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.
We hopped back in the van heading south on 276. We decided to make another stop to get a quick hike and let the puppies stretch their legs. We wanted to stop at Raven Cliff, where we thought we’d hike just to the overlook, not the much longer falls hike, but parking was a problem, so we kept on going. We pulled into the Caesars Head State Park Visitors Center, where we were glad to find parking availability. We parked then walked to the first overlook. The view was grander than I had remembered. It had probably been nine or ten years since we had been there. The sun was shining and glistening on the rock face of Table Rock. It took my breath away. It was so clear, you could see 50mi. to NC, SC, and GA. We walked to the second overlook then down through Devils Kitchen, hoping to find a trail from there, but there wasn’t one. We hiked back up and through the parking lot. Thankfully, we noticed a kiosk and trailhead across the highway. We walked over there and hoped on the Frank Coggins Trail. It was a gravel forest service road, which we were not thrilled about, but all in the name of a little exercise for us and the puppies. Glad, we did not turn around, as we had discussed, because after a bit, the trail verged off the road and became a dirt trail through a beautiful forest. We walked a while thinking it was merely a nice walk in the woods, then, once again, discussed heading back to Happy and getting on the road to Greenville. I am pleased we didn’t turn around, because before we knew it, we had come upon a beautiful cascading creek, which then lead us into a rhododendron forest, then to a waterfall with a cave. What a stumbleupon! It is fun to hop on a trail, you know nothing about, only to discover such a wonderful surprise. Pippa hunted, while Nigel played ball at the bottom of the falls. His ball rolled deep into the cave, but no ball was left behind. Nigel braved it and went deep under the rock to retrieve his beloved ball. We crossed a lovely cascade and were atop another fall on our way out of the forest. What a lovely 1.6 mile trail. It was just what we needed. Highly recommend it!
We drove into Greenville straight to dinner with Wiley’s parents at Kannika’s, our favorite Thai restaurant. We had a delicious meal then went to the in-laws to camp in their driveway for the evening. We visited a bit more then turned in to rest up for a big day, the following day, with our five year old granddaughter. After a leisurely morning with the in-laws, we headed to Simpsonville for Bee’s riding lesson. Let me stop here and inform you of a name change. “Bee”, as we have called our granddaughter since she was born, informed us a couple of weeks ago that Bee is a baby name and she would like to be called Aubree or Breezy. Afraid that would be a difficult switch, I asked her if I could call her Brea, since it was so close to Bee. She said that would work, so here forth, I shall refer to her her as Brea, same girl, different name. I am no stranger to the name change phenomena in my family. My brother over the course of his life has been Ricky, Rick, Richard, and now Dick. My daughter was Abby from birth-7th grade, then Abi 7th throughout high school, upon graduation she became Asher, Ashe for short. Like I said, no stranger to name changes. Miles tried to change his name in 3rd grade to Alex from Alexander, his middle name, but I talked him out of it. Thank goodness he’s still Miles. I love that name and it suits him. I digress…Oh yeah, Brea’s riding lesson. Pardon, the ADD. Brea was ecstatic that we were there to watch her ride. She gave us a tour of the barn, introduced us to the horses, and asked for help grooming Comet, who she was going to ride. She walked and even trotted on a lead. She was insistent that I videoed her trotting, which of course, I did. She was so proud. After her lesson, I gave her the option of several different outfits to change into for the rest of the afternoon. I had brought a candy corn dress costume and matching light up tiny witch hat headband, which won out over any other wardrobe selection. When you have the choice between regular clothes or a candy corn witch costume, always choose the latter.
We went to one of Brea’s faves, Zoe’s Kitchen for lunch. We had a ball eating with our girl, as we always do. Afterward, I took her next door to get a “not so hot cocoa” at Starbucks, which she loves to do, always ordering it that way for herself. Pop found a purple balloon with a face drawn on it in the parking lot. Brea was thrilled by this acquisition and named him, “Harold”. It’s the little things! We left Zoe’s, bound for the St. Matthew’s Pumpkin Patch. Going there is a family tradition. We have pictures of Brea there for most of her 5yrs standing by the “How Tall This Fall” sign. Love this tradition! She picked out two pumpkins, one for her and one she wanted to get for her daddy, Wiley III, who were going to meet and carve them with. We met Wiley III at the Cancer Survivors Park. We carved pumpkins, walked through Falls Park to Linky Stone Park, all the while playing lots of pretend. It was just so special seeing Brea and Wiley III together. Wiley has not been in her life for the past four years. We’re grateful, he is now. Wiley has overcome, matured, and accomplished much in the last couple of years. Brea is “so happy to have a daddy”, as she told us. I am thrilled for both of them. Life is hard, but it is also wonderful. This was one of those times, when you can step back, think where you have been, and be grateful for where you are now. After spending the afternoon playing and walking in the park with Wiley III, we ate dinner outside with the puppies at Papi’s Tacos on the river, then parted ways to get Brea back to Simpsonville to meet her Grammie. It was a heartwarming lovely day!
We had planned on driving back to Greenville Sunday night, but by the time we dropped Brea off and drove into Greenville towards the mountains, Wiley was just too tired to drive home. We stayed another night in the in-laws driveway and got more family time in that evening and in the morning. Rather than conference in remotely from Sapphire, like he normally does, Wiley went to meetings at his Greenville office, all Monday morning. On his way in, he dropped me at my best friend, Melissa’s house. Melissa and I spent the morning catching up, having our coconut chai, did a little shopping, then sushi for lunch at Hibachi Cafe. It was just the girlfriend therapy we both needed, right when we needed it. Grateful for my friend, who became my sister. After lunch, we drove towards Sapphire, stopping at Keowee Toxaway State Park on the way back to dump the tank and have a quick hike. Upon arrival, we saw a man with an older shortie tri-color Jack Russell. We were pleased to meet Cosmo and his owner, Jim from Foley Beach. There was lots of sniffing, no fighting, and a frisky playful Nigel. Pippa even took the time to get acquainted, which is rare, being that she does not think she is a dog and does not typically engage in such nonsense. It was fun to make a new JRT friends. We hiked around the lake for a bit, followed by a little hunting and ball fetching on the beach. We left for home, grateful for the nice pitstop.
So, we packed a lot in to a few days, as is our custom, but would not change a minute of it. Farmers market, festival, family, friends, mountains, waterfalls, hiking, and puppies. Yes, life is grand!