Greetings from Banner Elk 2:11 p.m. 2004-06-23

Current Listening: Everybody Smokes in Hell by John Ridley
Netflix Queue: Sex and the City, Season 6, Part 1, Disks 1, 2, and 3

Joan of Arc: "I hear voices telling me what to do. They come from God."

Robert: "They come from your imagination."

Joan: "Of course. That is how the messages of God come for us."

-George Bernard Shaw

This following bit was typed on my husband's Sony Clie with his new portable full-sized keyboard:

"My husband and I took a couple of days away to visit the mountains of North Carolina and are staying at the 1902 Turnpike Inn in Banner Elk. It is my second time at a Bed and Breakfast - the first being with my mom in Montreal. It is run by a couple by the name of Paul and Cindy Goedhart, who moved here from Dallas to run the inn. Paul is a personal chef, and was quick to assert that this was a fulltime profession and not 'just a retirement option'.

In the past, I have fantasized about owning a B & B, and even did a bit of research on the topic. I also looked at sites about becoming a personal chef. My conclusion was that it might take something that I enjoyed, such as entertaining and cooking, and make it not fun anymore.

Still, I am fascinated by the idea of owning an old home and taking in guests. It probably dates back to my parents' eternal search for that perfect shotgun cottage in New Orleans to purchase and keep as a vacation rental/place to settle for Mardi Gras.

Also, I am sure that there is some aspect of 'saving' the family - in my fantasy, I would buy the place. Then I would enlist the help of my mother, the interior designer, to decorate the place, and my dad to take care of the gardening and some of the cooking... My husband would be in charge of the website and such, and my sister and her family could come and visit!

Aside from Paul and Cindy, we have met some other interesting people: we met Tom Dietz, a science fiction/ fantasy writer from Young Harris, Georgia, here for book tour. We also have met a woman named Cheryl, here to find her dream home. It has been great to sit at breakfast and talk a bit. The food is great, as would be expected (I will see if I can wheedle a recipe out of Paul for my recipe blog)..

After completing a lot of things on our "to do" list, we finally left on Saturday morning (the dog, alas, is staying with Mom), stopping in Flat Rock at The Wrinkled Egg for shopping and stone oven baked pizza. The owners of the store (the most fabulous place for gifts I have seen in a while - I used to go there while working at Camp Glen Arden) seemed interested in my frames and barrettes. I will have to make another pass when I mean business!

Banner Elk itself did not seem to have too many cute shopping opportunities, but I found out later that they were out on the highway towards Boone. On Sunday, we woke early (breakfast is at 8:30AM) and had a lovely spread of melon balls with a drizzle of honey, blueberry pancakes with homemade blueberry syrup and bacon. Paul makes the syrup himself and also has a knack for unusual juice combinations - that morning it was white cranberry with peach, I believe.

We drove to Beech Mountain, which a cute town that apparently is a big ski destination. We went to the great Fred's General Mercantile there and shopped and found a good, not-too-challenging trail to walk. Then we drove in a massive circle - taking Hwy. 19E to Spruce Pine (who would have known it wasn't cute?), and then taking a detour to pass through Little Switzerland - since we opted out of the real thing this year.

While we were in the Shops of Little Switzerland, I found the CUTEST thing - small ceramic pie plates used to bake brie in. I am not a fan of baked brie (being a French purist I like it au naturel!), but I was excited about possible uses for baking mini pies, quiches, and the like. Anything small and baked is a wonderful thing in my book!

We drove along the Blue Ridge Parkway for a short while - it is beautiful but monotonous! - and stopped to hike up Linville Falls - it was gorgeous. We completed our circle by going up to Boone, home of Appalachian State University. It is a cute college town, and we had supper there. Then we took a really challenging "scenic" (read twisty and curvy!) drive back to our B & B.

I think my pies are ready, so I will have to finish later - TA!

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