The Traveling Steve's

Weekend in Roanoke visiting Family

On Friday afternoon I finished up my work-week in Chicago, and flew nonstop to Roanoke on a United Express jet.  It was a nice flight, and quick too at just under two hours.  So quick in fact we arrived 25 minutes early to Roanoke and there was no one to meet our plane. No baggage handlers, jetway driver, etc, so we sat for 15 minutes while the Pilot tried to get a hold of someone.  With a quick sense of humor, he said there must only be set of people meeting the planes for the whole airport, and you can see them next gate over helping the Delta plane load bags!   Funny, but true, sure enough after loading the Delta bags, the two men s-l-o-w-l-y walked over to our plane with the sense of urgency of a tortoise running the marathon. It only took the jetway driver a few tries to get the gate up to our small jet, with the jetway ringing and ringing as she went back and forth.  I heard the Pilot tell the Flight Attendant, she must be in training, while Steve (DOS) watched the comical action from the window above in the terminal.

Once inside the terminal, I met (DOS) who had gotten in a bit earlier in the day on American Airlines from Sarasota (via Charlotte).  We went down to the car rental counter, and added my name to DOS’s rental car agreement he had already signed, and picked up the car for.  I took a photo of this propeller plane that was now located right next to the National Car Rental desk.  I asked the agents about it, as AVIS used to be where the plane was, but she said they moved down the terminal temporarily, while the airport is planning on hanging that plane from the ceiling.  For our next visit . . .  stay tuned.  We then headed out to my brother Andy’s house in South Roanoke.  

We came this weekend to see my parents, and as they are 84 years old, try and assist them with errands etc, as well as getting their old house emptied out to sell.  They moved to their new house last year, however as Mom had been in rehab for a hip replacement, Dad had moved over much of the home furnishings to their new house.  Their new house is now only five houses down the street from Andy and Art’s, which is very convenient for them.  We stopped by to see Mom and Dad around 6pm, and stayed with them awhile before heading up to Andy’s house where we ‘checked in’ for the weekend.   We made plans with Mom and Dad before heading out, we would go to the old house on Saturday, and help out anyway we could.

As is tradition when we go to Roanoke for the weekend, we took Andy and Art out to dinner at Frankie Rolland’s Steakhouse downtown.  So we could appreciate the night more fully (i.e. have good wine and drinks) we took Uber to and from the restaurant.  Going to Frankie’s is always a night out, and this was no exception!

We started the evening in our usual bar-side sitting area benches with a Cosmo for me, and the house Martini for Andy and Art, while Dos just had water in anticipation of the wine with dinner.

After pre-dinner drinks, we had a nice round table in the center of the restaurant.  As always we have exceptional service at Frankie’s, and we always ask the owner, Jason, for an wine recommendations, as he often has several premium wines not on the regular wine list.

We started the leisurely meal with a bottle of Perrie Joliet for a toast while we looked thru the appetizer list.  While DOS and I are not big Bubbly fans (like Art is), we enjoyed the toast and a glass or two between us, while Andy and Art had the balance of the bottle.

I had Shrimp Cocktail for an appetizer, while DOS, Andy, and Art all had Oysters, and and shared another appetizer as well. Jason had suggested a nice Chardonnay, and it was truly outstanding!   

We are not big white wine drinkers, but do like a white with our appetizers, and this white Jason suggested, Varner Chardonnay 2011, was incredible!  

We enjoyed a nice salad next, which also went very well with the Chardonnay.

Our main dish was especially a treat.  DOS, and Art both had a huge entree of Rack of Lamb. While I’m not a huge lamb eater, I must say their lamb dishes looked delicious as well as enormous!  Of course Dos and Art agreed it was delicious, all while doing there best to finish such a huge portion of the lamb.

Andy had the surf and turf: Filet Mignon and Lobster, which he thoroughly enjoyed,

while I had the Cowboy Ribeye.  My ribeye was delicious as well, coupled with a bit of horseradish and peppercorn sauce on the side.

At Jason’s recommendation, we had an exquisite Cabernet Sauvignon with our entrees, (Turnbull Cabernet 2013 Oakville CA), which was beautifully decanted table side prior to our entrees being served.

After the wonderful entrees, we still saved a small amount of room left for dessert, which we shared, along with a glass of port.  After all we were taking Uber!  

We finished up the meal, and DOS was so gracious to pick up the check for the outstanding meal.  Thanks DOS!

On Saturday, we took my parents out to their old house to assist with cleaning out some of the few remaining things left there.  We had a nice leisurely day, and first took them to lunch at Mission Barbecue.

 Mission Barbecue is an awesome and fast growing chain that is in many cities now.  It has a Patriotic them honoring our service men and women, First Responders, sports teams, and generally an All-American feel good restaurant, with great food, friendly service, and even a couple reserved parking spaces for veterans.  

