While Josh is out of town for the Mountain Workshop, my mom has come back to town to stay for the week, as I've been under the weather. It's been great to have her here. Not only did I put her to work cleaning our bathrooms and floors, cooking meals and running errands (kidding about the putting to work part, but she has done all of the above), we also fit in a nice trip back up to Mammoth cave, where the leaves are at their prime, and we took a beautiful hike on Sal Hollow Trail.
This past weekend Josh and I visited the Adirondacks for the first time, along with our great friends Pete and Angie. The occasion was our friend Jessica's marriage at Elk Lake Lodge, a place coined by National Geographic as "The Jewel of the Adirondacks." It certainly was beautiful, and reminiscent of the Boundary Waters, but with mountains. All of the guests were provided lodging in the various lodges and cabins scattered on the shore of the undeveloped lake. Jess and Lytton's ceremony was unique because there was no officiant; everyone present married them by contributing a blessing. We then had a cozy evening in the main lodge with dinner, numerous toasts, and a bit of music provided by guests. So many of those present were graduates of Swarthmore (where Jess attended college) and Columbia (where Lytton and Jess are working on their doctorates in medieval literature), so we felt we were in the company of many driven intellects.
The following morning Josh and I took a walk around the east shore of the lake. It was quiet, sunny and beautiful, with lush moss covering much of the path and great strands of birch trees standing over us. We wanted to make our way around the whole lake, but we needed to return to our friends, and then back south to Kentucky.
The second part of this story highlights the amount of travel we packed into this weekend. Josh and I first flew into New York City and upon arrival, we hopped on the M60 bus, bringing us into Manhattan, and then we caught the subway down to meet Josh's sister and brother-in-law to be, and Pete. We all walked over to a Korean restaurant strip near Penn Station and picked a place where we were served a spread of various types of kimchee, tofu, rice, seaweed salad and more. We walked the city a bit, and then Pete, Josh and I took the train our to Long Island, to pick up Angie and began to drive north. On Sunday, we drove the 5-6 hours back south, then Josh and I hopped on the subway for an hour and a half ride to JFK. We caught our flight, landed in Nashville, and drove the hour north to Bowling Green. I walked through the door and continued walking until I fell into bed. It was all worth it, but the next time 'round I think we might take an extra day to make it happen. Below follow photos taken by Josh:
Lastly, I wanted to end with good wishes for my mum, who is celebrating a big birthday today. This photo features her about 32 years ago. She hasn't changed a bit and I love her so.
We have reached fall break and decided to make the trip to Josh's folks' cabin outside of Asheville, NC. In order to get here from our parts of Kentucky it is a beautiful drive along the Cumberland Scenic Highway, which turns to highway through the Daniel Boone and Cherokee National Forests, and at the end of it all (nearly six hours later) one follows a 21-switchback narrow road up a mountain, and upon arrival at the top is a locked cattle gate. Beyond the gate are acres of land with trails and a lake, and around 20 houses whose owners inhabit their share of the land cooperative up here. It is a development in a very undeveloped sense. My in-laws' place is set back from the dirt road that winds up to other houses, a log house that appears as though it was plopped down in the middle of a small clearing of trees. There is no lawn to speak of, nor much other "grooming" around the outskirts of the house. I did add a few of my grandpa's raspberry plants, which are cautiously taking root 20 feet from the house.
We have been up here catching our breath in a sense, before diving back in to work in BG. This evening our good friends from Roanoke will be joining us here, and tomorrow so will Josh's folks. One thing missing this whole while has been Sally, our dog. We never came here without her, and to be here now without her sitting out on the front deck steps staring out into the woods makes us sad. On our walk on the trails yesterday an old golden retriever visited us, and we attempted to lure her along just for the canine companionship.
Last night we headed down the mountain and into town. Each time we do this, it never ceases to depress us a little. We are disheartened because Asheville is always hopping; Tuesday nights and Saturday nights can look the same. There are always new restaurants that have opened since our last visit, and there are many "old" restaurants that are doing just as well as always. There are great coffee shops and galleries and a thriving bookstore and movie theater. The reason this gets us so, is that both Roanoke and Bowling Green do not quite match up to this vibrant downtown standard (though Roanoke's certainly getting there). But we sure are happy to partake in this scene once in a while.
The field at the top of a hill adjacent to Flattop Mountain
A lonely apple tree in the field. Apparently there was an apple orchard at the top of this mountain once upon a time.
The view from an overlook on one of the trails near the cabin. Mount Mitchell, the highest point on the east coast, is in the distance
Closer view of development down below. Similar to Roanoke, Asheville faces serious mountaintop development issues. One threat in particular that we are worried about is a proposed luxury golf course development in the field that I photographed above.
The small, spring-fed lake on Flattop Mountain. Josh's folks' place is directly across the lake, beyond the trees a ways.
...Three of our new friends. Just when I was lamenting the lack of them, we found some. Josh and I headed out for dinner on Friday night at a lively, locally-owned cafe near our place, and happened upon Ingrid. We hit it off and ended up spending a few hours talking over dinner. Then Ingrid invited us to go to a bluegrass festival today with her friends Scott and Rachael, and we hit it off with them too. Things we have in common? We are all new to the area and are employed by WKU. And we all learned today that nearby Ohio County is a dry one, where possession and consumption of alcohol is illegal. So we sipped our ice tea and ate pulled pork sandwiches in the company of other wholesome folk on the old Bill Monroe homestead while band after band performed.
This blog began as a recording of my year living and working in Guadalajara, México. It now reflects my experiences in Kentucky, living in a 130-year-old house first inhabited by Colonel Crump and his wife Mary Norton Underwood.