We were fortunate to have our first visitors of this year here a few days ago. Our neighbors Lee and Anita from MN stopped by for three nights on their way back from Florida. I planned foods that are traditional in the south. When they arrived we had a meal of snacks and cocktails. Paula Dean’s Black Eyed Peas and Black Bean Salsa is always a hit and they liked the pimento cheese spread.
This is kind of a hard time of year to figure out what to do to show visitors our area because we don’t do the usual outside scenic trips. This is their second visit so had already done some of the tourist things. After a big brunch on Sunday we went to the Upcountry History Museum and after a couple hours there it was time to head to the Bob Jones University Religious Art Museum. We know they like history and art so these were good choices. For dinner that night we had BBQ pork ribs on the grill with SC mustard BBQ sauce available for them to try, corn muffins and a really yummy dessert/candy that featured southern pecans and bourbon along with carmels and bittersweet chocolate. Everything turned out good. Ribs are always a risk because they can turn out dry and tough but these were just right.
On Monday we started the day early with a tour of the BMW plant in Spartenburg. It is a 4 million square foot, $4.5 billion facility that makes the BMW X 3, 5 and 6. It is their only assembly plant in North and South America and came here 16 years ago bringing over 20,000 jobs to the area. This plant is a major contributor to the success of Greenville and Spartenburg today. To say we were awestruck would be an understatement. Watching the robots and listening to the description of the just in time assembly was impressive. The cars are manufactured in invoice order, each one custom made and all the right parts for that specific car turn up hundreds of times on the assembly route. What a miracle of technology! The tour was about a mile inside the factory and took almost two hours. There is also a BMW museum. Lee is an engineer and frequently worked in factories during his 3M career and he really enjoyed it. Definitely a place to bring future visitors too.
It was such a beautiful afternoon and we spent it visiting out on the screen porch. Bob showed Lee how to turn a pen. For dinner that night we had pecan crusted chicken breast with bourbon sauce and sweet potatoes along with more of the pecan candies. Definitely a keeper chicken recipe. We had a relaxing evening after dinner watching Glee. Tuesday morning they hit the road with stops maybe in Oak Ridge, TN to see the Secret City, Nashville to see the Parthaenon and St. Louis, MO to visit a cathederal before heading toward the snow covered north. We all had a great time. They were very easy to have around and we never wanted for conversation. We so enjoy having company!