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Georgia On My Mind, Part 11

After lunch, we continued our walking tour of Blue Ridge, during which we encountered a cutely named general store. Since I worked two summers during my teenage years at our Uncle Whitey's general store, I had to check this one out.

They had a nice array of preserves, jams and jellies but this was not really the old time general store that I knew. Those were more like a combination of miniature grocery store, hardware store, clothing store, shoe store plus, in my uncle's store, a lunch counter. This one is obviously aimed at tourists.

That's fine, with my expectations reset, I wondered about and found a boatload of "penny candy". In my day (now I am really sounding old), this type of candy cost a penny a piece. In fact, in my uncle's general store we sometimes ran low on coins and gave penny candy and individual sticks of gum as change. A lot of kids in those days would collect discarded empty soft drink bottles and bring them in for the return of the deposit — which at 2¢ a bottle could be exchanged for two pieces of candy. With today's posted price of $6.99 a pound, that must be something like 10¢ a piece, maybe. It's getting expensive to be a kid.

Ah, our destination which was the original purpose of our trip — The Sweet Shoppe, specializing in gourmet cupcakes.

In fact, the owners of this shop, Nikki Gribble and Susan Catron won Season 6 of The Cupcake Wars on The Food Network. The photos on the wall attest to their fun on the show.

But we did not come to Blue Ridge to look at photos, we came for spectacular cupcakes and we were not disappointed. We each picked one "to go" since we were still stuffed from lunch and therefore planned to eat them later as dessert after dinner.

Here is a close-up of a couple of the specials. It is hard to just pick one to enjoy — there were so many that were calling my name.

The Georgia House of Representatives even got into the act, with a resolution praising Nikki and Susan's success. I wonder if a van-load of cupcakes showed up at the door of the House chamber. And why not the State Senate?

Moving on, I spotted a prototypical small town church that obviously called for a photograph. When I was processing the image in Photoshop, I zoomed in to check the name — Blue Ridge United Methodist Church — but was surprised that next to the sign identifying the church was another offering the buildings and lot for sale (you can barely see the two signs just beyond the white car on the bottom right).

That demanded a bit of sleuthing — and I found that they are building a new (and presumably larger) church nearby and so the old one is now on the market. Don't be surprised if, in its next life, it might become shops or a restaurant or whatever. That seems to happen a lot.

Our last stop on our visit to Blue Ridge was a stroll past this building which, from a distance, I guessed to be a bed and breakfast place. However, it turns out to be the Southern Charm restaurant specializing in southern cooking. I checked their menu and it really does sound "southern". I found, among other dishes, Southern Fried Chicken, Fried Catfish Fillets, Country Fried Steak and Mama’s Country Meatloaf. However, I was most intrigued by Grandma’s Biscuit Chicken Pot Pie — quoting from the menu "we consulted with our grandmother on this dish, prepared individually with our mouth-watering biscuits used as a topping – not your traditional but a Southern Charm must try". Then competing for your choice of dessert — Grandma’s Coconut Cake, Bread Pudding with a caramel sauce à la mode, Apple Dumpling à la mode and Peach Cobbler à la mode. That settles it, I have to plan another visit to Georgia.

To be continued...

Life is good.

B. David

P. S., All photos and text © B. David Cathell Photography, Inc. — www.bdavidcathell.com