I called A Stitch in Time this morning to get hours and directions, after locating them in the Crafts section of Insider Pages. I was excited to have located a crafts (and presumably, yarn) store so close to home.
Unfortunately, A Stitch in Time no longer has yarn, thread, and other craft supplies - they *used* to, the owner told me, but are now only a screen printing/embroidery shop. She was very friendly and directed me to another business in the area where I could custom order yarn instead.
A Stitch in Time is open Monday - Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and is conveniently located in downtown Eden.
PROS: Convenient location; very friendly and helpful owner.
CONS: No craft materials.
I've always been a bookworm, and keep a mile-long list of books I'm dying to read - of course, books can be expensive, and so our local libraries are my best friend. With several branches in a smallish area, I visit two libraries in the Blue Ridge Regional Library system on a regular basis - one larger and with a better selection than the other. Of course, you may request a book from another branch from the library nearest you and have it transferred there in a matter of days, but with them all so close by, why wait?
The BRRL hosts a variety of programs - children's story times during the summer, monthly book clubs, Friends of the Library book sales, etc.
BRRL is now fully online, with a catalog that's accessible from home. With a quick phone call to the library to register, you may even enter your library card number and request a book online; the librarian will usually call within 24 hours to let you know that your books are on hold at the front desk. Likewise, you can now renew books online - a HUGE plus for me since it's not always easy to run across town with a toddler.
PROS: Online holds/renewals; huge variety; several locations; programs.
Plunder Junction, true to its name, is a fine little store to 'plunder' through once in a while, although I don't visit often. Most of the merchandise remains the same - large pieces of furniture, divans, lamps, and a huge assortment of porcelain dolls. Some new things come in from time to time, such as small knick-knacks, linens, dolls, etc. Everything that I've been interested in thus far at Plunder Junction has been highly priced, making this a prime spot for wealthy homeowners with a flair for decorating. My budget is, unfortunately, better suited to mass merchandisers than to a quaint litlte antique and odds 'n ends shop such as this one.
The stores owners are friendly, if a bit stand-offish. They're quick to greet customers and offer assistance, although I always feel a bit like I'm being watched in this store - as if I'm truly 'plundering' through someone's home rather than patronizing their place of business.
PROS: Some beautiful merchandise; variety; friendly proprietors.
CONS: Pricey; not much rotation of items; being watched.
Okay, so that title isn't completely fair - The Sewing Studio is a great little store if you SEW, or if you embroider, quilt or crochet. If your hobby doesn't fall into one of those categories, though, then don't even bother.
There is a wide array of thread, fabrics, machines and instructional books on all of the above available at reasonable prices, plus a friendly and knowledgeable staff to assist with questions. There are currently no instructional classes.
If you knit, cross stitch, etc, then there's not much here for you. Excited at the prospect of new yarn, I stopped by recently to check out their supply, to find only one table stacked with the most basic of colors and a few types of 'fun fur'. No needles, no patterns, no nothing for knitting, or for other fabric hobbies either.
If I decide to take up sewing, I imagine I'll visit The Sewing Studio again...but until then, there's just nothing there for me.
PROS: Lots of sewing, embroidering, crochet and quilting supplies.
CONS: Very little else.
Arts Etc is a very cool little store - almost too cool, truth be told, as it's become almost snobbish in both atmosphere and clientele. The store itself is home to a wide away of home interior, painting and scrapbooking materials, including a custom framing center. Many of the items available here appear to be hand-crafted - some are country, some are kitschy, all are very nice and moderately- to high-priced.
There is even a small cafe inside Arts Etc, which serves mostly sandwiches, soups and salads. Like nuts and grapes in your chicken salad? Then this is the place for you. Catering is available, and their brownies are to die for.
The staff at Arts Etc are pleasant, if not exactly friendly. I always feel as though, strolling inside in jeans with a toddler in tow, that I'm a bit out of my element amidst the 'ladies who lunch.' If you can get past that (I can!) then AE is a fun place to browse, if not somewhere you'd want to break the bank.
PROS: Trendy; lots of artsy, hand-crafted items; cafe.
CONS: Snobbish; pricey.
Ah, Dixie Pig - grease pit extroidinaire. If barbecue, hamburgers, hot dogs and greasy fries are your thing, you'll be in absolute heaven here. The seating area inside the restaurant is small and a bit shabby, but the food is very good - and it just doesn't get any cheaper around here.
Dixie Pig also has 'curbside service', in which you place your order with a server who comes to your car and delivers the food to you. This is very handy when you're hurried or would just prefer to eat at home rather than in the restaurant.
However, beware of the surly busboy. On our most recent visit to Dixie Pig, our order came out to us grossly incorrect - there were onions on my husband's hot dogs (he ordered them without) and my cheeseburger was missing entirely. The server happily took our tray back inside to correct the order, and within minutes the busboy was rushing out the door and to our car, yelling "WHAT DID YOU DO WITH THE CHEESEBURGER? I PUT IT ON THE TRAY, WHERE IS IT??"
