Two summers ago we decided to get out of the heat and away from Covid news for a couple of weeks. We rented a condo in Banner Elk on the tip top of Sugar Mountain. We fell in love with the cool weather, the quiet and of course, the incredible views of the North Carolina mountains. Last year we stayed in a condo that was at 5,000 ft. elevation. Loving the whole experience, we decided to do it again this year, only we rented a cabin and invited our entire family to join us.
One Frightful Night
It’s been a cool retreat. Only one night gave us a bit of a fright. I won’t name any towns or hotels, but on our way to the North Carolina mountains, we had a pretty scary night. Allow me, please, to advise you to check the crime rate of hotel areas before you book your room. Because we were traveling with our pup, we were looking for hotels that were dog-friendly and found one that had a very reasonable pet deposit. We are usually very good at researching our travel destinations, but because this was a suburb of a major city that we’d heard of prior to this trip, we didn’t dig deep enough. The hotel was also part of a well-known chain, so we thought it must be great! Let’s just say that even the dog trembled during the night. We will be much more careful in the future.
But for now, we have an adventure to laugh and shiver about all at the same time. We have more than once now referred to that experience as the night we slept over with the cartel. Please don’t think we were stupid enough to stay where we knew we were in danger. We didn’t really know how bad it was until the next day. As we were loading our valuables into the car, three police cars arrived to settle a dispute happening in the parking lot. I don’t think we’ve ever loaded our car that fast in our life! I started to walk Prissy, the shih tzu, before we left and even she decided she would just hold it until the next stop. As I drove us out of town, hubby researched the area and found that 77% of cities were safer than the one where we had just spent the night. Lesson learned. The Lord be praised for keeping us safe.
The Cool Retreat Part
Now, on to the cool retreat part! Our cabin is divine. We are at 4,000 ft elevation in a for-real log cabin in the hills of Waynesville, North Carolina. You can almost feel the quiet. Deciding to unplug for a bit, we’ve purposefully not turned on the television in 6 days! Most of my writing has been in a spiral notebook, only using the internet for research. It’s been like hitting a reset button.
The North Carolina Mountains
The days are filled with what my hubby calls a symphony of nature. It is truly like the Lord is conducting a brilliant orchestra with breezes of violins, chirping xylophones, and a crescendo of rainfall and thunder on a late summer afternoon. A light breeze rustles a few leaves on the trees, bees buzz around wildflowers growing beneath our porch and birds call to each other in languages we’ve never heard before. As a birder, hubby has spotted several life birds while sipping coffee with his binoculars in hand.
Butterflies the size of hummingbirds flit from one bloom to another captivating my gaze for minutes on end. There are no weed-eaters, lawnmowers or engines revving. We’ve spotted one helicopter and welcomed a maintenance man in a pick up truck to our little slice of heaven. He was just here to remove trash to prevent any critters, say like black bears, from interrupting our serene experience here on the mountain.
Darkness and Fireflies
We are only minutes from civilization, up here in the North Carolina mountains, but the darkness at night tells a different story. For the first time in years, I watched as little bugs put on a lightning show. This took me back to my childhood when we used to catch them and put them in mayonnaise jars with holes punched in the lid. We would watch them and sometimes remove their “light” to place on our fingers to look like diamonds. (I hate that part of my memory, but we were kids!) I wonder what has happened to the lightning bugs in our neighborhoods?
As we watch the sunset, a few lights pop on across the valley on the opposite hillside, but not many. With our binoculars, we think we can see a Christmas tree farm and a few other cabins. The darkness is like a hole. As soon as I turn off the last light in the cabin, it’s a feeling of being engulfed by blackness. If the two of us didn’t snore, I’m sure we would sleep like the dead!
Our trips into town have been a delight. Waynesville is a VERY pet-friendly town. Prissy has been a huge hit! Everybody loves her and therefore, we love everybody. Main Street is filled with lovely little shops, restaurants, art galleries, bakeries and friendly people! I’ve had more conversations with perfect strangers than I do with people we know at home! Another reason this feels like a cool retreat in the North Carolina mountains.