Monday, June 27, 2022

Another Visit to Deerwoode

Did I tell you it was hot in North Carolina? Oh my goodness! After leaving Hendersonville, we met up with our realtor, Katie, who drove us around showing us potential properties. Potential being the operative word. Meanwhile, I called Dione at Deerwoode to see if any cabins were available. As a matter of fact, there was one we could rent so rent it we did. 


Sunrise it was, the closest one pictured. What a different view of the property from this location! On our last morning, this happened making me very happy indeed. 
This also happened!
Not only did we see this deer, the previous day on our hike we saw three!! But, I'm getting ahead of myself, so let's go back a day.

Adjacent to our cabin there was a trail that took us up Sugarloaf Mountain, a somewhat arduous trek for these Floridians! So not only can you hike around the valley, you can go up a mountain too if you so fancy.
Although there were some rhododendrons blooming,
it was nowhere near peak as I saw gobs of buds ready to burst open. How glorious it must be to be in the midst of the cool forest with blooming flowers everywhere.

I will admit we lost our way for a bit, but all is well that ends well, and we eventually came back down on the main road. "How about we hike the river trail honey?" Holy Cow, he said yes!
The French Broad River must be mighty long because, well wait a minute...I have Google for that! 219 miles, as it turns out. Anyway, it circles the property making for a peaceful walk, albeit warmer than we would have liked. 

On this visit I was able to show Bruce the hidden cabin in the bamboo forest.
As you have probably already gleaned, there is a lot to keep you busy at Deerwoode! Perhaps I have not even mentioned that they are part of conservation lands? 
That said, we decided to visit downtown for lunch and exploration.  And here we are arriving when the digital thermometer atop the cute movie theater reads 91 degrees.
Oh honey, let me see what this is!! 
 On this visit, we decided to have lunch at Mayberry's and were not disappointed. We sat at the counter, after ordering our food, and it was just wonderful, both in atmosphere and food. It's the kind of small town place with desserts under glass domes.
With a name like Mayberry's you just knew it had to be good! Because I was seated with an easy view to the outside, I realized that it was raining. Well, that was an understatement! Making our way to the door this fantastic small town scene unfolded.
Yup, a sheriff is giving some folks a ride! So, it was raining hard, followed by strong winds and hail. Eventually it slowed just enough for us to move down the sidewalk where I saw this sign that would seriously ring true for me! I also noted that the rain was coming down the sidewalk because, well the ground is not flat! Duh!
Keeping with the reading theme, we popped into a four story store that caters mostly to men with antique stuff. Forgive me the simplistic description because that is exactly what it is...simplistic, however, it is a hard place to describe as it is filled with all manner of old things, including this:
There are a whole host of readers who will find the above very, very familiar. That illustration!! 

Exiting the store we saw that although it was still raining, it was growing darker so a run-for-it moment occurred and not a minute too soon. 
Pretty ominous clouds, right? As holds true here following a storm, the temperature dropped a bunch.
Remember I said not a minute too soon? Indeed, blinding rain began falling making for some nervous driving conditions in an unfamiliar location.
The nearer we got to Deerwoode, which btw, is way closer to downtown than you might think, we began seeing foliage debris on the lawns. Oh yeah, I nearly forgot, it began hailing way hard again and Bruce pulled under the covered entry of a super cute place called The Sunset Motel. Soon thereafter, the owner arrived and we had a chit chat, learning that he is from, you guessed it, Florida! A very common theme in Brevard as you may recall that Deerwoode is owned by a couple from Lakeland.

Eventually the hail stopped, allowing us to continue on to Deerwoode where we discovered, as we drove down the private road, Scott and Bill using a chain saw to remove a large tree blocking the road. That was just the beginning of the damage caused by what they called a small tornado coming through the property. The saddest of all was a huge limb came down from what they deem a 400 year old oak tree. We were parked right where part of it fell before leaving the property!
Calling it a limb, which in reality it is, makes it seem as if it might be small except it was bigger than many whole tree trunks.
The fall was so strong it left it's mark on a neighboring tree!
Because Scott's brother was in Florida, he had to call upon Bill, the 83 year old former owner to help with the clean up, including another large tree that fell in front of one of the cabins. The sound of a chain saw filled the still air.
Amazingly enough, all the cabins were spared! Bruce picked up and secured all six of the kayaks, one of which had blown 75 feet away from the stand, while I piled up tree debris. We couldn't just stand by and watch while they worked! This little guy found a new perch just above ground level.
According to Ann, another guest whom we spent the evening with, it was super scary indeed. And just why did we spend the evening with Ann? It was our good fortune to have picked up a pizza in town before coming back allowing us to have something for dinner that did not need heating up because the power went out during the storm. Sitting on her front porch, she with a gin and tonic, while we had a glass of wine, the discussion began about being Floridians in search of somewhere cooler. Except on the few days we were there it was anything but!! Anyway, at 9:30, as we were chatting, the string lights festooning her porch came on as we sat watching the fireflies. Wishing her luck, we made our way back to our cabin for a restful sleep before beginning our morning's journey back home.  

Also according to Ann, she has already fallen in love with Deerwoode. As her job can be done anywhere there is internet, her day begins with a hike, followed by work, followed by another hike, either along the river or up the mountain. I told her I totally get it for sure!

And you know what? There are even apples on the trees.
And more of that cool fog stuff.                                    

Cool plants,
and pretty skies.
In other words, my idea of heaven!

your friend,

Gail

p.s. I would be remiss if I forgot to pass on two excellent novel recommendations. 
Anxious People by Frederick Backman is charming, as is The Lincoln Highway by Amar Towles. NPR calls the later a joyride and indeed it is.  

Monday, June 20, 2022

Chasing a Dream

Dear readers, please forgive my absence from this space. 

A dream was calling. 

Last Monday, after running a few errands post 7AM pickleball, I fully intended to sit down and record some thoughts and photographs here. Returning from said errands, I was greeted by Bruce with, "let's get on the road, I think I've found a place." 

"Seriously, right now? We haven't even had lunch!" Which, in reality is a big deal because we don't eat breakfast before playing so there was no way I could wait much longer. Nonetheless, acquiescing, we had lunch, packed our bags quickly and hit the road towards Hendersonville, NC, a town about twice the size of Brevard, just down the road from there.

We are following in the footsteps of both sets of parents who bought second homes in Highlands, NC for my parents, while Bruce's parents bought a cottage on the shores of Lake Ontario, returning to their New York roots. Because all of that happened so long ago, the details are sketchy at best, but it does have me wondering how they actually found places to buy. The realtor we hooked up with in NC on our previous visit sends listings almost daily which feels a bit overwhelming at times. Most of them are priced more than we feel comfortable spending, so the task is daunting, to say the least.

At any rate, the long drive began about two in the afternoon which at any other time of the year would be crazy, but with the long summer days, we knew that we could at least make it as far as Savannah. What we did not count on was the weather which proved to be very challenging over the next six days.

Either it was crazy hot, or there were blinding rainstorms which I will talk more about later. As you can see, we took the highway, hoping to make good time. 

We not only did not have reservations anywhere, but not too long after leaving we discovered that neither of us had our necessary medications! Horrified, I began a series of phone calls and in a great stroke of luck, discovered that Hendersonville has the only Publix in Western North Carolina. That problem solved, I found a hotel alongside I-95 called, avid.

Isn't it crazy how so many places use lower case letters? The year old hotel was cute and the rooms were nice and cold!

In yet another stroke of luck, there was an excellent restaurant just across the street. I took this photo after our meal and was delighted to see the Pink Moon at the same time.

The Shell House turned out to be delicious, albeit somewhat quirky in my humble opinion. A plastic fork along with a hole in the table for starters. FYI, the portions are huge and shareable.

Apparently the plastic forks are a nod to Covid restrictions, and the hole in the table, well, that's where you throw your trash! Here's a neat little story about how it began in 1988.

Leaving there, Bruce began plotting our next visit on the way to our new home in the mountains. If only that were true! We began driving on the interstate, only to switch over to a two lane road, SR321 that took us through a very rural area of South Carolina. This is a much more pleasant view isn't it?

Bonus points for traveling through Norway, SC, as well as Denmark, SC. Olar, Neeses, Ulmer and Estill all came into existence when the railroad tracks were laid. We amused ourselves by looking up information on each tiny town we passed through. Pulling over under a shade tree, Bruce rested while I roamed.

Although it takes a little longer, the peace of mind knowing it is safe, as well as the sights and sounds of how people live in other parts of the country, is way worth it.

All good things generally come to an end and this time was no exception. By the time we were ready to get back on I-26 in Columbia, SC, the rain was so blinding that we waited in a Bojangles parking lot until such time as we could see a few feet in front of us.

Eventually it petered out, and a few hours later here we were.

I just love it when the mountains come into view!

Our first stop upon arriving in Hendersonville was to Publix, and in yet another stroke of luck, the condo we were to look at with our realtor was but five minutes away. Early, we checked out the exterior while waiting on Katie. (upper left)

Although there were things we knew were not ideal, the view is good and figuring that both of us are pretty handy with making things look nice, we were undeterred.  From the front porch it looked like this.

Good, right? Being upstairs was a negative, but the roominess was a big positive, as was the large front porch. Even the dated kitchen we could look past.

What it came right down to it though, there was one thing that we would have had no control over and that was the fact that on the other side of the fence, just below the kitchen window, the neighbors, shall we say, had more in their yard than is ideal for a view. Especially when Katie pointed out that the leaves would be falling and that view would be even more objectionable. 

My honey was so dejected. That feeling was reinforced when we learned that the supposed "coming on the market" this week was not happening after all. Such are the joys of house hunting from afar! Complicating matters is that Bruce wants a condo so we don't have to think about it when we are not there, but as we are discovering there just aren't very many of them. Another consideration is that while we live in a wonderful condo community, from what we've seen, after looking at dozens and dozens online, there is a wide array out there, none so far that are nearly as nice as ours. So, where did that leave us?

Why, going out for lunch in downtown Hendersonville, is where.

Followed by a little roaming time in said downtown which looks as if you stepped into a Hallmark movie.

No lodging? No problem. A room was available at Waverly Inn located near the end of Main Street.

Luckily, we had a great room, followed by lots of visiting on the front porch with the owners, as well as other guests. Charming, that is until the road traffic fronting the property picked up big time because of ongoing interstate construction necessitating re-routed traffic.  Think semis on a two lane road a few feet away! After a nice breakfast in their large dining room,

I checked out the rest of the rooms, hoping to stay there one more night, however I decided that climbing the stairs to the third floor with our bags was a little much. I will say that the house is amazing with 16 rooms should you be in the area and in need of lodging. I particularly liked the library, but that doesn't surprise you does it?

Before leaving Hendersonville, let's have a look a few wonderful sights, shall we? On Main Street...

The beautiful Episcopal church across the street from the Inn...

In their memorial garden..

Abundant flowers,

and more flowers!

Who doesn't love a painted sign on a brick wall?

An additional lodging option is right next door to the Waverly Inn.

All in all, I think Hendersonville might be a good choice just because it is a little bigger. We checked out their racquet club before leaving town and it was pretty darn nice with reasonable rates.

With the real estate market, not to mention the stock market in upheaval, who knows. Maybe it will remain a dream. Time will tell.

your friend,

Gail


p.s. For the record, the highest we paid for gasoline was $4.79 here in Orlando and the lowest was $4.39 in SC.

Another Visit to Deerwoode