After zig-zagging up 311, up and down, round and round the mountains, I started to feel nauseous so was glad our first stop was a country store/restaurant in Paint Bank, VA.
The grounds were lovely...
The restaurant's claim to fame is a hanging bridge across the top of it that you can walk across.
They have a year-round Christmas gift shop and other country style crap. I didn't like the feel of the bridge...sorta made me feel like I was walking on a dock floating on the water.
While we waited for our lunch -- I highly recommend the lemonade -- I noticed a place mat in front of me that had "mountain expressions" and their meanings.
I whipped out my notebook and copied them all thinking I will be able to use some of them sprinkled into dialogue from my characters. Once again, I found myself in a place I "needed to be" without even knowing it.
|Which came first...the cow, or the egg?|
After lunch we got back on the one-lane highway to hell where we immediately was behind a huge construction truck which was driving in reverse on the curvy road. Since our next stop was to be in Gap Mills, VA this could take hours! Luckily my friend does not fear driving mountainous roads so when the driver of the truck waved us to pass him, she did. I could barely look out my window as guard rails were few and far between even though there was a drop to the right of us of about 3,000 feet. I couldn't imagine living in these dar hills, or having to drive them at night, in the rain, in the winter, anytime!
We finally hit the bottom and proceeded into West Virginia to a place called Gap Mills. I had read some posts on-line how a visit to that town was a must-do and what a great trip from Roanoke it was. The poster pointed to the Cheese N More Shop and said there were a few other places nearby to visit. Hey, I love cheese and it got rave reviews so I was happy to check it out.
We found it pretty easily as it was on Route 3. Run by Amish or Mennonites, it was like going to Jamison's Orchards which is right down the block from me. It was larger than Jamison's and had a couple more varieties of products. When I had read it had a wide selection of meats and cheeses I don't know why I would assume they were talking about Italian cheeses and meats. A picture of provolone wheels hanging alongside hard salamis from the ceiling had popped into my head. What we found was a case that had cold cuts and a couple of Amish cheeses. Actually there was one triangled slab of hard Parmesan cheese in the fridge so I did buy that.
There were shelves of candies, jams, jellies, spices, flour, etc. Besides the cheese I bought a bag of chocolate covered almonds, maple walnut fudge, sesame crunch candies, hot pepper jelly and fresh dill weed. The fudge was amazing and I wish I had tried it before leaving as I would have bought other flavors. So creamy and fresh, it was almost worth the drive...almost.
Next we went across the road to a furniture store. They had the same religious music station playing, and it gave me the creeps. They were pretty expensive and there was nothing in there that I really liked, although they did have an antique Singer sewing machine like I have that they made into a lamp. Odd. I asked the person who also was Amish or Mennonite where Main Street was and she looked at me perplexed. So I elaborated and asked where the shopping was in Gap Mills and she said this was it. She pointed to a block building outside and said there was a bakery but it's closed on Mondays. That was disappointing news, so we headed back from whence we came and sought out Sweet Springs, WV.