The story below is a preview from our November/December 2016 issue. For the full story Subscribe today, view our FREE interactive digital edition or download our FREE iOS app!
A wise and insightful man (the guy who founded and still owns this magazine) once observed to me that the primary recreation for couples of a certain age (the impossible age-range that he and I have long-since attained) is dining out together.
Gail and I have taken that perspective far too keenly to heart over recent years. From just-Saturday to OK-Friday-too to, well, I don’t want to talk about it.
But I do have this excuse, see. For all of those countless and guilty excursions to date during 2016, we have not once gotten into a car to get there. Nor to get home, as every trip was made either by walking or by riding bicycles.
Yes, this does occasionally involve things like several technical layers or taking along a change-into-layer. Plus umbrellas, top-quality rain jackets, these old, semi-matching British-made jackets inside which neither of us has ever been cold in Virginia—whatever the elevation. And a weather-related compromise, now and again, on how far we’ll go.
It also involves a huge compliment to Roanoke (and Salem and Vinton and the rest of Roanoke County) for their great progress with greenways and sidewalks and bike lanes.
So while our Dining Year was certainly hemmed somewhat by the limitations of both time and accessibility, we’ve gotten out and about pretty well for, you know, old people on foot or on pedals.
I think the farthest we pedaled was on the way to Greenhill Park for a short hike. We stopped at Mamma Maria’s on West Main in Salem for their lunch buffet, which featured a nice array of most red-sauce items, but also a fine salad bar, good garlicky bread and a nice cold bottle of Pinot Grigio. The Brandon bike lane, the Roanoke River Greenway and the good, usually empty sidewalks of Main Street made for a comfortable ride.