Tag Archives: TRAVEL

I Got No Thrill at Silver Hill Grill

When you’re close enough to the Atlantic Ocean to smell the salt air and see the mast of shrimp boats where the eastern view isn’t obstructed by t-shirt shops, you should be able to get some good fresh local seafood. That’s exactly what I expected when we chose to eat at the Silver Hill Grill at Holden Beach, NC.

The place looks just like what a good seafood joint should. Housed in a refitted mobile home with a few picnic tables enclosed under a screened awning our hopes were high. Such was not to be, however. I ask the woman at the order window what the fish was and she said, “whiting.” In Florida, whiting is what they call sea mullet in North Carolina. The same thing is sold in the freezer at Kroger, labeled whiting, and imported from China. Something here sounded fishy. Next question, “Is it fresh?” Answer, “No, it comes Continue reading I Got No Thrill at Silver Hill Grill

Basketball, an Island, and a Volcano: My Journey to the Caribbean.


I wasn’t sure if I wanted to tell this story. After all, it happened a long time ago and a lot of people have heard at least parts of it. Still, it has never been written and I thought it might be of some interest and worth hearing. Plus, I have to admit that it’s a pretty incredible story. It’s very long, so grab an adult beverage and relax. Hopefully you’ll enjoy it.

See that picture? Hours before that volcano blew I was standing at its edge with my Caribbean basketball players, peering down into it. Got your attention? Good. Let’s backtrack . . .

It all started over 16-years ago at the University of Maryland, where I was working at Gary William’s Basketball Camp. At the camp I’d become acquainted with an international coach who had worked in several countries, including a stint as the Greek National coach. He’d also been the National Coach of a tiny island in the Caribbean. The country’s name was Montserrat. I’d never heard of Montserrat at the time, but that would soon change.

A few months later, in the early spring of 1995, I got a call. On the line was a gentleman with a distinct British/Caribbean accent. He informed me that he was a businessman from Montserrat who also happened to be a supporter of their national basketball team. He’d been given my name by the coach previously mentioned, and he informed me that said coach had stepped down and Montserrat was looking for somebody new to train their team. Would I be interested? After getting some details (paid fare to the Caribbean, free lodging and meals, an island in a tropical paradise) I agreed. Hey, I’m not stupid. At the time I had no misgivings. It wasn’t until later that I started to Continue reading Basketball, an Island, and a Volcano: My Journey to the Caribbean.

What’s New at North Coast Muse?

Sally Turner Kennedy has a couple of new items on her blog, North Coast Muse. Sally is a bird lover, bird watcher, and bird follower. One of her new post focuses on what’s going on in the world of trying to restore Ohio’s peregrine falcon population. She’s posted a photo of two of the current Columbus peregrines chillin’ out high up in the Rhodes Tower in downtown Columbus.

Sally is a doer and loves to take in a festival, concert, art display, farm market, etc. Her most recent post is of a recent craft show she attended. As usual, she has some nice photos.

Like a Puff of Smoke

A friend of mine recently returned from a trip to Buffalo, NY. He was commenting on the paying $150 for a scalped “cheap seat” ticket to a Buffalo Bills game and what he had to shell out for a small bottle of liquor, $40. The stunner was the statement that a carton of cigarettes, with state, local and federal taxes, was $207.06.

If you travel you may have known for years that vice is not cheap in New York state and even more expensive in New York City. In the early 80s, when I still smoked, a pack of cigarettes in a NY machine was $2. Well above what the same would run in most other states.

When I began smoking in the 50s I can remember buying cigarettes from machines for Continue reading Like a Puff of Smoke

Goodnight Mrs. Calabash

In 1982, on our way from Atlantic Beach, NC to Disney World, FL we stopped in Calabash, NC for some of their famous seafood. The only memorable thing about the place wasn’t the seafood. It was the wheel about to come off our travel trailer and the two guys AAA sent to repair it, Joe and Moe. That I remember their names is one of those enigmas of life.

