Four Things You Have To Eat When In Maryland

Every state and region in the United States has food they are famous for. In Maryland, you are seriously messing up if you don’t eat these at least once. And, while it is not a famous regional food, the Cuban restaurant in Frederick was one of my favorite places to eat when I was there. So, here is my short list of what to eat in Maryland.

Maryland Blue Crabs

Whether you eat them steamed, fried, made into cakes or soup, or in dip, you simply must have some Maryland Blue Crab if you go to Maryland. Buy them by the dozen in seafood shops, or catch them in the waters of the Chesapeake Bay. Wherever you get them, though, season them with Old Bay Seasoning. Blue Crab is the State Food of Maryland!

Smith Island Cake

This is a cake with ten layers. It comes in many different flavors, and is the State Dessert of Maryland. It is served with whipped cream and strawberries.  “October 1, 2008, the Smith Island Cake became the State Dessert of Maryland (Chapters 164 & 165, Acts of 2008; Code General Provisions Article, sec. 7-313). Traditionally, the cake consists of eight to ten layers of yellow cake with chocolate frosting between each layer and slathered over the whole. However, many variations have evolved, both in the flavors for frosting and the cake itself.” (from

Caramel Creams Bulls Eyes

Goetze’s Caramel Creams

My favorite candy ever, these caramels have a creamy center. They look like a bulls eye. Made by the Goetze’s Candy Company in Maryland, they are so chewy and delicious. Goetze’s also makes Cow Tails.

Sabor De Cuba Restaurant

Located in Frederick, Maryland at 9 East Patrick Street, Sabor de Cuba was an interesting stop while we were in town. The Cubano Sandwich, the Maduros, and the espresso were the top three things I would recommend. Check out their menu here. It’s what to eat in Maryland. 

The Big Zombie Tour 2 with Atlanta Movie Tours Review

Our tickets were comped by Atlanta Movie Tours so that I could write this review, but all opinions are mine. 

The Walking Dead. I absolutely love that show. I love it so much that we watched all the episodes from season 1 through season 6 over the summer. I am itching to see the season 7 premiere. October 22 can’t get here fast enough! To say that I am a fan is, well, an epic statement.  So, when Fabgrandpa was in the hospital back in August, we were talking about The Walking Dead with two nurses who were in the process of removing the catheter from his leg. One of them asked me if I had been on any of the Zombie Tours yet. And I said, “No! I didn’t even know they had tours.” She said her mother works for Atlanta Movie Tours, and we talked a little bit about it. You never know what you are going to learn from talking about things you love. 

So, I got in touch with Atlanta Movie Tours, and worked out a plan for doing a review of Big Zombie Tour #2. Fabgrandpa still did not feel well enough to go, so I asked my daughter, Emily, if she wanted to go with me. Even though she is a teacher, and it was on a school day, she took the day off as a personal day so she could go. She is an even bigger fan of The Walking Dead than I am, if that is even possible! 

senoia georgia

Senoia, Georgia is the starting point for The Big Zombie Tour #2.

On the day of the tour, we left my house at noon, headed to Senoia, Georgia. It was a 66 mile drive from my house to The Waking Dead Cafe, the check-in point for the tour. You can also meet at the Atlanta Movie Tours office in Atlanta, and ride their bus to Senoia. There was a sign on the sidewalk in front of the cafe so it was easy to find. Inside the cafe, there were The Walking Dead posters on the walls. The coffee drinks were all named after characters in the show. 

The Big Zombie Tour #2 with Atlanta Movie Tours

The Big Zombie Tour sign on the sidewalk.

The Big Zombie Tour #2

The Waking Dead Cafe sign.

The Big Zombie Tour #2

The Walking Dead posters decorated the walls in the cafe.

When all of the people who were going on the tour had checked in, we got on the bus and started the tour. The tour guide, Kent, has worked as an extra and as a Walker on the show many times. He had a remarkable amount of knowledge about the show, and kept us entertained with inside information about the show, the actors, how to get a job as an extra or a Walker on the show, and about the movie and TV industry in Georgia. The bus also had a TV, and when we were passing by or stopped at a location that was used in the show, one of the tour employees played clips from the show with scenes from that location. The clips made the places we were seeing come to life. 

