Little Switzerland, North Carolina {Road Food}

Road Food - Little Switzerland - North Carolina -

Nestled right on the side of The Blue Ridge Parkway there sits a town you won’t want to pass up…Little Switzerland, North Carolina.  The day we happened upon it this sweet little spot was wrapped in a cloud and could hardly be seen.  You could tell right away that this was the spot for good food and meeting friendly people. 

We met a inspiring poet that was staying at a retreat center nearby…we love meeting new people when we travel.  But the main thing was the food!  The fabulous food is certainly worth writing home about, that’s for sure.  What a lunch stop!

Little Switzerland - Cafe - Road Food

It was cloudy, misty, cold and the perfect weather for a good cup of coffee…or two, well maybe three!

Little Switzerland

I’m not the best with directions, that’s why I keep Tim around {he’s like a map}.  I thought I’d just share this map above to help you find it for yourself.

Little Switzerland Cafe

We ate at Switzerland Café which we really could hardly see!  Here’s the menu…you want to go there already, don’t you?

Little Switzerland - Sandwich

This is the Smoked Trout BLT…Tim knows how to order!  It was extremely good!

Little Switzerland - Boys

The boys were getting ready to dig in with smiles on their faces.  Nothing makes boys happy like good food!

Little Switzerland - BBQ

This is the BBQ platter…oh my goodness!  It actually tasted like the BBQ my great uncle used to bring back from trips in Virginia {not far from here} and the coleslaw tasted like my aunt’s.  So, it was kind of a trip down memory lane with awesome food.

Little Switzerland - what

I think AJ was getting worried Jacob might want to try his food.

Little Switzerland - Sharing

We were stuffed but figured we HAD to try the dessert because everything else was so good.  The boys split Peanut Butter Cup Cake.  Crazy good stuff! 

Little Switzerland - The Pie

But, seriously this is the kind of dessert you could drive hundreds of miles to have again…Homemade Blueberry Pie!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  I can’t express just how amazing it was but I was sharing with Tim and it took serious willpower to not order another one to go!

Little Switzerland - Blueberry Pie

Isn’t it beautiful???  It was the best ever….by far!

Little Switzerland - The Bat

Eventually we had to leave.  This funny little bat was on the wall near the parking lot.  I thought he was pretty cool, but everyone else wasn’t as impressed. 

Little Switzerland - The Shack

We were passing the BBQ shack and I wanted Tim to slow down so I could take a photo or two…

Little Switzerland - Pigs

Then they pointed out was the painting was…a pig going to heaven.  Hmmm…I’m not sure that’s something I wanted to see right then after eating BBQ.  Ha!

If you’re ever traveling The Blue Ridge Parkway make sure you stop in Little Switzerland!  It’s memorable!

More from our summer road trip later! {The next day we in Chicago!}


The Blue Ridge Parkway

Visit The Blue RIdge Parkway -

This summer we went on another road trip with no itinerary in mind.  We knew we had about 10 days and a few stops we might like to see.  We usually get in the car {or Jeep in this case} and take it day-by-day…I love that!  Each day we have a meeting over breakfast or pulled over on the side of the road looking at a map of the United States.  Then, we kinda vote for the next stop.  It works for us.

We spent about a day and half on the Blue Ridge Parkway.  We’ve been on it many times, but we explored some new areas this time.  It’s a slow, beautiful road that offers awe inspiring mountain views.

Blue Ridge Parkway - The driver

It all starts with the top off the Jeep and the driver in his seat.  Then a quick stop in Cherokee to grab some fried chicken for a picnic in the park.

Blue Ridge Parkway - The Film Crew

The film crew recorded lots of video that I’m sure we’ll post one day.  It was beautiful and cool enough that we dug out our jackets for the ride.  Summertime and jackets don’t usually go together for us.

We traveled from Cherokee to Waynesville, NC and made a stop for ice cream and a bit of shopping.  This is such a pretty small town and just minutes from Asheville where we spent the night.  {More photos of these spots to come.}

Here are some of the Blue Ridge Parkway photos we were able to capture the next day…

Blue Ridge Parkway - The Drive


Blue Ridge parkway - The Hike


Blue Ridge Parkway - The Hike 2


Blue Ridge Parkway - Picnic Area


Blue Ridge Parkway - The Jeep


Blue Ridge Parkway - Picnic Area 2


Blue Ridge Parkway - The Park


Blue Ridge Parkway - The View


Blue Ridge Parkway - The Trail


Blue Ridge Parkway - The Stairs


Blue Ridge Parkway - The Ride

Of course Tim found a few dirt roads and some mud.  All the boys were happy!

During the day we visited Little Switzerland for lunch that was out-of-this-world and Blowing Rock, NC.

