So, 2-3 months back, we were surfing the internet, trying to decide what to do for our anniversary. Once we had our two babies 27 and 24 years ago, I have sincerely felt like no gift in the world would ever be better than the children we created. They were born to a couple who met as mere kids at age 14, started dating at 17, got married at 18 & 19 because they truly loved each other, and kept loving each other, despite any bumps in the highway of life and despite being different people at 18 than at 25, 30, etc. Our kids have made us better people – period. The dimension of our joy has grown as Jordan and Hanna have become responsible adults with fulfilling lives, each with a strong sense of character, and love and affection around them from people other than good old mom and dad. So – on anniversary #40, there is no exchange of gifts – but being together and reminiscing in this peaceful location in the mountains is the gift. Sappy – maybe. Sincere- yes indeed.
Spending three days relaxing, eating good food, laughing, and sleeping in a cushy bed with the windows open (ahhh, cool, crisp air) has been divine! And cold water comes out of the tap! Where we live, the pipes must be probably 12-18″ under ground, so you could turn the cold water faucet on and wait until you sprout another gray hair and the water still comes out lukewarm. I know, I know, you’re saying “I thought you wanted to get out of the cold temps of Montana.” That’s true; and the western part of NC is cooler at night and experiences colder temps during the winter, but when it snows, it does not last for long periods. It’s not as harsh as what we had in the NW. A break from the high heat/humidity and my extremely busy work at this time of year was a welcome respite.
The Lazy Bear Lodge outside of Boone (address is Valle Crucis) was our discovery on the internet. The relaxing and informal B&B atmosphere is great – we’re now fans. Our homemade breakfast on mismatched china of blueberry pancakes, bacon, and sausage was delightful and we had the homey dining room to ourselves for most of our breakfast on our first morning. The owners of this B&B have decorated all rooms and the whole place with eclectic furnishings, but not so much that it takes away from the “lodge” feel. This B&B is unusual in that it was built to be a B&B; it was not someone’s original home. They assure their guests that visiting their big kitchen is fine with them and they encouraged us to fill up the ice buckets, grab a wine glass and corkscrew, or stow restaurant leftovers in the fridge. A plate of homemade cookies, brownies, and fruit was pretty hard to resist every day or evening. The view from all sides was spectacular. We even saw flying squirrels last night, swooping from the trees down to the deck rail to grab a few sunflower seeds for a meal (looks like they are wearing little squirrel capes).
Then there is this: it will be forever referred to (only by Gary and I and maybe the proprietor, who probably thinks I’m a freak) as the hummingbird story. Gary and I were sitting on the deck and we heard a light thump on the big glass window behind us. Then, in a nano second, something flew or landed on my chest and it either bounced off or my flailing arms flung it elsewhere. Apparently I let out quite a shriek (I stick to my story that it was a flashback to the skateboard-sized-ugly-ass-cockroach-falling-from-the-ceiling days in my first apartment in Savannah). Gary looked down and saw a hummingbird on the floor of the deck, about to be crushed by the house dog, Bella (Newfoundland – they’re huge). Gary picked up the hummingbird and thought it was dead; one wing was straight out and the little guy or girl was not moving. Visual: hummingbird > wing straight out like a crossing guard > little eyes like double XX’s. Gary put the hummingbird on the porch rail, then noticed it folded its wing in, so he knew it was alive. He and Anne, the proprietor, did a little triage, gave it some rest time, and within 15 minutes little miss/mister hummingbird flew off. Gary is worried I will embellish this story. Only the facts here. Good times…
We had some wonderful meals, including Italian food (established 1981) in Boone at Casa Rustica. I had linguine with marinara, Gary had lasagna and both were delicious (plus, service was excellent despite it being super busy due to new fall semester weekend for Appalachian State University). We were tickled to find the Six Pence Pub in downtown Blowing Rock, which we enjoyed immensely down in the historic district of Savannah (side note: I ate there alone the night of my interview for my job down in Savannah).
Their dinners (Shepard’s Pie, Pot Roast, etc.) are fabulous, but too much for lunch. A freshly beer-battered cod sandwich and the pub burger were our lunches, both with some of the best restaurant potato salad around. We are usually happy eating in the bar, and that’s what we did. A late (for us) dinner that same night was at the Original Farmhouse Restaurant in Valle Crucis, not far from the B&B. Gary had pork tenderloin with cranberry sauce (he enjoyed it), and I had fresh river trout coated with black pepper and and lime, which was a treat. I like to eat some fish, but don’t cook it. The homemade apple pie I so looked forward to was a disappointment to both of us. Nothing like paying 5 smackers for a bland piece of pie that tasted like it came from a grocery store.
Suffice it to say our weekend was wonderful — Boone and Blowing Rock are great cities to visit with interesting and terrific places to eat, stay, shop, and Valle Crucis is teeny tiny town with a blast-from-the-past huge, fun, and historic general store. It’s even on the National Historic Register. Most of the wood floors, walls, and brick are original. There were some old gentleman playing bluegrass music on the back patio as we left the general store. Wish I would’ve snapped a pic of that. Anyhoo, I’ll let the photos and slide show do the rest of the illustrating.