Welcome to my blog! I write, and take photos, and use Photoshop every day. I love learning and surprises and my sweet family and being a transplanted southerner.

Stars and Mountains, and Pappy says hello

So today, we all woke up (thank you to Grandma Carol for playing with the kids and letting us BOTH sleep in!), and decided that after the planetarium we’d just head on to the cabin for a couple of days. So we threw some clothes in suitcases for ourselves and the kids, and headed out.

We arrived at the Morehead Planetarium in time to go downstairs and see the science exhibit hall for a few minutes before the seating started for the planetarium show. Among the activities in the small one-room exhibit hall was a computer where you could select a “viewing” of a particular space object, seen through a remote telescope in Chile, and have the viewing emailed to you. WAY COOL. And I learned that astronomers at UNC in Chapel Hill discovered the largest space explosion ever, back in 2005. Also, almost ALL of the astronauts for the space missions until 1975 trained at the Morehead Planetarium. A pic from the early 1960s:

The projector in the background of this shot is called the Zeiss 2, and it’s the one that is in the middle of the planetarium dome where we sat for the show. The show! It was so awesome. Rather than a projection from the Zeiss seen above, it was their newest technology called “full dome video”, which spread across the entire dome above us.

And wow! It was beautifully shot, wonderfully put together, and just the right length (about 40 mins). I learned a LOT about black holes, and about how they warp time and space, and some of the crazy mysteries surrounding them. Graphically, the show was amazing, and of course my sweet Elliott was crazy-in-love. He held my hand the whole time, and every few seconds would either shout, “WHOA!” or else identify what was going on in the show - “Jupiter!” “We’re going through a black hole!” “Whoa!” “The Milky Way!” while squeezing my hand. Loved it. The recommended age was 8+, but they don’t know my kid. ;)

We even came away from the gift shop with a new solar system poster and a planet t-shirt, and athe second in the Star Gazing series of DVDs because seriously, how often do you get practically a whole store full of space stuff, there for the picking? I mean, ordered most of his Christmas gifts at a teacher supply store online. Is that an excuse for showering my kid with space things? Maybe. But still fun. ;) Rowen and Grandma picked out soap shaped like moon rocks, and a Little Yellow Schoolbus DVD.

After the planetarium and a quick stop for lunch, we were off to the cabin. I love driving westward into the mountains, watching the landscape change, feeling the altitude change, anticipating arrival at our little place in the woods.

We have a steep driveway and then a flat landing to park in. Cross three large stepstones and a wooden bridge onto the deck, and this is the view:

There’s a pile of collected sticks from the kids on the bench, and a really cool iron star there on the outer wall. The rock on the right side of the photo is the front door surround. Which is my favorite part - stepping up to the door, this guy looks you right in the eye:

This was actually the first thing we bought for the cabin. Who needs a fridge when there are hand-forged iron dragon doorknockers to find? So where does one find such a thing? On Etsy, of course! As soon as I spotted this guy, he was ours. And he welcomes us home every time we arrive at the door.

I’ve never had a second place - many families I know have one that belongs to someone in their family, and memories of visiting. Even Jared has lots of fond memories of spending winter weeks at his uncle’s ski cabin in Washington state, and we really wanted to have somewhere we could go with our family to spend time just us. Every time I see the dragon on the door, and turn the key in the lock and open it to the beautiful windowed view out, I sigh and say “We’re here.”

We drove on down the road to Pappy’s for dinner, which has some of the very best Southern barbeque I have ever tasted - plus baked beans and baked sweet potatoes to make your heart melt, and THREE varieties of sauce: hot, mild, and Carolina-style, which is vinegar based and oh, SO delicious. I am still full to bursting 3 hours later, but I wouldn’t say no if someone handed me more. Which makes it a very good thing that we don’t actually live down the street from Pappy’s, to be honest - how can a girl have any self-control when this kind of food is around?

And I know what you’re asking - Jes, did you take a picture, like the camera-wielding crazy that you only appear to be, but really aren’t? Well, not TOO crazy?

To which I say, yes. Yes, I did. And in fact, I did one better. I took a video. Which like a total tease, I have to go find on my phone and upload so I can’t give you the goods tonight. But seriously. SUCH GOOD FOOD. I cry a little every time I put that first bite of pulled-pork sandwich on buttered toasted bun with a mixture of hot and vinegar sauce and a little on the side for dipping in my mouth. Oh sweet mystery of life, at last I’ve found thee. With a side of baked beans.


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