In my mind, I'm going to Carolina . . .
Summer begins with a few weeks in Western North Carolina, where I rented a house to find some peace and inspiration in the Smoky Mountains. There is no better cure than a little solitary time in a rocking chair on a porch surrounded by a continually moving landscape. You can't help but feel alive when you breath in the fresh air and listen to the nature sounds and birdsong.
I packed my car with art supplies, books, the coziest clothes I had and a hankering to run away to a remote place. I searched for a lovely home on top of a mountain with my only criteria being something clean, cozy, and with an unobstructed view of the mountains. I found this home. Lovingly referred to as , "Waynesville Gem," this cabin exceeded my expectations. Just one thing to note for solo travelers . . . it is ISOLATED. Which means if you get freaked out alone on top of a mountain with nothing but the stars to guide you, this might not be your type of adventure. I admit to taking a few days to get used to the night mountain sounds, but after that, I felt right at home! I rented this larger home so family and friends could come and go, but most of the time I stayed by myself. I highly recommend this type of travel if you need some peace and solitude.
In my never-ending search to find that one perfect spot where I want to spend the final season of my life, I thought this town might be it. It crossed off most of my "must haves" on the list, however there is nothing like actually living in a place to see if it fits. While Waynesville and Maggie Valley North Carolina are certainly quaint vacation spots, they just didn't have that "I could live here forever" tug for me.
Once I ruled out the fact that it wouldn't be my new home, I was able to settle in and just enjoy the vacation. Mornings were spent with coffee on the porch, sketching and painting and listening to music. Why don't I do these things at home? I loved that I was able to truly unplug and spend time on introspection.
For some unknown reason, I was inspired to sketch and paint seascapes, lighthouses and bathing beauties . . . go figure! I created over 30 paintings while in North Carolina, working on direct watercolor skills - no sketching! I was so happy to have such a large body of work to stretch my artistic muscles.
My son and his girlfriend came to stay for a few days and they got me off the porch and out and about. We hiked some waterfall trails in the Pisgah National forest, packed picnics and explored our environment. We went fly fishing, hit many micro-breweries and tested out the eateries. It was great to laugh and adventure and after so much solitude, the company was so welcome!
As all good things must do, the trip came to an end but we left refreshed, rejuvenated and happy. I'm filling up my basket of memories, keeping mental, visual, and written journals of these lazy summer days.
What are you up to this summer?