Lauren is BACK! After three long months, she has returned from the Phiippines and has been finding her way back into American Life. Over this long Labor Day Weekend I whisked her away to North Carolina for some solitude (with me), rest, and romance as we celebrated our 4th anniversary and her return before she heads back to work tomorrow.
First, we headed out to the Shining Rock Wilderness. This hike and camping site, just off the Blue Ridge Parkway near Graveyard Fields, came highly recommended to us by Ben and Katy. We followed Ben’s excellent directions to a secluded hilltop site at around 6,000 ft. The best thing about this place are the views. You follow ridge lines and can see for miles in all directions thanks to previous fires that ran through the region. The other great thing about the place is the abundance of wild blueberries. We were late in the season but still managed to find a few spots with enough berries to have a harvest. The weather varied but all-in-all was great. Very still, clear, and nearly perfect the first night – cooling off and getting a bit windy up on the knobs for the second night and our last morning. The hike out really felt like fall and it was great to be back in western NC to experience it.
We hiked out on Saturday morning and took the Blue Ridge Parkway into Asheville where we had two nights at Louisa’s Porch, a home-stay place in the historic Montford neighborhood. Before we could even check in we had to head over to the Asheville Yoga Center for a class we had booked. It was a class for partnered yoga and Thai massage (pictures) that was part of a weekend-long workshop to benefit a local food bank. On Sunday we strolled around town, sampled a few local brews and stumbled on to the Lexington Avenue Arts and Fun Festival. It was a fun and colorful event; all of the food booths were the street versions of local restaurants, and many people wore costumes and makeup. There was also a bicycle joust and tricycle races. As always Asheville left us captivated, gorged, looking forward to the next visit.