Category Archives: nature

Linden, The Little Town that Could With Help From the Dumonts

Lunch and music at the Commodore Music Café was a treat. Few restaurants offer live music with lunch.

American Press Travel News-June 19, Linden, TN.–Bob and Barb “On The Road Again.” When we arrived in the small town of Linden, Tennessee we almost immediately felt at home. We had been invited to stay at the newly remodeled, and upgraded Commodore Hotel. We met Kathy and later Michael Dumont, and realized they were on a mission. However, they were incredibly friendly and accommodating. Michael took us on a delightful trip through the county, and also showed us his remodeled B&B outside of town, and close to the Tennessee River (we’ll be back) that has more species of fish in its depth than any other American river (according to Mr. Benson of the Chattanooga Aquarium) and I plan to get close and personal with some of them as soon as possible. The Commodore held 22-rooms at the hotel and next door annex, and all done-up first rate, but with very reasonable cost. (931) 589-3224–114 East Main St. Linden TN. 37096

We were invited to fish with the Mayor, Wess Ward, and Perry Counties Sherriff, Nick Weems, who also brought his boat, and fished with us on the Buffalo River for smallmouth and largemouth bass (more on fishing in part-2 of our Linden experience later). Travel writers do travel on their stomachs, and we knew we would be in for a treat with the live music, as we chowed on terrific fare at the corner Music Café in the hotel.

While I fished, Barb went next door on main St., and just after I arrived back at the hotel, we availed ourselves of the opportunity to do “Wave- Painting” at the Buffalo River Co-Op Craft Immersion project. Lots of fun, met great folks doing their crafts “thing” in wood and textiles. We were sent our little paintings to our home after they finally dried. We walked main street and met proprietors of Sparky and Ringos, Dimples Shop & Restaurant, Custom Creations Jewelry and also ate at Tims Video Corner Café our second evening in town. We also met Allyson Hinson Dickey, the new Chamber Director who offered us the Keys to the town (so-to-speak) for us to visit and experience. The Dumont’s invited us to have dinner with them, even though their restaurant was closed that evening. Before I forget; we also visited Mouse tail Landing State Park with Michael Dumont ,and everyone that enjoys camping would love the facilities and hiking ops.

When Michael and Kathy Dumont decided to change their life from Rhode Island to a little town between Nashville and Memphis, TN., they moved to Linden, a town that had seen better days before the Interstate way-laid most of its business and tourist traffic, as new interstates have done so, all over America (remember route 66) they chose the gorgeous rural area between Memphis and Nashville, and purchased land for their home, and acquired several building in the town of Linden. Linden has a backyard of the Buffalo River and the Tennessee River, rife with fabulous landscapes and wildlife.  * Stay tuned for part-2 our visit to Perry County, fishing, The Buffalo River Resort,  and an unusual museum on the Tennessee River.

We were strolling the neat little town of Linden!!
Larger than life, Minnie Pearl statue. A well known figure from Linden. She is in the lobby of the Commodore Hotel.
Barb heading for the hotel. The red car is a 1949 perfect condition, Dodge that belongs to the Dumont’s.






One of the small mouth bass while fishing with the Mayor and Sheriff of Linden and Perry County,
Newspaper article reminiscent of how folks in a small town (Similar to Mayberry RFD) takes time out for just having fun! Article was on the wall of the hotel lobby.
Sheriff of Perry County took a time-out to take me fishing!!
Mayor of Linden also took me fishing!!!
Sheriff and mayor were a “hoot” to fish with and get to know!!
While I went fishing, Barb took a class in art at the Buffalo River Artisans Cooperative, next door to the Commodore Hotel.

4Th of July At The Orchard Inn-Best B N B in the Carolina’s

American Press Travel News PRESS RELEASE: Note we (Bob and Barb, “On the Road Again” and “Stopping to Smell the Roses”) stayed here multiple times and experienced the culinary delights both breakfast and dinners.

Bring On the Fireworks!
Spend the 4th of July at Orchard Inn
Make this 4th of July extra special when you go on vacation this year! Use the day off as an excuse to get away with your sweetheart or take the whole family to one of our cottages. From fireworks shows to great summer activities to enjoy, it’s always fun to change up traditions and start new ones.
Celebrate the 4th of July

It’s Time to Celebrate!

Summer is just around the corner and for many, that means that it’s time to go on a fun family vacation. When it comes to summer, we all get a sense of nostalgia from memories of our own summers as children, and we want to re-create that feeling as much as we can. Start a new tradition when you come to Orchard Inn this year! Here are all the things to do on the 4th.

