IN EARLY MARCH, I received an invitation to join my friend, Laura, at her family's new mountain home in Cashiers, North Carolina. I have always wanted to visit Cashiers (pronounced CASH-urs), so I eagerly accepted her invitation. The goal of this trip was two-fold: Girl Time and Design Time. The Girl Time involved wine, cooking, storytelling and spa-ing. The Design Time entailed measuring for furniture and accent pieces that would create not just a mountain home, but a home reflective of my friend's desire for a cozy and peaceful retreat.
The word "cozy" was emphasised many times over.
I was picked up promptly at noon on Friday and kissed the family good-bye. My Road Trip tote (pictured above) was loaded into Laura's SUV, while she laughed and said, "that's all you have?" If we were to compare our luggage to library books; I had one book checked out while Laura had 5.
It was pretty funny.
After enjoying the incredibly scenic drive towards Cashiers, we stopped in the small town of Highlands to pick up a few provisions from Mountain Fresh Grocery. I love small town grocers like this. This particular one is both upscale and casual. It's a place where locals gather and friendly faces are familiar.
Inside the market there were specialty wines, cheeses, desserts, coffees, local honey, as well as a bistro and Neopolitan pizzeria! Looking over the dessert aisle, Laura chose the mini blueberry pie while I went for the rich chocolate cake.
It just began snowing and we were happy to have our coats with us. We hopped back into the car and headed to the beautiful village of Cashiers and, more specifically, to Laura's home in Lonesome Valley, an idyllic 800 acre mountain farm community.
It was a beautiful drive as we entered the neighborhood's private, curvy roads, with the precipitous backdrop of Laurel Knob Mountain guiding the way.
This is the Farmhouse, (original to the property) where real estate information is shared with inquiring homebuyers and a place where Lonesome Valley residents gather on Friday evenings for conversation, friendship and food.
Time for a much needed glass of wine...isn't this a beautiful bottle? Here is the link for this incredible Pinot Noir from Bello Glos.
Girl Time was in full swing and we were enjoying catching up on our life, our dogs and our kids. The home was just beautiful with spectacular views from every room. I looked forward to the morning sunlight and a new day of exploration.
Here is my beautiful room for the weekend. Each night, my host offered me selections from a
3-tired tray of diffuser oils for a deep, relaxing sleep. I chose Lavender oil each night. You can see my diffuser on the red, antique stool in the lower right corner.
In keeping with the natural environment, nearby bedrooms featured gorgeous embroidered pillows from Coral & Tusk.
The next morning, Laura made delicious omelets for breakfast while I made myself a cappuccino using this Rocket Appartmento Espresso Machine. There was a slight learning curve, but I quickly got the hang of it. What a beautiful machine! I see one in my future.
TODAY was Spa Day, and I was generously treated to a 90 minute Swedish Massage at Canyon Spa. This beautiful spa is located in the restored Caretaker's Cottage that overlooks Lonesome Valley's 800 acres. The spa is open to the public, so if you're in the Highlands or Cashiers area, here is the link to Canyon Spa. I took a few photos of their charming and relaxing interior. The staff was very professional, very kind and results-driven.
The temps were in the low 30's when we arrived, so the fire was appreciated!
While you rested, regional books were available to give you an insight on the environs.
Later, I was shown the beautiful amenities and surroundings that make Lonesome Valley a unique and serene place to call home. Here is a captiviating view outside the restaurant, Canyon Kitchen. You just want to linger longer when you're in Cashiers.
Here is the outdoor fireplace at Canyon Kitchen. I couldn't fit the entire fireplace in my viewfinder. It is massive!
At Lonesome Valley, there are laying hens for residents to gather eggs. I love chickens, so this community chicken-coop idea really spoke to me. In the photo below, the chicken coop is to the left. In the right foreground is the planting area for the private cutting garden. Residents can gather and clip blossoming flowers to bring home.
See how precious these little babes are? I can never contain my eggs-citement around chickens.
And there were eggs in the nest box from the day's offerings!
There are adundant trails, creeks and waterfalls throughout Lonesome Valley.
Here is the lake and boathouse where the paddle boats and canoes are kept. As we parked and walked to the boathouse, I told Laura, "You know there are black bears all throughout here, right?" Having lived in Montana for some time, I know plenty about steering clear of bears. She told me her husband says, "If you see a bear, the only thing you need to do is be faster than the other person."
Needless to say, I was prepared to Die by Bear the entire time.
Back at the house for lunch, we had homemade squash soup with a crispy baguette. Here is my attempt to make a "heart" wirh creme fraiche, which ended up looking more like a cute leaf.
We took measurings of the house for furniture and other pieces for the Design Time purpose of my getaway, then met with a neighbor and drove to a popular restaurant in Sapphire called The Library Kitchen & Bar.
This self-dubbed "most colorful place to eat and drink in Sapphire Valley" restaurant was completely renovated in 2016 and has a most beguiling allure; with original artwork by co-owner Marvin Gralnick and an equally colorful menu by Chef Johannes Klapdohr. It was nightfall when we arrived, so here are a couple of daytime photos from their website's gallery.
The door pull told me "You will love this place when you enter." This was all I needed to know.
A charming view of the restaurant during the summer months, when the hostas are in full bloom.
P.S. Order this starter: Applewood Bacon Maple Rosemary Popcorn.
You'll thank me in the Comments section below.
The next morning, we loaded the SUV (me, still with my singular tote) and I said goodbye to the village of Cashiers. I couldn't think of a more perfect location for my friend to build a cozy, mountain retreat for her family, than the Blue Ridge Mountains in Western North Carolina.
And as for myself, the keeping score is Traci - 1; Black Bears - 0.
Thank you for coming along!
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