Small Towns

A few stories from our travels.

North Carolina

  • Asheboro – We visited Four Saints Brewery after Kayaking Lake Reece. They had a Jazz Band. Four Saints did, not Lake Reece.
  • Ayden – Cinderines. Very friendly place. The resident musician will do requests, the following week, if your selection is picked from a hat. We bought fire water hot sauce from the Collard Shack. We stayed at a VRBO that claimed to have internet. The Wifi was located in the owners house next door. The signal was so weak I used my phone as a hotspot. The rentals tiny shower made a phone booth look spacious. We left the place spotless but forgot to empty the trash can, and got a bad rating from the owner.
  • Bath – we took the Bayview Aurora Ferry to visit Bath and Goose Creek State Park. Reedy sat in the drivers seat in our car, which was parked in front of the ferry.
  • Brevard – We stopped at Brevard College to see if we could find a white squirrel. We saw one before I could park the car. We later visited a brewery that did not allow dogs inside. The bartender directed us to an alleyway if we wanted a beer. We decided to go to The Square Root. Reedy sat with his legs crossed and was the center of attention as usual. Jo later bought a stuffed squirrel at a local boutique. Most stores sell them. No not a real squirrel, just a stuffed animal.
  • Buffalo City – This once was a town, but now it is home to alligators, bears and foxes. We kayaked the Alligator River. We met up with 3 Alligators, We don’t bother them and they do the same. We would need to hike to see the bears and foxes.
  • Bryson City – This is our gateway to Fontana Lake, where we love to Kayak. We like Mountain Lakes Brewing Company, Bryson City Outdoors, and La Dolce Vita Bakery. We have stayed at Sky Ridge Yurts, Babbling Brook and Fox Creek Hillside Cabins. All 3 are wonderful places to stay. We visited the Unplugged Pub. Jo played a Shamisen, a 3 stringed Japanese instrument. I played an acoustic guitar. One of the patrons thought we were travelling musicians.
  • Cary – Jo said that downtown Cary reminded her of the movie Groundhog Day. We stopped by the Guess house to take pictures. Two women walked by and they were talking about the movie Groundhog Day. On our next visit we expect to see a skateboarder whiz past us multiple times, a shirtless tattooed guy in bright green shorts singing and dancing in the park, and the two ladies discussing the movie as they walk past the Guess house. Jo really liked the granite benches with the poetry.
  • Cherokee – We hiked at Oconolauftee which took us underneath the southern part of the Blue Ridge Parkway. Then we visited Mingo Falls, which is spectacular. We got thirsty, so we visited Native Brews Tap & Grill. At the brewery we were told the mask mandate was lifted, by the Cherokee chief.
  • Chimney Rock – Lake Lure -We went to hike, visit Hickory Nut Gorge Brewery, and the Flowering Bridge. We ran into Jenna at each site. She claimed she was not stalking us. She is from Asheville and decided to visit the area to mountain bike the trail we hiked. We let her know it was too dangerous to bike, with the leaves and the steep slopes.
  • Cornelius – Jo had a dream where there was a cooler full of Carlsberg beer. It was a very vivid dream. She told me about it the next morning. She has never drank this beer. A few days later we visited the Cornelius Draft House, in Cornelius.  In the beer cooler everything was in place except for 1 missing Carlsberg beer. One of the owners, Wes had suggested this beer to a customer.   He liked it so much he had 2 more.  Jo decided to get one to take home. We forgot to get the name of the Carlsberg beer drinker. Next time we visit the Cornelius Draft House, both Mike and Jo will get a Carlsberg beer. Maybe a trip to Denmark is in our future.
  • Dillsboro. We visited Innovation Station brewery, and the Tuckaseegee put in. The put in is a boat launch for the Tuckaseegee river. We watched a few rafters put in. One lady brought her dog. One couple had a double raft with a cooler in the middle. Mike has no interest in tubing down a river. Jo is unsure.
  • Duck – We walked the boardwalk, then visited Sweet T’s. It was fitting that Sweet T’s is on Duck St. in the town of Duck. Very friendly place. We met Doug, who seemed to know everyone.