The Big Zombie Tour #2

Atlanta Movie Tours bus. It was very comfortable.

One of my favorite locations was the “Pudding House”. On one of the episodes, Carl found a 112 ounce can of chocolate pudding, and sat on the roof of the porch while he ate the entire can. I loved that episode, because it showed that even though Carl was mature beyond his age due to the challenges of living in a post apocalyptic world, he was still just a boy at heart. 

Big Zombie Tour #2

The “Pudding House”, where Carl ate an entire 112 ounce can of chocolate pudding while sitting on the roof of the porch.

The railroad was central to a couple of seasons of The Walking Dead. We saw several places along the railroad that looked so familiar because we had seen them in the show. This was the tower where Tara had to rest after twisting her ankle. 

Big Zombie Tour #2

The railroad tower where Tara rested after twisting her ankle.

Most of the tour we were on, The Big Zombie Tour #2, was easily accessible for me. I have a disability that makes getting up from a seated position, sitting down, going up and down stairs, and walking long distances difficult. There were only two places where it was hard for me, but I managed to do it. The first place was at an abandoned factory that was the location of the “fight arena” in Woodbury, where The Governor pitted Merrell against Darrell in a fight to the death of one of them. The only way to get to the set location was via a very steep, narrow, stairway. It was harder going down them than coming back up. I’m glad I made the effort, because I volunteered to be one of the people in “Zombie School” where we learned how to walk like a Walker on The Walking Dead. Fun! That’s my daughter, Emily, on the stairs in front of me. I went last so I wouldn’t hold anyone up. 

Big Zombie Tour #2

Very steep stairs down to the fight arena at the abandoned factory.

The fight arena location:

Big Zombie Tour #2

The set location of the fight arena where The Governor made Merrell and Darrell fight.

The second place where I had a hard time was when we got to the place where Morgan’s Apartment was. The tour guide parked the bus, and we had to walk a couple of blocks. I was waaaay behind everyone else, because I am so slow walking, but I made it all the way to the apartment. This is what is on their FAQ page about accommodating handicapped guests:

Do you make provisions for handicapped guests?
Yes. We want everyone to enjoy themselves. There are portions of the tours that occur on foot, but all surfaces should be safe for wheelchairs. The bus is not equipped with a lift and we ask that you notify us in advance if you need to bring a folding wheelchair with you so we may make arrangements for storage.

Big Zombie Tour #2

Emily was attacked by a walker in Morgan’s apartment. She was bitten, poor thing!

You can also find information on the FAQ page about transportation to Senoia from Atlanta for the Big Zombie Tour #2 and Big Zombie Tour #3; refund policy; interpreters; and a lot more. 

Big Zombie Tour #2

Emily and me at the wall.

Tours are priced at $65 per person, which in my opinion are well worth the cost. My daughter and I really enjoyed our tour. We saw a lot of places (I didn’t even show you pictures of more than half of them!) and learned a lot about how and where our favorite show is filmed. We are planning to go on Big Zombie Tour #1 and Big Zombie Tour #3 as soon as we can!

To contact Atlanta Movie Tours, you can call them at 855-255-3456; send them an email at ; or visit them at their shop at  327 Nelson St SW, Atlanta, GA 30313. You can save $5 per ticket when you purchase them online using promo code FABGRANDMA at checkout! 


Make Your Plans Now To Attend The Antiques and Garden Show of Nashville

Do you like to poke around thrift shops and antique stores? Does visiting a botanical garden sound like a fun way to spend the afternoon? If so, then you need to start making plans to attend the 27th Annual Antiques and Garden Show of Nashville. Here is information about the show:

American interior designer, author and television personality, Nate Berkus, will headline the Keynote Program at the 27th annual Antiques and Garden Show of Nashville at the Music City Center, 201 5th Ave S, February 3 – 5.

Each year, the Antiques and Garden Show presents more than 150 fine antiques and horticultural dealers, making it the largest show of its kind in the country. Proceeds from the show will benefit Cheekwood Botanical Garden and Museum of Art and the charities of the Economic Club of Nashville (ECON).

Berkus, a renowned interior designer, who has transformed countless homes around the world through his design work, home collections, books, and television shows will present his take on the show’s theme this year – Cultivated Style – on Friday, February 3 at 11 a.m.

