The shop keepers were sweet and informative, chatting with us either out of boredom or just being neighborly. One woman was very old school and told me about her trials when it came to leaving the mountains and moving to the east coast of NC. It was during Vietnam and her husband was in the service. They lived off base, but she was perplexed on how to cook for her spouse. The other wives made steaks, pasta and such, yet she had never learned to make such things. She had to stock up on her frequent trips back to her grandmother’s house on side meat, bacon, beans, pickled veggies and such country things to keep her and her husband from going hungry. Eventually she taught those “city folk” how to eat country and they just couldn’t get enough of her corn bread. She invited us to dinner, but I know it was just a sweet gesture, though if I could I would have taken her up on it.
I have never seen such a sea of color and it is everwhere. We were told that we really were early watching the leaves change, but I think we did OK. I know it gets more vibrant, but I think I need to baby step this one.
It’s funny how small the world is since we ended up running into a guy who had a restaurant in St. Pete and now a doggie bakery in Sylva. I got some treats for my babysitter’s mutts and he suggested a smokehouse for lunch. This is what I had been waiting for. The sauces were luscious; sweet, smoky, spicy all melded perfectly and the pork was lean and full of flavor. Brunswick stew and sweet potato fries accompanied the main course and it washed down perfectly with a local ale from the Heinzelmännchen brewery. Golden, sweet with a slight hint of onion, these balls of fried goodness made me want more and more and I even suggested getting a couple dozen to bring home, but Ronn was against it. Damn.
Unfortunately the brewery was closed on Mondays so I didn’t get my souvenir of ale to share with the girls back home, but now I just have another reason to visit again.
The day wasn’t done yet, and with our bellies full we ventured out to do more shopping. I scoped out apples and veggies while Ronn kept looking for a bear paw pendant to match his new earring and ring. At one place I found a plaque with the Native American Ten Commandments on it and wanted it so badly, but it had to wait. (Check below and you can see why I appreciated them so much – even more than the Judeo-Christian variety.)
1. The Earth is our mother, care for her.
2. Honor all your relations.
3. Open your heart and soul to the Great Spirit.
4. All life is sacred; treat all things with respect.
5. Take from the Earth what is need, nothing more.
6. Do what needs to be done for the good of all.
7. Give constant thanks to the Great Spirit for each new day.
8. Speak the truth; but only of the good in others.
9. Follow the rhythms of nature; rise and retire with the sun.
10. Enjoy life’s journey, but leave no tracks.
Mingo Falls outside of Cherokee. Lazy streams flowing in no hurry down the mountain. Gives a true perspective about how nature handles things. Why rush when you can feel every little crevise and enjoy each piece of lichen.
What was his hurry that I missed a purchase? He had a treat for me. The Blue Ridge Parkway. I only got a taste of it (We ventured further on Tuesday), but it took my breath away. The colors, the double-exposure expression of the endless mountain ranges and the essence of a place in our country that someone saw fit to preserve. Hills of maples, oaks, balsams and other foliage speckled along the mountains and the simple roadway.
Our trek was short this time, but I ended it with a visit to Mingo Falls. I love waterfalls, and after having a taste of the Oregon ones, I wanted more. These were impressive, though not powerful (I like them not so rushing, but more lazy and natural). I hiked up the mountain, and I took it slow thanks to the ankle and the lack of exercise in recent months. I wept at the beauty and felt at home in this wonderful place.
The aura was not broken all night as we ventured home, ate, snuggled and planned to see more of this public park and the beauty it had to offer. I highly recommend this trip to you, the parkway is a sight to behold.