Last year, some of Brent's wonderful customers offered their mountain house to us in Valle Crucis. We were reluctant to use it, because we didn't want to be a burden. But this summer, I told Brent we needed a mountain trip. I was over the humidity and the beach just seemed sticky and sweaty to me. So, we took them up on their offer and MAN, what a wonderful weekend. This post will be pretty photo heavy...but it doesn't capture the fun and peace we had up there as a family. All 3 of us had been looking forward to this trip for quite some time. Emma had been packing for 2 weeks (and when I say "packing," I mean she had packed bags and bags of toys, hair accessories, a bathing suit, one pair of pj's, and stuffed animals), and Brent has been planning fun things for weeks. I was just excited to get away and relax.
We knew nothing about the house...only that the family called it a "studio" and it did not have a TV (what??????!!!!) As we neared closer, we were getting lots of emails about the place with words like "barn," "kayak," "pond," and "tubing on the river." We were expecting a little cabin, and instead drove into an absolutely beautiful cabin nestled right on the Watauga River on it's own private pond. There was not a house in sight, or a road. SO....here is our mountain trip....our hearts were so full to be together, relax outside, and make memories with Emma.
Emma woke up Thursday morning and had a slight fever...odd...but I shrugged it off, pumped some Advil in her and off we went on our day. I was not letting anything stop us! Brent was getting off work around 2pm, and we were to leave after that. Emma and I went to the grocery store to stock up on snacks, lunch stuff, and other essentials. Our goal was to do as much there as possible and not have to go out for food.
Emma's fever went down, but then spiked again in the afternoon right before we left. We gave her some tylenol for the ride there, but unfortunately it didn't help at all. For some reason, Advil just works better for her. We left about 3:30 - way later than I had hoped, and hit major traffic in Winston. Emma woke up because of it and was pretty pitiful the rest of the way. Right before Boone, we hit major fog...the worst fog I had ever been in. Brent was driving, and we barely were going 30 mph. Emma was in the backseat moaning "are we there yet???!!!" and I was panicking because I felt like we were in a creepy Halloween movie.....fun times.
We rolled into Boone and picked up a pizza to go at Capone's - I definitely recommend it! It was delicious:)
We got the Valle Crucis about 7:45pm and Emma was DONE. It was all we could do to get some milk and Advil in her, and set up her bed. She fell right asleep - like within a minute of being tucked in. Poor thing - we were so worried that maybe we were being selfish dragging her all the way up here when she didn't feel well.
But we tried to make the best of it, because this is what we rolled into when we got there....
It was heavenly....like we walked into a spa retreat. Everything was over the top - from the house itself, to the gift basket waiting for us, and the towels and chocolates wrapped up all nice. I seriously felt like I was dreaming. Brent quickly poured himself a drink and we commenced to our pizza and porch rocking in the cool, mountain air. I snapped a photo.....it was a long day and Emma had been sick....but we were there and she was resting. We were both praying hard that Emma's fever would break....because I knew she would have an absolute blast here if she felt herself.
We checked Emma's fever a few times overnight, and thankfully it was going down. By morning, she seemed to be her happy, carefree self and we were sooooo relieved.
I made us breakfast and we ate on the porch overlooking the pond. I had gotten Emma and Brent some small surprises for the trip, so we opened them:) Emma got some cute travel lotions and soaps (she LOVES lotions, perfumes, etc...), and I had gone to Great Outdoor's end of summer sale and to get Brent some much needed clothes:)
Seeing Brent so relaxed with his coffee, and Emma snuggled up with him was such a relief.
Emma was super pumped about the pond and ducks and fishies, so we got dressed and headed out.
We passed by the barn....
and headed to the dock on the pond.
This is the view of the house...the pond is directly behind me. Not. Too. Bad.
Brent got to take Emma fishing...a dream for him. Every dad dreams of doing these childhood things with their kids...making the same memories that they did with their dads...he was in heaven all weekend.
We walked all the way around the pond.
And Emma caught a small fish. She was excited...but did NOT want to touch it.
I decided it was so nice out, and it had warmed up enough, for us to put our suits on and head back out.
Emma and Brent caught another fish - this time, a catfish!
But, a rain cloud moved in, so we all retreated to the porch. I took the opportunity to fit in some reading and relaxing at the window seat...
And then, my sidekick joined me:)
We decided we would get dressed and head out for some lunch and maybe some gem mining. The rain actually cleared as we made our way into Boone. Of course, Emma HAD to eat at a Jersey Mike's......
We decided to try one of the gem mines on the way up to Blowing Rock...thinking Emma would probably enjoy it. She's really into collecting and organizing these days....
She had a good time finding rocks...and honestly didn't care what they were...she kept ALL of them (even the small, worthless ones).
