The Traveling Steve's

Father’s Day Week in Roanoke

Steve (DOS) and I spent Father’s Day weekend/week in Roanoke, Virginia, and as always enjoyed being back home in Virginia where I grew up.  It’s always feels like I’m being welcomed home when I see the Blue Ridge Mountains,  and especially Mill Mountain with the star atop the mountain. Florida is so flat, so it’s a nice change of scenery every visit we take to Roanoke.

As I was not traveling for work that week, I was able to work ‘remote office’, and we stayed at my parent’s former house, just up the street from my brother Andy and his partner Art.  I say former house, as my parents still own it, but they moved into English Meadow’s (former Elk’s Home) assisted living at the beginning of the year.  We combined visits with my parents in Bedford (45 minutes away), as well as visits with Andy and Art, and a few nice dinners out.

On our first night in Roanoke, DOS and I took Andy and Art to Alexander’s Restaurant in downtown Roanoke, right across the street from Frankie’s where we’d later stop on the way out for a nightcap, and later on in the week for a nice dinner.  As always when we’re heading downtown, we took Uber for safety and convenience; not having to worry about having too much vino and driving.  We had never been to Alexander’s before, and it was quite a treat!  The food is ultra-fresh and the menu changes daily. We had a nice large window table upfront, and while we got there at 7pm, we were the last table to leave!  We really enjoyed our meal at Alexander’s!  

On Saturday, DOS and I drove down to Bedford to see my parents. I must say they both looked great and so relaxed!  We were worried they wouldn’t like the assisted living, but they really enjoy living there.  As I’ve written before several times, the Elk’s Home is HUGE, and feels more like a country retreat than an assisted living facility, as my parents and the other residents all have private apartments there.  My Dad just turned 86, and Mom will next month, and at this point in their lives genuinely seemed relaxed and comfortable without the home hassles of maintenance chores, cooking, housecleaning, paying bills etc.  Coupled with the safety of 24 hour health care, as well as meeting new people they’ve really adjusted well.   We visited with my parents most of the afternoon before heading back to Roanoke.

Sunday was Father’s Day, so we picked Mom and Dad and went to the nearby Presbyterian Church we went to last time with them. The people there (actually everywhere in the small town of Bedford) are so friendly and welcoming, and they feel comfortable going there.  We spoke to a couple of people that had previously picked them up for Church, and we exchanged phone numbers with them.

After Church, we drove along the Blue Ridge Parkway to The Peaks of Otter.  The Peaks is only about 15 minutes from the Elk’s Home, and it’s always a nice place to visit set amidst the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains. It’s named the Peaks as it sits atop one of the highest mountains in the area.  On previous visits we’ve done some hiking there on the trails, but today we just enjoyed the beauty and quietness of the nature.

There is a lodge there, as well as a restaurant, and today it was quite busy for the Father’s Day Brunch, but still felt a world away with it’s quiet and secluded location.  We had reservations for six people at 12:45pm, and we were seated at that time, although we did have a short wait while Andy and Art arrived from their church.  While waiting for them we sat in the rustic lounge area overlooking the lake.


Once seated, we had a large table in the smaller (and quieter) dining room, with a beautiful view out the windows of the mountains and lake.

The buffet itself was very nice with ‘country cooking’ food, a carving station, and dessert bar.

After the filling lunch, we walked outside and down by the lake.  Like yesterday, it was a beautiful day, and we enjoyed see a few other families enjoying the Father’s Day like we were.  We took a few photos outdoors before taking my parents back to English Meadows.

Sunday night Andy and Art cooked for us ‘light appetizers’ at their home, and of course we left totally stuffed!  

On Monday evening Andy, Art, DOS, and I went to Montano’s Restaurant, just up the road from their house.  We requested our favorite server there, Kelly, whom Art texts the day before we go to make sure we get her table.  As usually, Kelly clowns up a bit with us, and we all have a fun night out.

On Tuesday after work we went to a food and wine dinner at Carrabba’s Italian Restaurant.  While it is a chain restaurant, this one is definitely one of the better ones.

 Their monthly food and wine pairings have gotten so big they section off over half the restaurant for the evening, with assigned tables for everyone, as reservations are required for the sold out dinners. They have a set menu paired with a different wine with each course, and they have a sommelier who explains the wine and pairing prior to serving.

On Wednesday evening, DOS, Art and I went to visit my parents at English Meadows, (Andy had to work late) and took them out to dinner at a local Mexican restaurant – Don Juan’s. Art drove us there which gave us an opportunity to enjoy the scenic country-side views along the way.

Bedford, Virginia is a small town so there’s no ‘fine dining’ that’s for sure, but we had a fun time and a good meal there.  It was a bit odd at first as all our meals came out individually at different times, and once we saw the huge plate size, we figured out why.  

Art had the best funny line of the night when he saw Dad’s platter: “You ordered the Cinco del Mayo, but didn’t expect getting the whole month of May”!   Dad’s platter was enormous!

After dinner, no dessert of course after that meal (!), Mom and Dad posed for a photo on the way out, with a couple of the giant sombreros.

On our last night in Roanoke, we went to our favorite restaurant there – Frankie Rowland’s Steakhouse.  

Going to Frankie’s is definitely a full night out, and an Uber must getting there and back, due to the wonderful cocktails and vinos they serve.  Here’s DOS, Art and Andy waiting for our Uber ride.

On this night we got the coveted ‘Table 50’, which is the best seat in the house, and offers a bit of privacy in the far corner of the restaurant. As always, the service, food, and ambiance are outstanding at Frankie’s.  The manager Jason always stops by our table, and presents us with a couple great wine recommendations, usually not on the regular wine menu.  Tonight was no exception, and we had some really outstanding vinos to go with our appetizers and entrees.

A night out at Frankie Rollands is truly a night out, and it’s always the highlight of our dining experience when we go to Roanoke – truly outstanding!

By the end of the week though, it was time to go home and DOS and I flew back to Orlando at 8pm Friday night.  I always like flying out of Roanoke and looking out to the Blue Ridge Mountains while waiting for the flight.  Our first flight was on a small Embraer jet with 1 X 2 seating.We connected in Charlotte, and had a little over an hour layover scheduled, although our flight from Charlotte to Orlando ran late.  We visited the Admiral’s Club in Charlotte ‘C’ concourse for a while before heading to our gate out of the ‘D’ concourse. I always love the huge domed ceiling in the Charlotte club.

We had a quick flight from Charlotte to Orlando and had some snacks and a drink in First Class on the hour and fifteen minute flight.  When we got to Orlando there had been a typical summer storm, and the baggage claim area was jammed with hundreds of passengers waiting for their luggage from the delayed flights.  We both knew there was no sense waiting on our luggage as it could take an hour or two, so we went home and picked up our luggage the next day.

We didn’t get home until nearly 1am, but we could rest up on Saturday, and that we did.  It was a wonderful Father’s Day week in Roanoke, and we’re already looking to go back.

Welcome Home!





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