A Visit to the Land of the Pines

Another tradition I’m NOT afraid we created in the fall is a trip to visit the salt of the earth, the one and only, Garner family. Kyle got to know the Garners when he lived in Roanoke Rapids, NC for two school years during Teach For America and they immediately took him under their wing, having him over for dinners and teaching him a few things about harvesting collard greens. They were so kind to me when I would come to visit Kyle, letting me sleep in their home and taking cooking lessons from Sister Garner herself (the best cook and homemaker of all time). We went down to visit them last year and just had to go ahead. So we made the five-hour trek down to what is known as the Land of the Pines.

The Garners had gone to Williamsburg for the evening that we drove down so we stopped at one of our all time favorite places to eat in Raleigh, The Pit. Death fries are found there which consist of fries covered in barbecue pork, pimento cheese with a side of a spice ranch. Like I said, delicious death fries.

We wanted a good place for dessert and heard of Hayes Barton Café, a spot dressed up in 1940’s design, and how they serve slices of cake the size of your face.

Yes, they were NOT kidding. Here, we had a lemon blueberry white cake with cream cheese frosting. We basically decided to leave any sort of diet back in Arlington for the weekend.

Next, I bring you, the NC State Fair. Randomness may ensue.

Ice Cream cow, duck head.

No I have never tried the Krispy Kreme Burger but this green guy is not wasting any time getting his breakfast.

Speaking of breakfast, we feasted on the original country ham biscuit served by the Cary United Methodist Church.

WE absolutely love the Garners. They are our east coast family.

North Carolina State Fair does not mess around.

Roasted corn, dipped in butter and then dipped in butter again and sprinkled with parmesan cheese.

The best place to get apple dumplings with a scoop of john deer tractor spun homemade vanilla ice cream…to boot!

Take a trip to the Old Grist Mill to get yourself a serving of homemade hush puppies and to learn how they harvest the corn meal using nothing but running water (and a few spinning machines).

What’s a state fair, especially on the edge of the south, without a performance from a bluegrass band?

Kyle and I got our engagements taken out by a lighthouse on the outerbanks. Here, they had the cutest miniature lighthouse on the edge of the lake calling for attention and we noticed.

After the fair, we drove out to pick our pumpkins for the year. At this point, most had been “picked” so we just had to ‘choose’ which one we liked best. The white pumpkins always look cool but we went with the good, original orange.

We finished the night with a trip to see The Hundred-Foot Journey. Such a neat movie, with cooking and culture, which was highly recommended by Sister Garner.
Her cooking never fails. Here she made us English muffins with cream cheese, eggs, chives and tomatoes.

We went to church with them, which is located right across the road from the Raleigh, NC temple. We had a wonderful Sabbath with them and a few of their other family members. It was a perfect weekend besides misplacing the keys at the last minute and having to call someone to come make us a key. Thank you Garners for being so wonderful and willing to take us around. And to the NC State Fair….thank you for helping us remember why we make it a point to exercise.

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