Yesterday we were resigned to a day at home because of rain. Son $ called to see how we were, and he suggested we go on the Blue Ridge Parkway. Cloudy days can be much more dramatic than sunny ones. By the time we ate lunch and drove out, the rain had stopped. White clouds and ghostly mist kept our heads turning.
We got out of the car at many of the overlooks. I couldn’t resist taking a photo of Kate and Nate looking at the scenery. Kate said the hills near her in New Jersey can’t begin to compare to our mountains. My favorite cloud picture is named “Mythical Beast”. We were hungry by the time we got to the Pisgah Inn, and we were surprised there was immediate seating. The waiter said on a normal Thursday, the place would be packed. Our table was in the second row, not next to the window, but good enough. This is the only place I know which is high enough that you can look at clouds both above and below you. We enjoyed watching the staff, too. Their turnaround was amazing. Waiters and supervisors whisked dirty dishes from tables, and they had the table reset in seconds.
Although the light was fading, we went to my favorite waterfall on the way home. I looked for the wildflower trillium near the spring, but nothing was blooming there. Several years ago I took a picture of trillium which Beth identified for me. There is a lot to be said for instant gratification with digital photos.
We had rain again this morning. The top attractions Kate wanted to see during her first visit here were Andrew’s geyser and a train going through the Loops. When we got our act together, we drove to Old Fort and out to the geyser which wasn’t geysering. It isn’t a real geyser, anyway, but water was bubbling from the hole. We were almost ready to leave when the stream of water intensified and gradually soared into the sky. Nate was the first to hear something on the tracks. It was a pickup truck on train wheels, running down the mountain. John wondered if they were checking the tracks before sending a train. Nothing else happened. Finally we set a limit, saying we’d leave at 1 if no train had come. Just in the nick of time, we all heard a train whistle echoing through the mountains. It rumbled through the extreme curves, which I presume is why they call that stretch the Loops. We knew not to talk to John who was counting the cars – 78 today. Maybe we all have a compulsive desire to count certain things. I’ve broken my habit of counting silverware when emptying the dishwasher, but he still counts railroad cars on a moving train.
After the train left that area, we went to Old Fort and saw it go through the town. Next stop was the Moose Café. $ introduced us to this restaurant years ago, and it’s always been a favorite. They put biscuits and their special apple butter on the table when you order, and they serve fried chicken, collard greens, country ham, liver mush, chicken and dumplings, and other Southern fare. The meals are terribly carb-heavy, which I tried to balance with a spinach/peach salad. The ploy was unsuccessful, but I gave myself 100 points for trying.
Adjacent to the restaurant is the farmer’s market, now in full swing. John and I went in the winter when only one building was open. Today there were the usual fresh fruits and vegetables, but other stalls had craft items, clothing, pottery, home decorations, and jewelry. We poked about one area featuring gourds. We made the mistake of engaging the proprietor in conversation and couldn’t get away. I wondered where John was and spotted him on a bench, asleep. The woman told us how many days it takes for a very small gourd to dry enough for her to paint. The largest ones take a year! Her signature pieces have a few leaves painted on them. She cuts the top off around the jagged leaves, which I found esthetically pleasing. She also used gourd seeds to make earrings. She had many items there and mentioned that her work was in six other galleries. Before we left, she gave Nate an egg gourd ornament that someone had broken, suggesting ways he could decorate it.