Thursday, March 31, 2011

Nantahala Whitewater Rafting

For an experience like no other, a family trip whitewater rafting down the Nantahala River is fun had by all.

Adventurous Fast Rivers Rafting on the Nantahala River

My family has a history of using Adventurous Fast Rivers Rafting for our whitewater trips in the summer. There are multiple rafting facilities you can choose from to take you down the river, but we have always had a wonderful experience with this company.

During the summer, you can prepare the day of your rafting trip by dressing appropriately. A bathing suit, shorts, and a t-shirt are ideal, but if you opt out of wearing a t-shirt remember to lather up with some waterproof sunscreen because it is a long trip down the Nantahala. Tennis shoes or hard-bottom water shoes are a must, and the rafting facility will not let you travel down the river without them. Plus, you want to protest your feet from the jagged rocks.

Convenient dressing rooms and restrooms are on-site

Luckily, Adventurous Fast Rivers Rafting has a dressing room for you to change into your rafting clothes and back out of them when you're soaked. If you forgot a dry shirt for the trip back, the facility has a gift shop with many rafting t-shirts to choose from for purchase.

Before you begin your trip, you are fitted for a life vest and given instructions for how to navigate the river safely. These are important if you are like my family and choose to venture the rapids without a guide. Guides are not necessary for rafting rapids of Class III and less.

Instructional map of the river rafting route

Once you've heard the do's-and-don'ts of river rafting, the guide will take the rafters 7-miles to the rafting load area. Since my family chooses to go without a guide, we were dropped off and were to load the raft ourselves.

Armed with my waterproof disposable camera, I snapped a shot of the boys loading the raft into the water.

Once the raft is in, you are ready to battle the rapids. To make navigating the river easier, it is best to have someone sit on the very back of the raft and act as the rudder. Most of the trip is calm water; however, there are some places where you do hit Class II rapids. Be alert and focused because one wrong move could land you on a huge rock.

Typical river view

The 7-mile adventure allows for a break from rafting before you reach the end. Luckily, halfway through the trip there is a few riverside restaurants (more like concessions) on the right. Many people pull the raft onto land and go grab a bite to eat and something to drink. Paddling the raft can take a lot out of you and even more if you do not opt for the self-bailing boat.

After the break, get back out on the water and head toward the washing machine at the end of the trip. The Washing Machine is a whirlpool Class III rapid at the end loading dock for Adventurous Fast Rivers Rafting. Here you need to be ready to face the toughest rapid you've seen yet. While you are enjoy the wild ride, the rafting company is snapping photos of you for purchase when you get back to the gift shop.

Class III rapids at the Washing Machine

As you can see this trip is a lot of fun for everyone of all ages (though there is a minimum weight limit for travel down the Nantahala.) Adventurous Fast Rivers Rafting has been nothing but wonderful the numerous times that I have used them for whitewater rafting. A trip down the Nantahala River should be had all!

Guest post by photographer Melanie Mishue.

More photography locations (like the crazy photos of the Nantahala River) from Melanie can be seen at her Photo Venue blog.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Krispy Kreme Cheerwine Doughnuts Through July 2010

Krispy Kreme Doughnuts and Cheerwine soft drink company teamed up for a July 2010 treat - a doughnut filled with Cheerwine flavored creme.

The debut of the new treat was at Governor Bev Purdue's office with a test batch roll out at Krispy Kreme in Salisbury, NC later in the day. The Salisbury Krispy Kreme will be the only doughnut shop to sell the Cheerwine doughnuts, although various outlets (try Harris Teeter) will be offering the new flavor in 6 packs. Currently, production of the Cheerwine flavored doughnut is slated for July 2010 only.

Salisbury is the home of the Cheerwine company and is located about half way between Charlotte and Greensboro off I77. The doughnut shop is on West Innes St. close to Catawba College (if you see the college - you went too far), so if you arrive from out of town, take the Salisbury/Albemarle exit but toward Salisbury and follow Innes. The doughnut shop is on the right coming in that way and only a couple of miles off the highway.

I had a chance to try the Cheerwine doughnut today, and it it a chocolate covered doughnut with sprinkles and then with Pepto Bismal colored filling. So, the filling is pink versus red like the soft drink, but the flavor of the filling is like Cheerwine but sweeter.

Honestly, I am not the best person to say if this is a good doughnut or not, because I am not a creme filled doughnut eater. I always find creme to be too sweet, and Cheerwine creme is even sweeter than white creme. So, the sugar made the hairs stand up on my arm and with only the first bite.

