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Feeling like a Star in the Star City

April 26, 2012 by · Comments Off on Feeling like a Star in the Star City 

Roanoke’s Star on Mill Mountain

Not often are you treated like a star unless, of course,  you are a Hollywood celebrity or famous athlete.  But, the people of Roanoke made me feel like returning royalty including  Mayor Bowers, whom I met at the top of  Mill Mountain.

David Bowers, Mayor of Roanoke

You see, decades ago I attended Roanoke College in Salem, Virginia, one of the cities in the area now known as Virginia’s Blue Ridge.  While a student I entered the Miss Roanoke Valley pageant and surprisingly won!  I did not go on to become Miss Virginia but the experience was memorable and the scholarship money helpful.

Miss Roanoke Valley

Now, after way too many years, I finally returned to Roanoke and found the city itself had earned starlet status- a shining example of living up to its title as the Star City of the South and to downtown revitalization.


Back in the early 1970’s,  the city center was nothing to brag about.  Today, it thrives with a farmer’s market open seven day a week  and many boutique shops and restaurants.  The Taubman Museum of Art is the new queen hosting a stellar collection. Plus, the O. Winston Link Museum is an absolute winner for photographers and railroad buffs.


Taubman Museum of Art

O. Winston Link Collection

On my tour I saw  only two businesses that I remembered from the past. One was the Texas Tavern, a tiny hole in the wall eatery which sits ten and continues to sell burgers for $1.25.





The other building I fondly recall is the Hotel Roanoke, a magnificent Tudor-style mansion sitting on the hill overlooking train tracks.  The hotel’s history is closely tied with railroading. The venue (constructed 1937-38) was originally owned by the N & W- Norfolk and Western Railroad, the company that transformed sleepy Big Lick into Roanoke  and established  their headquarters and a major intersection of  the north-south and east-west rail lines.

Hotel Roanoke

Sadly, the Hotel Roanoke fell into disrepair and closed her doors in 1989. But, like Sleeping Beauty, growth and change took place around her as she snoozed.  Awakened and reopened in 1995, she once again reigns with fashionable rooms and a new conference center that blends into the old  architectural style.

Dining tradition continues with the hotel’s famed peanut soup and spoon bread. I was lucky enough to sample a cup of soup topped with chopped peanuts and a tiny skillet of warm cornbread oozing butter.  Yum.  The hotel insisted my group partake the luncheon buffet: a bounty of entrees, salads, vegetables and six to eight desserts. A splendid curtain call.


I could go about my heavenly trip to Roanoke, but I’ll save more description on Virginia’s Blue Ridge for a later blog post.


Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains in the distance as fog lifts from the city of Roanoke.

Virginia on Dwellable

The Egg Lady of Egg Harbor, Wisconsin

April 5, 2012 by · Comments Off on The Egg Lady of Egg Harbor, Wisconsin 

The Egg Lady

Egg Harbor, a small town in scenic Door County, Wisconsin, is home to a local celebrity known as the Egg Lady. As you might expect, the Egg Lady or Kathleen Mand Beck looks forward to Easter with great egg-citment.  Actually, she becomes enthusiastic about anything involving eggs.

Kathy established an Egg Museum, located within the Dovetail Gallery, her shop, to share her love and knowledge of eggs with others.  Why, in little Egg Harbor, Wisconsin you can view a 70 million year old Hypselosaurus dinosaur egg formerly owned by Steven Spielberg.

Turn the corner and find glass cabinets containing a rare collection of over 70 species of wild bird eggs.  This egg-stra special display arrived in 2007 from a family from Appleton, Wisconsin. Seems youngsters collected these eggs decades ago and the specimens were hidden in an attic. A special mandatory permit had to be acquired from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Department of the Interior, to grant the public showing.

Kathy felt her museum was not complete until it included a Faberge egg and indeed she has one with cloisonné enameling, a trademark of Peter Carl Fabergé. He was a famous goldsmith and jeweler to the Russian Czars and European aristocracy in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

In addition, Dovetail’s Egg Museum also exhibits nearly 500 decorated eggs from around the world, including many crafted by Kathy herself. I was enchanted with an egg radio from Prague, a German zippered egg, a globe from New York and a Texas rhea egg purse.  Ethnic, antique, contemporary, and whimsical… all varieties of decorated egg styles are on display and for purchase in the gallery.

Kathy’s next big dream is to showcase an eagle egg. The only people allowed to keep an egg or feather from this awesome, symbolic bird are Native American Indians, but one could be displayed on loan in the gallery.

Should you be hopping around for an Easter present or unusual gift any time of the year, call upon the Egg Lady.  I’m sure you will discover Door County makes a delightful getaway for a multitude of seasonal recreation options and local farm fresh food.


If you go:


The northeastern Wisconsin location sits on a 70-mile long sliver of land that juts out into Lake Michigan and includes five state parks, eleven lighthouses and 300 miles of shoreline. Additional information on Egg Harbor and Door County at:



7901 State Hwy 42 • Egg Harbor, Wisconsin,

Door County Peninsula



Egg Harbor on Dwellable