Boots and Beer

Saturday was perfect mountain weather.  Not here in soggy Raleigh, mind you.  But once we cleared the front of dismal weather moving across the state, things took a turn for the marvelous.  We’re talking about 72 degree weather, a hint of gold in the trees, fall sunshine, and Hot Springs, and the French Broad Fall Fest.   Hot Springs is a friendly place, nestled in the mountains by the French Broad River.  The Appalachian Trail runs right through town.

Hot Springs is the kind of town where the police department has a model train in the window, to keep passers-by entertained.

I love that about Hot Springs.    It’s not a free-for-all, though.  Sneak-ins are not tolerated.  No sneak-ins, whatsoever.

Dolly and Willow and I didn’t have to worry about sneaking in.  We had an in with the festival, and were delighted to drive up, camp on a gorgeous evening, listen to music and drink craftsman beer from itty bitty steins.

For a 30-hour road trip, it was remarkably relaxing.  As soon as we pitched a tent, we made a toast with our tiny glasses, to celebrate golden mountain afternoons and road trips and music festivals and new friends.

And then I flopped into a camp chair and, for the first time in days and days, sat still.  It was heavenly under the trees, with music drifting in from the stage in the distance.  I reflected.  I wrote.  I rested.

From then on out, it was a mighty fine time.  We heard Eyes of the Elders (sweet tracksuits, gentlemen), Josh Philips Folk Festival, the always-fantastic Yarn, and Blind Boy Chocolate and the Milk Sheiks.  There was a bit more sampling, some astoundingly tasty festival food, a lot of hippie dancing, some questionable attire, and s’mores by our first campfire of the season.

Oh, and sleeping in a tent next to a splashing river, under a starry sky, on a perfect fall night.


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