It opened on Sept 11, 2011 in honor of the Nine-Eleven tragedy; the horrific loss of life by life by so many, and the many responders and volunteers who gave so selfishly on that fateful day.  If you haven’t been to Mission Barbecue, please try it out – you’ll be glad you did!  Oh, and the food is great too!  I especially like this quote on the wall, written right above some football jerseys; while applicable to sports, it also applies to everyday life in general. “If you knew you couldn’t play tomorrow, How hard would you play today?”

After lunch, we drove along the scenic Blue Ridge Parkway to my parents old house.  The Blue Ridge Parkway is designed for non-commercial vehicles only, and at the leisurely speed of 45mph, it offers spectacular views of the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains along the way. 

I love driving along the parkway, with its overlooks and simply, yet architecturally symmetrical arched bridges.

Along the way to the old house, I made a sightseeing stop at Mill Mountain.  The Mill Mountain Star is Roanoke’s claim to fame, with a gigantic neon-lit star sitting on top of the mountain, overlooking the Roanoke Valley.  

There is a nice overlook there offering scenic views of the city, and on a clear day, you can see downtown and all the way to the airport and beyond.

Mill Mountain also has a zoo, and the Mill Mountain playhouse, although the latter has been moved downtown into the city from it’s original location.  There are also picnic , hiking, and camping facilities in the area as well as at the adjacent Roanoke Mountain.  On a beautiful day like this you will also see people riding their bikes or hiking along the parkway there.

At Mom and Dad’s old house, we were pleased to see much of it had been cleaned out, except for a few boxes in their bedroom, and some items left in the garage.

 One of them was Mom’s wedding dress from 1955, still in pretty good shape as it had been carefully displayed on a maniguen-type rack all these years.  (It was actually in the basement until recently, when the basement was cleaned out it was brought to the garage.)  Mom ‘modeled’ her dress for us and it still looks like she could wear it!

Likewise, I located a box of old clothes Mom had saved, and I attempted to model a cowboy vest I had worn as a seven year old boy.  Only problem was it didn’t fit me too well!  But my Mount Vernon cap still fit from a field trip there as a 2nd grade class trip. LOL!

After taking a few things back to their new house, we relaxed a bit before dinner.  Here are my parents in front of their new house with my brother Andy, as we prepared to head out for dinner.

Tonight we went took my parents and Andy and Art to Carlos Brazilian steakhouse.  We had not been there before, and it sits high on a hill overlooking the valley, with gorgeous views of the mountains and valley below.

We had a nice meal including appetizers of lobster-bytes, shrimp cocktail, soup, and later our entrees.  Andy and I had the NY strip special, while the others had salmon, chicken, pasta, and DOS had some unique Brazilian dish.  No wine tonight, as my parents were dining with us.

The meal was excellent, and as the meal progressed, the sunset views were awesome.  They do have some patio seating outdoors, which would be a nice place to sit at sunset.

On Sunday, we went to Church near where my parents used to live.  They really like and miss the Church there, but it’s over half an hour to go now that they’ve moved, and don’t get there very often now.  After Church, we went to Abuelo’s Mexican Restaurant after Church, and had a nice Mexican meal there.

The afternoon was nice and leisurely; even lazy you could say.  It was really nice having a full Sunday in Roanoke, as we usually fly home Sunday afternoon, and DOS and I weren’t leaving until Monday evening this trip.  We enjoyed playing with Barnabas, Andy and Art’s adorable poodle!  He requires so much attention, and has this guilt look if you have to leave the house!  Barnabas just celebrated his First birthday, and Andy and Art had thrown him a part for him, complete with doggie hat, treats, toys, doggie people napkins and cake!  He’s so adorable!

Sunday night, Art cooked for us, and my parents joined us for dinner as well.  It was such a beautiful evening we brought our appetizers on the deck, before sitting down at the dining table indoors for dinner and dessert.

Art is always such the host when we visit Roanoke, and here he is lining up the plates for our strawberry cheesecake with fresh strawberries on top.

Finally Monday came to quickly, and DOS and I had to head home.  DOS was flying back to his house in Sarasota on American Airlines, and I was flying back to Orlando on Allegiant Airlines.  Although I don’t really care for Allegiant, I must say they have gotten much better with their ridiculous fees, eliminating the ‘convenience fee’ of nearly $20 EACH WAY, which was actually a few just to book the flight!  The fares are cheap, and I don’t mind paying extra for a reserved exit row seat, but the ‘convenience fee’ was truly a rip-off no other airline charges.  The nicest thing about Allegiant is they are the only airline that flies from Roanoke to Orlando (although Sanford Airport, not MCO) nonstop, although only a couple days a week.  Sanford Airport is actually closer to my home in Orlando, and as a small airport, it’s easy to fly in and out of, and this time the one way flight I took on them left at a good time so I took them.

I watched as DOS’s plane taxied out of the Roanoke Airport, before boarding my flight on Allegiant back to Orlando.

 I had a nice and quick hour and a half nonstop flight, and before I knew it, I was landing at Sanford-Orlando Airport (SFB). 

It was truly a wonderful weekend visiting family in Roanoke.  Welcome Home!



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *