Ahhhhh, there’s nothing much better than fall in the mountains — the vibrant colors, the crisp, cool air, the taste of pumpkin spice everything. It’s a feast for all of the senses. It’s a welcome respite from the realities of everyday life.
North to the Mountains
We left a few days ago on our annual October trip to North Carolina to experience autumn in the mountains. As typical Floridians, we were anxious to trade heat and humidity for cool mountain breezes. We looked forward to seeing the mountains blanketed with the rich, jewel tones of fall — a far cry from the almost year-round green of our home state. Our biggest draw was the chance to connect with our two children and their spouses. This little corner of North Carolina has become a beloved meeting point for us.
The trip up was a little bit different this year.
My husband led the way in our SUV loaded with all of our luggage (and a bunch of stuff I packed but probably didn’t need). I followed behind in our Jeep with our dog, Boone. I’ve never made the drive without another human being in the car. I listened to the radio and chatted with Boone. He did not chat back. I had lots of time to think — hours and hours. That’s not necessarily a good thing, especially during 2020. My mind was dangerously close to being consumed with thoughts of COVID, the upcoming election, more hurricanes, my parents’ health and well-being and the 10,000 possible reasons why my children don’t answer my texts (for the record, I was not texting while I was driving).
We stopped for the night so we could arrive at our destination in daylight. The next day, we continued north, driving on the interstate. The flat terrain of Florida, Georgia and South Carolina gave way to the piedmont of South Carolina. I began to anticipate what I was expecting.
There is a point on the interstate where you round a slight curve and go up a hill. When you get to the top of the hill, there is a break in the tree line and you see the distant mountains stretched out in front of you. Ahhhhh, almost there. That is the point where problems and worries start to melt away. You start thinking about all of the familiar mountain roads to come. You think about the colors and the coziness and times with friends and family. The world doesn’t seem quite so terrible any more.
Things Are A Little Bit Different This Year
As is typical of this crazy year, our time in the mountains will be different. My parents usually spend two or three weeks up here in their cabin. They usually have several friends and family members join them. Unfortunately, COVID has kept them all at home. Two of our favorite fall festivals have been canceled and many of the restaurants aren’t having the normal events they have in the fall. We’ve noticed at least a couple of our favorite restaurants permanently closed, no doubt victims of the shut-down earlier this year.
I will miss my mom and dad being up here this year and my cousins Linda and Bob. I will miss the big dinners with family and friends. But, we will do as many of the things that we love to do as we can. We’ll eat chili and pumpkin chocolate chip muffins. We’ll drive along the Blue Ridge Parkway admiring the fall leaves. We’ll have picnics and do some hiking. We’ll take our doodle on walks in the park. Most of all, we’ll enjoy connecting with family and friends, just not as many in previous years.
One of the things I’m enjoying right now is the mild weather. It is cool but not unbearably so. I have enjoyed sitting out on our balcony watching the sun rise, reading, writing and sipping my coffee with pumpkin spice creamer. Boone is my constant companion. He enjoys being able to go from inside to out as he pleases. There is a continual concert of crickets and birds. You can hear the chimes of the small college across the way mark each hour and half hour. (To be honest, you can also hear the traffic on the road but I’m blocking that out.) I have literally felt calmness take over more and more each day. Being here is good for my soul.
How about you? Do you have a favorite place you like to escape to?