A Winter Walk and a Delightful Meal

My new buddy and me on the Wolf Creek greenway trail.
Wolf Creek in winter.

Yesterday presented a surprise everywhere I turned. Susan and I planned a hike, but the temperature was so cool and damp Sunday morning that it didn’t look like that would happen. The weather took a sudden warming turn, however, and we went out to discover the Wolf Creek Greenway in Vinton.

It was a completely delightful discovery, a two-mile walk, basically through a beautiful farm wiith horses, cats, dogs, donkeys and heaven knows what else. It was a busy thoroughfare and though not as rural as I like, quite enjoyable. Wolf Creek was babbling rapidly and the neighborhoods surrounding the greenway seemed to be taking full advantage of its proximity.

After the hike a hungry Susan asked if we should see what Vinton has to offer in the way of Sunday afternoon. I suggested the “blue plate special” at the old and revered Dogwood Restaurant, which turned out to be closed. In the days when I was editor of the newspaper in Vinton, I ate at the Dogwood nearly every Friday, availing myself of some great fried chicken.

Spring rolls were fresh and tasty.

So, we kept looking, wandering over to Farmguesa, the Mexican hamburger spot which occupies the former Angelo’s, across from the library. It smelled full, rich and beefy, which didn’t attract Susan, who doesn’t eat red meat. We wound up at the Asia Gourmet, a little restaurant two doors up from the former Vinton Messenger, where I worked.

Pho soup toppings.

We ordered pho soup (pronounced “fu soup”) and it was as good as any I’ve ever eaten, full of fresh vegetables and a rich vegetable broth, completed with rice noodles. Dede, who with her husband owns and runs the restaurant, told us that they grow some of the vegetables and they pride themselves on freshness. The spring rolls we had tasted like they’d just been picked in the garden and the Vietnamese basil was as unusual as any basil I’ve had. A simply lovely experience.

While we were in Vinton, we also ran into a business featuring hemp that I’m writing about for a magazine. Magic stuff that hemp and it has nothing to do with getting high. It’s more about being healthy and getting well. Look for the story.

The pho soup was to die for.
I am suddenly a fan of Asia Gourmet.
A pretty spot on Wolf Creek.
Susan grew up with horses and is a big fan.
They’re becoming friends.
I’m not much of a horsie dude, but I did OK with this guy.
Susan is studying a sign that told us which animals to look for.
I could find myself becoming fond of this little dude.
Susan surrounded by big ears.
Winter doesn’t dull the beauty of this farm.

By admin

Dan Smith is an award-winning journalist in Roanoke, Va., and a member of the Virginia Communications Hall of Fame. He is an author, photographer, essayist, father and grandfather. Co-founder of Valley Business FRONT magazine and founder of the Roanoke Regional Writers Conference. On Advisory Board of New River Voice.

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