This blog is now retired. My new site is at: Predictably Irrational.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Hilltop Hideaway: Day One

We are spending our Thanksgiving in the mountains this year. Tim picked out a cabin back during the summer and boy, did he pick a great one.

We are in Banner Elk, NC, just a hop, skip and a long ride straight to the top of a meandering, narrow, leaf-covered, gravel path.

Tim loaded up his F350 with everything but the kitchen sink. The drive from Raleigh was nice. Seeing all the colors of the leaves on the trees – mah-veh-lus. Who said the drought caused our trees to not have a beautiful color change this year?? (Hint: the brilliance of meteorologists).

Anyway, once we got closer to Boone, I started describing the surroundings to the girls. "Look at the mountain house", "Look at the mountain car", "Look at the mountain rock". When I saw a few pretty black cows, one which was black and white, I said "Look at the mountain animals" to which Mi-Mi promptly replied "Ooooh! Pandas!" When we passed some horses, nicely covered with those blue blankets, or 'horse jackets', Mi-Mi said, a bit silently, "look at the reindeers".

Boone is really beautiful. The buildings all look very mountain-like. Wendy's is in a building that looks like it belongs in the Swiss Alps. We still didn't stop there to eat, but it looked much better here than it does in Raleigh.

We wanted to grab some food to-go and take with us to the cabin. I wanted something local and by luck, one of the landmarks in our written directions to the cabin was The Ham Shoppe. Literally, this deli is at the corner of an intersection. One could make a right turn onto the road, or make a deeper sharper right turn and ta-da! You're at The Ham Shoppe!

Such a quaint little building. We got some looks from a couple of folks...maybe locals, I can't tell yet. They looked normal. But, I'm not sure if you know how hard it is to park an F350, but worse, there ain't much room between the deli and the road.

I loved the place immediately. I am NOT a sandwich person. But I fell in love with this place upon entering. A nice young girl explained the 'menu', which is pick your own sandwich: make your own by selecting the things you want, or selecting a custom sandwich, which may be hot or cold. The girls picked their own and I had to decide among the special selections they have on their 'cold' menu. Here are a couple of their signature sandwiches, in this hick mountain town:

Valle Special – Lean roast beef topped with Swiss cheese, fresh spinach, tomato, crisp bacon, and our secret cheese spread.

The Hawksnest – Piled high with our honey baked ham, spicy capicolla and smoked provolone with mayo, fresh lettuce, tomato, red onion and our blend of oil and vinegar.

I opted for the Valle Bleu, which was turkey breast topped with crisp bacon, fresh spinach, tomato and our secret blue cheese spread. I chose pumpernickel for my bread of choice. Wow! This was the best sandwich I have ever had. Fresh ingredients was a fact – the juiciest tomato slices and the greenest, cleanest spinach I've ever seen between two slices of bread.

While we were ordering, an elderly man came up to chat with the kids. I asked him, as I perused the side dishes, if he recommended anything. He said he recommended them all because they're all made fresh by his wife and her own recipes. I couldn't resist that statement and tried the pasta salad. Again, really well-made. Not sweet, not tart and I could see fresh dill in it. Perfecto. I also grabbed a couple of ginormous brownies. Well, one is a fudge brownie and the other is a magic square. Something with a graham crust, melted chocolate chips, and coconut topping. I can't wait to try it.

So if you are ever in the area of Boone, or more specifically, Valle Cruces, NC, you MUST pull a sharp right turn onto the gravel road that sits in front of The Ham Shoppe.

Once we grabbed our sandwiches, we were off to our cabin in the sky. And I mean, WAY UP TO THE TOP.

I had to lie to CJ and state that the cabin was really not at the top. She got extremely scared. And so did I, but being the freaking mother, I had to act like e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g i-s h-u-n-k-y—d-o-r-e-y.

The road to this hideaway is pretty freaky. And we were instructed to follow the road to the end, which is the TOP of whatever this is (a mountain, perhaps?). And the road is not a road, but a very thin path that looks smaller than the trails that I run at Umstead. And yet, I'm in a fat F350 on this road that would freak me out if I were running on it – straight down on one side and I'm not really sure what was on the other side.

On top of a thin road, it is very windey (how is that spelled? is it even a word? windey, like winding, not like whoosh). And the turn radius of this truck is na-da. At one point, the gravel was covered, and I mean COVERED by the fallen leaves, so it almost looks like the path ended.

So I was worried how we were going to get back down if we somehow made a wrong turn.
But we made it and being on top is like, well, being on top of the world. GORGEOUS, breathtaking, serene. Just plain smoking beautiful. I've got a lot of pictures that I hope to add soon.

For now, it's peaceful in this rustic abode. The radiator is going. It's not too cold yet. The fireplace is crackling and I'm blogging on my macbook with the most amazing views surrounding me.

I just hope no bears come to visit.

1 comment:

  1. Very much enjoyed this post!! Thank-you for giving us a idea what to expect. Can't wait!!