Charles, Zoe and I are in Boone, NC, to attend a friend's wedding (but to all you would-be criminals who want to rob our house knowing we're out of town, please know that our house is protected by a FIERCE and FEROCIOUS dog, as well as wonderful neighbors who are VERY attentive). A couple months ago, when we heard about the wedding, we decided to make a proper vacation of the trip and rented a small cabin on a river for a full five days.
So here we on in the mountains, where it is breathtakingly beautiful at all turns, where little tourist traps offering gem mining and fossil factories line the windy roads, and where Charles would love to live.
Really, it is gorgeous here. We got our first view of the mountains yesterday about four hours into our five-hour drive, and it was sooooo nice to be out of the lowcountry where we live. And then, our ears started popping. And then Zoe, who had been damn near angelic for most of the trip, had just about had it. And then, to get to our cabin, we turned down a gravel road that is lined on one side with one house's private art (junk) collection. And I've seen the movie "The Last House on the Left" far too recently, and I began to freak out. A little.
So we got our bearings in the cabin, then headed out to find some food. We wound up eating dinner at a Japanese steakhouse, Zoe's first hibachi experience. It was totally random, and not what we'd have typically picked while on vacation (we like fancy food, I'll admit it), but it was perfect. Zoe loved the "cook on the table" show, and we relaxed, me with two glasses of strong red wine.
So then, we came back to the cabin, and we tried to take a walk on the river. Which I cannot do when I've had two glasses of wine. At least not without sitting down hard on my bottom after slipping on some algae. Whoops. I felt even more insecure.
We let Zoe stay up late to try to look for fireflies (she'd never seen any) but it apparently gets dark super-late here, so suddenly it was 9:00, Zoe was falling apart and so was I, and still, no fireflies.
We learned last night that you cannot expect a child to sleep in an unfamiliar, dark, kind of creepy room on her first night in a little cabin. She finally fell asleep on the couch, but not after one of her most impressive meltdowns ever.
Oh well, lesson learned.
I'll be honest, I was ready to throw in the towel by then. I was exhausted, frazzled, and I swear I kept expecting to see a creepy face out every window I saw. I wanted my own bed in my bright, sunny house.
But we persevered, and things were much better this morning...except for a dizzy-spat I can only attribute to the much higher altitude here...my head was swimming for much of the morning.
But still, we persevered more. We headed out to explore the Blue Ride Parkway and it was AMAZING. We stopped at a "Craft House" (gift shop) and explored around this old mansion a bit, and even got to pet some horses. A few miles up the road, we stopped again to hike a "moderate to strenuous" trail that was so much fun I wish we could do it every day. Zoe kept up with us for a full mile (half mile out and back - we were afraid to push her much further than that) and was hilarious, hopping over and off of large roots and tree stumps. She only fell once, and hopped right back up to keep on hiking.
I'm glad we've found something we all love doing together, and I've already gotten much more comfortable in our cabin. Zoe's still having some sleep issues (translation: no nap) so tonight's wedding might get a little hairy for us, but still, it's going to be beautiful.
Oh, and the weather? When we left Charleston yesterday at 9 a.m., it was already pushing 90, with near 80% humidity. Here? Oh, it's been in the 70s. All day. I hiked in jeans and a hoodie. AMAZING. So we'll be staying the full five days.