“Your home should tell the story of who you are. What you love most, collected and assembled in one place,” Berkus says. “Whether it’s a family heirloom, or a piece you found on your travels. Everywhere your eye goes in your home, it should land on something that resonates.”

Berkus will sign copies of his book, The Things That Matter, following his presentation.

Other notable participants at the show include:

  • Brooke and Steve Gannett, California-based design duo and authors of Patina Style and Patina Farm

  • Mary McDonald, an LA-based award-winning interior designer and star of Bravo TV’s “Million Dollar Decorators” and “Property Envy”

  • Robert Leleux, author and founder of the Southern Style Now Festival

  • Jesse Carrier and Mara Miller, interior design power couple behind Carrier and Company Interiors in New York City and authors of Carrier and Company: Positively Chic Interiors

  • Nathan Turner, California-based interior designer and special projects editor at Architectural Digest

  • Tara Guérard, Charleston-based award winning wedding and event planner

General Chairmen Linda Graham and Mary Smith said the line-up of speakers was chosen because of the diversity of their design backgrounds.

“From traditional architecture, landscape and interior design to wedding and event planning, the speakers this year have such unique design styles.” Graham said. ” We want attendees to be entertained and take home a few tips from some of the top designers in the country.”

This year, the show will be larger than ever and celebrate Gil Schafer of G. P. Schafer Architect, PLLC as Honorary Chairman.

“Gil has served on our national advisory board for years and has always been a loyal patron of the show,” said Smith. “We are thrilled to honor him to say thank you for all of his contributions to the show.”

Tickets are now available at For the latest show updates and speaker schedule, follow the Antiques & Garden Show of Nashville on Facebook, Twitter (@antiquesgarden) and Instagram (@antiquesandgardenshow).

About the Antiques and Garden Show of Nashville

The Antiques & Garden Show of Nashville is an annual charity event whose purpose is to raise funds for Cheekwood Botanical Garden and Museum of Art and the Economic Club of Nashville (ECON) charities, by exhibiting the highest quality antiques, landscaped gardens, and horticultural items and by offering a related educational outreach program. Learn more at

Our Trip To Richmond Part 6

This post is brought to you by ReedmanToll Fiat 

On Monday, we met up with Becca again at her house, and went to Boychik’s Deli for breakfast again. Ken met us there. We decided that we would go back over to the shopping center where we had eaten dinner the night before and go to the New Balance Shoe Store. Fabgrandpa really needed a good pair of shoes. It didn’t take long for us to get waited on. The saleswoman measured his feet, and brought out the shoes we picked right away. It was probably only twenty minutes from walk in to walk out. He wore his new shoes out of the store. 

Fabgrandpa, Becca, and Ken sitting outside of AC Moore

Fabgrandpa, Becca, and Ken sitting outside of AC Moore

From there we went shopping at another craft store. A.C. Moore Arts & Crafts has some really inexpensive goodies for crafters. I bought some beads for making a couple of necklaces, some glitter heat transfer vinyl for my Cricut, and various other crafty things. I also got a great deal on blank T shirts as they were only 4/$10, or $2.50 each. The best price I have found in stores near me is $3.50. When I came out of the store, I found my three companions sitting outside enjoying the sunshine and nice weather. Can you tell they are amused at me for taking their picture?

Beautiful blooms on the cherry trees.

Beautiful blooms on the cherry trees.

They were sitting under this cherry tree which was in full bloom. It was gorgeous, and I was taking so many pictures of it, and that is probably why they were trying not to laugh at me. 

Another view of the cherry blossoms

Another view of the cherry blossoms

Ken had to get back to work so we drove him back over there. Then Fabgrandpa, Becca, and I went back to her house one last time. We hugged and hugged some more, and said our goodbyes. She took Fabgrandpa’s old shoes, and my Penzey Spices so she could ship them to us. I did not want to take them with us because I was afraid that TSA would confiscate them at airport security. 

Becca's cute doggies, Lexie and Konza

Becca’s cute doggies, Lexie and Konza

We were really early getting to the airport, but we wanted to miss the afternoon traffic on I-95. We arrived with plenty of time to spare, and turned in our rental car. The Enterprise employee called for the airport wheelchair assistance for us, and pretty soon the attendant showed up with two wheelchairs. He was a pretty big guy and was able to push both of us along with our luggage. Again, he was very very pleasant, talking with us along the way, and asking us if we needed to stop for a restroom break or for food. I can not tell you how impressed I was with the service from the employees of the contractor who supplied the wheelchair service. 

