Well, of course we love banjos and fiddles and ukes and guitars and Old Time music—but what about the other facets of our lives.
As much as western North Carolina is know for being a hotbed of traditional music, it’s equally revered as an outdoor recreation playground and a place of stunning natural beauty. We found and fell in love with Old Time music once we were here, but it was the kayaking, mountain biking, camping, climbing and hiking that was the initial draw. We’re so lucky to live sandwiched between the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and Pisgah National forest and surrounded by so many beautiful and exciting paddling and peddaling options—sometimes it’s hard to stay focused in the shop.
During our early days working at Nantahala Outdoor Center (where I still do some work), we forged a tradition of traveling out west every year. Those first trips were as climbing bums. Encouraged to take some time off when work slowed down in the autumn, we’d road trip out to the Rockies and beyond in search of fine weather, free camping and warm crags. With Leigh now working at the University, we’ve shifted our travel season to the summer and we’ve been mixing things up year to year biking or back-packing or (whenever we can get on a trip) backcountry river tripping. We love Idaho…the Sawtooths and the Middle Fork of the Salmon have been powerful magnets the past couple of summers.
Food and drink… We love good food, especially after a big bike ride or sitting beside a beautiful river. We (or really mostly Leigh) keep a small but productive garden each summer and get a kick out of picking a salad each evening of the season. We gorge on juicy ripe tomatoes (those little orange cherry ones are a house favorite), crispy beans and peas, loads of squashes and late in the season we stain our tongues purple with fresh roasted beets drizzled with olive oil—yum!
What’s for supper tonight? Hmm…Could be home made corn tortillas, BBQ lentils and Mexican spiced veggies topped with feta cheese with a side of red cabbage “noel-slaw”. Or may be home made pizza with pesto, fresh tomatoes, blue cheese and walnuts—whatever it is, I’m getting hungry.
And Thirsty! The number of quality craft breweries in our little corner of the Carolinas is mind-boggling. Of course, Asheville is beer city USA with so many good choices for brew that it’s hard to even choose—but we are particularly fond of some of our smaller, more local breweries: like Nantahala Brewing out in Bryson City or, in Sylva, Innovation offers an amazing number of delicious and unique beers in a truly “micro” brewery setting. From the other side of the country a couple of our favorites in inconspicuous places: Bertrams in Salmon, ID and Walking Man in Stevenson, WA.