The mountains are calling and I must go. -John Muir

There is a reason I chose the mountains of North Carolina as a honeymoon destination.  To put it simply, the mountains make me happy.  And the ones in Carolina seem to add a little extra calm to my life.  So, when Betsy asked if I wanted to crash at her family’s mountain cabin for the weekend, I slipped into my road warrior persona and buckled up.

mountain view.jpgI’ll never tire of this view.  Something incredible happens when you reach higher altitudes.

I have mentioned Betsy in previous posts, most notably after helping host a baby shower for her as she was preparing to embark on being a foster mom. The days of preparation are behind her, and she is in the thralls of her first foster child.  To make a long story short, she deserves a little mountain respite.  All mothers deserve a break now and then; Betsy is no different.  Heck, I don’t even have kids yet and I still rejoice in the occasional dog respite!

honey“What do you mean you need a break?” -Honey

I left town on Friday and headed southwest with a seven hour drive ahead of me and an assortment of snacks beside me.  I brought my yoga mat for some anticipated early morning yoga on the front porch and a fully charged camera.  I packed minimally but made sure to bring my most comfortable clothes.  This trip was about relaxation. Besides, the mountains have never judged a woman because of  her hair or her makeup. Perhaps that is why I love her so much.  

I made it to Cloud Nine – the cabin – just after dark and spent the rest of the evening chatting away with Betsy and her friend (who I now consider my friend but won’t name because she has no idea that I blog which means we didn’t talk about it which means I didn’t ask permission) over nothing in particular.  I settled into the bottom bunk with a window cracked beside me and fell asleep with a cool breeze on my face and a warm dog on my feet.  I was already looking forward to a mountain sunrise before I let sleep take over.

clouds below mountains.jpgWe were up before the clouds.

The dogs (Betsy’s – not mine) and I rustled awake before the other women.  I grabbed my camera, put on clothes decent enough for a private stroll, and took the dogs on a mini adventure to see what pictures we could take.  The scenery did not disappoint.  The stroll down the mountain proved to be much easier than the return up, but we made it back with as many as we started.  Once everyone was awake, we rode into town for a cup of coffee, ate homemade donuts, visited yarn shops, strolled through farmer’s markets, and stocked up at the Amish store.  

brunsville.jpgThe perfect motto for Burnsville, North Carolina.

Our morning adventures concluded just as the local brewery, Homeplace Beer Company, was opening its doors so, naturally, we stopped in for a beer.  (And this is where Whole30 ended for me.  More on that in another post.)  Two more of our weekend crew met up with us at the brewery before we made our way to another brewery, the Blind Squirrel, on the river.  We enjoyed a late lunch before carrying our beverages to the river side for lazy lounging under the cloudy sky.  It was the epitome of leisure.

Cheers!  Blind Squirrel and Homeplace Brew did not disappoint.  It’s not the beer that I have missed.  It is the naturally relaxed feel of a brewery that promotes a person to want to sit and talk for a while.    

The rest of our evening was spent rocking on the front porch, chasing the sun set, playing Cards Against Humanity, and eventually calling it a night before we all turned into pumpkins.  I hope I looked as blissfully happy as I was.  (Although, I probably just looked tired.  Since turning 30, tired is how I typically look.)

The morning came again and I found myself with my two amigos going on another mountain stroll before the rest of the cabin woke up.  I could hear cows lowing in the distance so we set out to find them.  I wish someone could have taken a picture of the result.  Once we saw the cows – and they saw us – they immediately came toward the fence and followed us for as long as they cared to.  Our mighty parade consisted of two dogs in the lead, myself dressed in half pajamas with a camera swinging around my neck, and a line of about seven cows slowly bringing up the rear.  It is easy for me to laugh at that image because I can clearly see it in my future.  Bradley is itching for cattle of his own.  It would be a piece of Georgia in Virginia for him.  And I don’t always understand the obsession.  But on this morning, it made perfect sense.

mountain cows.jpgOur cows will likely be on flat land, but I imagine the feelings will be the same.

   The rest of the cabin was slowly waking up when we returned.  We enjoyed a family style breakfast of eggs and bacon before I loaded up the car to return northeast.  It was a whirlwind of a trip, especially given my lengthy commute, but the road has become a dear friend (and sometimes spiteful enemy) to me since moving to Virginia.  If I want to be part of the memories in North Carolina, then I have to make the drive.  So I sacrificed a few hours in the car for the chance to make enough memories to tide me over until next year’s mountain adventure.  

gus.jpgOne of my morning companions.  The other one wouldn’t stay still long enough for a picture. 

I returned home with enough time to take the girls for a walk with Bradley before cuddling as a family for the night.  With Bradley traveling the weekend of Labor Day and I travelling the following weekend, Sunday cuddles are the most we will experience together for a while.  And that’s okay.  Our life is constantly filled with periods of extreme chaos followed by necessary periods of quiet.  August was our time of quiet.  And so begins the chaos.

muleMy spirit animal – a stubborn, old mule.

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