Thursday, May 14, 2015

Fried Pies, a Lumberyard and the Father of our Country

This post is going to be kind of a catch up of the last bit of time we spent in Texas before going on our cruise, so I hope you enjoy it!

When I said the Father of our Country, I'll bet you immediately thought of George Washington.  Well, from the point of view of a Texan, you would be wrong.  Children in Texas schools were taught that Sam Houston was the "Father of our Country", the country referenced, of course, being Texas!  And in Huntsville, TX is arguably the second largest free standing sculpture in the United States (the first being the Statue of Liberty), honoring the Texas statesman in the way that only Texas can - with a 67' tall statue that towers over Interstate 45!

While you can see the statue from the highway, our GPS routed us off the highway north of it.  Winding along a country road and following the signs, we came first to the Visitor Center.

The Visitor Center is built in the style of a dogtrot house that would have been popular in Houston's time and sits on heavily wooded acreage.

We have not yet seen any sign of a statue, let alone a giant one!  But walking a meandering trail behind the visitor's center, we came across this...
A giant head

Interesting, but not really indicative of what's to come.  We rounded a corner on the trail and this vision appeared...
From the rear

But even this view does not do justice to the enormity of this statue.   To put it into perspective, take a look at this...

That's Sid, standing in front of Sam Houston!

That's all there is to the park/attraction (aside from the ubiquitous gift shop, of course!), but it was well worth the detour.

We started seeing signs for fried pies in Oklahoma, but didn't have a chance to stop for any.  So, once we got into Texas, finding an authentic fried pie was high on the agenda.  As some of you may know, Sid's mother used to make the most amazing apricot fried pies and we hadn't had one in a long time.  So we finally found a place near where we were camped and we made the detour one night to pick some up.

Fried pie - couldn't wait to sink our teeth into it!

Big disappointment!!!  Turns out, these were actually made in Oklahoma, frozen, then shipped to franchises in Texas to be fried and sold.  It tasted nothing like the fried pies we remembered and more like the packaged "fried pies" you get at Walmart.  But we did have fried pie success at another stop; read on!

Eating out is very popular with all of Sid's relatives so we did that a lot while we were in East Texas.  One restaurant that stood out was the Lumberyard Cafe, in Edgewood, TX.

Nondescript exterior

Unique menu

The cafe sits right on the main road and was once actually....wait for it....a lumberyard!  The lumber barns are still in the back although they look to be used for storage now.  The food is mostly Texas comfort food, good simple fare that fills you up for a reasonable cost.

We can't really go anywhere without Sid checking out the chicken fried steak!

We made a return trip on a Friday night for fried catfish.  Big portions and excellent hush puppies.  And the fried pies were heaven!  We scarfed them up so quickly I didn't get a picture!

Next up...cruisin' the Caribbean!  The next few posts will be about our first ever cruise with 8 of Sid's elementary school friends on the occasion of their 50th high school reunion.

Until next time...

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