For someone who likes sweet creme or Ding Dongs and Twinkies, then I would think the Cheerwine doughnut would be a good bet. The extra cherry cola flavor in there is interesting and better, I think, than just plain white sugar creme. For me, it's more sugar than I can handle other than a bite now and spaced out over the day.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Snappy Lunch - Mount Airy NC - Fried Pork Chop Sandwich

I can't belive I've lived all these years in North Carolina and never been to Snappy Lunch in Mount Airy, NC. But, my parents weren't foodies, and they were more likely to pack peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and find a spot alongside the road than take us to restuarants when we were growing. up.

I had, of course, heard of Snappy Lunch. Andy Griffith is from Mount Airy, and he mentioned Snappy Lunch in one of his early episodes. The whole series is based off his hometown of Mt Airy. For instance, he talks about Mt. Pilot, and Pilot Mountain is right down the road from Mt. Airy.

Lots of other people have heard of Snappy Lunch too as you can see from the line on the sidewalk. The little mainstreet diner is larger than it looks, and wait times are not bad even with the line out the door.

The wait for us was maybe 10 minutes and well worth that and much longer. It did not get boring out on the sidewalk. There was some guy who was cracking jokes. I'm not sure if he was an employee or just a local out to "fun" everyone, but he was having a blast talking like we were back in the 1950s.

When we got in Snappy Lunch, I was surprised at the menu. They have the pork chop sandwich, a bologna sandwich (like they started out with for low cost to students who did not have a cafeteria back in the day) and just a couple of other main items like a burger with or without breading.

You can get some potato chips for 50 cents and a drink. If you want fancy appetizers and all loads of sides, you can go somewhere else.

They know what they do well at Snappy Lunch, and they don't mess with a good thing. In fact, they do well enough that they only serve breakfast starting at 5:30 am and then lunch which wraps up around 1 pm. Yes. They are on Southern time. Early to rise and breakfast at the crack of dawn and lunch is noon, although they stay open a bit later for the slackers and tourists I guess.

The crowd at Snappy Lunch is a mixture of locals and regulars plus the visitors, and it is a comfortable mix. Everyone is nice and friendly and easy to be around.

The prices are just crazy. I hate to even mention this, because Snappy Lunch really ought to go up, and who wants that? The big old pork chop sandwich is only $4 and the bologna sandwich is just $1.60. Add the drink at $1.15. Whoa buddy, you really don't get deals like this and for a place that is super popular with great food.

I've paid much more for lunches not near as good. That's for sure.

I may try something else off the menu at Snappy Lunch some time, but I can't imagine doing so when the pork chop sandwich is so fabulous.

Snappy Lunch pork chop sandwich comes on a big bun and has the traditional North Carolina toppings of chili, cole slaw, mustard, onions, and tomato. That's how I got mine. You can hold any items you don't like, but I'm not even a slaw fan, and this sandwich fully dressed worked for me.

The pork chop sandwiches are really big and kind of messy with all the toppings, but I have to say this ranks as one of the best sandwiches I have ever had anywhere. I can see why they have all the buzz about Mount Airy Snappy Lunch pork chop sandwiches. They really are ALL THAT and inexpensive to boot with great service and friendly diners. You can't beat this deal, and if you are anywhere near Mt. Airy at lunch time, you really need to stop off and get a pork chop sandwich.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Fun Things to See and Do in NC Privacy Policy

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Saturday, July 4, 2009

Photos from Faith, NC 4th of July Week 2009

Faith, North Carolina pulled out all the stops for the annual 4th of July week of fun. While most towns have some fireworks after dark on the 4th (and they do at Faith too), this town makes the 4th of July a full week of rides, fun, and games.

If you haven't heard of Faith, NC, that's probably because it's a town of 600 people. So, it's just not going to get much press most days. But, they sure do know how to put on a huge party to celebrate red, white, and blue and all this country stands for.

For more information if you plan to go tonight or next year, see the Faith 4th of July web page.

The weather in North Carolina can be pretty hinkie. But, you'd do well to carry sun screen and to wear sunglasses like the young lady above. In July, we're usually really hot, sticky and muggy here. But, we get a fair amount of rain and especially in the evenings. An umbrella is not a bad idea to have in the car or truck . . . just in case.

They have a good number of rides, and they offer specials. Today, for example, they had unlimited rides for $20 from noon through 5 p.m. I think it was. Nice deal. And, the lines weren't long in the middle of the day.

Things crank up more at night of course. They also have live entertainment each evening, and they sponsor and Idol contest.

My guys enjoyed the smoothies. It was a good day for one - that's for sure. I tried a peach and pineapple smoothie, and tht was a pretty good combo flavor. I think I still like strawberry/banana the best.

If things get a little hot for you at the Faith 4th of July festival, there are a number of tables with some under tents and quite a few under trees. People also bring lawn chairs and blankets and rest in the park area which is pretty.

All in all, this is good small town fun. People are relaxed. A lot of folks dress up with the patriotic theme. Service groups are out helping too. For instance, they did eye checks at a trailer today.