  • Elkin – We went to visit Carter Falls, and Grassy Creek Winery, Back in Elkin we met a family of clowns in the street, had beer and pizza at Angry Troll. We drove home while the Super Bowl was playing, not much traffic. We visited a second time to walk the rail trail. We met a guy with long hair from New Jersey that had a 22 year old dog. We then visited Skull Camp Brewery. Our third visit to Elkin was for Reevestock. We met Gale who lives in an RV. We would meet Gale again at concerts in Harmony NC, Greenlife Family Farm (Concord), and Cabarrus Brewery in Concord. Our 2022 trip for Reevestock was so full of stories I should make a new web page.
  • Graham – Visited Forgotten Road Ales, Food Truck was The Big Cheese – Mike got a massive chicken sandwich, which was so good, he split with Jo, as Jo ordered heathier food. Enjoyed walking the historic section. We needed that walk. In 2022 we visited little oblivion brewing.
  • Greenville – By the time Hurricane Ian reached Greenville, it was a tropical storm. We drove through this storm for a family event the next day. That night we visited the Blackened Kraken. The bartenders name was Ian, and he served me a Hurricane cocktail. I sat next to Chris, who ordered and ate a 16oz porterhouse steak (he saved some scraps for his chihuahuas). He is 22 and is studying to be a welder. He also grows “Bonsai Trees”. We visited the Jarvis Street Bottle Shop. We met Lars (AKA Larf) the manager who used to inseminate cows (he has long arms). We met Ainsley who is a classical guitarist. Ainsley was in Virginia Beach at the same time I was in 2013 when the “earthquake” hit. We met Molly and Ben. Molly runs Molly’s community Café. We had breakfast there Sunday AM. (get there early on Sunday) Our rental had a nice view of the Tar River.
  • Goldsboro – We stopped in Goldsboro on our way back from New Bern. We visited Goldsboro Brew Works. We talked to Mitch, the beer tender.
  • Hendersonville – Stayed at a VRBO – Breakfast at Mike’s on Main. Mike did not get a discount. The vacation rental had a wood stove and a hot tub. We stayed here to hike Dupont State Park, and visit Brevard. We have visited Oklawaha Brewery, on our way home from the mountains.
  • Hickory – Visited the historic section and two breweries. We met a couple who said Hickory was too boring. They had a place on Lake Hickory they said was too lively at night.
  • Kill Devil Hills – We stayed at a rental on Collington Island. Our location was a good starting point to visit many small towns in the Outer banks. We enjoyed lunch at the Salt Box, which was down the road from our rental. We enjoyed visiting Swells’a Brewing. Mama Kwan’s Tiki Bar, The Wright Brothers National Memorial and many other places. While kayaking in Kitty Hawk, Jo saw a few water moccasins. She was proud of herself for not screaming. We visited in late April, off season.
  • Maggie Valley – Stopped at Bear Waters Brewery for good beer and food. Jo ordered a beer, but it just kicked. She is good at kicking kegs. We sat in the back by Jonathan’s creek. There was a stray kitten who took up residence recently. We also visited SoCo Falls.
  • Mebane – Stopped to visit Shiny Penny Brewing, on our way back from Saxapahaw. Hope to visit again when we are in the area. We may kayak Lake Michael, and then re-visit Shiny Penny to try one of their pizza’s. They were very kind to Reedy, bringing him water and doggie treats.
  • Manteo – Manteo is a small town on Roanoke Island. We walked the waterfront, and visited Lost Colony Tavern. We could not stay long, hope to return and spend more time here.
  • New Bern – We rented an apartment in the historic part of town. We did not notice anything, but our dog reedy was growling at something in the apartment. Late Friday evening he was in our bedroom, staring into the living room, growling and slowly sliding backwards, as if being approached. Saturday AM he would not leave the bedroom, for breakfast. We visited a few breweries like Brewery99. We also visited Atlantic Beach and Beaufort. We hope to visit New Bern again.
  • Oriental – Ate at the Toucan Grill and visited the Village Gallery Art Gallery
  • Pittsboro – Had lunch at the Small B&B Cafe. Hung out with a blind cat. Toured a tiny museum.
