For the past two days, I have been up in the mountains of North Carolina.
You know, Appalachia is a special place. And it isn't just the charming street names like "Possum Trot" or "Bodwich Bottom" that give it such allure. No, while those are lovely bonuses unto themselves, it is really the view that captures your heart.
Because, really, it's worth the drive just to observe A Century of Cars, all in people's front yards. I was also, of course, SO glad to see that there are places in our great nation where young men can go to their local McDonalds in overalls. I can imagine that my joy is overshadowed, somewhat, by the people who are welcomed with open arms at BBQ establishments sporting signs that say "SMOKERS WELCOME."
You heard 'em right. They can make whatever laws they want in Raleigh, but up here?? You are WELCOME.
(This flies in the face of the sign I saw on a restaurant in South Carolina recently that was going smoke-free due to "an overwhelming healthy consciousness." I have no idea what that means. "Smokers welcome" at least makes sense.)
We stayed at a tiny little mountain inn that was built only 20 years ago, but made to resemble a MUCH older building. Complete with wood burning stoves, very thin walls, and snoring Scottish tourists. We contributed to the ambiance, as we love to do, by bringing in small children that run up and down the halls, slam doors, and a one year old that wails hourly, on cue, throughout the night.
I am assured that old people don't sleep well at night anyway, so I wasn't really worried about disturbing them.
The capstone of our trip had to be the visit to the North Carolina Arboretum, with a special exhibit called "The Scoop on Poop." You might think that just because nothing is blooming, the greenhouses are closed, and everything looks completely depressing and lifeless, it might be better to wait to visit the Aboretum. But then you would miss your chance to learn about feces, take hilariously posed pictures by placing your face in a cutout of someone reading a book in an outhouse, and give in to the temptation to scratch and sniff the "SNIFF HERE" stickers on the exhibits. We even got to race dung beetles pushing balls of "dung."
My trip was complete.