Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Western North Carolina- Summertime Delight

I just returned from spending the past 5 weeks in western North Carolina, or WNC, as it is locally called. My friend, Jill, and I rented a cottage on a goat farm.  Family and friends visited during our stay, but our time was primarily spent  planning her daughter's wedding next spring, and finding  retirement property for my husband and I  to build a home.    Mission  accomplished! 

The weather was delightful, the farmer's markets abundant and awesome, and the people were so friendly.  We made it a point to learn the layout of Asheville and  be able to navigate that town before we left!  But did we?  - Yes we did!   We tried numerous restaurants, shopped at every farmer's market and even managed to get in a little antiquing.  It was a delightful summer, full of new things to learn and new people to meet. 
Our cottage was located on a goat pasture.  Many hours were spent on the front porch in  our rocking chairs watching these goats and of  course discussing weddings and house plans.


 Early in the morning fog cover in the pasture-
 To sunny afternoons- these goats grazed non-stop!

A few sheep joined in too!
Our summer buddies!

Our cottage was located on Highland Lake Properties, once an old Catholic girl's camp.  One of our favorite things to do was to walk down to the lake in the evening with Jill's dogs. It was so calm and mystical!

Just at dusk, with the sunset reflecting on the water from the clouds.  So pretty.
 The natural beauty in this part of the country is unbelievable. Everywhere you look- long range mountain views, low covering clouds, and water- lots of waterfalls, rivers, creeks.
The view from the chapel where Laura, Jill's daughter, will be married next spring.

We looked at properties with long range mountain views-

and properties that were tucked in mossy forests- where you were sure that fairies were living there!

A badminton net made from twigs.

 Loved this property- the owners had built this series of bridges and seating along this pristine creek.


 Stone moss covered fences captured my heart  in the area.
As did waterfalls!  Over 250 waterfalls in Transylvania County alone.
Fabulous food was plentiful too!  And it wasn't national chains!  
 Some of the best bakeries that I have ever seen-
A chocolate mousse from Well Bred Bakery in Weaversville, and Biltmore Village.
And if you are in Hendersonville, the Underground Bakery is unbelievable-
especially the bread pudding.
 Just local restaurants with local chefs,
local ingredients and great taste. 

This was the setting for dinner at the Orchard Inn in Saluda, NC.  A quaint B and B in an old historic Victorian home. The dining room overlooked the vegetable and flower garden in the back.

With hammocks waiting for guests to enjoy-

 The view outside the restaurant in Balsam Pines Preserve.
And the view from the restaurant at  Domestique,
 the European inspired boutique hotel in Travelor's Rest, SC.
Honestly, don't you feel like you are in Tuscany?

Peach risotto from Restaurant 17 at Hotel Domestique.

And the farmer's markets were fantastic!  Real tasting tomatoes, fresh fish and seafood from the NC coast, South Carolina peaches, bakery goods, and the very best corn in the world from the market in Hendersonville.  We also enjoyed  the largest blackberries that I have ever seen from this market.

Heirloom tomatoes were abundant at every market.

This region of the country has it's own micro climate and is more moderate than the surrounding area.
The scenery is beautiful and the people are nice. It's close to 3 airports and good healthcare. Atlanta is 2 1/2 hours, Charleston 4 hours, the beach- less that 5 hours.  What more could you want for a great place to retire? Being  an avid flyfisherman, I think my husband is going to keep pretty busy!  As for me,  I think the food and antiquing  scene will keep me entertained for years to come!

So where did we choose to buy?  

On the French Broad River, about 30 minutes north of Ashville.

 The sound of the river crashing on the boulders below is wonderful.  I dream of  sitting on the deck overlooking this glorious river.  I can only imagine what it will look like in the fall!

And my husband can walk down to the bottom of the hill and throw in a line anytime he wants.

As Jill and I left WNC,   a few tears filled up in my eyes.  I really didn't want to leave.
I am usually so anxious to get home, but not this time.  Jill and her husband have also purchased land in this part of the country and are in the process of building their dream home.  It will be fun to compare notes and experiences, as we begin this new phase of our lives. 
  I am thinking a stone storybook cottage with an European aesthetic.  Ideas anyone???




Mariterese said...

Love your new property-Absolutely gorgeous Susan! What a thrill xoxo PS beyond thrilled that you are home!

Christy said...

I'm designing my bedroom now overlooking the river!

Julie Andrea said...

Looks like a little piece of heaven. That hammock has my name all over it.

Katha said...

Oh so very beautiful! Even the name of the River is perfect for a Francophile such as you! So very happy for you and your hubby that you found your piece of paradise.

Alison @ The Polohouse said...

How exciting for you, Susan! Looks positively dreamy.

I did think that one photo was an Italian vacation picture! Just a gorgeous part of the country.
Happy news for you.

Anxious to get to that point where you are now. So much to look forward to in a new place to grow old and experience life completely differently.

Keep us posted!

But ... it will be hard to think of you leaving this area! :(

frenchbourne said...

Well tears in my eyes too....So beautiful and it does have you and Jay written all over it. Was thinking go ahead and enjoy but come back home to us...instead you and Jay stay there and will come see you!!! So happy you found the perfect place. Its does look like all of fairytale farm. When Madame Founder puts her touch to it I could only imagine.

Laurell Banner said...

How beautiful. Just got my internet back up. Went to your blog first. So amazed. Can't wait to visit.