To the South

The wedding in Iowa was a blast.  We saw lots of good friends.  Brian cooked the rehearsal dinner, and went all out for our good friends.  After Iowa, Brian and I went to Chicago to celebrate our 10 year anniversary.  We left the airstream at the farm in Iowa, and got a hotel in the city.  For our anniversary dinner we went to a restaurant called Copa Di Volpe, where Brian’s good friend Chris is the chef.  He spoiled us!  We ate and drank well.  Chicago is a great town.  We went to a great jazz club with Chris called Green Mill, it’s a really nice city for walking and Lake Michigan was close to our hotel as well.  We got to visit with my cousin, Bryan, and a good friend from college, John.  We always visit Chicago when the weather is nice making it seem a very desirable city to live in.  Our friends remind us of the snow and winds during the winter though.  After Chicago, we went back to Iowa to grab the Airstream, and say goodbye to the newlyweds.  They were so happy it was great to see!

Off to Kansas City to see our good friend Alex.  We parked the airstream in his driveway, and stayed in his guest room.  He spoiled us!  We went all out in KC.  Two fancy dinners with Alex, one at The Rieger which was a spot Al Copone frequented, and a 12 coarse tasting menu at Corvino Supper Club which surprised us, we didn’t expect that in Kansas city where we were just looking for BBQ.  We also went to 3 different BBQ joints with him, Kansas City Joes, Gates, and Arthur Bryants.  It was incredible!  Alex lived with us once for 3 months when we lived in Fairfax.  It was fun to live with him again for 4 days at his house.  His neighborhood was really nice, and all the houses were decked out for Halloween.  I almost didn’t want to leave.

While in Kansas city we heard the news that fires had broke out and were hitting the Bay Area very hard.  We watched the news everyday and called our families regularly to make sure they were okay.  My mom and dad, who live in Sonoma, were three miles away from being evacuated, surrounded by smoke, and they could see flames on the nearby ridges.  They were ready to go incase of evacuation.  Brian’s brother and family also live in Sonoma and were evacuated, their house surrounded by fire.  Brian’s dad was also evacuated in Lake County.  It was nerve wrecking, we were worried.  After a long week of firefighting, our families and their houses were okay.  Phew!  So many people lost their homes, and it will take a long time for things to recover.

After Kansas City, we visited a farm that we have been buying heirloom seed from for over 10 years called Bakers Creek in Missouri.  We had been ordering seeds online from them, and they opened up a store called the Seed Bank in Petaluma.  We would go to the store every year to pick up 50 or more kinds of tomato seed varieties.  It was a farm we had talked about visiting for years, and it was really amazing to behold.  It was set up like an old pioneer village, and the owners live there in a house on the property.  All sorts of people work there, and since the community is seventh day evangelist the people fit well into the pioneer style property.  They have a restaurant with delicious food that you purchased by donation, and inspired by the heirloom varieties grown there.  It was extremely impressive.  We also visited a green house on the property where they grew bananas that were thriving, made me rethink that we had to live somewhere tropical to grow bananas.

Next we went to Arkansas and Memphis, and visited my friend Brandon at his farm.  His farm sells beautiful flowers at the farmers market he started in West Memphis.  He grows them in greenhouses and in his fields on the farm.  We camped out at the farm for three nights.  The first night we went out to eat and had Italian at his family friends restaurant called Uncle John’s.  The women who ran this place were amazing.  Good home cooking and great stories!  The next night we went into Memphis, and Brandon has a apartment in town as well, so we had drinks on his roof overlooking downtown and the Mississippi River, then we went to eat at a great spot that was James Beard nominated called Catherine and Mary’s.  Delicious home made pastas, and charcuterie!  While in Memphis we visited more museums than anywhere else.  We went to Graceland, the Stax Museum, and the Civil Rights Museum.  All impressive and holding so much history.

Next we went to Nashville, and camped on a reservoir about 20 minutes outside the city.  Brian has a friend who lived in Nashville that we visited.  For a living he does chain stitching, which is an older technique of using threads to create cool designs.  He made me a jacket and Brian a shirt that says “Airstream Life”, with an outline of an airstream.  It was neat to watch him work.  A true art form.  While in Nashville, we visited the the Country Music Hall of Fame.  As well, we went downtown where the country music was playing from all the bars live, and it was pretty wild to watch.  We found a great spot to get local beers that was near our friend’s house on the East End.  We went for a pint each day, it was called The Filling Station, which sold beers to take and had unique and tasty beers on tap.

After Nashville we realized we had two weeks extra that we hadn’t planned anything for.  We were meeting friends in New Orleans for Halloween, but that was two weeks away.  We decided to head east and go to the Smokies which my dad had been recommending for months.  As well, we wanted to check out Charleston and Savannah.  We only spent one night in the Smokies because we were having some power issues with our Airstream, which turned out to be a simple fix in the end, our battery cable had come loose and wasn’t staying attached.  The Smokies were very pretty, I particularly liked the farms, cider houses, and boiled peanut stands that surrounded the Smokies.

From here we headed to Charleston.  What a gorgeous city!!  The buildings were super colorful, and the restaurant life was happening!  My friend Brit, who lived there for a couple years recommended a few spots try.  We had cocktails at Little Jack’s and ate at Leon’s Oyster Shack.  They were on the same block, and were both great spots!  We had a steak tartare appetizer at Little Jacks that had the smallest little frites on top.  Love the south.  This is where it felt like we had arrived in the South, although you could feel the transition from Memphis on down.  Life is different in the South.  I like how people talk, and everyone is very polite.  Everyone says “Good Morning Ya’ll!”  I really love that!

We spent most of our time in Charleston at a beach town on the coast called Folly Beach.  Life here is appealing!  We could see ourselves there, riding around town on a golf cart even though there weren’t any golf courses nearby.  It seemed a little bit hippie for the south, but mostly surfer beach town in style.  We really like it there.  Since we hadn’t seen the ocean for a while, it reminded us how much we love the ocean.  Maybe we’ll be ocean people, and live the ocean life.  Somehow seems simpler and happier for us.  Plus Bianca is a total beach gal! Brian found a megalith shark tooth on the beach here.  We looked it up and found it that it was likely a few million years old or more.

One day we rented a golf cart one day and rode around like the locals with Bianca on the back.  It was a great way to tour around the island, and we saw things we were sure we wouldn’t have noticed in our car.  Plus everywhere we went we were able to take a front row parking spot, or just pull on up where ever really.  The houses here were all built on pillars or used the downstairs space for an open bbq layout with hammocks and chairs.  Hurricane Irma had come through here about a month before, and there was some signs of it, like a few fences had come down, but for the most part the community held strong and was high enough up to not get hit too hard.  We felt at home here, there was even a festival while we were there on the main drag of town with live music.

After Charleston we went down to Savannah.  We stayed at a gorgeous state park near Savannah with the Spanish moss hanging on the oak trees, it was very romantic!  Savannah was a gorgeous city to walk around.  There were large parks all through out the city with the Spanish moss on the oak trees, and it made it a very nice walking town.  Each of the parks was a square with a memorial in the center, a statue commemorating varying soldiers through history.  We found a nice restaurant for breakfast, just driving by it where we could sit outside with our dog called B Matthews Eatery.  It turned out to be super delicious, I had fried green tomato benedict,  and Brian had shrimp and grits.  From here we will drive to the top of Florida and cross over to New Orleans for 4 days of Halloween to meet our friends Emily and Corbin, and we plan stick to the coast as much as we can.




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