Friday, September 26, 2014

Home Sweet Black Mountain

We departed Boston bright and early, knowing we had a lengthy day on the road and we wanted to get in as much discovery as possible before hitting our landing point for the evening. The Flex was loaded and pointed towards the sea for our first trek to Rhode Island and all on our set timetable, insert happy dance here! Seriously, for or us these days this is a big accomplishment, especially since I have become accustomed to the laissez faire attitude on our journey and generally find myself moving much slower than I anticipated. I know, I have become that person you need to deceive by telling them the party starts sixty minutes prior to the official time. At one point I would mock these people and now I have come to value the aspect of living and being in the moment, and I must say it is quite nice here, I don’t know what took me so long to succumb.
Newport, home of the social elite was our first stop, taking a moment to stare in awe at the opulence of the chateaus of the rich and powerful. I felt like I was a world away and had just stepped out of the pages of “The Great Gatsby,” a tad envious, but at the same time the grandeur of these places seemed tinged with sadness. I don’t know if that is because the vast size or that they just seemed cold and appeared to lack that cozy “home” vibe. Many of these historic mansions were built during the American Gilded Age, 1865-1914, some are open for tours, some still occupied and some rumored to be haunted; all exuded a lush extravagance and I wish we would have had time to tour a few before moving on to our next destination, but alas, we arrived before opening hours. We did however take some time to stop on  Ocean Drive, breath in the seaside air and listen to the crashing waves before loading back up and hitting the road for Mystic, CT.

Bascule Drawbridge
Mystic is a town that screams nautical from the very second you drive in to the historic downtown; the maritime feel consuming you as you drive over the Bascule Drawbridge and park along its shop lined streets. Our stop came at a perfect time, ready for a coffee re-fill, a nice walk to stretch our legs and to witness this counterweight bridge lift and lower to let boats pass through the channel on their way out to sea. Our only regret was arriving too early for lunch at the famous Mystic Pizza, but we did however manage a fresh bag of kettle corn from a local shop that was gone within an hour of being back on the road.

Monticello and it's picture on the nickel
Between stops and detours we had hit eight states (Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland and Virginia) and we had been on the road for close to twelve hours. By the time we had hit our resting place in Charlottesville, VA we were ready to crash and burn. We rose with the sun and went out for a run, breakfast and one last stopping point before heading to our final destination in Black Mountain, NC.

Thomas Jefferson's resting place at Monticello
Our quick stopping point was to visit that famous home that has had its mark on the reverse of the nickel since 1938, Thomas Jefferson’s retirement estate, Monticello. We arrived early, before the crowds had set in and virtually had the place to ourselves, giving us plenty of unobstructed photographs and time to take in the serenity of the views overlooking the Blue Ridge Mountains. We took our time, walking the trail up to the home, passing by the resting place of Thomas Jefferson and his descendants, the slave quarters and then looked upon the beauty of a home. Before leaving we stopped by the gardens and vineyards, all still producing from the original plants in Jefferson’s time. A few of the tour guides stopped to visit with us, admiring Miss Ethel’s adorable factor, and we learned that Monticello works with no-kill animal shelters, adopting dogs to live on the property and to roam free during hours they are closed to the public. If you ever find yourself in this area, Monticello makes for a great history lesson and is definitely worth the stop.

Gardens at Monticello
Two days on the road and we finally had arrived at our resting place for September, just outside of Asheville, NC in the quaint town of Black Mountain. As you pull up to our adorable Red Cottage, the first thing you notice is the picket white fence, then the rocking chairs that adorn the lovely front porch; imagine our delight and hurry to unpack so that we could pour a glass of wine, sit out front and begin to thoroughly enjoy the view of those majestic Blue Ridge Mountains while rocking away. This porch has a serenity about it, I start my day out here with my morning cup of coffee and end it at night with a glass of wine, listening to the birds by day and the sound of crickets by night, all adding to the allure and charm of this home.

Sunflowers at Monticello
Our place here has been a real retreat for us, being in the country, surrounded by mountains again and something all three of us needed after spending five months experiencing city life. There is a peaceful silence about this place, a calming essence, or we could just be succumbing to the healing vortexes and that vibrational energy that resides in these ancient mountains. I feel like our spirits have renewed and we have been loving the opportunity to just get out and embrace the harmonic energy of Mother Nature again.
Lake Tomahawk
Not only do we have all this amazing electromagnetic energy going on around us, but we have the cutest and coziest home to stay in and the hosts have not let any detail go. The home has everything one could need: to cook, to relax and the love and hard work that has gone into this place definitely shows. Our hosts are the real deal, kind and friendly, oh and beyond fabulous; they continue to make sure we are taken care of and have completely spoiled us. In fact upon our arrival, we were greeted with wine, coffee, snacks, fresh produce and all the makings for a breakfast the following morning; did I mention they have thought of every detail! Their kindness and generosity has been beyond appreciated and I am contemplating never leaving!

Spoiled by our hosts, and this is just a portion of it. :)
Ethel has also taken to this place, she loves having a yard again, to sniff around and play without the restraint of a leash. I do have to say it has been wonderful to just open the door when she needs to go out and getting to forego the process of putting on the harness and leash, then searching for a grassy patch like we did in the city! Ethel’s favorite is Lake Tomahawk and taking a stroll around the lake, chasing ducks, meeting new friends and getting all her wiggles out. I have also fallen in love with our daily strolls here and many of times I have make it a midpoint for my runs, just so I can soak in the view and the calmness of the place, it almost makes me forget I am running, almost.

Our Adorable Black Mt. Home
We have been here for a bit now and have been out on so many adventures that I can’t wait to share with you, but for now, here she is, our little Red Cottage:


  1. Oh my goodness. This little red cottage is, I believe, one of my favorite place you have stayed so far. It is just like a picture in a time past that simply must be kept as a reminder of calmer, more easy times. The other pictures are also wonderful. I love the nickel picture. You are having the most amazing adventure that I have ever seen. It has been such fun following your journey through your blog and pictures. Thank you for taking the time to describe it all for us and others who love you

  2. Oh Bonnie, that place is so cute. My ex was in the OCS in Newport Rhode Island. I remember many fun visits. The seafood is delectable, but winter is the time with all the bargins. I remember getting so many platefuls of scallops for $5. I hope you find it as memorable as I did. :-0

  3. The Little Red Cottage is adorable. I have been to and stayed in Mystic, CT several times and always ate at Mystic Pizza--and one time had my picture taken there.

    1. I am so jealous you've had the opportunity to eat at Mystic Pizza, I was so bummed it wasn't open yet when we stopped in town. Maybe the next visit! :)