn. I recommend the beer section of their menu for perusal (although http://www.southerninn.com/specialdrinks.html still has the winter seasonal beers on); we had the delightly refreshing and not too ginger Left Hand JuJu Ginger, the nutty malty and altogether wonderful Full Sail Limited #1, the refreshing and not as sweet as you'd expect Abita Purple Haze (with fresh raspberry juice added after brewing) and, um, something else good ;-) The wine list is also impressive - and the food was fantastic. Simon's meatloaf was wrapped in bacon, with a dark mushroom gravy and really more like a steak hache than meatloaf; and my fried chicken was moist with a hint of brine and a lovely crisp spicy coating. The red mashed potatoes were full of tasty red skin and the steamed vegetables were just so perfectly cooked. Eventually we got around to sharing a caramel pineapple bread pudding with coconut ice cream and went back to sit in the rocking chairs and read till we fell asleep.

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full steam ahead
marypcb
Mary Branscombe
Simon & Mary

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