A Cicadian Serenade UPDATE!

January16/ 2000

….. Vistas, chipmunks and pork belly to die for best characterize our recent Blue Ridge Getaway to Blowing Rock. …. To those of us born during Truman’s Administration, birthdays need to be more than just more presents to be appreciated….. Gideon Ridge Inn was the place.  Me and Mizzus were the only guests with all our original knees and hips and yes….. It was a very fine time. UPDATED !!

 BE ADVISED …. We’re having MAJOR cyber glitches this week.  Our techno-elves are battling the dreaded “server issues” !!!  Readers replying to this column should use [email protected] for best results.   The likely saboteurs include Dickie, Mikey, Jimbo, Apple Cheeks, Dumpling, Cocoa Puff, everyone in Carrboro or 98% of the UNC faculty and, of course Don “The Cryptkeeper” Beason.  Yikes …. that’s some list, huh?

Readership for this column will be down because I purposely omitted gratuitous incendiary phrases like “former senator’s misadventure” from the teaser.  To be sure, we did overhear the occasional passing comment on the subject of the “randy rascal from Robbins” but it was a time and surely the place for more uplifting conversation.

You may recall the column about our Blue Ridge Parkway adventure back in May.  That pleasant occasion spurred Missus to book us a weekend at Gideon Ridge Inn in Blowing Rock.  This weekend was chosen for the dual celebration of our surviving our kitchen/living room remodeling and moi surviving another year of Liberal gigging and suggesting UNC may be less than perfect in every way. ….. and to play to Missus’ insatiable love of Blue Ridge Mountain “vistas”.  That woman does love to look out across The Smokies and click her cell camera.

   How many pictures of black-eyed susans, daisies and smoky mountains majesty does one person need?  Apparently at least one more.

On the drive home, around Hickory she issued her usual post getaway weekend lament …. “I can’t decide which I enjoy more – the mountains or the beach.  I just like that we live where we can enjoy both within a short drive.”  …. Bless her heart!

I dropped the phrase “Variety Vacationland” which she declared “brilliant”.   I did not say it was coined back in the 60s by some ad agency.  That ad campaign has held true for decades as will, no doubt, “the badger” campaign.

The readership of this column skews to “rich country club Republicans” with the occasional “rich limousine Liberal” tossed in like anchovies to a Caesar salad.  Those who are not “rich” in the pecuniary sense are certainly so in the appreciation of life’s refined pleasures.  Be advised that Gideon Ridge Inn (GRI) is designed for those “rich” in both senses of the term.

   It being a birthday gift, I did not ask “how much”.  I am pretty sure that we exceeded the purchase pricesof my first two cars (combined) by breakfast on Sunday.  It was “well worth it” is the best compliment I can offer.  So was that 1963 Plymouth Valiant that got me thru Chapel Hill back in the day.

We are B&B veterans.  All who enter a B&B sacrifice practical and efficient for “quaint” and “so cuuuu-t-e”.  Making “cute” into a three syllable word gives me the willies but you hear it all around B&Bs.  Each bedroom has a cutesy name to match its theme and décor sorta like The Mustang Ranch in Nevada.  GRI, however, did NOT have a Marquis de Sade room or “Girl’s PE Lockerroom” motif.   At least not that I saw in the brochure.

We were assigned the Mountain Laurel Cottage which was twenty-four steep winding steps down the mountain.  Somehow the Innkeeper must have known we were, as noted, the only guests with all our original hips and knees.   Next May we’re reserving the Sunrise Suite.

GRI advertises itself as “technologically barren” meaning no TV, WiFi, or other geekish acoutrements.  They lied.  GRI has been upfitted to accommodate the basic electronic devices.  I’m not sure that is “a good thing” but one’s use of one’s array of devices is a personal preference.  I only booted up once all weekend for which I prided myself considerably.

Other than Brunswick stew, I am as far from being a gourmand as Apple Cheeks is from being a practicing monogamist, but even I could tell at Friday’s dinner that the GRI chef was a humdinger.  I had never heard the term “wheat cashew” but I’ll never have lamb again without thinking of it.  The “pork belly” appetizer Saturday night was MUCH better than it sounds.

