National Parks and Monuments, North Carolina mountains, North Carolina State Parks

Wild Hare Retreat

After RBG died, I decided that we really did have to get away. I had waffled until the last minute, but I found a place that we could afford that met our criteria during the week this week, an airBnB place called Wild Hare Historic Farmhouse Retreat right on the Blue Ridge Parkway near Sparta and Stone Mountain State Park, only about an hour and a half drive away. The first night we “glamped” in a 1968 Avion travel trailer parked on the property, and then we moved inside to a room with a private bathroom and a Jacuzzi tub. There is a creek with rapids and a small beach on the property, which was my main criteria. I wanted to get next to running water over rocks.

Now I am sitting at the dining room table of the BnB and the only other person in the house this week is one of the owners, Cara, who is very friendly.

Today is a rainy day, but other than being quite chilly the first night, the weather has been lovely.

On the way up here, we stopped at Stone Mountain State Park for a couple of hours, and I have to wonder why it is that we haven’t been up here in over twenty years. It is a pretty short drive and a really lovely park. We hiked a little and hung out beside a pretty creek with a little whirlpool at the top of the rapids.

Then we went into Sparta and ate inside (!!!!!) at a pizzeria but the tables were well spaced out and the staff and most of the customers were masked.

Then I got a major migraine and so I can’t give you a good description of staying in the travel trailer that night. I will say that the sleeping arrangements were comfortable and it was well equipped enough that we could have stayed in there for the week as we originally planned.

The next day I explored the property and the creek, and we drove to Galax, Virginia and had lunch (inside again!) at a combination antique store and cafe called Briar Patch Marketplace and Cafe on Main Street. The sandwiches and soup were very good (oh my God, that pimento cheese!!!) and they were doing all the covid precautions right. It was 2:15 p.m. by that time and there weren’t many people there.

We moseyed around the antique part and it was one of those consignment malls with a lot of different booths. I found a treasure trove of old books for very cheap that were amazing for the kind of collage that I do. I knew that I was in serious danger so I left after picking out three books in five minutes. I do NOT have room for more books. As it is I have started stacking them on the floor. Unfortunately when I went up to pay THAT person was not masked. I handed him my credit card and stepped back in a hurry. Then down the street the music store we wanted to go into had three guys without masks just inside the front door. So we headed back to Sparta.

We visited a local potter’s studio and then hit the Food Lion to get me some Allegra and some snacks. That night I don’t think Sandy ate anything but I munched on Goat Lady Dairy marinated goat cheese and crackers and was happy. We sat beside the fire pit and Cara joined us and brought marshmallows to roast under the stars. Then we enjoyed the Jacuzzi in our bathroom and it was a great one!

Wednesday was warm enough that I waded in the creek and collected a few rocks. Sandy started a drawing for a watercolor of the springhouse. I sat on the back porch listening to the water down below and lo and behold, my muse came back, finally! Next post.

That night we went early to a nice restaurant in Sparta called Crave, and our meals, chicken marsala and spaghetti with Italian sausage, were excellent. We both had desserts that were amazing – tiramisu and Italian cheesecake. We were going to visit the local brewery but had to waddle back to the car and so we came back and spent a quiet night reading and watching TV.

I would be content staying here at the retreat the whole time, actually. There is delicious water straight from the spring, cats, and chickens, flowers and herbs, the sound of water over rocks. I am more relaxed than I’ve been for a long time. I suspect that I will come back. They are not open all the time though, because they are heading to their other job as captains on a catamaran that hosts three couples in Florida! So Scott is already down there getting ready for that gig.

This morning I have been playing with collage. See the next post.

Tomorrow we go back to Greensboro.

hiking, North Carolina, North Carolina mountains

Ridges Mountain Nature Preserve Hike

Ridges Mountain Nature Preserve is a hidden gem in Randolph County we were introduced to by the Triad Hiking Explorers and this hike’s leader, Mike Johnson. It is an easy hike and the boulders at the top are magnificent.

Right away I found a snake skeleton and proclaimed the trip a success. Of course I bagged it and brought it home.

An added plus is old stone walls in an area near an upland depression which could have been a small settlement or a trading post from the 17th-18th century.

You know how I love rocks and lichens and moss. Wow.

It was very hard for me to stop taking photos. Next time I will leave the camera at home and take a sketchbook and a picnic lunch. On another nice day in winter, because I hate to think about how many rattlesnakes are probably hibernating in all those nooks and crannies.

This is in the Uwharrie Mountains, the oldest mountain range in North America.

Almost forgot – Mike and his family own Caraway Alpaca Farm. We went by and met the girls. This is Rosie smiling for the camera. Beautiful alpaca yarn, roving, knitted, crocheted, and handwoven garments are for sale in their farm shop, and they sell alpacas as well.

art, Asheville, North Carolina, North Carolina mountains

The River Arts District

A blighted area of rundown turn of the century industrial buildings and warehouses beside the river becomes a hub of creativity as artists and restaurants and a brewery move in. What a lovely idea. We spent a rainy Labor Day morning strolling around the River Arts District in Asheville. Unfortunately, Mondays, and especially holidays, are not the greatest times to catch artists in their studios. What we did get to see was fun. I was sad that I didn’t get a chance to go to Asheville Bookworks, but that is an excuse to visit Asheville again.

The mural on the front of Cotton Mill Studios, where Cloth Fiber Workshop is:

An old building next door waits for transformation and a labyrinth lies behind it:

A transformed building for studios and the sign at the front:

The patio area at the Wedge Brewery, still another reason to go back:

A light lunch at Clingman Cafe:

Update: Nesting Blog wrote a post about a lovely garden in the RAD that we saw but didn’t photograph because of the heavy rain. I really want to visit Curve Studio when I go back.