Needless to say, we were very offended at the implication that we had stolen food off the tray and sent it back, and we haven't visited since. It'll take quite some time - and a HUGE craving for a greasy burger - before we'll visit Dixie Pig again.
PROS: Good (if greasy) food; very, very cheap; curbside service.
CONS: Somewhat shabby; crazy busboy.
I'm very familiar with Wal-Mart's critics - those who maintain that the huge corporation is running small business into the ground and refuse to shop there. This is very true, of course, but when taking into consideration that there's just nowhere else to shop in my small town, a weekly pilgrimage to Wally World is practically a necessity.
Since I do my grocery shopping with a toddler in tow, it's very important to me to be able to make one stop instead of darting into one store for groceries, another for makeup and shampoo, and still another the craft supplies I'm so addicted to. Wal-Mart, of course, has all of this.
The store is always neat and tidy, although stockpersons don't hesitate to block off an entire aisle with their carts and pallets of merchandise, so some backtracking during your shopping experience is unavoidable. Because this is such a 'hot spot' in our area, it is very often crowded; I make it a point to visit outside of peak hours - weekday mornings or, if I must go on a weekend, very late at night. The checkout lines move reasonably quickly at these times (when there's anyone else there at all), and the majority of the cashiers are pleasant.
The parking area is kept neat, but it rather stinks that it slopes downhill - easier to get to your car with a full shopping cart that way, I suppose. I love that they've finally designated front spaces for expectant mothers, but wish they'd adapt the "stork parking" idea that includes mothers with small children as well. That'd save me a few steps with a wiggly toddler.
Wal-Mart's prices are usually the best in our area, beating chain grocery stores on most of the things we use frequently - just another reason why I'll continue to patronize the big WM.
PROS: Has everything; clean store; well-stocked; expectant mother parking.
CONS: A few surly employees; blocked aisles; crowded.
Being one of only two 'nice-ish' restaurants in our area - and the cheaper of the two - Applebee's is our standby place for meeting friends, treating guests, or just escaping for a nice lunch on occasion. The servers at this restaurant are always exceptionally friendly and often stop to chat during breaks in business. My order is nearly always right, even though I always change *something* (ie. removing ingredients) from the menu. The food is served hot and tastes great, and their White Chocolate Walnut Blondie is absolutely to die for.
Like most Applebee's restaurants, this one has a bar located in the center of the restaurant, dividing the smoking and non-smoking sections. Because smoking is permitted at the bar, however, it often drifts over into the non-smoking section, which is less than pleasant - especially if you're allergic to the smoke as I am. I have to be careful about where I sit in this restaurant, although the hostess is always happy to accommodate my preferences when she's able.
PROS: Friendly servers; great food; moderately priced.
CONS: Smoky non-smoking section.
My little family is, unfortunately, in the growing number of American families who are (for the most part) without health insurance - because my husband's employer did away with the costly benefits and I've chosen to be a full-time mother, only our daughter is covered. Therefore, we don't visit a doctor at all unless we are REALLY sick.
For illnesses that require medical attention, we most often visit Dr. Robert Piat at the Horsepasture Walk-In Clinic. Insurance isn't accepted here; office visits are a flat $40 cash. A free clinic is offered from 6 AM - 8 AM, and Dr. Piat is wonderful about providing samples and prescriptions for generic medications for his patients.
While not exactly orthodox in appearance with shaggy hair and an earring, Dr. Piat is a friendly and knowledgeable doctor, and we feel fortunate to have his practice in our little community.
PROS: Free clinic; affordable health care; knowledgeable physician.
CONS: Small, somewhat dinky office.
Henry County Animal Clinic is our most local veterinary clinic, making it the most accessible in a pinch. However, we use it ONLY in a pinch for several reasons:
1. The place always smells strongly of urine. Although the animal areas are surely cleaned on a regular basis, the stench is almost unbearable.
2. The staff isn't very friendly. They're always very short over the phone when calling to make an appointment, not at all fast to greet you when you enter the office, and have always treated me as though I know nothing of responsible pet ownership. During one incident when I brought in a sick kitten (found in a mall parking lot), I was made to feel like I had personally neglected and starved the poor animal.
3. High prices. While some procedures (vaccinations, grooming) are reasonably priced, most are very, very costly. The pet food, flea treatments, accessories, etc, sold in the clinic are also very high. And don't ask the staff to explain the costs, because that's just too much of a hassle. Forget about payment plans - payment is due when services are rendered, or someone will surely come out of the back room and bust your kneecaps.
For an absolute life-or-death emergency, I wouldn't hestiate to take my cats to Henry County Animal Clinic - but given a choice, there's just no way I'll go there again.
CONS: Rude staff; high prices; smelly.