“Summertime, and the livin’ is easy.” At least it is when you’re on vacation. Earlier this summer, we spent a week relaxing in the North Carolina mountains. My husband likes to fly fish, so when we don’t make it out West for this activity, we head for the mountains closer to home. I prefer to escape to the mountains when the heat is unbearable in Atlanta, but he likes to fish in the spring during catch and release season which ends May 31, so we compromise by going as late in May as possible.
Typically, I find cabins on VRBO.com, but this time I stumbled across a cabin on the Tuckaseegee River while at a craft festival last fall. When I discovered the owners allowed dogs, the deal was sealed.
It takes a bit of preparation to embark on a week of leisure. For my husband, that means a trip to Orvis for fishing supplies, so he was disappointed when their Forum location closed earlier this year. He did, however, manage to stock up at their going out of business sale. I like to plan a few easy meals, make a list and head for Total Wine, Trader Joe’s and Costco for the essentials. Wine is essential, right? For me, it ranks right up there with coffee and snacks. I don’t want to wake up the first morning without my coffee, and I want cheese, crackers and other nibbles handy when we arrive the first evening. Throw in staples like oil, vinegar, spices, and for me, feta cheese, and we’re set. With the SUV loaded with dogs, fishing equipment, suitcases and food, we look like the Clampetts, as we drive away.
Once we settle in, my husband hits the river most mornings with his fly rod in hand, while I savor my coffee and take long walks with the dogs. They enjoy being off leash, chasing rabbits, seeing cows and even llamas and taking an occasional dip in the river. Next, I relax in a rocker on the porch usually with a book in hand. Many of my friends now have Kindles, but I have such a stockpile of books from the Dunwoody Library Book Sales, I just haven’t made the switch, even though my sister gave me her old Kindle in January when she bought the newest version.
When I’m not reading, I may work a jigsaw puzzle or visit nearby small towns—in this case Sylva and Dillsboro—to explore the shops. Though I completed most of my holiday shopping at the Dunwoody Art Festival, I’m always on the lookout for unique gifts when I travel.
Visiting a few shops or reading naturally leads to an afternoon nap, one of my greatest vacation pleasures.
After happy hour and dinner, we end the evening taking in the stars from the rockers or the hot tub, playing a game or both. For me, a trip to the mountains is all about relaxing and enjoying unscheduled, unhurried days. I took my active vacation when I cycled the Carolina coast in April, so on a mountain trip, I enjoy being lazy.
More and more these days, I like to think of work as what I do between vacations. In fact, as you’re reading this, I’m off again on yet another one. Catch you in August.
Kathy Manos Penn is a Sandy Springs resident who has worked in corporate America for almost 30 years, primarily in communications and leadership development; firstname.lastname@example.org