I’m sure Tim will share some of the video they took in another post.  He even got a bit of underwater footage in a river…cool stuff!

The Blue Ridge Parkway is a fabulous scenic drive to get out of town and into nature.  It’s a perfect spot for a summer vacation!

So, where do you think we ended up the next day?  Chicago, of course…lol!

Have you been?  Which part was your favorite?


A Taste of the Keys

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Do you know what these are? Yes, I know they’re shrimp and that’s not that hard to figure, but these are special! Very special indeed!

Key West Pinks, that’s what they are! These are not your everyday shrimp by any means.

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See how big they are?

On our recent trip to the Keys we treated ourselves to some of the local cuisine. “When in Rome…”, ya know what I mean.


We spent the morning snorkeling and relaxing by the water.

Then A.J. came up and said there was a man there selling “fresh from the boat” shrimp. Well, Tim knew right away what that meant. He was off to talk to this man about some shrimp for me. I say “me” because I am the biggest shrimp fan around! I think I could live on shrimp alone!

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He came back with a ton of fresh shrimp for me to cook. I’d like to say that the recipe for this specialty was a little more complex, but it’s not.

Here goes…

  • Throw the shrimp in a pot
  • Add one beer
  • Add enough water to cover the shrimp
  • Add salt, pepper, and maybe a little something extra
  • Boil for about 10 minutes until they’re bright pink

Even if you can’t stand beer, you need to add it to the shrimp. Trust me on this! I don’t know why, but shrimp like beer. Is that why they live in The Keys?

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They are ready to eat! Being extra sharing and caring, I served it with a ton of fresh rolls that my children love. They don’t need to fill up on shrimp! I suggest shrimp sandwiches for the kids.

This is a simple, simple meal that anyone can make! I’m sure you can add a little of this and that, but we worked with what we had with us. And it’s really not the kind of food that needs all that much added. Can you tell that I love shrimp?

Here are a few more Key West Pink Recipes!

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After lunch we did more relaxing, fishing, and snorkeling. This crazy Pelican kept attacking the kid’s fish as they caught them.

Here’s just the fish we needed for dinner…

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A Snapper of some kind.

The kids caught a ton of fish and kept Tim cleaning fish for a long time. But, it was worth all the work!


This is just the Snapper. We had three or four times as much fish for dinner. We could hardly eat it all. And that’s really saying something with this crew!

It was a great day with fresh catches, full bellies, and fish tales!

Can you tell we take eating seriously around here?

Do you ever catch fish to eat?

Stop by Jen’s at Balancing Beauty and Bedlam for Tasty Tuesday!  You don’t want to miss all the great recipes over there!

Decorating With Maps


It might come as no surprise to you that I would love the idea of decorating around the house with maps.  Well, of course I think maps are beautiful things full of adventure and exploration.  The wonder of maps keeps my whole family in awe of all that’s left to be discovered.  There’s no need to put them up on a shelf, just frame them and decorate your home!  I love this idea!!


Frame your favorite city or vacation spot in a beautiful heart! How classy and fun!  It would be a great conversation piece for sure.  I need a few of these around to make me smile.


What a great way to add a little privacy to your office door!  My family would probably want to add stars to the spots we’ve already traveled…lol!  It might not look quite as nice.


I would love, love, love it if someone would just give me a vintage map or two that they’ve had stashed away in a closet for 30 years or so!  Oh, a girl can dream, right?!

You can find all these beautiful map photos and really cool vintage globes on my Pinterest Boards.

Do you have any neat maps or globes around your house?


The Best Meal You’ve Ever Had

Travel has been an integral part of the fabric of our family since day one. Even before Kim and I were married, her parents used to let me come along on family vacations with them. I think they figured that if I wasn’t going, neither was Kim! So they let me come.

Great Trips Always Have Great Food!

One of our favorite family conversation starters always brings one of those trips with Kim and her folks to mind. Here is the question:

What’s the best meal you’ve ever had?

We qualify the question be suggesting that the food itself can’t be the only criteria. The real “best meal” has to take into account the overall scene. Where were you? Who were you with? What was the weather, the surroundings, the sounds and smells. All of that goes into the answer.

It’s no easy task, and after twenty years of playing, we still love this game and then answers still change.

Stir Fried Fresh Fish and Conch – Stingray City Style


Stingray City is a dive site (scuba diving) just off the leeward coast of Grand Cayman, in the Cayman Islands. It is beautiful, it is tropical, and it is way fun! Snorkelers and divers are in for an adrenaline pumping treat as they enter the water surrounded by hundreds of huge stingrays.


We sailed out on a catamaran. About a dozen people, with our group being four of those. I still remember the thrill of laying on the net stretched between the front of the hulls and looking down into the crystal clear water. The ride out was worth the trip!

