– Personal Blog of Raleigh photographer Steve Jackle » Personal blog of photographer, father, and technology geek Steve Jackle.

A Taste of two NC Traditions: Bluegrass and Bar-B-Que


We spent this past weekend at Grayson Highlands State Park on our annual camping trip with Lipkin(Jackie’s)  side of our family.  If you have never been there, I very highly recommend it.  We set up our camp on Saturday in the group camp site and cooked our foil packs for dinner.  The next day we went on a hike in the park and saw the wild ponies.

On Monday, we headed to the Creeper trail for the 18 mile bike trip that traditionally ends up with eating ice cream in Damascus, VA before we take the shuttle with our bikes up the hill to get our car.  This year we found out what is like to ride through a rain storm and how heavy water weighs on your shorts while biking.  Though I thought I would regret it, I am glad I left my camera bag in the van because I thought it may rain.  Man I was glad I did. 

It is great to have some scout leadership(Lori and Jackie) on the trip to help plan and execute our meals which included pie iron pizzas, breakfast boil packs, “smores”, hotdogs, Mike’s famous beef stew,  and my famous camping doughnuts.  Some images of the camping trip will be coming soon.

Anyway,  after doing a little more hiking and the 2 hours of tearing down and packing our site,  we headed back yesterday from the mountains to the Raleigh heat (20 degrees hotter than the mountains).  Jackie and I were both tired and hungry.  We had only one problem. We were not the only ones tired, our youngest child Savannah was asleep in the backseat of the van and we did not want to wake her.

Once we reached Jackie’s old stomping grounds, her eyes cracked opened.  We decided to stop in King, NC just north of Winston-Salem, NC.  Jackie has some relatives there that even have a road named after them.  Jackie has been craving some NC Bar-B-Que for a few days days.   We asked Savannah what she wanted to eat, and she said Chinese food.  I asked myself how are we going to find a Chinese restaurant in a small NC rural town?  I was not really in the mood for either Chinese food or barbeque.  Savannah’s second choice was McDonalds.  McDonalds is always involved in one of her choices.   Jackie decided to pull into Stratford Bar-B-Que to see what else they had on the menu to try to please everyone.  Plan B was that she would get Barbeque and we would run through the McDonalds drive-thru.  While Savannah and I waited in the car,  Jackie went in to check things out.

She came out with a smile on her face, she said that Stratford’s had a quite a selection of food for all of our tastes.  Also, they had a blue grass band playing.  So plan C was made. We were going to eat inside and enjoy the music.  We did not tell Savannah that McDonalds was just across the street. 

Every Tuesday night, Stratford’s has the Sounds of Bluegrass band featuring David Sizemore( (336)971-8070).  They are managed by “Colonel” Bobby Parker ( (336)377 2788).  When I stepped into the restaurant, I felt I had stepped into yesteryear.  We do not have any place quite like this in the “big city” of Raleigh, NC.  Coincidentally, the famous Andy Griffith television show was based on the nearby Mount Airy, NC and Pilot Mountain.  Here we stood among the locals eating some barbeque and listening to some good bluegrass music.  Savannah told me that I could not dance there.  This was probably a good thing for everyone in the restaurant.

After we ate, the band took a short break. I decided to talk to them about taking a few pictures for their band promotion. I explained I was Raleigh photographer and wanted to take some images and share them with the band. They had made my night. My belly was full and I was no longer tired for the drive home. 


Here is the fiddle player hanging out during the break.


It did not take long after the break to get the customers dancing again. stratford-bbq-king-nc-sounds-of-bluegrass-band-7

David Sizemore is on the right. (Hopefully, I have this right). The banjo with the American flag says it all.  No sampling and electronic music allowed.




Savannah deserved to get a treat from the gum ball machine for her patience!


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