Has it already been a week since my sister and I spent the day in Hendersonville?
Overdue for a “sister day,” Ann and I headed north to Hendersonville Friday morning. The day was filled with sights and experiences that we’d have surely missed had we stayed home. Even before we arrived at our destination, we had one such memorable experience as we watched and listened to a woman give her little white poodle a sponge bath in a rest area bathroom. Apparently the woman’s husband had allowed the pretty pooch to get in the mud, and he (or she?) looked at us as if to ask, “See what I have to put up with?”
Back in the car, we started looking for the exit with a TJ Maxx that our sister-in-law Lisa had told us about. Although we got a little turned around and off track, we saw some areas of Spartanburg that we’d never seen before. We also met some nice folks ambling along sipping their Starbucks who gave us directions. Ah, the kindness of strangers. We found TJ a couple of miles down the road, and while Ann was the one who was looking for something specific, I’m the one who found some deals, particularly some caramel colored shoes with pointy toes
Onward and upward, we soon came to that stretch of the road that I love, the one that lets you know you’re about to enter mountain territory. I always get a little thrill from that. We popped some Orbit gum in our mouths to ease that weird feeling in our ears as the air pressure changed, and then we commenced to oohing and ahing over the trees and hills and rocks and rills.
Upon arrival in Hendersonville, we parked in the Maple Parking Lot and headed to the Mountain Deli for lunch. One of the many things I enjoy about this deli is that they’ll make your sandwich just like you like it. If you don’t want mayo, just say so. If you don’t like tomatoes, that’s fine too. Our sandwiches, turkey and BLT, were delicious, and sitting outside while eating added to the dining pleasure.
The ambience of Main Street was marvelous, and the culture and feel of the area enhanced our already upbeat moods. A couple of women and small children sat next to us, and I enjoyed listening and watching the little boys play with each other, probably because they reminded Ann and me of our sweet boys, now adult men. A policeman walked up, squatted down, and began talking to the little fellows, and I could tell that they were a bit awed.
Hunger satisfied, we strolled up the street in the September sunshine and soon arrived at the Mast General Store where we browsed for an hour or so. Upstairs we registered for a door prize and sipped some delicious hot apple cider. We also sampled some Burt’s Bees hand lotion, and I bought some BB’s hibiscus lip balm. Outside of the store, we watched someone taking pictures of dogs, five of them all lined up eying the photographer. The way the dogs’ heads all turned in synchrony to owner’s commands was pretty amusing.
Leaving Mast, we sauntered up one side of Main Street and down the other, loving the freedom of being outside and of having a day away from the regular routine. Everyone needs an occasional day out of Dodge. Main Street has bears, artsy ones, and we had fun reading about their origins. My favorite was Juliette Bear Lowe who looked like a male bear and yet was the founder of Girl Scouts. We went in and out of too many eclectic shops to recount, ll unique and inviting. Before leaving the downtown area, we shopped in Kilwigs where Ann got some ice cream and I purchased two huge chocolate and caramel covered apples. How could I not? I was in Apple Country after all.
Back in the car, we eased out of town towards Sky Top Mountain Orchard. Every time I visit this orchard , it’s an even better experience than the time before. There are now more kiddie diversions like pumpkin and apple playhouses, and children were climbing and scampering all over the place, their parents happily watching nearby. I was a little concerned that Ann and I might be among a handful of people there, but wowza, the mountaintop was covered with folks just like us, people eager to get out on a fine fall day and gather some apples.
While we spied many people gathering apples and loading them into wagons, Ann and I took the easy way out and bought some already picked. One of the neat things about this orchard is that there are always apple slices to sample for those who are confused about which ones to buy. This day, however, they were swarming with wasps, so we based our choices, Cameo and Gals, based on written descriptions. I also bought an apple pie and an Asian pear, and we both purchased some sugar-free apple butter.
Before leaving the area, we stopped at a The Wrinkled Egg, a unique little shop with a wide variety of items. After the woman manning the store informed us that she’d be closing shop in five minutes, we quickly settled on some inexpensive bracelets as mementoes of the day. If you want to shop at the Wrinkled Egg, be sure to go early enough to avoid being shooed away promptly at 5. There’s also bakery with all manner of sweet delights on the premises; it stays open until 7, and the cookies and muffins are delicious!
We savored our bakery delights as we talked and talked and talked all the way home. Most of our chatter involved family events, memories, and issues. While it was just the two of us, our conversations throughout the day reminded us of the web of connections of which we’re a part. Ann and I are back in our separate worlds today, but for a few hours on Friday, past, present and future collided in a lovely mountain setting, and I’m looking at our getaway as a precursor to a fabulous fall.