high altitudes

I think that in our blogging histories, every post my siblings and I have ever done about visiting the mountains, be it a daytrip to Asheville or a stay with our grandparents in Bristol, was entitled “high altitudes”. It all comes from Phil Connor’s line in Groundhog Day: “I think we should all live in the mountains – at high altitudes. That’s where I see myself in five years.”

Somehow, I can’t break the trend. High altitudes just seems an apt name for a post on the mountains.

Joshua and I had the privilege of visiting friends for the weekend in Arden, NC. Besides getting the chance to catch up with them (it had been a while), part of the purpose of the trip was to allow Joshua to experience the grandeur and beauty of their self-designed mountain home. It rises like a natural palace from the ground, a veritable painting of wood and stone. Joshua was as taken as I.

We arrived on Friday evening for dinner, and stayed at the dinner table, talking, until 1:00am. Our host had risen at 4:00am, so it was a wonder he could sit there and make conversation for so long! But then, he is an endlessly impressive man.

Saturday passed quietly, to the tune of relaxed discussions, Bible reading, carrot cake, and politics. We enjoyed some delectable fish’n’chips at Cedric’s Tavern on Biltmore Estate for dinner. Apparently, even people from England have declared these the best fish’n’chips they’ve ever had.

We parted ways on Sunday to explore a bit of Asheville on our own, stopping in, as always, at Posana. Posana is a must-try restaurant for any lover of good food, but the bonus is that everything they make is 100% gluten-free. With things like pancakes, cinnamon rolls, and bagel sandwiches on their menu, you can imagine that it’s a Celiac’s paradise. Not that I am so afflicted – my eating lifestyle is much more of a preference – but this restaurant makes it a pleasure.

There is a good selection of farmer’s markets in the area, but not all are open on Sunday. I had found one that was, and we took a slow, meandering stroll through it after brunch.The usual honey, barbecue sauce, homemade jams, and fudge were all there; we were actually on the lookout for a housewarming gift for a party that evening. I suggested a candle, which took us over to one of the only candle peddlers there. The salesman had a low, smooth, thrumming voice, and long, curling blonde eyelashes. His candles burned into lotion (odd?), using cosmetic-grade soy, cold-pressed grapeseed oil, shea butter, coconut oil, almond oil, and vitamin D. All ingredients are edible, and the candle burns warm (not hot) and clean, producing no black soot around the edges, and burning at only 2 degrees above body temperature. This allows one to dip one’s fingers into the melted top and rub the contents into one’s skin. Very interesting concept. Unfortunately for the salesman, he looked deep into my husband’s eyes and offered a massage, which pretty much killed any deal he may have had. Joshua’s eyes widened in shock and his arm went convulsively around my shoulders.

No, thanks.

So we didn’t end up with a candle, but we got a little pineapple mint plant, instead. I think the recipient was grateful.

After the farmer’s market, we had a lovely time at Battery Park Book Exchange, which is a dangerous store for us – too many good books at relatively good prices. Plus champagne. (!)

Chai Pani has some of the most delicious and authentic Indian food this side of the Atlantic. If you’re in Asheville, you must check them out. It’s always a reassuringly good sign to see long tables of Indians in an Indian restaurant.

And now? Back to the grind!

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