Saturday, August 22, 2009

Unveiling Beanstalks on Beech: New Playground at the Recreation Center

When the family was last up on Beech over July 4th week, we attended Family Day at the Buckeye Lake Recreation Center. At the event, we enjoyed hot dogs, watermelon, and good ole' time music by a local band. But the belle at the ball was the brand-new outdoor playground, designed and built by Beanstalk Journeys Adventure Playgrounds. Children and adults alike were delighted, and we couldn't keep ourselves off of it.

Now there is yet another reason to drive over to the Buckeye Lake area on Beech Mountain!

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Wildcat Lake Returns!!

We had been reading a lot in the local news about the re-opening of Wildcat Lake in Banner Elk. The stories caught my eye, mostly due to an earlier attempt we made to visit a year ago, when Alex saw the lake on a map. But when we made the short trip down to Banner Elk from our place on Beech Mountain to take a look, we were surprised to find that Wildcat Lake wasn't there! So this year's re-opening of the park prompted us to go investigate - an excursion which exceeded our expectations in every way.

In short, the restored lake is just beautiful; and they have surrounded its banks with a wonderland of playground equipment and picnic facilities - plus a white sandy beach that borders both a childrens' shallow swimming area and a deeper one for adults, which is watched over by lifeguards!

The lake is also available for boating (with non-motorized craft only) and we could see docks for easy access to the water. Plus, it is my understanding that the Wildlife Resouces Commission has begun gradually restocking the lake with fish, starting with 5,000 bluegill this year. So another great fishing spot is in the making!

Anyway, what we had intended to be just a brief visit to scout around, stretched into a couple of hours, as we enjoyed the beautiful views and watched our daughter happily trying out all the jungle gyms and swings. We intend to come back with our swimsuits and a picnic next summer.

I will let the photographs convince y'all to do the same!

Monday, August 3, 2009

The Beach Comes to Beech! J.L. Trent's Seafood and Grille

We heard that J.L. Trent’s Seafood and Grill was coming to Beech Mountain, and so when we were next in town, we stopped by to try them out. We came for lunch, and were greeted by very friendly staff and a pretty nice atmosphere. Don't come in wearing your silks and pearls, as this isn't a ritzy place with mood lighting and high-end wine lists. However, it was a comfortable casual place to grab a tasty hot seafood meal.

As the owners are transplants from Jacksonville, Florida, (where you will find two other J.L. Trent's Seafood and Grill locations), the option of "Gator Tail" on the menu made sense. Although, I cannot say I was expecting it. My husband, ever the adventurer, ordered that; and I asked for the small Salmon plate grilled.

About the Gator Tail: I suppose we had some hazy expectation of a slice of something that might look like it had been carved from an Alligator's tail; and so the plate of small pieces of meat, breaded, was a slight disappointment. However, they were tasty; and most definitely did not taste like chicken. Not sure either of us have developed a new passion (Perhaps you have to be raised on Gator Tail?), but we're glad to have had the opportunity to try it.

My grilled Salmon was nicely seasoned and cooked just right. And those green beans were very yummy and perfectly Southern. Everything was piping hot, and (although I would have liked them to be a bit more generous with the hush puppies - not that I actually needed more of them), both of us left with happy palates and comfortably full tummies.

A very nice addition to the collection of restaurants on Beech Mountain.

J. L. Trent's Seafood & Grill
444 Beech Mountain Parkway
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