Monday, January 26, 2015

Bonnie Blue







Bonnie Blue is a little restaurant on the corner of Bowscawen and Amherst Street in downtown Winchester. It makes for a convenient lunch spot and lots of people order their food to go from here. There are a few tables inside the building as well as a handful outdoors, which can get packed during the summer on sunny days.

Their menu is written on a chalkboard over the kitchen, which opens into the seating area. Most of the menu consists of meat platters and sandwiches such as pulled pork and smoked chicken (you can see their full menu here). They also serve Route 11 potato chips, a favorite in Shenandoah Valley, along with other sides including collard greens, fried apples, potato salad, cole slaw, and mac & cheese. I will say there's practically nothing vegetarian, so if that is your diet choice be prepared to eat a combo of different side dishes. However, if you eat meat you'll be in heaven. They've got lots of fresh cooked choices for you. 

All in all I would say you have to try it if you live in Winchester because there's no other place in town quite like it. It's a local joint that serves some regional food with a unique style and flair. Service has always been quick and friendly at Bonnie Blue. While stopping in, you can also try out some coffee from Hopscotch since one of their branches is inside the restaurant along with some pastries and artisan breads that are available throughout the day. 

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Terry Oates & The Mudcats


One of the best parts of the revival of downtown Winchester has been the addition of the Bright Box Theater. It's a venue where musicians, comedians, and dancers can come to perform and it's an excellent way to spend a Friday or Saturday night enjoying the arts with some food and drinks. 

If you're looking for a hot band to see, keep your eye on the group Terry Oates and the Mudcats. These guys know how to put on a show. They've got a bluesy rock vibe and the lead man, Terry, sure can get an audience riled up. The band tends to hit up places like the Bright Box, the George Washington Hotel, and other venues for local events. Be sure to look out for them. I'll share with you a blurb from their webpage that describes their playing style.

"Terry Oates and the Mudcats are a high energy blues band based on traditional blues influences with a modern flair. We draw inspiration from the original greats such as BB King, Howlin Wolf, Muddy Waters, and many others in our original material while paying homage to these icons of the blues by playing some of their greatest performances in the way they were originally recorded. The concept of our original material has been inspired by discussions on the theory of the blues, concept of recording in the early days, instruments used, and the artist themselves!"*

You can check out a list of their upcoming gigs here. There is some outstanding talent in this town and The Mudcats have so much that they're practically swimming in it. Ideally you should grab some tickets with a date or a group of friends for a Friday night at the Bright Box because you really need to hear this band at their full performing capacity. Singing and dancing abound at the theater when the Mudcats are playing live.

Stop by their facebook page and say hi.

*Description is from terryoates.com

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Paper and Scissors ROCK












My friend Sam and her our mom, Kathy, went with me to a new crafting location called Paper and Scissors ROCK in Winchester, Virginia. We walked in the door and it felt as if Pinterest had come to life in the form of a building. When you walk in you look at the "menu" of crafts available for the month. The prices vary a little depending on level of difficulty and the cost of materials but they're all quite reasonable (roughly between $7 and $15). 

We picked the yarn art and moved forward with slightly different ideas for our crafts. My friends both painted their backgrounds, while I used mod podge to glue down sheets of music that I hard torn out from a piano book. They all looked fantastic and it was cool to see the differences in the way the backgrounds turned out. Next we had to pick out the yarn we'd use to create our letters. The shop has a closet with lots of colors of yarn and varying thicknesses of string. You can see how each of our letters for the art turned out above and how they differ based on colors and thickness in contrast to the backgrounds. Mine is already sitting on top of our piano at home and it really ties in some of the musical art that's already in the room. 

If you're in Winchester and looking for an easy date, a day with friends, or if you have kids this would be a great place to stop by. The owner is incredibly friendly and she can suggest crafts of varying difficulty until you find one that works best for you. 10/10 I would recommend you make a stop. The crafts will vary each month, so don't worry about working through them all; there will be ample opportunities to get your craft on!

Ideal situation: Grab a cup of joe at the Espresso Bar with your girlfriends then head to Paper and Scissors Rock to craft for an hour while chatting it up. 

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Polka Dot Pot



We stopped in at the Polka Dot Pot in downtown Winchester where you can paint your own pottery or fuse jewelry. We ended up sharing a mug and Noah painted the inside and I did the outside. We were inspired by this "I Woof You" mug at Target, which I've had my eye on for about a month. Combine coffee & tea with a puppy dog mug and I'm yours. We can pick it up in about a week once it's gone through the kiln and I can't wait to see the final product. While I've fused jewelry here before, I've never done their pottery so this was a nice way to mix it up.

The mug was $18 and we decided to share one. The pottery you paint has varying costs depending on the size and intricacy of the piece. The glass fusion (jewelry, coasters, etc.) also varies on price depending on what you make. The necklaces and earrings are $12 which is what my friends and I typically make. I get compliments almost every time I wear them out. All in all, it takes about 30 minutes to an hour depending on what you paint or make and it's a great place to stop to change up your daily routine.

The shop offers specials such as Ladies Nights and reservations for birthday parties, so grab a friend and bring them downtown to get your creative side flowing.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Bon Matin chez LeRoy






There's a new french bakery in town and I love it. You can bet that it'll be featured on here a little more often. Surprisingly, Winchester didn't have a bakery before this (not for the past few years anyways). My husband and I always say it's one of the first things we would have added to our town and ta-da! Here we go. 

Since we were eating as a sort of brunch, the spinach and feta quiche and a raspberry croissant were our selections. They were both mouth wateringly delicious. When you order the pastries, the server will plate them for you right away and if you order the quiche they will warm the quiche in an oven for you so that it's toasty when served. The server was friendly and checked in once to make sure everything was up to standards (it was).

With my sweet tooth I really loved the croissant, and my husband enjoyed the savory quiche. I'd highly recommend it for a small lunch with a girlfriend, or a place to study, or even a small bible study/study group meeting place. I hope they find a lot of success because I'm impressed with what they bring to downtown.

Atmosphere: Excellent.
Service: Quick and friendly
Food: Delicious, ideal for breakfast and brunch (also manageable at lunch, but they can get a rush hour)

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