Life

Elizabeth City Ghost Walk

First off – HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME! Yesterday was my birthday. 🙂 I had a good day surrounded by some of my loved ones.

This past weekend was an exciting one. Friday night, my mom took me out to eat at 309 Bistro. She got steak and a salad, I got the Red Eye Gravy Chicken with brussel sprouts casserole and gruyere potatoes. It was a delicious combination. 309’s red eye gravy is perfect with just a bit of a spicy kick. I finished off my meal with a chocolate bundino. It was a perfect finish – chocolately without being overwhelming sweet.

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Saturday night, my boyfriend took me out to eat at Logan Ray’s, a local downtown bar. I had never been there before but it had a good atmosphere. From there, we made our way to the Elizabeth City Ghost Walk. The theme for this year’s walk was the Jazz Age featuring prohibition and bootleggers. Our first stop was the Arts of the Albemarle building. I had never been there before, but I have heard that it puts on a lot of plays/shows during the year. It also is a local art gallery. I really enjoyed exploring it.

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There were 7 or 8 stops on the walking tour, taking you from private homes to the courthouse to a local graveyard. I enjoyed myself but I did notice that unlike the Edenton Ghost Walk that I went on a few years ago, the EC one did not contain many ghost stories. Instead, reenactors talked as if they were a spirit from the prohibition era, giving us glimpses into their lives. Some of the history was quite fascinating! The final stop on the ghost walk was a local cemetery, which was my favorite stop. I loved going to a cemetery after dark!

Tickets for the ghost walk were $12 each or $10 with military ID and there was also transportation provided between each destination in case you chose not to walk everywhere (and we did not feel like walking to each home).

Arts of the Albemarle
516 East Main St,
Elizabeth City, NC 27909

309 Bistro and Spirits
309 S Broad St,
Edenton, NC 27932

Travel

Charleston Part II: Bits and Bobs

The Old City Jail - The tour was fabulous and even though we had no scary moments, when we arrived back at our hotel room afternoon, our key card no longer worked. Odd.
The Old City Jail – The tour was fabulous and even though we had no scary moments, when we arrived back at our hotel room afternoon, our key card no longer worked. Odd.
The Old City Jail - I took a  tour through here on evening thanks to Bulldog tours.
The Old City Jail – I took a tour through here one evening thanks to Bulldog tours.
BBQ Shrimp & Grits from 82 Queen for brunch - the best shrimp and grits I have ever eaten. 82 Queen also has the best Bloody Mary in town in my mind.
BBQ Shrimp & Grits from 82 Queen for brunch – the best shrimp and grits I have ever eaten. 82 Queen also has the best Bloody Mary in town in my mind.
It was too late for us to explore the graveyard of this church, but I love the structure of the building.
It was too late for us to explore the graveyard of this church, but I love the structure of the building.
Me in front of the fountain.
Me in front of the fountain.
Just some silly boy I photographed doing silly things.
Just some silly boy I photographed doing silly things.

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Not pictured: breakfast at Another Broken Egg Café, lunch at The Griffon, our visit to the H.L. Hunley, more graveyards, and a trip to the Old Exchange and Provost Dungeon.

Food

Review: The Oxford in Raleigh, NC

My Florida friend and I met in Raleigh for a weekend rendezvous that mostly centered around the mall, eating, and a visit to the NC Museum of Natural Sciences. After I picked him up at the airport on Saturday, we checked in to our hotel. I highly recommend the Residence Inn at Crabtree Valley. Our moderately priced room was spotless, the staff courteous, and I made sure to take advantage of the free breakfast.

We had made reservations earlier in the week at The Oxford, a restaurant that I never had the opportunity to dine at when I lived in Raleigh. The Oxford is known as a “gastro pub” – it has that pub feel but the food is of much higher quality. We braved the cold and arrived quickly made our way to the restaurant, soaking in the warmth and ambiance.

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I started my meal with a cup of the Butternut Squash Bisque topped with pine nut crumble and creme fraiche. The bisque was absolutely delicious, but the heaviness of it forced me to stop eating halfway through so that I would be able to enjoy the rest of my meal. I also ordered their delicious Honey Lavender Margarita, which was the winner of the Avion Perfect Margarita Contest. It featured Avion Reposado, honey lavender simple syrup, jalapeño simple syrup, sour mix, and a splash of orange juice, served on the rocks with a cilantro sea salt rim. For my entrée, I chose the Grilled Rosemary Lamb Chops (served with golden-beet parmesan risotto, grilled asparagus, and a cherry-shallot gravy) off their special Valentine’s Day menu.

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The lamb was perfectly cooked and the risotto had that pleasant creaminess that we all come to expect of risotto. My favorite part of the entire dish was the cherry-shallot gravy. I’m a sucker for fruit based sauces and the combined tartness/sweetness of the gravy added that necessary touch of zing to the lamb.

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My friend started his meal with the scotch flight which featured his three picks from the menu. I admit that I simply do not have a nose for scotch as all three smelled the same to me. For his entrée, he ordered the White Truffle Gnocchi with Rabbit Sausage. The sausage helped to break up the richness of the gnocchi, creating a dish that was pleasing to the palate.

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We finished off our meal with “Fromage” which consisted of a coconut cheesecake with candied ginger, Hawaiian relish and toasted macadamia/black sea salt soil. I could eat that coconut cheesecake on its own every day. The texture was rich and creamy without having an overwhelming coconut taste.

All in all, I would definitely go back to The Oxford. The staff at were incredibly helpful throughout our entire meal. They constantly checked in on us and when I asked for a suggestion on how to have my lamb cooked, the waitress easily recommended an option for me.

