Lake Hope - October 26-28
Our annual trip to Lake Hope was a wet one, but it didn’t dampen our spirits. Three generations were well represented, ROAR days were in full swing, and I took my first ride in a Tesla!
North Carolina - November 2-12
Our first stop was in Fearington, NC. It's known for its belted cows and goats, but more importantly, it's home to my dear Aunt Beth, and nearby Chapel HIll is home to her daughter, my cousin Cindy. It was a treat to see them, as our visits are too few and far between.
Doug and I stayed at an Airbnb in the area, and took a walk around the UNC campus in Chapel HIll.
While Dad stayed in Fearington to visit with his sister, Doug and I took a side trip to Charlotte to visit with some of Doug's family.
We stayed with Doug's cousin Jan, her husband Pat, and their darling dog Charlie in Davidson, NC. They have a lovely home with beautiful pond views, and are just a short walk to Lake Norman. Jan showed us around Davidson, where they raised their family, and we had lunch at a little restaurant downtown.
Next, we went into Charlotte for a coney stop at Green's with Doug's cousin Tom. We spent that evening with Tom, his wife Ashley, Jan, and Doug's Aunt Mary. Ashley hosted a lovely dinner at their home AND, we got to meet Finley, their Vizsla, who I hear broght home a ribbon the following weekend.
So good to spend some time with the cousins on their home turf.
We headed back to Fearington for another short visit with Aunt Beth and Cindy and then drove west across the state for our next stop. Mom and Dad spent a good part of their retirement in the area around Brasstown, NC and for a while it was their second home. They both took classes at the John C. Campbell Folk School: woodworking, paper making, spinning, weaving, blacksmithing, basketmaking, and furniture making to name a few. It was through these classes that they met and made many good friends. Mom's best friend, Marianne Paul and her husband Jimmy, built a home in the area on the top of a mountain, and Dad stills visits them there every fall.
They were kind enough to host all of us for the weekend. It's a hair-raising trip up the road to their house, but well worth it. They built their home by a creek that runs year-round, so the soothing sound of rushing water is always in the background. It is a peaceful, restful, retreat in the woods. Jimmy keeps horses at the stable down the mountain and takes long trail rides whenever he can. Marianne is warm and welcoming, has a wicked sense of humor, is a great cook, and an award-winning quilter. She is also an engaging storyteller, as is her husband Jimmy.
The morning after we arrived, we drove to Brasstown, past the cabin that was Mom and Dad's home in the mountains, and to the Folk School. It's probably been 20 years since I was last there. It has grown and changed, but much is also as it was. We visited the Fiber Arts building where Mom spent many happy times. Dad ran into a few old friends and caught up a bit on recent happenings.
Dad, Marianne, and I took a day-trip to Dillsboro to visit another friend, Susan Leveille, who runs the Oaks Gallery with her husband, Bob. Susan's shop is full of the finest examples of work by local artists whose craftsmanship is just extraordinary. Susan, who taught my mom how to weave, is a master weaver who received both the Mountain Heritage Award and the North Carolina Heritage Award for her work. We had lunch at the Haywood Smokehouse, named by TIME magazine as the best barbecue joint in North Carolina. I concur. So, Dillsboro has a lot to recommend it, but the best part of the day was enjoying the company of my Dad and his good friends.
I can also recommend the restaurants in downtown Hayesville (between Marianne's house and Brasstown). Dad treated us to two delicious meals, one at the Copper Door and the other at the Hayesville Brewing Company. And so after an overnight in Lexington, KY, we are now back home.
Toledo November 23-24
Dad and I made an overnight trip to see Tom and Michelle in Toledo. We stretched Thanksgiving out a little with some delicious leftovers and a nice bit of catching up with them. Tom treated us to a dinner out and we watched some old family movies from the 50s that our cousin Tyler put together. To top it all off, Dad and I enjoyed listening to OSU trounce that team up north all the way home!
Keeping with the Fall theme, this is a great place to memorialize this year's crop of jack-o-lanterns created by my talented and fun-loving 'little' brother Tom.
I have been on the road for much of the time since Labor Day. The common thread in all these trips is that I spent time with family. I am a lucky girl!
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Ann, Doug, Moose, Darla, Sunny, and with gratitude, Winnie and Chinny.