  • Plymouth – While headed home from the Outer Banks, Jo suggested we visit the Roanoke River Light House. It is a replica and we could not go inside. Our cell phones did not work.
  • Salisbury – Visited their two breweries. One smelled of Chlorine. We did not ask why.
  • Saluda – We had an early dinner a the Purple Onion. Jo had wanted to visit this place for a long time. We were too early, so we had to sit at the bar and wait for the tables to be open for Dinner. Jo and I both ordered a Pale Ale. As usual we kicked the keg and Jo got the last pour. Unfortunately some debris from the keg wound up in the beer, so she got another beer. My beer was overpoured and spilled all over the counter. Our table was ready so I cashed out at the bar. However I had to wait, as the receipt printer was not working or out of paper. After a few minutes it was determined that our server was new and was at the wrong receipt printer. I still tipped normal. We had an awesome dinner. Later we walked around and shopped at a few stores. I recommend Historic Thompsons Store, and the Green River Brew Pub. While walking over a bridge to take pics, we saw what looked like a wedding but was a performance from Third Saturday Productions. We got our lawn chairs for the free concert. They ask for donations at the end. We ending the evening at Saluda Outfitters. We had a beer, Jo shopped, and we listed to Marc Higgins and the Chainsaw Bears. They are from Spartanburg SC. We look forward to visiting Saluda again.
  • Saxapahaw – We went to visit Haw River Farmhouse Ales, but it was take out only, cans that were in a cooler under a tent. The guy at the tent said you could reserve the entire tap room one hour at a time, but it was booked for the day. Google Maps, says they are open. We made a mistake. We went to The Eddy for lunch. This is two floors above the brewery. They have great food, Haw River beer in cans, and a beautiful view. Mike recommends the Fish and Chips. So we actually lucked out being turned away downstairs. We hiked the Haw river trail, and Jo shopped at the General Store. This is all in the same location. if you can find parking, it is a nice place to hang out. Reedy got to meet a great dane, and baby husky.
  • Siler City – Mike and Jo had their first nitro coffee at the Chatham Rabbit. We were just passing through, and it was a Sunday, so many shops were closed.
  • Shelby – Newgrass Brewing is one of our favorite breweries.
  • Southern Pines – We saw an old fire truck being driven by two people in holiday attire. We met Frank from Seattle who explained why he changed party affiliations after he relocated to NC. On our way home, there was a lane closed off by police – golf clubs in the road.
  • Sparta – Stopped at the Muddy Creek Cafe, we were just passing through on the way home from a hike.
  • Star – We visited Starworks, They have a Cafe and Taproom. We drank a beer in the “center of North Carolina”. At the gallery Mike bought a ceramic mug, made by artist David Roswell. This mug now is used for Mike’s morning coffee. Jo bought a “Here 2 infinity Scarf” made with North Carolina cotton by Lorin Fields. Star was once known for Textiles. Later we walked around Main Street. We stopped in and a CBD shop, it was the only place open…. Jo bought some hemp to use in a future home brew.
  • Sunset Beach – We need to go back to the Sunset Inn, and the Kindred Spirit Mailbox. While at the mailbox, a police officer stopped by to ask us if we has found any keys. Jo replied, “do you mean the key to your heart?” Jo was trying to write her entry into the mailbox, and the officer distracted her. He was unamused by her comment. Later we met a guy with a metal detector who was trying to find a diamond ring that was lost on the beach. We did not lose anything, however I did forget to bring the lettuce. It was not on purpose, but I rarely put green stuff on my sandwiches.
  • Surf City – Jo and I were enjoying the sunset over the intercoastal at a gazebo by a private boat launch. A truck towing a raft showed up. The group of guys were boy scouts who kept in touch over the years. They had built this raft to be a floating dock for a property on the intercoastal. We watched them paddle this raft into the darkness, as the sun had set. The next day Jo and I kayaked the intercoastal, and paddled past the new floating dock and said hello to the a few of the former scouts. Later during our paddle Jo was surprised by jumping shrimp near and onto her kayak. The next time Jo kayaks the intercoastal in Surf City, she is bringing a net. We also visited the Salty Turtle Brewery and the Trailer Bar. While I was at the Trailer bar a guy was buying everyone a drink. I had a drink, so I said no. I just wanted the WiFi password.
