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  • Chuck Marra

Day 4 - Farmland and Shaved Ice - August 22, 2020

Updated: May 29, 2021

Today, we left Durham for a bit. We took the backroads of North Carolina east through farm country to meet some of Laura's family, and spend some more time with Cooper, and the boys.

But, before we left Durham, we stopped at Pelican's for some authentic southern Snowballs.

If you don't know Pelican's, it is a little stand-alone shop that looks like a drive-in from the 1950s. It offers about a hundred flavors of shaved ice, to choose from, and not some hard and crunchy ground-up ice. It's thinly shaved, light ice that is really wonderful, in every flavor imaginable.

Pelican's has a great history to it. It was started by a 13-year-old girl name Ansley back in 2001. She had just returned from a trip to Chalmet, Lousiana, and had fallen in love with the way they make snowballs there. Ansley decided to start making Lousiana-style snoballss, as soon as she got home, and hired her two brothers to run it with her for a reputed fifty cents an hour. She called it Pelican's after the state bird of Louisiana.

Pelican's has grown to over 80 stores in 14 states. And the ice is really good..Soft.. light..fluffy... It's a great stop. While you're waiting for your ice, or while you're eating it, there are old-fashioned games to be played like corn hole or darts, or just park benches and umbrellas to just sit and enjoy.

We finished our snowballs, and got back in the car, and wound our way through lush pastures and farmlands and forests. Beautiful. We had to stop at a roadside farm stand. We wanted to take some tomatoes to Laura's family, who we were going to visit.

We piled out of the car and the aroma of earth and earth ripened fresh-picked vegetables and fruits in a small stand on a hot humid day is a heady experience. So much more intense than any produce section of a supermarket. And screams for photos!

The air was filled with the aroma of tomatoes, cucumbers, watermelons, honeydews. We filled bags for ourselves and drove on .. snacking in the car. picked veggies in unlike anything else.

Laura then took us on a tour of what Chuck fondly calls "Lauraville". It is the city where Laura was raised and her family has lived for many generations . It was so fun to see all the old houses and hear the history behind them. Then we turned and suddenly we were the forest, again. We pulled up to Laura brother's house, got out of the car and

walked among enormous mushrooms and tall sweet pine trees and met her welcoming family! It was going to be a great day.

The farm where Laura's family lives is on a big piece of land and they have planted a "pick your own blueberries" field. Blueberries weren't in season at the time but they have tons of beautiful blueberry plants of several varieties, and the fields were beautiful nonetheless. If you find yourself near Littleton North Carolina, head for Blessed Berries on Eaton Ferry Rd. and look for the little blue roadside stand. They are wonderful people so have fun and tell 'em we sent you!

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