Posts Tagged ‘country cooking’

Downtown Mount Airy Eatery, Down Home Restaurant, Joins the Surry Sonker Trail

Posted on: May 18th, 2016 by 89and52 No Comments

MOUNT AIRY, N.C. – The Surry Sonker Trail has a new member as the Down Home Restaurant came on board in March. Down Home opened in the location formerly occupied by Granite City BBQ and replaced it on this confectionary trail in Surry County.

Sandra Johnson and Bonnie Reynolds run the casual eatery on Main Street in Mount Airy. Both grew up in the area and learned to make sonker from family recipes. Reynolds is the primary sonker maker and Johnson bakes the cakes. But they trade off.

“We’ve made sonker all of our lives at home,” Johnson says. “It’s just a traditional, quick dessert here.”

Similar to cobbler, sonker consists of cooked fruit and a crust. Some have a liquid batter poured on top of the fruit, others have a rolled dough for their crust, and others are prepared on the stove top with a dropped-dumpling crust. Each recipe depends upon family tradition.

Down Home Restaurant makes its sonker by cooking fruit — strawberries, blackberries, blueberries, apples or peaches — on the stove, transferring it to a pan, adding a crust made from a liquid batter and baking it.

“I took one bite of the Down Home Restaurant sonker and almost cried because it brought back so many memories of my granny’s sonker,” says Jessica Johnson, assistant marketing director at the Mount Airy Visitors Center.

The region’s sonker dates to the early 1800s. The dessert was a product of frugal home cooks who didn’t want to waste any over-ripe fruit.

In addition to Down Home Restaurant in Mount Airy, the Surry Sonker Trail includes The Living Room Coffeehouse and Winebar in Pilot Mountain, Putters Patio & Grill in Dobson, Old North State Winery in Mount Airy, Miss Angel’s Heavenly Pies in Mount Airy, Rockford General Store in Dobson and Roxxi & Lulu’s Bakery in Elkin.

The trail was created in January 2015 by the Tourism Partnership of Surry County. Each of the seven stops on the Surry Sonker Trail offers a different style of the dessert.

“Trying the food is part of learning about the place where you’re living or visiting,” Sandra Johnson says. “Sonker is native to this region.”

To receive a Surry Sonker Trail brochure map, which has all the info needed to enjoy a day or two along the trail, call (800) 948-0949, or go online at:

Autumn Leaves Festival in Downtown Mount Airy – Oct. 10-12

Posted on: October 1st, 2014 by 89and52 No Comments

It’s festival season, and we had a great time at Mayberry Days last weekend! Now it is time for our big fall festival, the Autumn Leaves Festival, with over 200 Arts and Crafts Vendors, delicious local food vendors, business displays, bluegrass/old-time jam sessions, and a large bandstand featuring our rich musical heritage, with local bluegrass, old-time, and gospel music! It’s a toe-tapping, foot-stomping, hand-clapping, kind of weekend!
This year is the 48th anniversary of one of North Carolina’s longest-running and most successful festivals! The Autumn Leaves Festival is consistently ranked as one of the top 20 festivals in the southeast by the Southeast Tourism Society.

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The Arts and Crafts vendors will feature a wide variety of products, and many will demonstrate their crafts!
There is plenty of food for the soul with the infamous collard green sandwiches (it’s worth the wait in line for this uniquely southern food), Surry County’s own unique ground steak sandwiches, roasted corn on the cob, homemade apple butter made on the street, country ham biscuits, hamburgers and hotdogs, pinto beans, bologna sandwiches, bbq, ribs, Amish donuts, funnel cakes, homemade desserts, kettle corn, fried apple pies, bloomin’ onions, and SO MUCH MORE! Food vendors feature local civic and service organizations.
For a list of specific food and arts/crafts vendors, click here: Link to list of vendors
10644919_888774371135041_7845598100624381434_nThe Collard Green Sandwiches are always popular each year at the Autumn Leaves Festival!

The festival began as a celebration of the end of the tobacco and apple harvesting season, over 45 years ago. Now, we celebrate the breathtaking fall season that is upon us, with the leaves beginning to display their brilliant colors.

Visit the Autumn Leaves Festival and enjoy the flavor of rural America and its distinctive character, rich heritage and scenic beauty. The area is particularly beautiful at this time of year when there’s still a chance to catch some warm sunshine and the leaves start taking on their brilliant colors. This is where shadows last a little longer, doors open a little wider, conversation lasts a little longer and the spirit of our community has a captivating quality on everyone who visits. This great community once again puts out the “WELCOME” mat and invites one and all to come and experience the true spirit of America’s Hometown!

ALL PETS are strictly prohibited inside of the festival boundaries. Admission is free to the festival. The hours of the festival are 9-9 on Friday and Saturday and 12-6 on Sunday. A free shuttle will run from the north and south end of the festival and will also be on-call for select hotels in Mount Airy. Please call 336-786-6116 for more information about the shuttle and the Autumn Leaves Festival in general.

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Friday, Oct. 10
11:30 a.m. – Opening Ceremony
11:50-12:35 – The Foothills Band (bluegrass)
12:35 – 1:20 – Crossriver (gospel)
1:20 – 2:05 – Over the Hill Bluegrass Band
2:05 – 2:50 – The Mountain Ivy Band (old-time)
2:50 – 3:35 – Hubert Lawson & The Bluegrass Country Boys
3:35 – 4:20 – The Hard Times Band (bluegrass)
4:20 – 5:05 – Snow Creek Old Time Band
5:05 – 5:50 – 2 Young 2 Old (bluegrass)
5:50 – 6:35 – The Old Time Buddies
6:35 – 7:20 – Mountain Park Old Time Band
7:20 – 8:05 – The South Carolina Broadcasters (old time)
8:05 – 9:00 – Trish Fore & The Old Time Pals

Saturday, Oct. 11
9:15 – 10:00 – The Mainline Gravy Soppers (old time)
10:00 – 10:40 – Plank Road Bluegrass
10:40 – 11:20 – Farmington Bluegrass
11:20 – 12:00 – Bluegrass & Beyond
12:00 – 12:45 – Dixie Moon (bluegrass)
12:45 – 1:30 – Fisher’s Peak Timber Rattlers (old time)
1:30 – 2:15 – The Dewey Murphy Band (bluegrass)
2:15 – 3:00 – Possum Hollow Old-Time String Band
3:00 – 3:45 – Narrow Road (gospel)
3:45 – 4:30 – The Country Boys (bluegrass)
4:30 – 5:15 – The Buckstankle Boys (bluegrass)
5:15 – 6:00 – Slate Mountain Boys (old time)
6:00 – 6:45 – The Woodchuckers (old time)
6:45 – 7:30 – The Marshall Brothers & Highroad (bluegrass)
7:30 – 8:15 – The Zephyr Lightning Bolts (old time)
8:15 – 9:00 – The Nunn Brothers (bluegrass)

Sunday, Oct. 12
1:00 – 2:00 – Cranford Creek Bluegrass
2:00 – 3:00 – Crossroad (bluegrass)
3:00 – 4:00 – Rich in Tradition (bluegrass)
4:00 – 5:00 – Highway 52 (bluegrass)

For more information about the Autumn Leaves Festival, visit and/or call 336-786-6116.
Don’t forget – add the hashtag #AutumnLeaves to your photos and we may share them on Twitter and Facebook!
Also, for a list of local accommodations, go to!