Last month we spent a week in the mountains of North Carolina. It was the perfect balance of relaxing and doing. I’ve decided to share more about our stay in a two-part series. Up first is where we stayed!
We rented a cabin in a remote area about thirty minutes outside of Asheville. For us, it was the perfect proximity to the city. It was far enough away to completely submerge ourselves in nature but close enough to drive into the city for food and fun. Upon arrival to the cabin, we were met by the sweetest waft of mountain air mixed with pine. We couldn’t stop inhaling. I wanted to bottle up the scent and bring it home with me.
A kitchen garden growing alongside the front walk smelled delicious, too. We were free to use the herbs for cooking meals during our stay.
At the opposite end of the cabin was a deck overlooking the mountainous landscape. We caught the tail end of October and it was perfect timing. We literally watched the leaves change from green to various shades of orange and red during our stay.
The porch swing was ideal for sipping morning coffee and watching the fog roll in. It was so peaceful. Chirping birds and a nearby bubbling creek were the only sounds.
They don’t call them the Smoky Mountains for no reason.
The cabin is located a mile down a private gravel lane that crawls up the side of a mountain, surrounded by trees and farms along the way. I managed to squeeze in a few runs and the colorful tree canopy created a tunnel-like effect. While running up the side of the mountain wasn’t easy, it felt like I was watching the most beautiful silent film.
Except for a few cows mooing at me :)
The cabin itself was a dream. The casement windows were my favorite part. I would crank them open to let in the mountain air and listen to the creek.
Floor-to-(almost)-ceiling windows in the dining area gave us an amazing view of the autumnal colors. We spent the majority of our time in the cabin at the dining table. The benches were perfect for the kids. At home, we eat most of our meals at the kitchen island. It’s casual and unfussy but sitting at a table where we can look at each other’s faces is pretty nice, too. This table inspired us to start eating at our own dining table more often.
The sight lines in the cabin were incredible. I loved the transom windows above the bedroom doors.
The only bathroom was charming and cheery and included an oversized clawfoot tub, hexagonal floor tile, high angled ceilings and a large pedestal sink. Just imagine soaking in the tub with a view like that!
Without light pollution, nights at the cabin were the blackest of black and perfect for stargazing. All lit up at night, the cabin reminded me of a tiered birthday cake glowing with candles.
We felt right at home in the cabin. Built-ins were stocked with all kinds of books and board games. (During one family game night, we discovered that Mabrey is a Pick Up Stix ninja!) There was no TV but we did stream The NeverEnding Story for a family movie night. All five of us piled onto the sofa to huddle around the laptop. It was so cozy. There was a home stereo and our soundtrack for the week included a lot of Nickel Creek, Johnny Cash and Willie Nelson.
The kids were excited to discover a few surprises: a hidden play space tucked under the eaves in one of the bedroom closets, a ping pong table in the unfinished basement and a secret man cave in the loft of a barn on the same property. The man cave included a wet bar and drum set (!). Layne really took to the drums. He would wander down to the barn on his own throughout the week and I would hear a rough drum solo through the open cabin windows. It was too funny.
We had several rain days but we didn’t mind. We hid out in the cabin baking cookies, reading books, playing ping pong, sipping coffee, listening to music and just being together. I finished Cabin Porn and The Inner Game of Tennis. Cabin Porn is a beautiful collection of handmade cabins. I knew the cabins would be good but, my goodness!, the stories behind them left me in tears and inspired. I was not expecting all the feelings. And The Inner Game of Tennis was great, too, if tennis is your thing. I started The Kinfolk Home as well but have yet to finish it. It’s not due to lack of interest. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. It’s so good that I want to be able to savor it uninterrupted and, well, real life presents a slew of interruptions. I need to make the time to finish it.
I bought Animal Kingdom and Splendid Cities just for the trip to ward off boredom. They are the most beautiful coloring books. I brought along a pencil case (from Target) filled with colored pencils. They kept Steve, the kids and me busy for hours at a time. It was almost meditative.
Needless to say, our time spent at the cabin filled us up in so many ways and we’re so grateful for the experience. I think we all left little pieces of our hearts in those mountains.
Stay tuned to read about what we did and saw beyond the cabin.
P.S. – I’m not linking directly to the cabin listing for privacy reasons but, if you’re interested in learning more about it, you can email me.
images: Dana Miller for House*Tweaking