Aveda Moisturizer

Aveda Moisturizer

We got to the security check point, and all was going good until my things went through the scanner. I had packed a bottle of Aveda Moisturizer that I bought in Carytown and paid $41 for. It was 3.5 ounces, 1.5 ounces more than is allowed by law. I was about to cry, because Aveda has the best moisturizer ever, and because it was $41. I was begging and told that TSA person that I am old, I NEED my moisturizer, and for goodness sake, I’m on Social Security and I spent $41 for that tiny bottle of moisturizer. At that point, just before I burst into tears, the agent put my bottle of moisturizer back in my toiletry bag and waved me through. I know it was not supposed to happen that way, but what would you do if it was you? I probably should have left it with Becca to be shipped to me with all the other things. 

Fabgrandpa taking the wheelchair ride at the airport

Fabgrandpa taking the wheelchair ride at the airport

After all that, we got to our departure gate about two and a half hours early. While it was going to be a long wait, we thought it would be a ot better than sitting in traffic on the interstate. We had also decided to get something eat after we got to the gate. But, as soon as we got to the gate, the gate attendant for Delta asked us if we would like to get on the flight that was just getting ready to take off. We said, yes, of course we would! So, they checked our bags, since we were the last ones to board the plane, and we were taken right on the plane, and got the first seats in coach, in row 10. It was nice to get close to the front of the plane, but the seats were really close together, and we are both fat, so we were scrunched in like a couple of sardines! And, because there was no seat in front of us, there was no lap tray. Well, there was one, but it folded out of the arm rest between us, and because we were so packed in there, we couldn’t get it out, LOL! 

Circling the airport in Atlanta on the way home.

Circling the airport in Atlanta on the way home.

The air traffic in the Atlanta sky kept us circling for about a half hour. We finally got on the ground, to the gate and off the plane, where wheelchairs were waiting for us. The attendant, again, was such a cheerful guy, and took us all the way to baggage claim, and then out to the shuttle parking for off site parking garages. It was good to be almost home. While this may not have been the most exciting trip I have ever written about, it was one that I thoroughly enjoyed. I loved seeing my daughter’s new home, and all the hugs I got from her. I hope to be able to see her again soon. I was also really happy to learn that there is airport wheelchair assistance available. Where are you planning to go on your next trip? I think we are going to Arizona next. 

Our Trip To Richmond Part 5

This post is brought to you by Caitlin Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram

Sunday in Richmond was another fun day. We gave Becca and Ken a break from us, and we went to IHOP for breakfast. It was close to the hotel, and easy to find. After breakfast, our friends, Cheryl and Katie, met up with us. We had gotten our signals crossed somehow, and because we were supposed to meet them at Cracker Barrell, we went ahead over and just had coffee and dessert while they ate lunch. It was so fun to see them and talk for a while. We met them when we worked at Granite Hill Camp Resort in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania back in 2007, the last year we worked at a privately owned campground before we went to work for the National Park Service. I was the night shift supervisor, and Cheryl was the day shift supervisor. Our shifts overlapped for several hours each day, and we became friends while working there. Her daughter, Katie, worked at the campground, mostly at the boat rental shack. 

Fabgrandpa and me with Katie

Fabgrandpa and me with Katie

Katie is a sweetheart. She just celebrated her one year anniversary of marriage to her charming husband. She drove her mom up from the Northern Neck of Virginia where they live now to meet us. 

Here we are with Cheryl

Here we are with Cheryl

Meeting up with Cheryl and talking for two hours was like we just saw her last week, even though it has been nine years since we worked together. She was always fun to talk to, and that has not changed one bit. 

Mama duck with some of her brood of babies

Mama duck with some of her brood of babies

When we walked out of Cracker Barrell, we found this Mama and Papa duck with a brood of ducklings. I think they were lost, but there was a lake nearby and that is probably where they were headed. Cheryl, Katie and I decided to go shopping at Michael’s, which was over by the IHOP where we had breakfast. Yes, more things to stuff in my suitcase on the way home. We had to say our goodbyes to Cheryl and Katie much too soon, but they had to get headed towards home. We went back to the hotel and rested a big, and might have napped a bit too. 