  • Sylva – While at Balsam Falls Brewing, we sat out front next to the sidewalk. We noticed the barber at Lucky’s Barber Shop close early at 4:30pm. Hard to not notice as he was changing his shirt with a shirt he had in the back of his Fiat. We said hello. After he left in his Fiat, a few customers pulled in. We told them “you just missed him”. We also ran into people who sat next to us at Innovation Brewing, which is down the street. They were from Atlanta. One guy looked like Bob Ross (Happy Trees). We talked about places we like to visit. They suggested Maggie Valley. Sylva is a fun town to walk around. Our second visit to Sylva and Balsam Falls we sat out front. We talked to one of the cooks, and a bush pilot from Alaska.
  • Topsail Island (south) – Walk the southern end of Topsail Island and then visit the Beach Shop & Grill. Do this off season, or during a weekday. Stop by Quarter Moon Books.
  • Wilson – Whirligigs – need to revisit to check out their breweries. We were just passing through on our way to Aurora NC. We eventually did visit Casita Brewery.
  • Washington – Visited on a cold and rainy day. We ate at Down on Main St, and bought Moscow Mule mugs at the Southern Nest. We use the mugs to drink our home brewed beer.
  • Waynesville – Stopped to get gas on the way home from Bryson City, we recommend the brand new Ingles gas station. We drove past Frog Level Brewing, but it was not yet open. There was an old man standing outside who said “hello!” as we drove by. We decided to visit the historic section of Waynesville, it is beautiful. Hope to visit again. We may do a VRBO here someday, and visit Frog Level Brewery. Update – We did visit Frog Level and had beer and taco’s by the creek in the back.
  • West Jefferson – Visited Boondocks Brewing, they had live music. We listened to many musicians. The lead guitarist played guitar on our picnic table, jumped off, and his guitar strap fell off. I took it and placed it on the stage for him. I forgot who the famous female blues bass player was, but I did record some of her singing. West Jefferson is a fun town to walk around, Reedy was his usual celebrity self, with lots of people wanting to pet him. We also camped nearby and hiked Mount Jefferson. The campground is near the Ashe County High School football stadium. We listened to the game. They lost. A neighbor of the campground was disputing an access road and almost roped off our campsite. We learned that Jo, Mike and Reedy cannot all exit the tent at the same time.
  • Wilkesboro – We hiked the Blue Ridge at Doughton Recreation Area. On the way back we stopped at the North Wilkesboro McDonalds to get coffee and lunch. Mike tried to order plain Iced Coffee. This confused the order taker, and a few minutes later he came back and said, do you want mocha? no I replied, I just want coffee and ice. no flavors….While the staff was trying to figure out how to prepare my iced coffee, there was talk amongst staff about a gas leak, and closing the restaurant. “No, there is not a gas leak” the manager replied.” Eventually we got our food and I got my plain iced coffee, just before they closed down. Now whenever we travel, Jo makes cold-press coffee the night before.
  • Waxhaw – we went to visit Daydreams Brewery. Reedy was with us and as usual was the center of attention. We later walked around the town, stopping at Waxhaw Candle company.

South Carolina

  • Beaufort – Beaufort did not have any breweries. Q on Bay was the closest, as it did have a decent beer selection. Had dinner at Lady’s Island Dockside (go early it gets busy). Visited Henry C Chambers Waterfront Park. We sat on the squeaky swings and watched the boats. Jo joined a drum circle. I should have. Maybe next time.
  • Charleston – on NYE 2020, while walking from Munkle Brewery to Cooper River Brewing, (which was closed, we went to Brewlab Charleston) Jo saw this tree trunk on Heirot St. The tree trunk is Grayson’s Tree of Knowledge. The plaque on it reads “God made this ole tree and I, and we often wonder why the people in this ole world are so discontent. My answer, rotten politics, greed, disloyalty to your fellow man.” The cypress tree dates back to the 1930’s. Grayson S. Carter Sr. May 12th 1884 – March 3rd 1981. Earlier that evening Mike had Shrimp and Grits from the Rutledge Cab Company.