Start Planning

Available 4th of July Accommodations

The Keeping Room: This suite comes with a lovely sitting area, gas fireplace, and a private bath with a whirlpool tub and fabulous steam shower. It features a luxurious memory foam king bed, and there is a private entrance door leading to the front porch. It’s perfect for the ultimate 4th of July getaway with your sweetheart!

Laurel Cottage

The best friend or family getaways all start with our Laurel Cottage! This two bedroom, two bathroom cottage has a full kitchen, large living room, dining room, and a loft with two additional twin beds. It’s perfect for spending the 4th of July with a big group!

We’re Happy to Help!
If you have any questions related to your stay at The Orchard Inn, please give us a call at (828) 749-5471. You may also reach us via email at We look forward to speaking with you soon!

Our mailing address is:
The Orchard Inn
100 Orchard Inn Ln
Saluda, NC 28773-9706



At Kona Kai In Key Largo! We are attending Islamorada Birthday Trip, Via The Blue Chip 2 Sportfishing Adventures

American Press Travel News-May 5th–Key Largo and Islamorada, Florida Keys-“Bob & Barb On the Road Again” and “Stopping to Smell the Roses & Admiring the Hibiscus Flowers.. So our son David had his 50th Birthday and was spending his day on the Charter Craft, Blue Chip 2 with veteran Captain Skip Bradeen, his mate David and my sons friends John ElKoury, Billy Pope and Dave, all part of Coastal Reality of the Florida Keys, Allan Pope owner of Keys Life Magazine, Eric Dyer another of David’s childhood and lifelong friends and Captain Key Largo; my younger son Brian Epstein who runs his backcountry boat out of Key Largo and who knows where the big ones lurk and jerk the lines.
The day was blustery, but on the Blue Chip 2 we caught fish, the heck with the wind and swells. Everyone caught dinner sized yellowtail snapper, and some tuna including bonita and down deep Mutton Snappers. It was a great day and it finished with a special fishing and boating themed and decorated cake, too!

At the end of day yours truly went on Captain Skips Radio Show to talk about the day and my published Keys themed books. We ate yellowtail of the day and at least one beer at the Moose Club. Kona Kai 800-365-STAY—In Key Largo, fish here, eat here and love here!!! By the way: You can buy my signed books at Kona Kai too!

Entrance to Kona Kai Resort and Gallery. Where we stayed during Dave’s birthday sportfishing bash.
Kona Kai Pool and hot tub.
Left to right Birthday Boy Dave, Captain Skip Bradeen, Captain Key Largo, Brian Epstein and David the Blue Chip 2 Mate.

Fly buddy out to say Hi to the birthday boy, Dave.

Fly buddy out to say Hi to the birthday boy, Dave.
We kept enough yellowtail snapper for all of us to have a fresh filet of fish dinner.
Realtor, John ElKoury, a veteran and a great Islamorada resident!!
Kona Kai Paradise in Key Largo~
Skips Radio Show! I’m the guest.



Uganda and on to Rwanda “Africa on a Pin & a Prayer” A Piece from My Book

Some of the items traded for during my time in Africa!

