Saturday, April 16, 2016

Strawberry Time in Raleigh!

    I took one of our favorite road trips to Raleigh last week to visit Claire and the grandchildren. Henri came along, as always, and we had a wonderful time. The weather was perfect for any sort of outdoor activity and when Claire announced it was the beginning of strawberry season, we were all happy at the prospect of sweet, fresh strawberries! Raleigh has multiple pick-your-own farms to choose from which is similar to what we had in New York. Throughout the growing season we picked strawberries, blueberries, apples, pears, plums, etc. Each month brought a newly ripening crop to pick. We have nothing at all like this around Roanoke and we've missed it. Just a twenty minute drive from Raleigh and we were surrounded by huge strawberry fields. Look how they grow their berries- tidy rows are mounded high and covered in black plastic. This is not an organic farm, but it is obvious these berries are grown with care and attention. This was the first week of the strawberry season which runs through the beginning of May. We had no trouble finding ripe, red berries to pick. The children were a great help at picking.

     Along the road to the strawberry fields were many garden nurseries. We went to one called Broadwell's. It's a pick-your-own nursery of sorts. There are acres and acres of potted nursery plants and you drive around in your own car and stop whenever you see something you want. You get out and load it into your vehicle yourself and continue on. The catch is, most of the plants aren't labeled so you have to know your plants. Claire used her smartphone to look up a few that she wasn't sure about. The prices are rock bottom and the plants Claire has purchased here in the past have all been healthy. It was a fun place to drive around. The kids loved it when we drove through the areas being watered by the large water sprayers. There were also many birds roaming the property. We saw countless peacocks and large flocks of guinea hens, all very entertaining. One peacock strutted around in an empty greenhouse that he had all to himself. His tail fathers were fanned out and he appeared to be quite vain and pleased with himself. Jack described him perfectly when he said he was shaking his tail.
    One of my goals while in Raleigh was to shop for a bra. (Girl story here.) In addition to an absence of fruit farms, Roanoke is sorely lacking in good shopping. I don't care for shopping malls, but sometimes a trip to one can't be helped. There's nothing worse than having a shopping need only to end up frustrated and bagless. Such was the case when I tried to shop for a bra in Roanoke. Let me say, our Belk department store leaves a lot to be desired. The lingerie department is always in disarray and it's impossible to find sales help anywhere in the store. I tried to shop Macy's as well, but the end result was the same, nothing. I don't even wear an unusual size, so I don't understand why it's so frustrating. 
     In Raleigh, I went into the Belk at Crabtree Valley and I'm pretty sure I heard angels singing as I walked past rack after rack of orderly merchandise. It was a weekday morning and there were salesgirls everywhere, all easily identifiable! I saw a table with cookies and fresh fruit laid out in the bra department! Really! There was a Wacoal brand representative on site this particular day and she offered to fit me. I was personally measured and left to lounge in a nicely appointed fitting room while she went out to the racks and found a dozen bras for me to try. In no time, I was purchasing two new bras at a register attended by three salesgirls. Lastly, they put a free cosmetic bag in with my purchase. I left the mall feeling very, very happy. I'm sorry Roanoke, but you have let me down. I know we're a poor country city, but there's never an excuse for poor customer service. I love living here in the Roanoke Valley, there is no place more beautiful. But, I've decided to save my shopping for Raleigh from now on.


  1. What a lovely post - I'm glad you got some good family time. And there is no excuse for poor customer service. So glad you found some good service in Raleigh - amazing that you walked in at just the right time. I wear those "as seen on TV" Genie bras - I get them from Target. Very comfy.

  2. I feel you love (the gardens, the nurseries, the grands) and feel your pain (shopping woes!)