As we played in the water, the captain (and owner of the small boat) did a little bit of snorkeling of his own, but he had a spear. He speared plenty of fresh fish, and collected some conch shells, which anyone who’s been to Key West knows are great food! Then he stir-fried it all up on the deck of the little sailboat and served it fresh.

Swimming in the ocean one minute, on our plates a few minutes later. That’s fresh.

ImageOf course I was highly enamored with the beautiful young girl who was my date for the trip, which didn’t hurt!

That meal, on the bow net of a catamaran, as the sun dropped low in the sky over the clear waters of Grand Cayman, was…

one of the best meals I’ve ever had!

Decorating With Crates


Crates have a simply charming style that can add that extra touch to any room of your house.  I know I need about at least 10 of these now and I plan on grabbing every single one I run across in the near future.

I never thought of turning a crate upside down and adding legs to create a crate table…love it, want it!


Add a couple to your wall for a lovely open shelf look that only took minutes to create…that’s an awesome weekend project!


What a great touch for a guest room!


I love color and this is a fun way to brighten up your wall and help you organize at the same time.  Now you’ll be on the hunt for these cool crates, too.


These are just fabulous!  Who wouldn’t want these?!


Simply stack them for instant storage and style!

Do you have any crates?  I hope you found a little bit of inspiration from these ideas and maybe you’ll know just what you want to do the next time you see one at a garage sale.


Treasure Quest

Have you ever watched Treasure Quest???  It’s one of those amazing shows that my boys watch on the Discovery Channel waiting through those long commercial breaks to see what they uncovered on the bottom of the sea.  You should check it out.

Jacob has been on a non-stop search for treasure around our yard, the park, the baseball park and even all across Georgia and Tennessee on our last trip.  So, I’m sure you can understand my surprise when we are sitting at Tommy’s Paradise Grill {an awesome new local hang out} and he claims to see one of the Odessey crew members.  I’m thinking he’s seeing things as he points to the far end of the umbrella tables…but he wasn’t!


The guys got to speak to Gregory Stemm , the co-founder and CEO of Odessey Marine Exploration!  I won’t even begin to start listing all the amazing treasure they have discovered, but you should stop by their site and check it out for yourself.

Jacob dreams of discovering historical treasure and it was such a thrill for him to meet Mr. Stemm.  He was so nice to stop and take a photo with the guys before leaving and I’m afraid we started to draw a ton of attention his way.  {The photo was taken with my phone, but it’s still pretty good.}

You never know who you might meet just around the corner!

Top 10 Must Visit Destinations

Here is the Top 10 list of places we want to visit in the future!

10. Alaska

God Bless America!

Amazing Scenery!


Amazing Wildlife!

We hope to drive our motorhome to Alaska. (maybe this summer!)

9. Norway

So Serene!

Fjords and Seaside Villages

Northern Lights over Norway!

Aurora Borealis – The Northern Lights are great from Norway!

We’ll need a boat or a plane to get us here!

8. Easter Island


Mysterious giant statues and extremely remote! Two thumbs up!

7. Antartica

After the 40' seas on the way!

One of only two continents left to set foot on!

Penguins and sea ice await. But brave heavy seas you must!

6. Bora Bora

From Bed to Sea in three easy steps!

We’ve had this one on the list for 20 years!

Stay right over the water! Wow!

5. The Great Wall of China

Now THAT is a wall!

Some things you just have to see in person. This is one for us.

We’ve been to Hong Kong, which is an incredible stop in China.

4. Africa


Amazing and Incredible Wildlife!

Amazing Animals!

I can’t wait to see a baby elephant! Africa is the other continent we have yet to see!

3. The Amazon

So Colorful!

We want to see wild macaws!


And go deep into the wildest jungle!

2. Iguazu Falls

I love waterfalls!

This is a close race for number one!

Gotta see this one!

Adjoining three countries, this is one of the most spectacular sites in the world!

And the Grand Finale!

#1 Place we want to visit is:

Machu Picchu

Ancient City in the Clouds!

Hopefully we can get there while still able to walk up the Inca Trail!

Truth be told, ten is way to short of a list. That’s why we have this:

The BIG list!

This is something you can pick up and flip through anytime. Especially if you’re like we are and are hooked on travel! I was going to put a link to it on Amazon, but they don’t have it…go figure!

Thanks to Julia for hosting Hooked on Fridays, go check it out to see what other bloggers out there are hooked on!

So, two questions:

1. Have any of you ever been to any of these places?

2. Where is the number one place YOU would want to go? (or 10..)

Camping with Young Kids – Travel Tales

Who’s schooling who here?

We had no idea how educational and fun homeschooling would be! I could write a thousand posts about ways that Kim and I have been made better as a direct result of homeschooling our boys. We love it and I really can’t say a single negative word about it.

