What would happen if you put a mama and her 3 daughters in a car and set them off driving south? Well, they'd end up in Disney World, of course! That is the destination, but what about getting there? Does a drive down I 95 need to be all asphalt and McDonald's? Surely there are hidden gems a few miles off the exit ramp, right? What about hiccups and unforeseen experiences?
Very soon, my daughters and I will embark on a fabulous road trip from the mountains of Virginia all the way down to sunny Orlando! Join us as we check out the local flavors stemming from southern country cookin', to pond side alfresco dinning, to coastal delicacies, all while enjoying spots off the beaten I 95!
We are hitching up the camper, ready to have an adventure!
Too early? Not for me, and I was the one driving. I figured my kids could suck it up and sleep in the car. We're going to Disney World! So after waking up my 3 kiddos from their slumber with my (loud) rendition of I Just Can't Wait to be King, the trip starts off perfectly to plan! We're on the road at dawn and everyone is agreeable.
The problem with plans is, they rarely stay perfect.
2 1/2 hours down the road, a new state welcomes us and we can't wait to stop for breakfast. The place I was planning to dine at looked very....unwelcoming from the front and my children refused to eat there. Honestly, its lack of windows and empty parking lot had me wondering if we really had the right address. We did. The town appeared to be sketchy, my daughters were nervous so we headed back to the interstate where we found a gas station and an old reliable Waffle House.
Goodness I love my daughters! It was in this moment that the fun of vacation settled in. We laughed, made jokes and relaxed in the pleasure of each other's company. I can't say that Waffle House has ever been our first choice of dining destinations, but I will always think of it fondly now.
Back on the road! Before taking off, I do the obligatory "walk around the camper" to make sure everything looks like it will ride the next few hours. Holy guacamole! Our bikes....are....GONE! No bikes, just an empty rack with the strap draped over. Were they stolen? God forbid, did we lose them on the road??? My head is spinning! Nobody flagged me down madly on the highway. I didn't hear a thud. I may never know. I just hope there is someone out there enjoying our bikes. Mental note for next road trip: bike lock.
After consoling some less-than-happy girls, we were once again on the road. The plus side? Well, I no longer had to worry about the bikes. Ok, not really making me feel better. We settled in, two of my daughters in the back watching Star Wars movies as a refresher for Star Wars weekends in Disney's Hollywood Studios, and one in the front watching princess movies on my laptop. Happiness and peace had found us at last.
After our first stop, I was nervous about the place I was planning to review at lunch time. When we got off I 95 in Ridgeland, SC I became increasingly more nervous as OnStar began taking me into a cluster of motels and gas stations. This place was supposed to be lakeside. I don't see a stinkin' lake. I saw some signs for Blue Heron Nature Trail, which was another place I planned to check out. Then I saw the sign for Jasper's Porch. Here we go.
I must say, I breathed a sigh of relief when this place finally came into view. Yes, it is actually surrounded my motels, but it was CUTE! And on a lake! This restaurant actually sits on the Nature Trail, which is about half a mile around-- perfect for stretching your legs after a long car trip! The area is lovely and full of wildlife (even alligators).
|Blue Heron Nature Trail|
|View of Lake, Jasper's Porch|
The restaurant is adorable. Right away it made me feel like a guest, just coming to have a meal on a friends porch. The decor is rustic-chic and so very comfortable. There is indoor seating, most with lake views, but of course we sat on the porch!
|Moment Captured Photos|
Well, we don't make stops off the highway just for atmosphere. We gotta eat, too! The menu at Jasper's is limited. If you like good ol' southern cooking then you won't have any complaints! Two of my daughters are vegetarian and it was slim pickings for them. They ended up filling their plates with veggies from the buffet. The veggies prepared without meat, that is. They ate a lot of lettuce.
My youngest daughter got her fill of fried chicken. She was quite happy about that! I ordered a salad and soup combo-- salad off the bar and a she-crab soup. My theory is they do a few things well...but VERY well! The salad bar was meager, but the seafood pasta salad was incredible! My she-crab soup was rich, but not too rich. It was flavored with sherry, but also had a little spice to it. It was delicious!