Saturday--Hit the Lake
Wake up to breakfast at Wanda's Restaurant & Ice Cream Parlor, a short order-style diner downtown. For almost 23 years, owner Wanda Poole has kept locals happy with her country cooking. Try the 2+2+2 breakfast special--two eggs, two pieces of bacon, and two slices of toast ($2.95).
While you're in town, stop by Southern Pines to see what Dennis and Suzanne Goldasich have brought back from their latest European excursion. Almost every inch of the 13,000-square-foot building is full of French and English antique furniture, a nice collection of handmade Oriental rugs, and other imported pieces.
Grab your lunch to go at Simmons Barbecue (it's drive-through only), where we liked the pork sandwich ($2.19) a little better than the beef ($2.49), and make your way down to the lake for a picnic.
We suggest setting up your picnic inside Lake Guntersville State Park at the free public beach area. If you want more privacy, another option is to follow a walking trail that begins in front of the chamber of commerce (200 Gunter Avenue) and winds down to the lake. Into angling? Pack your tackle, because this is one of the top-rated largemouth bass fishing lakes in the country.
While you're cleaning up at the hotel, make dinner reservations at La Strada ( 582-2250). Originally from Switzerland, owners Markus and Beatrice Bischof serve seafood as well as cuisine that blends tastes from Italy and California. Despite the sophisticated menu, the restaurant still holds a comfortable family atmosphere. We started with the fried calamari ($8) and chose the grilled salmon ($18) as an entrée. Definitely save room for the homemade crème brûlée ($6).