Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Mountain Magic Part One

Our view over the mountain

Quite a few years ago now, my parents, my sister, and I were lucky enough to find property on a mountain in North Carolina with a house big enough for all of us that, together, we could afford. We had grand ideas of one day turning it into a compound like the Kennedys in Kennebunkport because we like to dream big, but really, there is room for all of us in the house and building new houses on the side of a mountain would be insanely expensive.

When we first started coming up to visit the house, our trips were crazy mad dashes from one "must see" place to the next. Every moment was filled with either driving somewhere to look at beautiful Carolina mountain scenery, or hitting some cute, little shop that just couldn't be missed, or checking out the food at a restaurant that the locals swore was simply the best in the South. We found ourselves at home just long enough to sleep, shower, wake up, and do it all over again the next day. By the time we made it back to Florida, we were always more tired than when we had left. While we were in Carolina, we recognized the laid-back nature of the place, we felt the sense of calm that permeated the air we breathed, but it just seemed like there was too much we "had" to do to ever sit still long enough to breathe in very much of it.

Finally, last year, something changed. A switch flipped in my head, I guess, I don't know, but something was different. For starters, this trip was just me and Dad, instead of the whole family. We hadn't done a father-daughter road trip since my senior year in high school when we went to New Orleans, but that is another story for another day. Anyway, for the first time ever we got up in the morning and asked the question, "What do we have to do today?" Much to our surprise, the answer was, "Nothing." It was seriously disconcerting. I tend to have almost every minute of every day scheduled in my regular life, so to say, "I have no place to be today and there is nothing I have to do," totally threw me for a loop. Then I decided to embrace it. I knew that opportunity would only exist for a short period of time, so I grabbed it with both hands and held on for dear life!

A couple of the days we just stayed in our pjs and hung around the house reading and watching tv. I introduced Dad to my favorite series, The Wire, on DVD, so we watched a marathon of that. Each day seemed more amazing than the next! We ventured out to Terry's, my favorite roadside produce stand, where we bought Hillbilly Stripeys, the most delicious heirloom tomatoes I have ever tasted. The first bite actually made me cry. I made them into tomato sandwiches, a Southern staple. When we felt like it, we went into town and ate our favorite burgers at The Coffee Shop, or pizza at Mill & Main, or our very favorite, vegan chili and sandwiches, at Soul Infusion Tea House & Bistro. We went to lunch whenever we felt like it, we came home and took naps if we were tired. One afternoon we washed dishes and rolled silverware at the Community Table.  Another afternoon we drove out to the new casino to have lunch at Paula Deen's restaurant.  It was fabulous!

At that point, Baby Sister was early into her first pregnancy, so when we did venture out into the local shops, we inevitably found things that were so cute, the baby (we had yet to learn his sex) just had to have them!  We caught up with our favorite potters, Zan, Brant, and Karen Barnes at Riverwood Pottery, the only place in Carolina that I am guaranteed to spend money every time!  Their work is seriously beautiful!  We drove into Cashiers one day and ended up on a quest for a big, metal chicken named Beyonce' like TheBloggess' for my friend, Julie.  We also got to spend some time with my godparents up at their house on Dick's Creek.  On that trip I photographed the water in a few really beautiful Carolina creeks, which I love to capture on film more than almost anything.  We went where we wanted to go whenever we felt like it.  The freedom was intoxicating!

Deep Creek 

Afternoon Cocktail Hour was celebrated with fun, fresh appetizers and Bloody Marys. In the evenings I played Chef in our kitchen to my heart's content, and Dad was seriously appreciative of the food I made. I even started writing down what went into some of the dishes I created, knowing that someday I wanted to do something with them, even though I wasn't sure yet what that was.  I felt all of the stress and tension of the year melting away a little more each day. The magic the mountains were working on me was palpable. I couldn't remember when I had last felt so relaxed, and I knew, Dad and I  both knew, that we wanted to do it again this summer.  In fact we started planning our escape for this summer before we drove away from the house last summer.

Photos and details of this year's trip are coming soon.

Green's Creek from the bridge

10 comments:

  1. I love North Carolina. We go up to the Blue Ridge area all the time. I love the mountains. My kids love going to Stone Mountain (probably because it is the only place where they remember the name lol). We also love Kennebunkport. I grew up in New England and spent my summers in Ogunquit, Maine which is a few minutes south of Kennebunkport. Have a cottage on the beach there now. Love love love.
    Dani
    @sunshinemommy
    http://suburbiainterrupted.com

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    1. Oh, Dani, that it excellent! We'll have to try to hook up one of these times. It is the most beautiful area!

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  2. Great post! I wish I could have joined you on this relaxing trip. Maybe next time! Have a safe drive back tomorrow. I LOVE YOU!

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    1. I wish you had been here, too!
      Love you!

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  3. Great post! I wish I could have joined you on this relaxing trip. Maybe next time! Have a safe drive back tomorrow. I LOVE YOU!

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  4. Great post! I wish I could have joined you on this relaxing trip. Maybe next time! Have a safe drive back tomorrow. I LOVE YOU!

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  5. We'll make you a deal.... we'll host you sometime in Newport, RI our favorite summer place if you'll host us sometime in NC, your favorite summer place. deal? miss you!

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    1. I love that deal! Consider it done! Miss you, too! Hug that beautiful baby for me!

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  6. What a lovely reminder of the need to slow down and enjoy the ride - no matter where we are. This entry brought me peace.

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  7. Carmi, that is the sweetest thing you could have said to me. Thank you so much.

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