Wednesday, October 9, 2013

The Road Less Traveled

When I give visitors directions to our cabin in the woods, I say with emphasis, "DO NOT USE YOUR GPS!" I have problems following my own advice...apparently. Yesterday, I drove CityBaby from our cabin in the woods back to college after a too short fall break visit. As I was pulling away from campus, I plugged in the address of our cabin into my phone Map app and set off for what I hoped would be the shortest route back to peace and quiet.

The route in miles was the shortest as the crow flies, but my car does not have wings, so instead I wound my way through the steep, winding roads of the Pisgah National Forest...much to the dismay of my four legged CityDog, who was turning green in the backseat.

About ten minutes up the steep drive, after passing several "Rock Slide Area" warning signs, I considered turning back. I'm glad I didn't. My drive continued through the most beautiful countryside I've seen in a long time. One of the reasons I love N.C. is, despite the fact that I was "born and raised" so-to-speak, there are still parts undiscovered.

I passed so many roadside apple stands, that I had to wonder how folks determine where to stop on this narrow ribbon of road. Is it a matter of preference or your sense of adventure? If you are a North Carolinian, you stop at a stand that boasts bushels of Stayman Winesap apples, those tart apples that were cultivated in 1866. If you are not "from these parts", you might wait until you see something you recognize from the grocery store.

I passed a REAL kettle corn stand where the corn was being popped and tossed in deliciousness and still warm for the purchasing. I could see the steam as I drove by. There were stands selling fresh chestnuts, cider, apple butter and all sorts of deliciousness. If you don't trust your GPS, there are also roadside churches with signs to guide the way. "Practice makes perfect, so be careful what you practice."

Finally, to give my four-legged friend a break, I dropped off the winding road and onto the Blue Ridge Parkway. Normally the 45 MPH speed limit is too slow for anything other than a Sunday drive, but yesterday I was rewarded for my patience with crystal clear views of the beautiful lavender blue mountains, old farmsteads, and deer. I even waved as I passed the occasional bicyclist, silently cheering them up the inclines.

I made it safely back to our cabin in the woods. CityDog was happy to find solid ground, and I was happy to stretch my legs. Will I take this route the next time I travel to and from CityBaby's campus? Probably not, but sometimes being forced into country mode, forced to slow down and take a deep breath, gives me what my CityGal self needs. The reminder to take the roads less traveled.

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