March 31, April 1-2
Twice before I had attempted to visit Bill and his wife Mary, the Raleigh branch of the Doherty Clan. On my first ERT in 2005 I stopped in Nashville to visit with Bills kin: brother Robert, sister Donna and his dad, Bill Sr. I was supposed to see Bill and Mary on that same trip, but it did not happen.
I wanted to visit, but, not wanting to make the daunting drive to Raleigh I decided to do something I had never done before - fly somewhere for the weekend. To me this was extravagance! But, too be able to visit with Bill and meet Mary without doing the 16 hours of driving sounded pretty good to me.
My flight was to leave Pittsburgh at 1:30 and arrive in Raleigh at 2:53. Only 1.5 hours of flying time. Still amazes me how short the trips can be when flying.
I left Morgantown around 11:00 and headed North on I-79. When I got to Washington it had started to spit snow and with every mile north the snow got heavier. By the time I was a few miles from the airport it was snowing hard and it was sticking on the roads. This did not look good. I pulled into long term parking. There were large piles of plowed snow everywhere.
Having no baggage to check I headed directly to security and then onto the gate. Here I did what I consider the biggest waste of time possible - wait. And wait and wait and wait...
Finally it got to be boarding time and there was no one to be seen at the gate and no plane at the flight deck. Soon it was only minutes from departure time and then it came - the dreaded announcement stating our flight was to be delayed for some reason or other. Now we all got to wait for nearly two hours before were in the air.
I found a pay phone so I could call Bill to let him know my flight would be late. But, I could not get my phone card to work for some reason. So, I sat there fretting the whole time about Bill and Mary waiting at the Raleigh airport, am me - nowhere to be found.
To make a long story even longer we finally touched down, I found my way to baggage claim, stepped out the door to the loading area and there was Bill. Yippee! Mary was right at curbside in her new Mustang. Bill and I hopped in - he gave me "shotgun" so I could see better and we jockeyed for position to get into traffic and we were on our way.
We got to their townhouse in short order. Mary flew into action cooking dinner - a fabulous pot roast with gravy, mashed potatoes and carrots. Delish! Since Bill and I had a lot of catching up to do (it had been 27 years since we had seen each other) we started yacking in earnest. Although we had reestablished contact via email 3 years previously and spoke on the phone as well, there is nothing like being there.
Bill and Mary's son Will and his girl friend Stephanie joined us for dinner and it was great to get a chance to meet them both.
We spent the rest if the evening visiting and catching up and it was soon my bed time.
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They will be slow to load with a dial-up connection.
Bill smokes a pipe on occasion and is quite the aficionado. Knowing I appreciate "old timey" stuff he wanted to take me to the pipe shop he frequented - " Pipes By George". He has been in business at 1209 Hillsbourgh Street since the mid 1970s. George is an "institution" among Raleigh's pipe smokers.
Just a few the pipes George has for sale. The shelving on the left is all various kinds of tobacco.
If one could actually buy cigars made in this fashion I would probably start smoking them!
George is a very kind and gracious gentleman and has a wealth of knowledge about pipes and tobacco.
"That kind of pipe is called a Church Warden, I don't remember which actual brand it was. Church Wardens are distinctive because of the long stem, which provides a cooler smoke." - Bill
"That pipe is Peterson. Made in Ireland. That particular one has a "spigot" where the stem joins the shank. George is pointing out, that the spigot is Sterling Silver. I really like Peterson pipes alot. I own three in my collection. I would love to have the pipe George is showing me, but it is a $450- pipe!" - Bill
Representative of the "City of Oaks", this giant copper acorn sculpture was designed by artist David Benson and is placed in Moore Square.
Moore Square Historic District
No houses here, but the Moore Square Historic District is home to one of two parks that are still around from the original city plan mapped out in 1792. Today Moore Square is best known as the site of both the Artsplosure festival and the giant copper acorn. Sure, you can go to Raleigh without visiting the giant copper acorn. Suit yourself. Seems a bit churlish, though. Too good to have your picture taken with a giant copper acorn? Too hoity-toity to rub it for good luck? The giant copper acorn weighs a half ton. The significance of the giant copper acorn is that Raleigh is sometimes called the "City of Giant Copper Oaks." Well, actually it's just the "City of Oaks" that Raleigh is sometimes called. Visit the giant copper acorn
Near Moore Square is Big Ed's City Market Restaurant. Today a Dixieland band was keeping everyone happy with snappy tunes.
This place was founded by Big Ed Watkins, who claims some of the recipes were handed down from his great-grandfather, a Confederate mess sergeant. Southern cooking doesn't get much more traditional than this place; make sure you indulge in the biscuits. The restaurant is filled with antique farm implements and political memorabilia, including snapshots of presidential candidates who have stopped by. Every Saturday morning a Dixieland band plays
Just around the corner is the old railroad depot - Raleigh Station.
Finally - lunch time! Bill and Mary had promised me some North Carolina style BBQ and Coopers is the place to get it.
Located in downtown Raleigh, this quaint joint has been serving barbecue since 1938. In days gone by, Mr. Cooper made his barbecue with shoulders and hams by traditional methods outside the city at his home in Cary. Today, the barbecue is made upstairs in electric pits. Completed with a traditional eastern North Carolina finishing sauce, the barbecue at Cooper's is as good as it gets without having been cooked over coals. The hush puppies are good, too. And, when you order for take-out, they even throw in a few pork skins for you to nibble on while you are driving home!
Source: Pitstops along the BBQ Highway
No fancy decor, just good eatin'.
We were three happy (and soon to be full) customers.
The generous portion of pulled pork was delicious. The sauce used on the BBQ is tangy, vinegary and very tasty. This size of slaw portion I am not used to seeing. Most places give you an ice cream scoop dollop - if you are lucky.
"But wait - that's not all!" You also get some home made pork rinds. These were super crunchy and not greasy. Delish. For dessert? Hush puppies. I say dessert because the traditional recipe in NC uses sugar in the pups.
Now, here is the good part. All this goooooood home cooking - for only five bucks! That cannot be beat.
On Sunday morning Bill took me for a walk on the local Greenway. It was a gorgeous, sunny day and there were lots of people out enjoying the Spring weather. Maggie went with us and had a good time as well.
I snapped this shot with my Elph just 'cause I though it was pretty. It is the table cloth on the kitchen table.
"Mary made that table cloth for her mother when she was 25 years old. That is Mary's needle work. We inherited it back after her mom passed away." - Bill
Oh boy- time for lunch again! This time it was Fat Daddy's, another Raleigh institution. They serve burgers, steak sandwiches and other goodies - naked.
Here is where you "dress" your sandwich. I thought it was salad bar!
We had arranged to meet "Dizzy" Lizzy for Lunch.
Lizzy and all of Bill's family and I have one thing in common - Junior Nature Camp. Liz and the Doherty's were at Camp as campers and I was on Staff. There were, and continue to be many life long bonds forged at JNC.
All four of us ordered the Sirloin Steak sandwich. An entire steak cooked as you specify and then placed on a huge bun. As you can see, I like onions as well as steak.
There was some distinctive tile work at Fat Daddy's.
Wall to wall and floor to ceiling tile makes for easy clean-up
Bill's office and work station. Among *other things Bill is a casework designer and a CAD draftsman for Triangle Casework.
My Last Supper - good old Spaghetti and Meat Balls.
Thanks, Bill and Mary, for a wonderful visit!!