Sunday, October 14, 2007

A week in the mountains

(Pictures should come up in a higher resolution if you click them -- be forewarned, the quilt photos come up extra-large to show detail to anyone who's interested!)

Yancey County, NC, week of Oct 1 2007.

This area is a little to the north of Asheville, NC. We didn't visit Asheville, or much touristy stuff (with one exception, to be covered in a followup post). What we were looking for was to sample everyday life, as a potential place to land. For the rest of our lives, maybe.

A place away from hurricanes,
with a mild climate but real seasons.
A place where our vote might actually count.

So you might as well know, I picked this county by pulling up an election 2004 political map, then looking into amenities and accommodations.

The local coffee shop, where we had tea, bagels with cream cheese, and delightful conversation with locals, each morning. We miss this place! We're now scouring local shops for approximations of the tea flavors we got there.

My best picture - a winding road between Burnsville and Little Switzerland. This one's going to be my desktop wallpaper for awhile. Not much fall color yet, just a hint.


We were staying in nearby Burnsville, a nice little town that straddles a major highway. It's the county seat, has the chain restaurants and big grocery stores Spruce Pine enchanted us more. This is a view of the "lower town." Just over my right shoulder, the road splits and takes you into upper Spruce Pine, a similar, slightly busier street one step up the mountainside.

Close encounter with a freight train coming through Spruce Pine. According to the local newspaper guy --we stopped in the office and received giveaway maps and tourist info-- the Barnum & Bailey Circus Train also comes through each year, on its way to the circus's overwintering in Florida.

Spruce Pine has nice shops selling exquisite local arts and crafts. The glasswork in the art gallery was fantastic.

I was particularly blown away by this piece (right), about 10-12 inches tall, with what looks like a baobob tree inside it!

Closed! Will reopen at 10:00AM!

Well, darn!


The Mountain Piecemakers Quilt Show

Can't we put this one on the Amex card??

Back in Burnsville, a small but superb quilt show was on. All from local crafters. From the traditional to the very artsy. We were asked to vote for our favorites, and the one to the right got my vote.

On our last evening we had dinner at the Nu-Wray Inn. Built 1908, and pretty famous - Elvis stayed there! Its recipes show up in southern cookbooks. Delicious country-style dinner, which reminded me of Scarlett O'Hara's reminiscences, during the hardship years at Tara, about the opulent meals they used to have in the prewar days. The dishes just kept coming, and I gave in, fell off my sugar-free wagon and sampled the peach cobbler.

Mist in the mountains, as we drove out.

Sunset on our last evening

Since this post is unwieldy enough, I saved our Wednesday excursion for a post of its own!


ronnie said...

These are some breathtaking pictures.

I am deeply intrigued by the idea of choosing a potential future home because "I think it's the kind of place I want to live." For me, moves have always been precipitated by some connection in that city - a family member, a relationship, the college I wanted to (well, had to) attend, a job offer... I've never moved "just because I want to live there".

However, now that I think on it, it is starting to look like our retirement plans may go that way after all, not different at all from what you're doing...


Sherwood Harrington said...

Lovely photos, Ruth (and Larry!), and thanks so much for letting us see them. They triggered memories for me of a time before interstate highways, when my Mom and Dad would pack up the car (including tyke me) and drive the four days from upstate New York to my mothers' family in Atlanta. Frequently, Dad would take the scenic route through the Carolina highlands, and I learned to love the place's beauty even then.

The one you're using as desktop wallpaper is a great picture, but so are many others in this group. Spruce Pine looks like my kind of place, especially the optimism implied by the sign on the door of the demolished building!

As far as choosing a place to retire -- boy, I hope you do it as right as you seem to be. My parents spent the last fifteen years of their lives in a place in Florida that they wound up hating. Diane and I will probably stay right where we are, since it's the kind of place we'd choose, anyway.

Lovely post, Ruth. Thanks again.