  • Edisto Beach – Jo and I hiked Edisto Beach State Park. When we arrived a car parked next to us. It was a guy from New Jersey taking his grandchildren for a bike ride. They passed us a few times on our hike and ended their ride as we ended our hike. The man said he will soon retire to Edisto, his son lives here. He liked Reedy. He said that is the type of dog I want to get. We then went to hike at the beach, and get lunch. Mike and Jo recommend the Bang Bang Shrimp appetizer at Coot’s Bar & Grill. They also have Tater Tots.
  • Georgetown – We stayed at Baxter’s Brew House. Baxter’s is a “Bed and Brew.” The owner Joe brews beer for guests. This is 1 block from Front street. It is right in the middle of the historic district. This is a great place to stay to explore Georgetown. While at Buzz’s Roost, we listed to live music and were entertained by a birthday party celebration. The birthday girl turned 60. Everyone celebrating with her dressed up in 70’s attire. The following evening at The Gator Grill, we met a lady who also was turning 60. We left Gators for the Big Tuna Raw bar. We hung out with a macaw, the lady who turned 60 and her friend, Jimmy Carter, Jack the truck driver / farmer, some cool bartenders, Rob (who the next morning served us brunch before we headed home.) Jimmy Carter (not his real name, Jo thinks he looks like him) was talking to the lady who turned 60. This lady was going through a divorce. The conversation ended after people suggested Jimmy go home to his wife. Jo liked to visit Front Street guitars. She played a mandolin there that was easier to play than hers. She also bought drum sticks. Jo wants to do cardio drumming. Jo also plans to get her mandolin fixed so it is easier to play.
  • Johns Island – We visited 3 places – the Angel Oak Tree, The Tattooed Moose for lunch and the Fat Pig Brewery for a beer. The owner of the Fat Pig was there. He was was telling a story of burning leaves in his yard and the wind changed direction. The smoke blew into his neighbors house. The neighbor came outside and called him an asshole, and accused him of shooting at his dog. The neighbor is his grandfather. Mike bought a bottle Fat Pig’s limited release “Whiskey Aged Chocopotamus” beer to take back to our rental for New Years Eve. He had half, and fell asleep long before midnight. Good beer, just a bit too strong….. At the Tattooed Moose Mike recommends the Moose Burger with Pimento Cheese, and a side of Pork Rinds.
  • Lancaster – We visited The Craft Stand, which sadly was closing the following week. New owners will not re open for a few months. We ordered lunch from 521 BBQ & Grill online (they are across the street), and they delivered to The Craft Stand. We later visited Stonewall Books, next to the Pelican’s World Best Snowballs. Reedy growled at the store cat. We later visited Benford Brewery, which is on a farm. Reedy got to meet Spike, one of the farm dogs.
  • Pawleys Island – We went to Pawleys Island Tavern. We added dollar bills to the decor. While at the bar we met a guy who annoyed the bartender, Annoyed Jo, and annoyed me. I guess that would be a trifecta. Otherwise a very cool place to visit. If you do visit try the pizza.
  • Rock Hill – Justin and his 4 dogs, Amber and her blue heeler. Strange photographer. The king and his fancy sandals, Jo says they are soccer slides….. Justin is a street musician who hitchhikes with his 4 dogs. He was on his way to Belmont NC, or Columbia SC, I forgot. We told him to visit Wilmington NC.


Leesburg – We visited Bully Brewing on a quiet Saturday afternoon. The conversation at the bar was an incident that happed a few months ago. The entertainment, a singer/guitar player arrived. He setup his equipment, and ordered a beer. He then had 5 more pints of beer, prior to playing. During his performance his female friend was acting strange. She approached a patron at the bar and said “get on your knees and drink your beer in front of me”. This Patron said “I kneel for no one”. Later that evening the lady who asked him to kneel is dancing and flings a flip flop at the patron. He takes the flip-flop and throws it out of the brewery. The guitar player got mad, and decided to start cussing out the patron instead of singing. Yes he was cussing out the patron for dissing his girl, over the microphone. This caught the attention of the brewery owner, who told the guitar player to pack his things and leave. Our experience at Bully was less eventful. We did meet Dixie, the very friendly brewery dog.