When I was refreshed, I called Becca and asked her if she and Ken wanted to go get something to eat. We decided on going to Longhorn Steaks. No good road trip is complete for us without a good, tender, juicy steak. Dinner was as go0d as we expected it to be. While were leaving Longhorn, we saw a New Balance store and decided to come back over there the next day to get Fabgrandpa a pair of shoes. 

Our Trip To Richmond Part 4

This post is brought to you by Reedman Toll Subaru

Carytown Square

Carytown Square

Saturday in Richmond started out at Boychik’s Deli again for breakfast.  We decided to head in to Carytown. Carytown is an urban retail district along Cary Street in Richmond. There are more than 230 shops and restaurants, and is home to the Byrd Theatre.  The area was developed in the 1930’s and the first strip mall in the area was opened there in 1938. Carytown is a popular destination for locals and tourists. We found a some shops we loved, but there was entirely too much walking for me. Fabgrandpa was getting winded, too. 

Penzey Spices

Penzey Spices

The first shop I went in was Penzey Spices. I love to try new rubs and herb seasoning combinations, so this place was a treasure chest! I spent way too much money in there. I got some Vietnamese Cinnamon, some vanilla, some Tuscan Sunset, some Sunny Paris, some white peppercorns, and I can’t remember what all else.

This is a cook's treasure chest!

This is a cook’s treasure chest!

I didn’t bring them home with me because I did not have any room for them in my suitcase, and I was afraid that the security people would take them away from me at the airport. So, Becca is shipping them to me. I can hardly wait for them to get here! I’ll be grilling every day. 



My favorite shop of all was the AlterNatives Free Trade Shop. They sell crafts and products made by indigenous women from Central and South America. I bought a pretty blue necklace that goes with the outfit I was wearing that day that was made out of nuts. I am amazed at the quality and craftsmanship of the piece. There were also home decor items, clothing, shoes, mirrors, and more. Fabgrandpa bought a Jaquar vase that was handmade in Nicaragua. 

Clothing made by indigenous women in South America

Clothing made by indigenous women in South America

If you find yourself in Carytown, you have to go in there. I love that they support women’s businesses and empower them to be able to support themselves and their families. They have a shop online, but it doesn’t have nearly as much merchandise as there is available at the physical location on Cary Street. Here are some pictures I took of things I really liked:

Metal Wall Sculpture

Metal Wall Sculpture

 I want this metal wall scupture for my living room. It is so beautiful, hand crafted, and unusual. 


Carved wooden serving pieces; onyx elephants; and a metal rooster. 

These items are typical of what is available in the store. There are so many unique hand carved or hand crafted items from which to choose. 

Tree wall sculpture

Tree wall sculpture

I love tree art, so this metal tree wall sculpture appealed to me. 

Woven shoes

Woven shoes

These woven shoes are so cute. Becca tried a pair on. I didn’t because I did not have an inch of space in my suitcase to be able to take them home, but I can tell you that if I could have gotten them on the plane, I would have a pair. Please go look at the website. These women are just to talented. 

After leaving Carytown, we went to downtown Richmond to The Hard Shell Restaurant for dinner. I was wanting to get steamed blue crabs while I was in Richmond, but we could not find a place that served them at a restaurant. The only places we found were like seafood shops where you could buy them by the bushel basket or by the dozen. Since we did not want to stink up Becca’s house with crabs, we chose the next best thing and went to a restaurant that had crab legs on the menu. I forgot to take pictures because I was busy talking and enjoying the company of Becca and Ken. I have never been to a restaurant where they had a combination plate of ribs and crab leg, but since I love both of those things, that is what I ordered. I wasn’t disappointed.  That is probably why I didn’t take pictures, too, because my hands were full of crab legs and barbecue! It was a very satisfying meal. My entree came with asparagus and a potato croquette. We finished off dinner with key lime pie. 

That was a great ending to a busy day. We all enjoyed the shopping and the eating, but Fabgrandpa and I were ready to drop Ken and Becca off at their house and get back to our comfy bed at the hotel.