TRIP REPORT: Roanoke to Charlottesville

2006/04/19 11:48:47
We had breakfast at home (Salisbury, NC), then started out for Roanoke around 10 am. I had printed out directions on Mapquest, and our estimated travel time was around 2 1/2 hours. But hubs took the wrong exit off I-85 somewhere around Kernersville, and suddenly we were lost. We drove for a long while, trying to take the back roads and get back on course, but it was well over an hour before we finally got back on track. By this time we were hungry, so we happened on a place called Dexter's Family Restaurant outside of Kernersville, and stopped for some lunch. Inside we found a buffet, with a salad bar, some canned veggies, chicken and dumplings and country style steak. The food was about what you'd expect from a buffet with canned veggies - (gosh I hate that kind of food). Needless to say, I wouldn't go back. Hubs took one bite of steak, and one bite of potatoes, and started having pain in his chest.

We got back on the road, and tried to decide if we should head back home. He kept insisting that he wasn't in that much pain, and it wasn't his heart. But he had bypass surgery back in 2000, and I wasn't so sure. We kept discussing the situation, and he kept driving toward Roanoke. The situation got worse when it became apparent that he couldn't swallow his saliva, and had to pull over to spit it out. At that point, he was also looking very green around the gills, so I insisted that we find a hospital and have him checked out, and he finally agreed. (I'm disabled, and can't drive - I haven't had a license since 1995). Finally we came up on one of those blue Hospital signs outside Martinsville, Va. We took the exit, and followed the signs to the ER at Martinsville Memorial. They checked out his heart, and it was fine. He was diagnosed with a narrowing of the esophagus. While he was being seen in the ER, whatever was lodged in his esophagus went on down, and immediately he was fine. The doc told him to do a liquid diet for the next few days, just to be on the safe side.

We got to Roanoke around 6:30pm, and checked into a Country Inn just off I-81. The idea of a liquid diet flew out the window when hubs decided he wanted some seafood. Just around the corner from where we were staying was a place called Harbor Inn Seafood. I wasn't really expecting much in the way of good seafood, but I was very pleasantly surprised. I had the crab cakes, and hubs and Miss B (granddaughter) got salt & pepper catfish fillets. The seafood was delicious, and the hushpuppies were out of this world. The service was excellent, and the portions were huge. I would definitely eat there again, and would recommend it highly to anyone.

Breakfast the next morning was at an IHOP. No surprises here, but it was very clean, and the breakfast was good.

Next it was on to Natural Bridge. We checked things out there, but wanted to stay at another Country Inn (indoor pool for Miss B), so we went on up the road to Lexington. The Country Inn was off 64, and right across the street was a place called Redwood Family Restaurant. Right down the road was a Country Cookin'. The people at the hotel said Redwood was good, so we decided to try it for supper. WOW. Hubs and I both ordered mesquite chicken. I chose onion rings and coleslaw for my sides, because of my hatred for canned veggies. These were possibly the best onion rings that I've ever eaten. The chicken was delicious, and was served on a bed of spanish rice that was perfectly seasoned. Hubs had mashed potatoes and green beans. The mashed potatoes were NOT instant, and the green beans were NOT canned. I tasted both, and they were as good as you'd make at home. Miss B had baked chicken, and enjoyed hers also. We ordered slices of chocolate and lemon pie to go, for a midnight snack later, but forgot it and left it on the table. Highly recommend this place if you're ever in the vicinity.

While in Lexington, we had driven back to the Pink Cadillac Diner to eat, but it was Easter Sunday, and it was closed. I hate we missed that one.

The next morning, we decided to try the Country Cookin' for breakfast. I have two words for you - DON'T BOTHER. It was a buffet, and the only word I can think of to describe it is yucky.

Our last stop was Charlottesville, where we checked into the English Inn. We went exploring, and found a shopping center on Barracks road, and there was a Panera's there. It was cold, so we went in and had hot coffee and apple danish.

A man we met in Panera's told us about a good Italian place called Ragazzi's, and gave us directions, so we went there for supper. Long story short - I didn't like it at all. The service was bad (the waiters had to take your coffee cups to the back to refill them), and although the portions were very large, they were anything but really good. Hubs got chicken marsala, and said that Carrabba's marsala literally put it to shame. I got chicken ragazzi, which tasted like baked chicken with canned tomatoes poured over the top. Miss B had fettucini alfredo, and said hers was just okay.

English Inn has a complimentary hot breakfast buffet, with bacon, pancakes, eggs, grits, and gravy, so we ate there this morning. It wasn't any great shakes, but even IT outdid the breakfast at Country Cookin'.

After touring Monticello, we started home. Stopped for lunch at a Golden Corral, because Miss B wanted to go there. No surprises there either.

Now we are back, and hubs is going to do some hamburgers on the charcoal grill. It's good to be home.

Filet Mignon
RE: TRIP REPORT: Roanoke to Charlottesville 2006/04/19 12:14:32
Enjoyed reading your Roadfood trip report. We had the misfortune to eat at Ragazzi's once and have talked about it many times. We have often called it the worst Italian restaurant in America.
RE: TRIP REPORT: Roanoke to Charlottesville 2006/04/23 12:48:44
Greymo, I would have to second your very candid review of Ragazzi's. lol. After we ate, we were saying how we would have had a better meal at Olive Garden. That's how bad it was.