Calabash is reputed to have a unique style of cooking and all along the coastline of Carolina restaurants tout serving Calabash “style” seafood. In my opinion it is just deep-fried creatures that hopefully came form local waters and otherwise, not all that remarkable.

Recently, my wife and I drove the coast between Continue reading Goodnight Mrs. Calabash

Calabash’s Capt. Nance’s, Finally!

Took a fishing “head” boat out of Calabash today and my plan was to have lunch at Coleman’s “Original” Calabash Seafood. Earlier in the week we stopped there and a sign in the window declared they were only open from Thursday through Saturday. Discovered today they are not open for the lunch trade.

So, next door was Captain Nance’s Calabash Seafood and their parking lot was full and they were obviously interested in my food dollar. The Captain’s will be the third Calabash seafood joint I’ve eaten and the old adage, “third time’s a charm,” came true. Here’s the scoop on Nance’s.

First, the service was very fast and very friendly. Secondly, the hush puppies and sweet tea were on the table in a flash. The hush puppies were top shelf; fresh, hot, sweet and nice and crispy. The sweet tea was just what one would expect South of the Mason-Dixie, freshly brewed and enough sugar to keep your dentist employed.

My lunch consisted of adequate portions of fried shrimp and clam strips. Both were sweet, mild, tender, lightly battered and fried to perfection. The superb quality was certainly related to being able to look out the restaurant window and see the very boat the shrimp came in on and the mud flat the clams had until recently called home. I’ve never had better clams strips and it’s probably because I’ve never had fresh clam strips.

In true Southern style, the slaw was vinegar based and the acidity complemented and offset the sweetness of the seafood and hush puppies. I tasted something different, but good, in the slaw but couldn’t identify it. Should have ask but it slipped my mind.

The French fries were the one negative. They were simply run of the mill frozen sticks that are the stock in trade of American restaurants. Does anyone still slice, blanch, and fry potatoes?

Like I said earlier, and related to the cashier on the way out, it took three swings at Calabash before getting a plate of food worthy of a smile.



Finally, Oktoberfest & a Biergarten

Fifteen years ago I was drawn into a discussion between members of the local historical association. The topics were how to attract more members and get more community people to attend their programs and activities.

I wasn’t a member at the time but was asked for comments anyway. Maybe without thinking I answered the first question saying they needed to shake their publicly perceived image of being an elitist group trying to hold on to their claim of having descended from the town’s founders. I didn’t say this was a fair or exact image but lots of people believed it, nevertheless.

The second idea I offered was they should make their events mo’ better fun! A food event needed to be more than cheap boiled hot dogs and brownies from a mix. Continue reading Finally, Oktoberfest & a Biergarten

The Camera, Never Leave Home Without One

Sally Turner Kennedy is one of those I wish I could model myself after. She possesses an eye for the unusual, almost always has a camera near by, and remembers to use the damned thing when something catches her eye.

My daughter Jennifer is like that, as is Linda Fugate. Both are known to grab a camera and head into the world just to see what’s worth spending some pixels on. I saw Linda and her husband recently and their purpose for being away from home was to take pictures and check out yard sales. Both worthy of time.

Jennifer will grab her camera and go searching for fields of grain, wild flowers, cloud formations, sun rises, Continue reading The Camera, Never Leave Home Without One

Random Musings About Life on the Big Sandbar.

As some of you know we spend our summers in the Outer Banks. Marianne’s father built a cottage there back in the late 60’s, way before it got all touristy and whatnot. Anyway, with Irene passing through last week it got me to thinking about life at the beach and all that goes with it. By the way, Irene shot up behind us on The Sound side so the cottage escaped unscathed. This time.

It was another eventful summer with lots of visitors. Some stayed with us and some stayed elswhere, but I think everybody had Continue reading Random Musings About Life on the Big Sandbar.