As promised, today’s post will detail some of the delights of my trip to Georgia last week.
My friend Marianne and her family own an old farmhouse on acreage in Georgia, and she invited me and two other friends for a week’s stay there. We all accepted happily...and then life intervened. Our two friends had to drop out, and what started out as four barn buddies on the road turned into an intimate, two-person trip. Marianne and I have been friends for years, but this is the first trip we’ve taken together. I was confident we’d do well, and from my standpoint, we did. (You’ll have to ask Marianne how she feels…) We talked about everything from awkward childhoods, first loves, how we met our husbands, how our college-age kids are doing, to what’s new with our horses. After two long drives and a week’s togetherness, we’re still friends!
Some trip highlights:
The first morning after we arrived, we drove to Blue Ridge, where we visited the Blue Ridge Art Center, and ate lunch at a little coffee shop/restaurant. We explored some of the charming shops, both of us reveling in the ability to browse without our male family members hurrying us along. We scoped out a used bookstore and wondered about the fluffy white trees blooming everywhere (anyone know what these are?).
After Blue Ridge, our next stop was Mercier Orchards, where we stocked up on essentials: cider donuts and cinnamon pecan bread.
We picked up some groceries and fortified ourselves at Starbucks, then hit the meadow for some quality rambling.
On day two, we packed up the camp chairs to sketch. No sooner had we settled ourselves on the hill than we felt sprinkles of rain, so we adjourned to the front porch, where we both sketched the corn crib (see my sketch below). It had stopped raining by the time we were done with our sketches, so we moved our chairs down by the creek. We sketched a bit more, read, or simply listened to the music of the water.
After lunch, we carried bucket and shovel down to the meadow to collect some daffodils for transplanting up near the house and corn crib. Marianne performed the labor (and I do mean labor) wrestling the bulbs from the thick Georgia clay, and digging holes for them in their new locations. I planted the bulbs and helped water them in. Our reward: a cold, hard cider on the front porch before taking a hike up the hill at the far edge of their property.
We enjoyed comfortable temperatures the first few days, but the weather turned cold and damp towards the end of the week…just in time for us to go trail riding! Suitably bundled up, we mounted our trail horses (Polly and Diesel), and proceeded to learn the outfitters were called Adventure Trail Rides for good reason. The trails wound mostly up and down hills, one so steep the horses had to take a running start to get up it! The trails themselves were thick, slippery clay laced with rocks, but our horses slithered surefooted through them anyway. As long as I gave my horse his head and let him pick his way up and down, we did fine. It was fun riding in a completely different environment—at home we mostly ride in a ring or at the very “roughest,” on flat, sandy trails. We joked that our horses would take one look at these trails and go on strike. Yes, we have sissy horses. (We didn’t take cameras or phones on the ride, so I have no photos from this experience, unfortunately.)
We woke up Sunday to 16 degrees Fahrenheit, and a car covered with frost! Reluctantly, we said good-bye to the farmhouse and hit the road.
The farmhouse had wireless Internet but no TV, and I didn’t bring my computer, deliberately giving myself permission to disconnect. Without the distractions of TV and hours spent on the Internet, we had plenty of time every day to take long walks through the meadow and up the hill. Our meals were quiet and relaxed. I wrote in my journal nearly every day, and read whenever I got the chance. It occurred to me that at home I make myself artificially busy by thinking I have to read all my emails, keep up with umpteen bloggers, and do so many other little things that don’t really matter. As usual, I came home determined to tweak my daily routine to make it more fulfilling. I’ve started unsubscribing to email newsletters and skimming (or even skipping) blog posts in my feed reader. At the farmhouse, instead of TV, we played music from Marianne’s iPod (she’s the playlist queen!) and that’s something I want to do more here at home. I’ve started making my own playlists and I’m looking into getting an iPod dock with speakers so I can listen to music without using ear buds.
Travel, friendship, sketching, wandering outside, having precious time for doing nothing—these simple pleasures and everyday adventures mean so much to me. Thank you, Marianne, for giving them to me last week.