Southern charm

We’ve escaped! We’re on the road for a month, away from work, cold, rain, snow, and routine. We’re spending the next few weeks in the South, seeing family, looking for sun and fun, relaxing, getting in some vacation and down time.

This month we’ll be in Georgia, Tennessee, Mississippi, and Florida. We’re spending our vacation time driving, hiking, planning, writing, trading, eating, sleeping, and playing. We’re also going to experience our first-ever cruise, which we’ve been inspired to do after watching cruise ships come in and out of Ketchikan for the past three years. But we don’t need to do Alaska. We’ve opted for the Caribbean, which will be a lot warmer and, I hope, a lot drier.

This time will also allow us to reconnect with parents and extended family, and that will be good. I have some personal trysts to keep, a good-bye to say to my grandmother, who passed away in November. This trip will bring that reality home to me. A visit to the cemetery is in order, and my mom wants to take care of some legal chores during this visit. But in the midst of the serious and the sad, there will be smiles, joy, favorite foods, good memories to explore, and to create.

We’re also doing an eating tour, sampling our Southern favorites: barbecue, farm-raised catfish, Cuban food in Florida, my mom’s and my mother-in-law’s specialities. And along the way, we’re sampling whatever we find that stirs a memory or triggers a craving. Here’s the one we experienced today:

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All I needed to see was the sign on the highway…exit now! And we did. Boiled peanuts are a Southern delicacy, a traditional favorite of childhood. These were really good: warm, just the right amount of salt, soft, but not too soft. Because the peanuts are sold in the shell, and the shells are moist from boiling, your fingers get a little shriveled as you shell the nuts and eat. But that’s just the price you pay for these warm little nuggets of goodness. Like the famous chips, no one can eat just one. “One more, one more,” they call to me, and I eat and eat, reminding myself that it’s not every day I find a boiled peanut vendor along the roadside. I’m practically obligated to eat the whole bag. Rob got a few, I’m happy to report. I was a polite pig.

Well, maybe you have to try them to understand. But if you ever have the opportunity, take it.

And now, let the vacation begin!

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18 thoughts on “Southern charm

  1. I’m so glad you’re flying south. Be sure to get some fried chicken, grits, true southern biscuit, and country ham. But I can’t handle the boiled peanuts. Glad there are people who like them, I’m just not one of them. Salted and roasted in the shell – now we’re talking.

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    • Love biscuits and ham! Especially country ham! Sorry you’re not a fan of boiled peanuts. And I am not a fan of roasted! Guess that’s what makes the world go round! Yes, love Southern food in all its glory! ~ Sheila

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      • If you love country ham, you should take a (long distance) side trip to our town, Smithfield, Va. We’re the Ham Capital of the World! Not to brag or anything….

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        • Sounds fun and inviting! I love Virginia, and a return visit is on my list very soon! But unfortunately, not this trip! Thinking about our next couple of excursions, so I’ll have to put this on the itinerary! Thanks for the suggestion, one of my goals is to do a “foodie” road trip. ~ Sheila

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    • I hope it will be! Food is always fun, especially when traveling. But the food is really secondary. This time is mostly about R & R, and future planning. We have to leave town to have some quiet time! (Suspect that’s true for most people!)

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  2. That made me want to grab up my Momma and head for her homeplace in South Carolina. We picked peanuts in the field with my grandpa and my grandma would boil them in the yard in a big cast iron kettle. Thanks for the memory and enjoy your trip.

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    • Hey, glad that stuck a chord with you! I couldn’t help myself when I saw that sign. I’ve had some boiled peanuts now and then in my adult life, and it sure is fun to relive a little of the good times of childhood! Thanks for stopping by, and I’ll be sure to check out your site too! ~ Sheila

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    • We’ve been to Kentucky to visit friends, and our son was based at Ft. Campbell, on the TN/KY border. We’ve been there a couple of times during his stay. We’ve visited Mammoth Cave, and explored some backroads with our friends who have a home near the big cave. Very fun, enjoyable, and beautiful! But as we don’t have family there now, it wasn’t on our list this time! But nothing personal…just a bit off our path!

      Sheila

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  3. Oh I am so excited for you! What an adventure you will have!! Yes – sweet sorrow and memories mixed in — but time with family, time to reconnect, time to rest and time to just “be.”

    Looking forward to hearing more about your adventures and the tasty treats you find along the way 🙂
    MJ

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  4. Here’s hoping you have a wonderful, restful vacation. I’m sure it will be bittersweet (my sympathy the loss of your grandmother.) But the good times will far outweigh the sad ones.
    I’ve never eaten boiled peanuts (although I do see them here in Virginia).

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    • Thank you! We are ready for a break from stressful and hectic “regular” life! And one of the best parts? We will be doing a lot of driving, at least for part of our time away! That has become a real pleasure after living for the past few years in an environment where you hardly drive more than a mile or two, and the scenery, while beautiful, doesn’t change much. I know you Motor people will understand!

      And you really should give boiled peanuts a try, at least once. Or maybe they have to grow on you!

      Sheila

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  5. Cool! Congratulations on your trip. As soon as I saw the photo I thought, “Mmmmm boiled peanuts!” I also loved those as a child. My grandparents are from the south so we always had and knew where to find southern goodies.
    Have fun on the rest of your trip. Bon Voyage!

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  6. Oh, I love boiled peanuts! When I was a child, that was a common snack to have especially on the bus rides from our village to the town proper. Oftentimes, there would be ambulant vendors selling boiled peanuts, corn, eggs, etc. and shouting at the top of their voices. I miss those days when life was simple. 😉

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    • Me too! Simple life…where did it go?! I used to eat boiled peanuts at high school football games, and my grandmother made them for us too. I tried to do it once, and learned that you have to start with raw peanuts. I bought peanuts in their shells, but didn’t think about the fact that they were roasted already. So my try at this wasn’t so great. But I may have to find raw peanuts in the shell and have another go! I didn’t know this treat was common in other parts of the world. Thanks for sharing, I learned something fun! ~ Sheila

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