I know it’s going to be pretty warm today but I’m really enjoying having the windows open right now. It’s always a tough adjustment from spring to winter. We usually have the heat set on 65 but this entire winter I closed the vent and stacked about 20 magazines on top so our room was always nice and chilly. I like snuggling under the covers. Last night the air was set at 71 and I was pretty warm. Then at 1 o’clock (am) I heard a knock on my bedroom door. I expected it to be Chloe because Halle would just burst in, but a larger person walked through the door. It was Amanda. She crashed here last night. Pray for her if you think about it. She’s having a bit of a tough adjustment and needs the Lord and people that are mature in their faith to walk her through this. And that’s all I can really say.
Since I’m doing vacation backwards, we’re on day 7. We were actually back home on day 7 but we were meeting friends from Florida who were passing through the area coming back from their own vacation. They’re also friends with Kris and Mary who joined us in downtown Franklin. I initially suggested Mt. Juliet as a meeting place so that they wouldn’t go too far out of their way but Christy and Mary somehow decided on Franklin. I was really, really excited. I’ve been blogging forever about how much I love Franklin but I hardly ever get to show it off. I knew they couldn’t stay long but my mind was a-whirl with the places to take them. Mellow Mushroom for lunch and Amanda waited on us. For some reason that surprised me. Duh, who else would wait on us? Chloe and Emma reconnected immediately and made grand plans for the whole excursion. I think the plan is for them to rearrange The Iron Gate, add a ceiling aquarium and move in. You know, if they’re really rich. If they aren’t really rich they’ll just move in. Being really rich because their bakery has done really, really well. All in all we spent about 5 hours together and it was fantastic to reconnect. Pictures? You want pictures of the fantastic-ness? I forgot my camera. Drat me and my purse changing ways!
I’ll spare you day 6. I wish someone had spared me day 6. Our 6 hour trip home took 10 1/2 hours. I really wish we’dlooked at a map to see how far out of our way the I-40 detour would take us. I didn’t want to crawl through the Smoky Mountains again but that would have been much more enjoyable. A traffic jam capped the day and ensured a bit o’ grouchiness in the van.
Day 5 was a rush of “let’s see Asheville”! Thanks to me, of course. I wanted to see everything that I could to determine if it would
be a place for us to spend more than 2 nights. The North Carolina Arboretum was up first. You can’t beat the admission, $8 to park and that’s it. Well, except if you wanted to see their exhibit on poop, there’s an entry fee for that. Chloe thought it was disgusting so we skipped it. The Arboretum was very well done and looked brand new although we saw a sign on a fountain that was dated 1996, so apparently it isn’t completely new. They also have hiking trails and the grounds are beautiful, as you would expect. We just went too early in the season. Most of the trees were still bare and not a lot was blooming. I wanted to go to Black Mountain next.
I’d read about Black Mountain and really wanted to see that before we left the next morning. It reminded me of Helena, AL, only this old town is thriving and Helena really isn’t. We visited the Town Hardware and General Store that I think is the one Mary went to. It was jammed full of stuff and people. Chloe was looking for a souvenir and this pretty much started the great souvenir search of 2010. Really. Then we just sort of roamed, visited a toy store- twice due to the aforementioned souvenir search and had ice cream. But it was hot outside and we decided to drive to a park that was mentioned to us by the incredibly helpful man at the info station.
Our drive took us to the tiny town of Montreat. It’s a Presbyterian town (really) of just over 600 people, and it’s completely surrounded by mountains. It was cooler and shady and perfect. We found the park and it was fantastic. The whole thing was built on islands surrounded by mountain streams. I love mountain streams. My perfect house would be the one in Holiday Inn surrounded by a mountain stream. I’d sleep with the windows open every single night. We walked in the icy cold water and while it was immediately refreshing to my tired feet, after a bit the cold crept up my legs into an ache I couldn’t ignore. Chloe ended up falling in though and had no trouble staying in the frigid water. That was by far the most fun they’d had on the trip. Which solidifies my resolve to take nature inspired trips. That’s what Travis and I love and the girls do too.
Then we reluctantly traveled back to our hotel but were too tired to do anything else. Travis hunted and gathered some food for everybody and a smoothie for me since I was way past the point of eating anything else that came out of a box. We watched a couple of Throwdown episodes and fell fast asleep. I love the sleep that comes from being plum tuckered out.
Tomorrow we’ll look at the Smoky Mountains. I really think we should go there more often.