Upstate Area Fall Drive & Dine
December 16, 2012
By John Budinich

Group on SC's roadsUpstate Area held its Fall Drive & Dine tour on November 18th. The group gathered at the Cracker Barrel Restaurant in Piedmont, SC at 9:45 am to get organized and to fill out the necessary paperwork. The members on hand took the opportunity to get caught up with old friends, get reacquainted with other members or meet new members on their first tour. The morning was chilly and breezy but the weather outlook was warmer weather as the day progressed.

First rest stopThe tour started at 10:30 and the group of 18 people in 9 Porsches headed out for an enjoyable day on the two-lane roads of Upstate and Midlands South Carolina. We headed from Piedmont, through Pelzer and a number of twisty roads to our first stop just outside of Laurens. The group took the opportunity to regroup, stretch our legs and enjoy the conversation among friends. Due to the light Sunday morning traffic, it was easy to keep the 9 Porsches on the tour together in one impressive line as we drove through the countryside and small towns.

We soon headed out again and continued on our trek. We headed southwest towards Greenwood and again were pleased to find the roads to be scenic, with rolling curves and very little traffic. What a pleasant way to enjoy a Sunday drive. We passed a Black Cayman heading in the opposite direction and exchanged a lot of “thumbs up”. Later we commented he probably would have joined the group if we slowed down for him to make a u-turn. We stopped again in Saluda for a final stretch break before heading to our destination and an authentic, German meal.

Restaurant parking lotOnce again, the final stretch of our drive had little traffic and the group was able to stay together. We arrived in Prosperity and parked in the grass parking lot behind the restaurant. We were warmly greeted by Miss Wendy, the owner of the restaurant, and Dianna, our hostess and given a tour of the kitchen before taking our seats. Miss Wendy also gave us a history of the restaurant and the meaning behind the name “Gasthaus Zur Elli”. The restaurant was opened in 1999 and renamed in 2001 in honor of her mother, Elli. The restaurant contains many mementos from her travels to Germany and from past patrons. There was also a very prominent Porsche flag in the corner of the dining room. Once we were seated, Miss Wendy locked the front door and declared our event a “private party” and commented on how good her parking lot looked with all of the Porches on the lawn, especially the “little red” Boxster, her favorite.

Gasthaus Gang Part 1Gasthaus Gang Part 2Miss Wendy had prepared a complete meal for us including soup, salad, desert, iced tea and coffee. For entrees we could choose from Schnitzel (pork), Wiener Schnitzel (veal), Huehner Schnitzel (chicken), Jaeger Schnitzel (pork loin) and Zwiebel Steak (rib eye). In addition to the complete meal, being a “private party” allowed members to order authentic German wine or beer to go with their meal. To say the meal was fresh is an understatement. As each of us ordered our entrée, you could hear Miss Wendy pounding the veal or pork prior to cooking each dish to order. The meal was as delicious as it was relaxing.

Restaurant's homage to PorscheAfter the leisurely meal and conversation was complete, the tour was officially over. Members were free to choose their preferred route home from Prosperity. Some chose the direct route, in order to get home quickly for a post-meal nap and some chose to explore some new, twisty two-lanes to work off lunch. We all thanked Miss Wendy, Dianna, Kristin and Corlean for a great meal and great experience. We look forward to planning another trip there in the future. The hospitality and the great food are worth it.

All in all it was a very enjoyable day with good weather, great roads, great cars and especially, great friends. Many of the participants have already started making suggestions for our next tour. We hope you can join us then. Until next time...