One of the reasons we started home schooling is because we wanted to be able to travel on short notice, sans crowds. The only way to get away from crowds in the best parts of Florida is to get away while the crowds are busy doing something else, like working, or going to school.

As it turns out, the travel made more of a difference than the rest combined. We didn’t know this going in, it’s just been a wonderful surprise!

I have one skill in particular in mind today. One that travel has taught us in a way that nothing else can. here is the word:


I looked up the word improvise because I thought it would make for some awesome blog post fodder. I was right!

Who knew that there was a musical element to the word? I didn’t! In fact, the real root of the word is more in performing and speaking than I knew. I thought it was more like a mechanical thing, like the time I used a 2-liter coke bottle for a water reservoir on my ’51 Ford Pick-Up. But read this:

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I love the way the musical element changes my thinking on the word. Make music, sing, on the spur of the moment, making use of whatever you have…invent! That is a life skill I want to have and I want to teach!

It makes me think of a Travel Tale! One that I hope encourages anyone who is thinking of staying home for all the various reasons people stay home. The most common of which are that:

  • they think it’s too hard to travel with kids (especially young kids)
  • they think it’s too expensive to travel with kids (or without them!)
  • they don’t know where to go, or what to do.

I think this story illustrates that, if you improvise, you can have an amazing time…right now!

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails.

Explore. Dream. Discover.”

Mark Twain

Aspen, Colorado – June, 2000

This is going way back! AJ was five and Jacob had just turned two! We flew from Tampa to Denver and rented a Jeep. We had no itinerary, no reservations, nobody to visit, no schedule at all other than a return flight in about a week! That is definitely how we roll and we recommend it highly!

We’ve never thought much about traveling with kids, we just do it and it’s fine. In fact, it blows “fine” out of the water; it’s sublime! Sure we deal with problems on airplanes, and we’ve had our challenges with connecting flights. We’ve had the long road trips with the “I need to pee.” and “are we there yet?”

That’s why we go by motorhome now. But the move to a motorhome was just a slightly better (in some ways) mode of travel. The travel itself is the goal, the transportation is just part of the fun! Bringing the kids and seeing their faces when they see something incredible for the first time is absolutely amazing, every time, even when they get bigger than you! (that is a whole other subject!)

Back to Aspen…

So, we wound our way through a few towns and ended up in Aspen. I think we spent a night on the way, and then we got to Aspen. I had been there once before during ski season and I wanted to see it in summer.

I was also very much looking forward to the extremely rare pleasure of showing Kim some place that I had been and she had not. Her mom is the Travel Agent, not mine.

Aspen was great, but we had a problem. The hotel rooms in Aspen are the ones with the $$$$ next to them in the guide book. We wanted one with the $ or maybe the $$ designation. Not going to happen in Aspen. We found a great room, but it was $300 a night and we had a few nights to go! Not in the budget.

We had to improvise. Here is what we did:


Y’all got a Wal-Mart around here?

Our travels have a long standing relationship with Wal-Mart and this is where it all began. We headed to the local Wal-Mart and made a bee-line for the camping gear!

We had not planned on camping, we had never been camping as a family, we didn’t know what camping areas were nearby but we had a map and we were in the middle of some of the most incredible natural beauty on earth, so we figured we’d find a spot.

We grabbed the essentials, it was all right there. We picked up a huge tent, sleeping bags, pillows, lanterns, folding camp chairs (another lasting love), towels, food, plates…everything. We got everything for about $200.00 and loaded up the Jeep and rolled out searching for adventure.

Cool RV

We couldn’t afford one of these, so we got a tent!

Marble, Colorado

We found that adventure in Marble, Colorado! What an amazing area! Marble is a tiny little town and we followed a mountain dirt road after the pavement ended, heading into the Maroon Bells Snowmass Wilderness Area.

We had already had some fun off-road experiences in Aspen, but these roads were nuts! Just wide enough for the Jeep and a long way down! After a few hair raising minutes, we found our way to a huge and beautiful riverside campsite.

We set-up camp next to the river and had a blast! We roasted marshmallows by a huge campfire and took baths in the icy river water. AJ is still traumatized by the memory! 🙂 We hiked around and did a bunch of exploring by Jeep.

Crystal Mill

The road in was a huge part of the fun and we keep trying to find better and better places to drive off-road, like Moab, Utah. While in the Marble area, we explored deep into the wilderness and saw the much photographed Crystal Mill, near the mountain ghost town of Crystal. Tons to see and do in this area.

We stayed three nights and finally packed-it up! It was a blast and we would recommend it to anyone! You have to get out there, have to leave the pavement and the roadside Motels. Explore, find adventure, improvise!

Visit Monday Memories at Planet M Files for more memorable posts!