American Press Travel News–March 22,–Bob Epstein in Africa–Part 2-Uganda—The most difficult items to eat during our trip through equatorial Africa were: monkey brains, snakes and some lizards. The reptiles were great roasted, but the monkey was just too close to our lineage for us not to feel like we were cannibals. Besides, we didn’t like the gamy taste, or smell either.
I had learned long before I arrived in Africa that the shortest route between two points traveled, or on paper was a straight line. In Africa there are no straight lines or roads. Most of the terrain in Africa called for serpentine roads and circuitous ways. A trek through this land was then, and I understand full well now, a trip through pre history for anyone from the west. Things in the west have changed rapidly, socially, the industrial revolution and all, but in Africa with the exception of the diamond, religious missionary and rubber business interests, few things have changed except for the horror of aids. People that are used to very fast changes in the relativity of the new worlds terms and times would be flabbergasted by the actual snail like pace of change in Africa. People in the hinterlands of Africa are still concerned with, and do things one at a time, with pride and utility. Time in central Africa is not money. People in Africa, not the citified ones, do things, (crafts, building their dwellings, doing anything beyond attending to the daily natural personal hygiene needs) they do their wash in streams and gather brush and branches for cooking fires, they brush their teeth with crushed branch ends the way they have done for untold centuries. Africans, those that have not become accustomed to the white mans ways, still do things one at a time often with pride and high utility. Because time is not money to most of these peoples, a hand carved knife may take days or weeks to craft and speed is not part of the criteria for it’s fashioning. Quality not quantity would seem to describe the craftsman’s philosophy in the hinterlands of Africa.
When we traded for such things as knives and finger pianos, or spears or any item an African makes for himself or others of his tribe, manufactured products from the west, such as razor blades, shiny nail clippers or cigarettes. Things such as these that may as well have been made by aliens from another planet were perfect barter and trade item products. For the Africans, it was future shock, they were delighted with chromium products and for us it was museum quality items that would also be treated as priceless. I remember seeing this trade as realistic and fair, even though on cursory notice through western eyes and perspective it would seem the Africans were the ones being taken advantage of, they did and would certainly feel the same way about their good fortune. After all they looked at the transactions from their own perspective. They could make another mask, knife, spear, monkey strap and bow and arrow set out of the natural free material around them. They were sure that the white mans technology would be very difficult if not impossible to reproduce even for the traders from a land of the future.
Africa was not just a place. It was a state of mind. Everywhere we looked, there were things to marvel at. From the style and shapes of African homes and buildings to the dress and customs of these peoples from a lush land, nourished by an equatorial sun and heavy rainy seasons, to the diversity of a people that Thomas Leaky was sure are the ancient ancestors of the birth of Homo erectus or the first man.
Traveling through Africa and experiencing its diverse wildlife, I had no doubt why anyone would not think that this place perhaps was where the concept of the Garden of Eden had come from. Every fruit known to man grows somewhere in Africa, almost every wild animal including the largest land animal the pachyderm and the smallest the Madagascar shrew is indigenous to this continent and it’s environs. There are over 500 different types of snakes, fifty thousand kinds of insects, hundreds of varieties of fish, reptiles and amphibians inhabit the waters, lands and jungles of Africa, not to mention the over 100 different mammalian species that dot the plains, inhabit the trees with over 600 species of birds countless kinds of trees and plants as well as the throwback from the dinosaur age the crocodile. These crocodiles yearly account for hundreds of deaths. People get too close to them as they wash their clothes, take baths and fish in the rivers and lakes and become food for many of these crocodiles. Many crocs reach in access of 20 feet in length. There are hundreds of butterflies and moth varieties besides the aforementioned insect’s numbers, dozens of leech and worm types and you can meet many of them by just taking a swim in any still water pool, lake or river. We did!
We traveled through a land of giant bamboo and trees that seemed to reach the clouds; many of these trees did in the highlands of Kisangani National Park. We took in the fragrance of wildflowers and craned our necks to view the orchids high in the tree boughs. We passed so many natural sights, noticed so many fragrances, all our senses were constantly being bombarded with new, exciting; some just plain scary things that we were on an “info processing overload”, much of the time.
We traveled down a dusty, sometimes muddy road; filled with ruts and high, untamed grasses in the roads center, where tires rarely tread. In the twilight of a late African afternoon we spied a small village off in the distance, and after not seeing another human for days, we decided to stop and visit with the villagers and possibly trade for some fresh fruit, and perhaps a chicken dinner. As we got closer to the outskirts of the village, we saw what we expected were the inhabitants peering through the window openings in their huts. Throughout our visits to villages in the east and central African nations, we’d grown accustomed to the children running out to greet us. However, when we pulled into the village there was no children or people.
Suddenly, we became aware that, what peered out at us was not human. What lived in these huts were baboons. Not just your average plains baboons mind you, but street and town smart ones. Further down that road to Stanley Ville in the Congo, we met other Bantu people who explained the strange inhabitants to us. To our astonishment we learned that the people in the village died out, and the survivors fled from the raging yellow fever epidemic, so when the people left the baboons moved in to take their place.
We saw things in The Congo, in the fields of science, medicine, and philosophy that in terms of our western religion, could not be explained. One example of many with which we experienced, is the time we stayed overnight in a village with no lights, and no concept of electricity. Oil lamps, like in the days of old, was normal, and we sat around a large fire, while the shaman of the village, called on the good spirits to come forth, and the malevolent ones to stay away. This ritual entailed powders to be thrown into the fire, causing flash points, which the shaman was able to attribute to spirit movement and signs from their gods. The people believed in the show and it was hard for me, with all the palm wine I imbibed, not to feel the same way at the time.

Hunting dinner game in the Congo at the rubber plantation we visited. They had a .22 we got game!!