I walked out on the upper deck patio and plopped into a rocking chair. The sound hit me suddenly – not the overwhelming audacity of it, but the sheer lack of it. The view couldn’t have been more spectacular – the sun beating down over the gorgeous peaks of the Blue Ridge mountains – and was only made better by the amazing company and some homemade chocolate chip waffles.
Sneaking away into the mountains between North and South Carolina this past weekend provided me with a top-of-the-world hiding spot, tucked away from reality with some of my closest friends for a weekend of adventure, bear-evading, waterfall-climbing, barbecue-eating, and nature enjoying.
New York City hums with the ceaseless vibrations of 8 million beautiful individuals, doing their best to shake the universe until it shifts a little bit to provide them with the attention, fame, and supposed ultimate happiness that they so yearn for. Up here, however, the time slows to a barely noticeable tick – the cardinals flit by, the snails creep along unnoticed between the blades of grass, and the fog rises from the valleys, same as it’s ever done.
(Photo courtesy of Drew Liles)
Greetings from Traveler’s Rest, South Carolina.
Nearest airport: Greenville (GSP)
WHERE TO EAT: Flat Rock Wood Room (Hendersonville, SC)
Absolutely glorious, fall-off-the-bone ribs and juicy pulled pork. The perfectly over-sugared sweet tea is perfect to wash down cornbread with a soft pat of honey pecan butter on a steaming hot day. Their sauces are unbelievable – the bold, sweet, spicy and mustard sauces, along with Tennessee-style vinegar BBQ sauce, are amazing – but don’t even get me started on their pizzas, baked in their “imported from Italy” 900 degree wood-burning oven, which gives the crust on pies (like the Tangled Up BBQ Pork) the perfect amount of smoke and crispy crust. Don’t believe the hype? Ask The Food Network, who swung by just two days before we had lunch to film the co-owners for the upcoming “Food Fest Nation” show. Legit.
WHERE TO ENJOY THE GLORIES OF NATUUUURE (GOULET): Dupont State Forest
I didn’t know until I started writing this that this is located in TRANSYLVANIA COUNTY, North Carolina. While I did not see The Count during our time at the park, I did get to play around in High Falls – not to be confused with the other waterfalls of the Little River, Triple Falls, Bridal Veil Falls, and Hooker Falls (watch the jokes). We packed up some sandwiches, hit the trails and spent some time playing around in the water… carefully. This was such a nice way to spend the day, even when Drew once again asserted his inability to see uncertain ledges and bouldered surfaces and not climb up to/on them.
Some other activities we participated in this weekend were…
- 1000% Elephants: The FIFA 2014 World Cup is in full swing from Brazil, and we watched more sportsball than necessary these few days. I’m sad to report that my country (SPAAIN) isn’t doing so hot, but good looks for the countries who all came up short in the last Cup. And Ivory Coast… how do you calculate 1000%?!
- Bearaphenalia: The house, it was called Bear Tracks. The Bears, we know they’re out there. This is the closest we got to one. Terrifying.