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.