On that weekend, we were able to use our receipt from The Oxford to receive 30% off our meal at SONO the next time. We were famished from spending the day at the museum (checking out the special Birds of Paradise exhibit), though our breakfast at Humble Pie started the day off perfectly. At SONO, I ordered my favorite, a bowl of miso soup and the Crunchy Diablo roll (Spicy crab, avocado, cream cheese, jalapeño; panko fried, topped with spicy mayo, eel sauce.). I love how the cream cheese sort of cools the spiciness of the rest of the ingredients’ and on top of that, you can’t go wrong with fried.

My friend ordered the Chef’s Choice, which came with his choice of roll and 7 pieces of nigiri sushi. He chose the Angry Tuna (spicy tuna, crunch, jalapeño, avocado, spicy aioli, chili paste, soy glaze), which was delicious but pale in comparison to my roll. To drink, he ordered Kirin Ichiban, which was a light beer, full of carbonation, with a sweetness that I enjoyed.

I dropped him back off at the airport that Monday afternoon and drove home, missing him but with my stomach satisfied.

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The Oxford
319 Fayetteville Street #105
Raleigh, North Carolina

Sono Raleigh
319 Fayetteville St. #101
Raleigh, North Carolina

Travel

Florida Trip, Day 1, Part 2

This is the third of many posts detailing my trip to Florida in early December of last year. I apologize for the delay, but I think I was saving these posts for when I could use a little bit of sunshine. Today – with the cold weather surrounding me – is the perfect day to relive those memories.

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Leaving De Leon Springs, we headed about 30 minutes away to Cassadaga, which was founded in the late 1800s as a spiritualist camp. We had delicious appetizer at Sinatra’s Ristorante’ (located inside the Cassadaga Hotel) of bruschetta (plus a martini for my friend). The tomatoes in the bruschetta tasted like they had just been picked and the balsamic vinegar that topped the dish added the perfect bit of tang. Next time we go, we will stay in the hotel as we heard person after person calling to see which room was “haunted”. The entire atmosphere in the town felt calming and I can see why people flock there.

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After a quick search on Google, we made our way to the outskirts of Cassadaga. Our goal, or rather my goal, was to visit the legendary Devil’s Chair, located in a nearby cemetery. According to one local legend, an unopened can of beer left on the chair will be empty by morning. The Devil is sometimes said to appear to anyone so bold as to sit in the chair The cemetery itself felt eerie, like something out of ‘Night of the Living Dead’ and while we spotted 3 different brick chairs, I only took my picture in one – leaving plenty of room for a second person to sit. We quickly left after seeing an old grave with a large, and I mean human sized, hole dug all the way to the coffin.

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We stopped to the Sweet Spot on the way home. I got a cup of chocolate ice cream topped with their outstanding homemade whipped cream. I experienced an instant bout of food envy however when I tasted the Frozen Explosion (ice coffee blended with the boyfriends choice of vanilla ice cream). We spent the rest of the evening relaxing.

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Come back tomorrow to read part 4, or check out part 1 – my review of Cress Restaurant and part 2, which details the earlier part of this day.

Sinatra’s Ristorante’
355 Cassadaga Rd.
Cassadaga, Florida

Sweet Spot
115 East Rich Ave.
Deland, Florida

Travel

Florida Trip, Day 1, Part 1

This is the second of many posts detailing my trip to Florida in early December of last year. I apologize for the delay, but I think I was saving these posts for when I could use a little bit of sunshine. Today – with the cold weather surrounding me – is the perfect day to relive those memories.

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De Leon Springs State Park, named for Juan Ponce de León of the search for the mythical Fountain of, was the first stop on our agenda Thursday.

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Quick History from the Florida State Parks Information Center:

“Native people known as the Mayaca lived in the park for at least 6,000 years. Pedro Menendez, the founder of St. Augustine, first described the Mayaca after an encounter with them north of the park in 1566, a year after he founded St. Augustine. In the late 1500s, Spanish missions were established in the area. In the early 1800s, settlers built sugar and cotton plantations that were sacked by Seminole Indians during the Second Seminole War. By the 1880s the springs had become a winter resort, and tourists were promised “a fountain of youth impregnated with a deliciously healthy combination of soda and sulphur.”’

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We started the morning off with breakfast at the Old Spanish Sugar Mill inside of the park after I stopped oohing and ahhing at the magnificent oak trees towering over us in the parking lot. Walking into the restaurant and seeing the griddle in the middle of the table intimidated me, until a quick glance at the next table showed kids pulling the cooking off with ease. Our server explained the process to us, preparing us for the feast to come.

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My friend and I both ordered pancakes. It was all-you-can-eat and they brought out tons of batter (2 kinds: an early American style made with unbleached white flour and mix of 5 fresh stoneground flours). We also ordered a side of bacon, chocolate chips, and blueberries for the pancakes. My friend and I took turns minding the griddle, which was a lot of fun. The pancakes were served with syrup, a raw local honey, and an unsuphured molasses that I did not enjoy. If you go – and I highly recommend that you do, I suggest you order the bacon. It’s not like the regular bacon you get from the grocery store. This is thick with an addictive taste that is neither overly sweet nor salty.

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I brought my bathing suit so that my friend and I could take a dip in the springs, but somehow we had forgotten his bathing suit and our towels. Instead we went for a walk on the trails. The path to “Old Methuselah,” a bald cypress estimated to be nearly 500 years old, was closed so we started down to view Monkey Island. We didn’t get very far before we found ourselves nearing inch deep water, so we turned back.

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Come back tomorrow to read part 3, or check out part 1 – my review of Cress Restaurant.

The Old Spanish Sugar Mill
601 Ponce Deleon Blvd
De Leon Springs, Florida