Posted by: SoccerGirl | July 25, 2014

Summer in the Mountains

I think Summer has become my favorite time to visit the mountains.  Not only can I spend some extra time there since I’m not working during the summer, it is always a great escape from the heat here at home.  We can pretty much count on it being at least 10 degrees cooler up there and at night the temperatures are perfect for sleeping with the windows open.

My first extra long visit over the summer was Father’s Day weekend.  We headed up in two cars for the weekend, Dad, Debi, Jake & I went up early in the day on Friday and Mom followed later since she had to work.  As usual after we got up to the house, dad went to work mowing the grass, while Debi & I relaxed around the house.  Once mom arrived we had some dinner and just hung out.  Saturday morning Dad was of course up early and out working, while the rest of us slept in and enjoyed a lazy morning.  Once we were all up we headed in to town to visit the Farmer’s Market, some of the shops downtown & one of the yard sales that is held regularly just outside of town.  One of the shops I try to visit each time I’m in town is a small clothing store called Sophia Grace/Anna Creek.  They always have really cute stuff and I seem to find at least one new thing each time I visit!  Before we left town for the yard sale we had to refuel and stopped for a bite at one of the great places to eat, Sweet and Savory, they have delicious sandwiches and very tempting desserts.  Some how we were able to resist the sweets on this trip, though I did have some Raspberry Fluff as my side of choice  🙂  After our day of shopping we made our way back up the mountain and collected dad to have some dinner.  We heard about a new place that opened up in Jefferson and decided to give it a try.  Coyote Kitchen has a location in Boone and now was open much closer to us.  In looking over the menu it was pretty perfect for us because of their large selection of vegetarian options to appeal to dad and gluten free options to appeal to me.  It was so nice to be able to order a burger and eat it on a bun since they had gluten free buns, something I definitely miss often.  Everyone enjoyed their meals and we all agreed that we would be back to try more.  One thing that was notable about this visit was the abundance of daisies that were blooming around the house.  They went crazy this year and it was hard to believe that they’re all just wildflowers.  As I have said before it’s always special to come up to the house and see what’s in bloom.

Daisies along the walkway

Daisies along the walkway

Daisies along the front of the house

Daisies along the front of the house

We also discovered that our bird houses were being used, and there were even babies in one that we had to relocate to the back of the house.  Both houses have different types of birds living in them, which is interesting since they’re supposed to be for bluebirds.  We also had birds build a nest under the eaves, above a wasp nest, which has never happened before.  Sadly the bird house down in the orchard had been cleaned out when we arrived.  This has happened a couple of times before & we’re not quite sure what (or I guess who)  is responsible.  We hope that by putting an additional latch on it, the birds will still be able to use it and not be evicted prematurely.

Bird nest under the eaves

Bird nest under the eaves

Baby birds

Baby birds

One of our bird nests

One of our bird nests

The next trip I was able to take was just a few weeks later over July 4th weekend.  This time dad & I went up first (with me driving), on Thursday afternoon, and mom followed on Friday afternoon.  On our way up we stopped for dinner in Wilkesboro, trying out a new place that’s right along 421, Cagney’s Kitchen.  Walking in, the building itself was rather large and most of the tables were filled.  The waitress was very friendly and the menu had a little bit of everything, so there were plenty of options.  Dad decided on a fish sandwich with homemade chips and I had the Chicken Monterray, which came with two sides (btw, they include banana pudding as a side option).  They also serve breakfast all day, something that’s always nice to keep in mind.  The food came out quickly and we both enjoyed our meals, leaving nothing behind.  This is a place we would stop at again.  As soon as we got up to the house and unloaded the car, dad was outside cutting grass, and I was hanging out inside.  Friday morning we decided to go for a hike since the weather was perfect.  There are numerous options for hiking around the garattage, but we went up the Parkway to Doughton Park and took on one of the many trails there.  We knew we wouldn’t be able to hike the whole trail (it was 5 miles one way), but using the directions on the park map, we pulled in to an overlook, found the trail, and headed down for a 3 hour round trip hike.  It was very windy when we first got out of the car, but once we were down the mountain the wind died down and we had a nice, shady hike through the forest and along the ridge.  The trail was pretty easy on our way down, coming back though we realized it wasn’t quite as flat as we had thought…it was definitely a workout.  Of course this workout required sustenance upon completion, so on our way back to the garattage we stopped for lunch at Freeborne’s which also gave me the chance to catch some of the World Cup games.  Back at the house dad continued his grass cutting and I joined in using the riding mower.  Once all our chores were finished for the day it was time to relax and wait for mom to arrive.  Once she arrived we had to make a decision about dinner, whether to stay in or go out somewhere.  The weather was so nice and it was so hard to move off of the chairs outside, but eventually our decision was made for us when we discovered that the power was out, so dinner out it was!  We knew that West Jefferson would be pretty crowded because of the Christmas in July Festival, so we decided to go someplace in Jefferson which would be less crowded.  We were right when we arrived at Coaches Sports Grill and we were the only ones there.  We’ve been there several times and always enjoyed the food, this trip though made us a little worried that they may not be doing so well.  Between lack of people and being out of several items, things just seemed different from when we had been there before.  I hope that they continue to do well and provide another dining option in the area.  We finished our night stopping by some friends’ house for dessert before heading home and watching fireworks over the mountains in the distance.

Fourth of July at Freeborne's

Fourth of July at Freeborne’s

photo 3

Christmas in July Festival

Saturday provided the opportunity to head in to West Jefferson for the annual Christmas in July festival.  We got a bit of a later start than we had planned, which made it harder to find a parking place.  It has been several years since we’ve seen so many people in town for the festival.  As much as we don’t like the crowds, it was great for the local businesses and the various vendors that were set up.  After wandering through the vendor area, buying a few things, and grabbing some snacks of ice cream and kettle korn it was time to run some errands at our usual spots of Lowe’s and Wal-Mart.  By this time we were all hungry and decided to go back to the Coyote Kitchen.  It was just as good as our first visit, but this time was made even better by the fact that they had a gluten free strawberry cake on the menu.  It was delicious and a real treat since I don’t get to have cake very often.  They also have really good sangria, which I had tried the first time we visited and mom had again this time.  I think I may have found my new favorite restaurant in town!

The rest of the weekend was pretty uneventful.  On Sunday mom had to drive back home since she had to be at work on Monday, but Dad and I were able to stay over and drive back on Monday.  We spent part of our Sunday afternoon working in the apple orchard clearing the weeds out from around the trees and inspecting the trees.  When we were up in April I fertilized the trees and they are doing great, of course that also encouraged all the weeds to grow up around them & removal was quite a task, but a definite improvement.  We also have several trees producing apples!  One was loose on a tree so Dad picked it, but alas it was definitely not ripe yet.

One of our apples

One of our apples

Monday was actually a big day for the mountain house…we’re expanding!  Plans have been drawn up, permits acquired, contracts signed and we’re finally ready to build the main house!  So you can expect many more updates as construction progresses, since more frequent trips will be made and reports will be coming in.  This week they started working on digging out the crawlspace, and of course since we have our web cams, we’re able to watch the whole process live!  Hopefully my next post will be much sooner than it took for me to write this one…until then friends.

Groundbreaking Ceremony

Groundbreaking Ceremony

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