With the traumatizing experience of moving out of our home of twenty-three years in three weeks behind us but not forgotten, my thoughts have turned to what I will miss from our Roanoke years. Those thoughts also bring to mind a few things that I won't complain about leaving behind.
In my recent post, We bid adieu to Roanoke, I've already mentioned the wonderful people in Roanoke and a few favorite spots. Our exit from the valley reinforced my belief that the friends you make are far more important than the place where you make the friends. I don't know how we would have made it through the last couple of days of moving without our closest Roanoke friends. I do know that we will continue to stay in touch with them no matter where we live.
Since we didn't cook a lot the last few days in Roanoke, we got to sample some of our favorite places to eat. I wasn't surprised as we often turned to one of Roanoke's best kept secrets, the Pancake House. Not only is the Pancake House one of the few places that knows how to properly cook an egg, they also make a wonderful Chef's Salad. While their evening specials have climbed thirty-four cents in price and been trimmed a little in size since I wrote the linked article in 2005, it is still the most economical place to eat in Roanoke. I am especially fond of their country ham special which they offer on Thursday mornings.
Unfortunately there is no place to match the Pancake House on the Crystal Coast. Mike's in Emerald Isle comes very close except they aren't open in the evenings for dinner.
Two other eating spots also deserve a recommendation for great food in our last days in Roanoke. One was Annie Moore's Pub on Route 419. I will long remember my Reuben sandwich and the Track 1 Roanoke Rail beer that I enjoyed after we finished our move. I'll have to see if I can get Harrika's Brew Haus to order some Track 1.
The other spot was the Great 611 Steakhouse. I'm convinced their sirloin steak meals are far better than what you can get from Outback. Interestingly we found out about them from a butcher at Fresh Market which is another place in Roanoke that I will miss.
I'm also going to miss the Salem Rotary Park by the Roanoke River. It was a great place to stop and visit the river for a few minutes. It does not take long to figure out that parks are few and far between in the area where we lived in Roanoke.
My wife and I will also miss the wonderful ladies at the Discovery Shop not far from Tanglewood Mall. They were always so grateful for donations that we brought them. It was a true pleasure giving items to them.
Then there is Cutaway and Jeri, our long time barber. We might have to drive back to Roanoke once in a while just for the feeling of comfort that comes from getting your hair cut at the same place for decades.
Of course I doubt that we will ever have a connection with a service station as strong as we have enjoyed with Bratcher's Oak Grove Shell. They always treated us right, and I would recommend using them to anyone in the Roanoke area. I had to smile when they wouldn't accept anything for checking a low tire for me before one of my last trips to the coast from Roanoke.
One of our favorite neighborhood spots, Jamison's Produce, will always be on our list when we return to town. Their hard candy, peaches, apples, squash, and corn are hard to beat.
I will also miss our Realtor®, Ed Smith. In a world that sometimes seems to be dominated by people who have little connection with their clients, Ed stands out as a true gentleman who listens and responds. He also works very hard for his clients. The great job that he did for us during our difficult situation will long be remembered.
We were fortunate to know a host of tradesmen who served us well in Roanoke from Martin Pruitt and his crew at Cornerstone Builders to a whole series of folks who have no web presence but take great pride in their craft.
While some of the places that made Roanoke special to us like Wood's Ace Hardware and Printer's Ink have disappeared over the years, we will still have fond memories of our connections with them.
Of course we will miss our many friends in Fairway Forest, our ministers Bob & Dusty along with all the wonderful things that we came to love at Covenant Presbyterian Church. I will also miss the Roanoke Times. In a world where newspapers are fading quickly, they've remained relevant and even more important to me their comics are in color all the time.
There are few things that I won't miss about the Roanoke Valley. Number one among those things is Interstate 81. We got an exceptional reminder of how bad Interstate 81 can be when we left town on August 23. We barely made it to Ironto before traffic slowed to stop and go. It was even worse than my recent trip to Blacksburg that prompted me to write a post about SW Virginia's traffic challenge. Our trip to Blacksburg took over an hour and one half.
I also won't miss Highway 220. With all the business potential that would come with improved connections with NC, it is a little hard to understand why Highway 220 has been ignored for so long.
Of course, the traffic mess over at Valley View Mall is something I have avoided for many years during the holidays. My holiday shopping has been done almost anywhere besides Valley View Mall.
I also won't miss the political divisions between Roanoke, Roanoke County, and Salem. I think they have held the Valley back from its true potential, but I doubt things are going to change.
Certainly Comcast is one local business that I'm happy to leave behind. Their latest revenue gimmick of a little box for each television brought back memories of the first cable guy who visited our house and cut all the cables to our rooms except for the three we paid to have activated. Their antiquated menu of cable services is a testament to how bad things can get without real competition.
Then there is VDOT and their need to be reminded that our sometimes snowy street up the mountain needs to be plowed. While we were never forgotten, it seemed we waited far too often for the snow plow.
I also won't miss the annoying power outages that seem to have become relatively common in Roanoke. For nearly twenty years our underground lines seemed to serve us very well with the power never even flickering. During the last two or three years, it was common for us to have to reset our clocks from power blips.
While I will miss Roanoke's exceptionally reasonable insurance rates, I certainly am happy to say goodbye to the very high Roanoke County property taxes. As nice as the new library is, I doubt that it is something that I would use to its full potential.
Last but not least, I'm not going to miss all those 25 MPH speed limits which seem to be favored in the Roanoke Valley. The more common 35 MPH neighborhood speeds in NC are far easier to obey.
The Roanoke Valley is a great place to raise a family, but no place, even the Crystal Coast where we now live, is perfect.