After that, we headed into Blowing Rock. I thought some ice cream at Kilwin's might be a good afternoon snack:)
But, unfortunately, the rest of the High Country was also in Blowing Rock - holy smokes! I had never seen so many people....we had always visited in the winter, so it was "dead." I was actaully turned off by the amount of tourists...I can't even imagine. We managed to find a parking spot (because once I have ice cream on the brain...it's happening). But as soon as we got out and started walking....the rain came again. So I raced to get ice cream and Brent and Emma picked me up. I ran into some friends from church (small world), and they snapped a pic to send my parents. I did get my ice cream ($5 later - ???!!!!!), and we drove back to the house. We vowed never to go into Blowing Rock on a summer weekend again...it was awful. I hate crowds:)
Thankfully, the rain had stopped by the time we got back and we hit up the Mast General Store - both the original and the Annex. Emma walked away with $25 worth of candy (insert eye roll here), and Brent and I found some cool coffee mugs and a cool travel wine cup.
Our plan that evening was to go to the Valle Crucis park to hear a bluegrass band, so we changed, and I packed us a picnic dinner. But when we got there, the ground was soaked...soaked so bad you could barely walk. We had a tarp and a blanket, so we would probably be ok...but then we heard that the concert had been cancelled due to all the rain...which was actually fine by me. So, we did something better...we took our picnic to the dock at our pond and fished instead.
It was perfect...I can't even describe the happiness Brent and I both felt. Emma was having a blast sitting with us, fishing, helping, and taking in the scenery. The weather was beautiful - a small breeze, just cool enough to need a sweater.
Call me hormonal...but these moments were so precious. So simple, yet filled with so much joy.
Emma even caught a huge catfish!!! Brent had to help reel it in and wear it out too:)
Emma thought it was the best thing ever! (But still didn't want to touch it!)
All I could think of all evening was how lucky I was to share this moment with them, to be here in this beautiful place, enjoying nothing but each other and God's creation. It will go down as one of the best nights for both Brent and I.
We finished our night with a fire in the outdoor fireplace, roasting marshmallows for smores. It was perfect:)
Saturday morning, we woke up to fog...but Brent and I sat on the porch and drank our coffee before Emma awoke.
This was our buddy for the weekend...a sweet cat names Grey Grey who has a lame leg...
Emma was in heaven petting on him and loving him and looking for him every time we went outside.
Emma wanted to do some more gem mining (insert another eye roll), so we went to one closer to us before you get into Boone. This place was more expensive but the bucket of rocks/dirt was enormous. Emma lucked out with some awesome stones here.
Of course, we then had to go back to Mast General Store to get some sort of jar or bucket for all her rocks (another eye roll), and Emma was intrigued by this weaver on the porch.
We got back to the house, and visited the sweet family who was letting us stay at their cabin. They live across the river, but also own an awesome refurbished silo barn right down the road. I didn't take any pictures, and I hate that..because this place was awesome. The old silo was completely redone - on the bottom is a bar (holla!) and then a spiral staircase up to the top where you can sit and enjoy your drink with 6 other friends. Amazing views...and no details in the barn left undone. Think Fixer Upper meets This Old House meets complete awesomeness. Next visit, I'll definitely snap tons of photos.
The weather was gorgeous, so we decided to take the boat and kayak out. Emma snapped this photo of us...which was pretty good! And I'm secretly glad that her finger is covering up most of my belly:)
And of course, I snapped a selfie with my man:)
We took our bluetooth speaker with us everywhere..and it was awesome. Emma is just as content to sit and sing country songs as I am.
I went kayaking......
and loved getting some exercise and being on the water.
The pond and views around it are stunning.
Saturday night, we ate at Over Yonder in Valle Crucis...and it was amazing. Several people had told us to eat there, so we went early (6pm) without reservations and took a chance. We lucked out. The Grilled Pork and Beef meatloaf was to die for...not heavy at all and had so much fresh flavor. And the prices were so reasonable. It's a must when you're up there.
Sunday morning, we used some of the art supplies that the owner had left for Emma. Kathy is an artist herself and uses the upstairs loft as her winter studio. I did have to fight the inner control freak in me and let Emma use her own artistic license...but she was very proud of what she made. We are already planning on hanging it on her wall:)
She is an amazing artist....and I hope to one day add some of her work to our walls.
I can't begin to explain how incredibly generous and sweet this family is to offer us one of their homes, and be so kind and gracious. I can't thank the Reece's enough for this gift. I love the picture below...because it shows the peaceful view we enjoyed all weekend long. It's been hard to come home (I may have cried when we left), but I am renewed and have a better appreciation for the simple things in life...like fishing, reading, being outside, and family. Hope everyone has a fantastic week:)