On a gray, gloomy, chilly, rainy February 10, Margie and I found the sun out in Craig County. Forty miles out into Craig County to be exact, at the tiny town of Paint Bank.
Paint Bank was named by the Cherokees for the colorful clay they used for pots that comes from its hills and it only has 76 people, according to a Google search. It rests on the other side of Potts Mountain, 17 miles northwest of New Castle, the county seat. And it is lovely. (Here’s a history of Paint Bank.)
Margie and I drove over this morning in order to scout around and eat lunch at the promising Swinging Bridge Restaurant, hard beside Potts Creek, and take a close look at the Depot B&B, which was equally appealing from its internet presence.
The Swinging Bridge was all it promised and more. It is filled with country kitsch, but avoids the kind of tackiness usually associated with that. There are heads and full bodies of a number of the wild things you can find in rural Craig County throughout the year, so if your taste doesn’t run to dead animals, you might want to pass this one by. I didn’t mind. I found it fun and wished by two grandkids had been there.
The front of the restaurant building is the old general store, dating from the 1920s, I’d guess, and on the mezzanine is a little Christmas store. I don’t normally note the bathrooms of the buildings I visit, but this one was special, a mixture of the modern and the 19th Century.
The food? Ah, the food. It is creative, fresh, tasty and fattening as hell, but I just loved my unique chicken salad sandwich (and, of course, Margie sailed through her chicken sandwich with dill mayo). My sandwich was served on a deep fried sub roll (don’t criticize until you try it) and had strips of bacon and cranberry sauce (YUM!) as a base. I put sweet potato fries on the side (and they came with a scrumptious sour cream/sweet dip that I had to try, but avoid because of my delicate condition).
The Depot is an alluring B&B with a private “tent” across the creek and in an especially private area. The “tent” (which it actually is) is the size of a cabin and looks wildly comfy. It is surrounded by wilderness, including the creek.
Let me recommend that you run up for the lunch or dinner and stay for the bed (and breakfast).