Sunday, October 09, 2011

Journey to the North, 1st Leg

The Old Union Courty Courthouse/Union County Historical Society Building.

This past Friday we had a mission. We were to go to Blairsville, Union County, Georgia, get a room, eat at a barbecue restaurant we have been to before, go to a concert, the next morning drive to Franklin, North Carolina, to a reunion, and on our return trip stop by an outlet mall in Dawnsonville.

We did all of the above. Now, let me show you pictures and tell you the details. If you feel like yawning, please cover your mouth.

The whole 300 mile 32 hour round trip will take a few posts, I’m not sure how many, but just hold on.

We left Marietta about noon. We arrive in Blairsville in the afternoon (who keeps up with the exact minutes?). We made reservations for a room at the motel closest to the Old Union County Courthouse. We read reviews of the motel before we made reservations. It is a privately owned motel, not a franchise. The owner's home is on the 2nd floor of the establishment. The reviews could not say enough nice things about the place. I don’t know how the other rooms are but I don’t think these people who wrote the reviews stayed in room 110. The carpet was dirty and the door hardware that allow you to opened the door only partly, without undoing it missing. It was scary. On a good note, we looked for bedbugs and found none and it was cheap.

We checked in and left. We drove south to Booger Hollow area and the Choestoe District. The Choestoe District is the area my earliest known Hunter relatives lived in. We have been to this area often. There are still some Hunter descendants in the area. Choestoe means in Indian, “Land of the Dancing Rabbits.” I want to know if the Indians named it before or after my relatives settled there. And, I just think Booger Hollow is a funny name. I have read obituaries of the Union County newspapers saying, “So and So, of Booger Hollow passed away…..”

Also in the area is the barbecue eatery Jim’s Smokin’ Q. When we were up in July, we stumbled across this place and found it to have delicious barbecue. It is good and they serve plenty of it. On that visit I had ribs and found them delicious. This time I tried the beef brisket. It was delicious and what is bad is that the serving looked to be almost the size of a loaf of bread (I think I heard one of the girls say it was a pound) – and I had to eat it all or leave it. We were travelers, we did not have the means to eat it later). I almost had to crawl away. Jim and his wife and two daughters are the staff. They are opened only three or four days a week. The two daughters are clones of their mother and everybody looks happy. I don’t know if happiness is a ingredient of good barbecue but it works here. Their slogan is “You Can Smell Our Butts for Miles”.

Click here for Jim's Q's website

Just up the road less than a mile is Pappy’s establishments. On a flat area next to the Nottely River* are about four or five businesses all owned by Pappy: Pappy’s Fudge, Pappy’s Car Museum, Pappy’s Gift Shop, Pappy’s Ice Cream, and I don’t know what all. Below is not the car museum but looks like a work-in-progress production.

*Nottely River is one of the rare rivers that flows north.

The concert at the Old Union County Courthouse (aka Union County Historical Society building) was to start at 7:00. We decided we had better get there at 6:00 to get a good seat. I forgot that mostly old people attends these bluegrass concerts, and old people are compulsive about being early, like us.

We walked over at 6pm and it was a good thing. The place was filling up quickly.
After we got ourselves seats on the front row I went downstairs to look at their museum.

I came across this bust of Charles Roscoe Collins (1907-2000). Roscoe is my 3rd cousins, once removed. I have talked to him several times at Hunter Reunions at Blairsville. He was one of the few, if not the only man who wore a coat and tie to the reunions. He had a certain image he wanted to maintain. He was an educator and organized several civic organizations. He also wrote several articles in the local newspapers about growing up in the Choestoe Community. It seems he was over the Union County Board of Education at one time.

The concert was good, energetic, and funny. The banjo player and the key speaker kept everybody laughing. What more could you demand for a free concert?

After the concert it was a few minutes after 8:00. We walked over to the Hole in the Wall Café for dessert. It was just across the street. The picture below was taken earlier in the day. Several times in the past I noticed motorcycles parked out front. We didn’t know what to expect.

Near the entrance was a big round table with four middle age-elderly couples. They were from out of town and wanted to know about the area. A man behind the nearby cash register was talking to them, more or less enlightening them on local stuff and food making. It did not take long to figure out he was the owner. He was soft spoken but loved to talk about things that he was interested in. Somehow in the anything-goes conversation one of them asked him if he charged law people to eat. He said he gives law people a discount and also public utilities men. He spoke of two Georgia State Patrolmen who stop by often. He said law enforcers risk their lives to protect us and even mail carriers get paid more than they do. I felt the need to jump in with all fours and swinging but I didn’t. His heart was right. But postal employees work hard for their pay too, I snorted to myself.

We ordered apple pie, which I am pretty sure was homemade, either made by a friend he mentioned to the group or himself. By what he told them he enjoys cooking. He also told them of his catfish and trout supply.

The group of people paid their bills and left. The man walked by us and talked a little but we didn’t have the gift of gab to inspire him to talk more. But he did tell us of rose pedal jelly that his aunt of a friend made and he had jar on each table. I also saw little paper footprints were all over the walls and ceiling. It was probably a school art project.

The eatery had two waitresses. I think one was fairly new. While we were eating I could see the rear of the dining room. The man told the fairly new one to sit at the table. She did. He then demonstrated how one should serve. She was attentive and apologized for doing it differently. He gently told her that was OK, “You didn’t know.”

I think if I lived near Blairsville I would visit this place often.

Next: The drive to Franklin, NC.

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