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David & Caroline Visit Sapphire 11/10-11/18

We did not travel the second week in November, because we had our friends, David and Caroline from Greenville and Waynesville come visit us in Sapphire. We had all been together at LEAF Festival in October and planned to get together for some hiking and fun. Glad we made it happen so soon. It was great sharing our mountains with them. They arrived Saturday evening. We had dinner at home, followed by chatting around the fire, then an intense game of Rummikub, in which Wiley took all three rounds. I usually win, so I am guessing he was actually trying this time, because his techie friend was here, so yeah. I am competitive and don’t like to think he usually doesn’t care enough to play his hardest and just let’s me win…Anyhow, it was a lovely evening.

Sunday morning, I made bacon & egg muffins, which were a hit, then we were ready for the trail. It was 36 degrees, so we bundled up, loaded up the puppies, and headed to nearby Panthertown to hike the moderate 2mi. out-and-back Greenland Creek Trail. I highly recommend this one for children and inexperienced hikers. We were surprised the Cold Mountain parking area was as full as it was given the weather. Lots of cold weather committed hikers out there. We hiked through the typically muddy waterfull rhododendron forest to the giant boulders and fabulous Greenland Creek (or Holly) Falls. We took some pics, had a snack, then I wanted to attempt to go to the top of the falls, where I’d seen people in the past. We clawed our way up the steep dense left side of the waterfall, but did not find an easy access to the top of the falls, so we just kept going along the creek, past a beautiful cascade, until the trail petered out. When its warmer and we can be in shorts and river sandals, not worried about getting wet in the icy waters, I’ll return and make my way to the top. It’s a mission now. We hiked back on the Greenland Creek Trail until we reached the Mac’s Gap Trail. We decided to take this alternate route back to the parking lot, since we’d always taken the same in and out, and wanted to try another trail. It was definitely drier through the forest and away from the water, not a bad option if you want to see varied scenery. Greenland Creek is definitely one of my favorite local hikes and a great one to share with visitors. There’s a lot of bang for your buck, following the water most of the way, then the awesome boulder playground and gorgeous waterfall payoff at the end. If you haven’t been, get there!

After our hike, we’d worked up an appetite. We returned home to the curried chicken salad, I’d made. Our ethnic food loving friends were big fans. I was thrilled to find out Caroline has been a pomegranate fan since childhood, like me. She was overjoyed by the perfect pomegranate, I had for lunch and the pomegranate cutting hack, I shared with her. It’s the little things. After our late lunch, Caroline and David headed home. They were such wonderful, easy guests. We told them to come back anytime. Fun sharing our mountain wonderland with people, who enjoy it as much as we do.

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Roan Mountain State Park & Carvers Gap 11/2-4/18

We had been wanting to return to Roan Mountain State Park since our last visit in August of 2017, but were unable to reserve a spot all spring or summer. November was later than we would typically go mountain camping, but it’s Roan Mountain and when you can get a spot there, you go. So, we went. We had a hard time getting out of town due to systems issues, Wiley was having to manage for work. We left Sapphire just in time to catch a take your breath away Maxfield Parrish sunset over the Ingles in Brevard. While Wiley worked in Happy, I went in the grocery to get our weekend’s provisions. Stocked up, we hit the road again, making it as far as the TN line before we had to stop again for Wiley to put out some more fires at work. We went ahead and ate dinner while stopped at the TN Welcome Center near Erwin, TN. We did not arrive at Roan until 9:30 Friday night, which is unusual for us. We typically arrive for a weekend of camping in time to at least do a short hike, but with daylight savings and work crises, that was not the case. Wiley was none too happy, plus, to add insult to injury, the scenic more wooded and private campground loops, where we had camped last time, were closed for the season, so we were, basically, in a field type parking lot campground loop, which is not at all the type of camping we are used to and it was cold to boot. Wiley wanted to know, why I had brought him there at that time of year, and said to make note to not do it again…

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Transylvania County Farmers Market/HalloweenFest, Caesars Head, Greenville, Keowee Toxaway 10/27-29/18

We packed a lot in to this couple of days, but what a perfect fall weekend! We were going to camp at Hollywood on Friday night, but the weather was rainy and cold, so we stayed in Sapphire at home by the fire. We got up bright and early Saturday morning, packed up Happy, grabbed the puppies, and headed down the mountain to Brevard for the Farmers Market and HalloweenFest. Where better to celebrate Halloween than Transylvania County?!! We walked around the Farmers Market, shared a Great Harvest triple berry bar while listening to some great bluegrass, then walked over to Quotations for chai, coffee, and a breakfast sandwich. So many fabulous costumes passed on their way to the parade, as we sat outside enjoying our breakfast and beverages. We ran into Brevard and Cashiers friends at the festival, which was fun. We really do love Brevard and all the time we spend in our “big city” down the mountain. It is a wonderful small town with such a vibrant spirit and great sense of community. It is like going back in time. Reminds me of my years on Nantucket. Special place.

We left Brevard and drove towards Greenville via Caesars Head. We stopped by the Connestee Falls “Park” for the first time. We were disappointed that it was merely an overlook with no park or trails to access the area. The falls are part of the Conesstee Falls neighborhood, which has the most fabulous extensive trail system, but is not open to the public. We are fortunate to have hiked there with friends that live there. We were blown away by the trails and the beauty there. It rivaled any state park, we’ve visited.

 

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LEAF Festival, Black Mountain, NC 10/18-21/18

“I want to live in a music festival forever”. I attended Black Mountain Music Festival as a college student in 1993 with my then boyfriend, Rusty and our tribe of Deadheads from Spartanburg, SC, where I was a senior in college. It was my introduction to the music festival experience, so foreign and wondrous for this sheltered, girl’s prep school, then women’s college, conservatively raised, Memphis girl. We were at the festival to attend the wedding of our friends, getting married there that weekend. We camped, saw great live music, and hiked to the mountaintop for a true hippy wedding, priestess, flower head wreath, and all. For me the festival was a revelation. It would influence me in so many ways, altering my future choices and rituals in ways I only now realize, 25 yrs later. The festival morphed from hippy free for all, Black Mountain Music Festival, to non-profit, Woodstock for families, Lake Eden Arts Festival (LEAF) in 1995. After returning from 2yrs, teaching in Dallas, in Spring of 1996, I attended LEAF with dear friend and fellow Spartanburg Day School teacher, Daingerfield Ashton, his daughter, Rachel, and teacher friend, Chuck Kayser. After having been away for a couple of years then returning, it felt like coming home. I was elated to be there and share it with my people. I was hooked! I have now attended both spring and fall LEAF, missing only a few here and there for over two and a half decades. My children, Ashe and Miles, now 18 and 20, have grown up at LEAF. They have festival friends, that they have made over the years, that they see twice a year at the festival and pick right up, as though they have never been apart. Miles is spending his 18th birthday Nov. 17th at a show at the Orange Peel with his lifelong LEAF friend, Cooper. Despite Ashe and Miles’ fairly traditional upbringing in conservative Greenville, SC, they have been exposed to the open minded, multi-cultural, arts rich world of LEAF since they were born. I am so grateful to have been able to give them this education and for them to be a part of this fabulous community, that is LEAF.

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