GRI cuisine is “drizzled”.  In places I usually eat you measure the meal by how much of the plate is covered up with food.  The less plate you can see the better.  Think Olive Garden.  The applicable verb is “feeding” rather than “dining”.  At GRI you get a big plate with a little pile of food in the middle surrounded by “drizzle”.  I mean that in a good way.

Dining on lamb in a wheat cashew sauce on a patio next to a lawn with scurrying chipmunks as the sun sets over Mr. Morton’s mountain while serenaded by a cicadian symphony …. even East German judges give that a perfect 10.

Missus has become quite the vinophile.  My wine knowledge stops at “it comes in three colors – white, red and pink.”  I let her order a glass then I ask for two straws.  You may recall that a friend once sent us a $5,000 bottle of Chateau something or other which we promptly locked up in The Angus Barn’s Cellar to save as Kid’s inheritance or as ransom if anyone ever kidnaps our cat.

We had two dinners and two breakfasts at GRI.  Every bite of each meal was “exquisite” which like “cuuu-t-e” is a common B&B term.  Who knew that sheer volume is not necessarily the measuring criteria for mighty fine dining.

NOTE:  My wanderings thru America’s Corporate Wilderness included eighteen years in the fancy shmancy hotel biz.  The Greenbrier, Fairmont, Hyatt et al.  My “couth” quotient is higher than I often put on.  The GRI dining experience is as fine as any I’ve ever enjoyed.  MIGHTY FINE!


This past weekend was Art In The Park in Blowing Rock.  AITP is for Blowing Rock what The Night Race in August is for Bristol, TN.  (a comparison I GUARANTEE you has never been made before!) Unyoung people of independent means flock to southern Wautauga County to accumulate  objects de’art for their already cluttered array of primary, secondary and tertiary homes.  We were looking for “a picture of a barn” for our newly remodeled dining room.  She found the perfect one.  Missus had it hung before I could even disengage the alarm system when we got home.

Missus is one aficionado of bucolic art that does not think Bob Timberlake is the end all.  We went by Bob’s gallery but just to compare her barn picture to his dozens of barn pictures.  She likes hers better.  Sorry Bob.

Our Blowing Rock visits involve Missus scouring the antique shops while I scour the sidewalks for the slightest hint of polychromatic diversity.  Blowing Rock NC is like a Harlem for Upscale Caucasians.  I betcha their local basketball team hasn’t won a game since the mid 60s.  Heck, even the USA swim team is more “diverse” now than BR, NC.

Speaking of mono-culturalism …. Blowing Rock has my favorite “seersucker shop”.  100 W. Union.  The owners are as Woodberry Forest preppie as you can get.  Their inventory tightrope walks that fine line between hetero gentry and whoa Dude, that is soooo gay.  I would NEVER buy anything there without Missus giving it a thumbs up.  I got a pair of green seersucker slacks this trip.

Moral to this story:  Certainly not all of Life’s special moments and special memories come with a high $$$ tag …… but some do.

I’ve made it to here with only vague references to “a former senator’s misadventures”.  I better not press my luck any further.  There are still layers of that onion to peel including a possible KABOOM of major yuckiness.    Uh oh …


 What was the name of Hugh Morton’s bear? 


   Fred Baron (Johnny’s Texas bag man) is to asbestos what Bill Gates is to silicon ….. it is the source of his sizable wealth.  In Fred’s case he required the willing cooperation of dozens of dozens of sympathetic jurors who could not spell mesiothelioma but figured if you might have it you (and Fred) should get lotsa $$$ ….

   We’re taking a few predictable shots across our bow for our “blistering attacks” on Johnny….. from hard-core moderates.  A “moderate” is what a spittle spewing Lib calls himself when he wants to be taken really seriously.  Folks, I’ve been playing this blood sport since Adlai Stevenson was wearing new shoes.  Been called ALL the nasty names so many many times I look forward to fresh ones.   When fools rush in we shall greet them and poke a finger in their eye.

   Our 2008 ACC Pigskin Preview is up next!  That draws a diverse array of readers for sure.  Hey, we pitch a big tent here at BLSays.com

    If you currently have [email protected] as your contact address for replying to a column DELETE IT NOW!  Replace it with [email protected] RIGHT NOW.  Use that earthlink address for the most direct line to BL hisownself.

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