Last Call for the Faith, NC 4th of July Festival - 2009

The weather is just perfect today to wind up the Faith, North Carolina 4th of July festival. Well, it is a little hot. But, there are smoothies and sodas and water plus plenty of shade trees in this small Southern town of 600 people.

Faith, NC is right south of Salisbury, NC. If you get off I85 at a Salisbury exit, then you can ask, and someone will tell you how to get to Faith. Or, you can just put Main Street, Faith, NC in your GPS. In a town of 600, if you find Main Street, you will find the festival and all the people.

I've seen estimates that Faith swells to 30,000 across the week for the yearly Faith celebration. No. I did not stand and count, but I can tell you that they had a lot of folks over there having fun today.

There are a number of kiddie rides. I've found that some of the big amusement parks go skimpy on the rides for little ones, but Faith had several including this cute little bumble bee ride which the toddler crowd seemed to like a lot. My boys, now being teens, were not much interested in bee rides. Oh well. There will be grandkids some day huh?

The swings went over well with kids and adults. I always liked the swing rides except after eating junk food. I learned that lesson quick though, so I eat last now and not before riding especially in circles.

The little boys (and girls too) loved these cars and motorcycles. This is, after all, NASCAR country. Brrrrr. Start your engines please.

Slides just seem to get bigger every year. The big yellow slide drew a few brave souls who rode down on burlap sacks. I'm guessing that plastic got pretty got today, so I just watched the slipping and sliding.

In addition to the carnival style rides, they had loads of good food at the Faith 4th of July Festival and also entertainment each evening. Contests included the Apple Ugly chow down and Faith Idol. And, the week will end with fireworks tonight.

If you missed out this year, don't worry. This is an annual Faith tradition and very popular with locals and visitors. Just check the Faith Festival page and plan for next year if you missed it for 2009.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Faith, NC 4th of July Celebration - 2009

It's time for the annual Faith, North Carolina 4th of July throw down. There are only around 600 people who live in Faith - give or take with a birth or death. But, they sure know how to throw a patriotic party and a week long one at that. By parade day, they estimate that they get 30 thousand out and that's rain or shine.

The Faith 4th of July week is kind of like a home town carnival and street fair. You've got rides, entertainment and, or course, loads of great food. They also have an Idol contest with the winner being the Faith Idol.

The good people of Faith have been hosting this patriotic gathering since 1946, and it keeps growing. In addition to the locals, people who grew up in Faith love to come back for the big yearly event, and then the word passes and out-of-towners like to get in on the action too. That's OK though. It still have that small town flavor and is fun for all ages.

Faith is right outside Salisbury, NC, and it's not a long drive from Charlotte. I'd guess maybe a half hour or so.

Saturday is the big day, but any night is fun.

Here is the schedule for June 2009.

Happy 4th of July - Faith, NC

Saturday, June 27th, 2009
6:00 pm Food and rides
7:30 pm Band to be announced
8:30 pm Faith Idol Competition - TBA

Sunday, June 28th
5:00 pm Faith Patriotic Program at Faith Baptist Church
6:00 pm Food and rides
7:00 pm Gospel groups to be announced - Sponsored by Miller Davis

Monday, June 29th
Dollar Night - All rides $1.00
6:00 pm Food and rides
7:30 pm Sea Cruz - Sponsored by Apple Baking Company
8:30 pm Idol Competition

Tuesday, June 30th
6:00 pm Food and rides
7:30 pm The Entertainers - Sponsored by F&M Bank and Rowan Regional Medical Center
8:30 pm Idol Competition

Wednesday, July 1st
Food Lion MVP Armband Night -Show MVP card & get $5.00 off a $20 armband
6:00 pm Food and rides
7:30 pm Too Much Sylvia - Sponsored by Food Lion
8:30 pm Idol Competition

Thursday, July 2nd
6:00 pm Food and rides
7:30 pm Hip Pocket- Sponsored by Smokey Mountain Amusements and Cloninger Ford-Toyota
8:30 pm Faith Idol Competition

Friday, July 3rd
6:00 pm Food and Rides
7:30 pm The Extraordiniaires
8:30 pm Idol Competition

Saturday, July 4th
10:00 am Parade - Grand Marshal (TBA)
*Flag raising and National Anthem and crowning of Miss Rowan County Veteran
12:30 pm Apple Ugly Eating Contest - at main stage
12:00 - 5:00 pm $20.00 armband
6:30 pm Nostalgia Band - Sponsored by IFH, Neil's Paint & Body, Memories 1280 WSAT and United Beverages (Miller Lite)
7:00 pm Races, games and watermelon eating contest
7:30 pm Idol Contest
9:00 pm Nostalgia Band
10:00 pm Miller Davis Patriotic Tribute
10:30 pm FIREWORKS!