This weekend Joe &I found ourselves driving west to the mountains of North Carolina. Well ... technically ... it was Virginia ... but who's keeping score?
I have a friend who dates this guy whose family has a vacation home high in the hills where we stayed for the weekend. (Who do I send the thank-you note to?) It is definitely what you would call 'in the sticks.' Once off the main highway you drive through a quaint little town until you reach the Jottem-Down Store on the left. I have no idea what 'Jottem-Down' means. All I know is what I read on the sign. Once you make that left there's many hills and turns. Over the river and through the woods ... make a right at the 'BIG COW' onto Marion Road which I wouldn't really clarify as a road. It's more of a two mile dirt path that leads right to the gate that leads to the yard of our mountain getaway where I only had one bar of cell phone service which I loved. No pressure, no problems.
Saturday we woke up at 10am. Not my typical routine but hours of S'mores and wine the night before led to a late start the next day. Even though there was a light drizzle we geared up to do a little hiking. We roamed the land taking in the sights, sounds, and smells that the forest had to offer. We wandered down to this creek and endlessly threw a stick into the water for Sampson, the dog. That boy loves to retrieve.
All of the wooden shingles on the outside of the house were hand constructed by the old man. Everything inside too. The cabinets, the walls, THE BEDS ... all made out of wood and by his own hands. It was so amazing. So impressive. The quilt they slept with at night was sewn by the wife. Their clay pot mixing bowls ... spun by the wife on her pottery wheel. It was something out of a storybook. I wanted to knock on the door and ask for some porridge until I remembered how that story ends. Anyway ... they had put so much time into this home. Years. So much labor. So much sweat. So much HEART.
Looking around I was speechless yet couldn't stop blubbering like a fool to this old couple. I knew they had a secret to life that I had to find out about. For a girl that can barely find the breath, energy, or time to make my own bed in the morning let alone build my own house, this place was nothing short of a miracle. I felt like I was in a dream and needed some sort of evidence to prove to myself that I had really been there and seen it and touched it. All I could think was, 'I want to take a picture.' And I probably would have taken a picture if I hadn't forgotten my camera. But truthfully I almost enjoyed leaving this piece of heaven how I had found it. No interruption by the outside world. I wanted to leave it a secret. Except now I'm totally blabbing about it on here ... whoops. But I couldn't explain to you how to get there anyway. Unless you're familiar with the whereabouts of the Jottem-Down Store and the BIG COW.