Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Findings on the Square

I spent the majority of this past Saturday in Mountain View, AR. I had never been there before and it is quite a lovely little town. I was there for a barbecue contest, but what really captivated me was their old-timey town square. I wish I had gotten a better picture of the square, but all the barbecue teams were set up around it and I didn’t really have a good shot. This pic of one of the square’s main drags kind of gives you an idea of what’s going on there – all the little, eclectic shops right in a row.

After the judges’ check-in, there is usually an hour or so to kill before the competition starts. That’s usually spent shooting shit with your fellow judges or walking around and seeing what teams are competing (though we’re not allowed to fraternize with teams on judge day until after judging), but this time, with so many cool shops offered, I decided to walk around and see what there was to see.

There were a lot of flea market style stores masquerading as “woodworking,” “general store,” and “military surplus.” In the military surplus store I stumbled upon something I’ve been kind of craving for a while – old school cast iron pans. Anyone who has bought cast-iron cookware recently is familiar with the texture of modern pans. It has a rough, pebble-blasted texture that is nothing like the smooth finish of pans our grandmothers used. So, to find some old Griswold pans (stacks of them!) in this store was quite the find. Better than having found them was the price. I picked up a 10-inch skillet and almost dropped it on my foot when I saw they only wanted $22 for it.

Now, did I buy any? Of course not. I pretty much had gas money for the day and couldn’t really see myself spending the money for something I don’t really *need*, but, man, it was hard not to.

Sometimes window shopping has to suffice. But there will be future trips to Mountain View. Blanchard Springs Caverns is only 15 miles north of the town. It’s only a three-hour drive, so that’s a perfect family trip on a long weekend. Caverns and cast iron sounds pretty cool to me.


Andy said...

Dang, Cullen! Well, I know what you mean about resisting a purchase of something you REALLY don't need.

But, that Griswold skillet sounds like something that would have broken down my (or at least my wife's) sales resistance.

Mountain View is a beautiful place. I've been there before. That whole area around Blanchard Springs is truly fabulous.

My memory is fading a bit, but I think Ash Flat is right near Mountain View, too. I had to do some work there once, and it was just fabulous. Man, that is beautiful country! Definitely worth a visit.

Cullen said...

Yeah, I was immediately impressed with how pretty the area is. It gets hilly quick too! The majority of the drive from here isn't all that. Once you hit Bald Knob and turn north though ... !

Andy said...

Oh yeah! Now I remember, Cullen. Bald Knob, Searcy, yeah, now I remember it better.

I was working, driving an F-150 Ranger Pickup with a 3,000 pound vat of caustic soda on a trailer behind.

"Hilly" is an understatement, my friend! Those switchbacks are tough to climb in a rig like that, but even more "nervous making" to descend.

Gorgeous country for sure, though.

Cullen said...

Well, I think Colorado ruined me on hills forever. I will always compare every mountain I encounter with the Rockies, and there's just not much comparison. So I didn't find the drive to be all that "mountainous" but then again, I was driving a little Camry and not an F150 hauling a trailer full o' nasty.

Andy said...

Yeah Cullen. I lived in SW Colorado for four years...in the San Juan Mountains. The drives never bugged me. But, I never was hauling all that "nasty" behind a way too light pickup, either.

The Ozarks are about enough for me now. The Rockies are grand for sure...but I'm old, and I can't breathe good above 7,000 ft.

Just sayin'...