Christina Wells

After three and a half years, my husband and I finally got away for the weekend a week ago.

We only took a brief trip to the mountains, but the change in scenery was nice. We traveled to the Asheville area, just the two of us and our dog Sunny. We chose a pet-friendly, streamside cabin. Going to sleep and waking to the sound of water tumbling and gurgling over smooth stones were some of the best parts of the trip. Sunny loves water and romping in the stream brought out the puppy in her once again.

We traveled to the Asheville Arboretum, where we strolled among flora of all kinds. There was a beautiful view featuring a fountain and statue that opened to the glorious mountain. My special treat was their large collection of Bonsai. I took a lot of photos and was even able to purchase some plants grown at the arboretum, mostly succulents, which are some of my favorites.

After the arboretum, we went to downtown Asheville to visit the boyhood home of notable American author Thomas Wolfe, who wrote “Look Homeward, Angel.” Wolfe’s mother was quite the businesswoman, owning and operating a boarding house that she purchased herself and expanded to a 29-room structure to maximize her tenants and her profits. The home is beautiful, a rich golden yellow. However, Wolfe, who resented the fact that his mother was more focused on her business than raising her family, called the paint a dirty, mustard color in his writing. The book, which was based on his boyhood in Asheville, aired some dirty laundry of both Wolfe’s family and Asheville residents (after all, a boarding house is the perfect place to hear all the local gossip), and even though the author smartly (if not very carefully) changed the names of the characters, “Look Homeward, Angel” was banned in Asheville, as was Wolfe, for roughly 10 years. I was amazed that the home was beautifully intact, including the brick cobblestone street running in front of it, while all around, a modern Asheville has risen.

Once we toured the Wolfe home and explored the museum, it was past time for lunch. We tried to go just a couple of blocks over deeper into downtown to a local taco shop, but the streets and sidewalks were packed with people. We quickly changed direction to travel a few miles away from Asheville to the smaller, quaint community of Weaverville. There we found the amazing Blue Mountain Pizza and Brew Pub, where we enjoyed a Mountain Extravaganza pizza, loaded with pepperoni, sausage, ham, beef, mushrooms, onions, bell peppers, banana peppers, black olives and green olives. After stuffing our faces with pizza, we wandered down the block to visit the Well-Bred Bakery to purchase a couple of their famous Mountain Eclairs (aptly named as they are the size of about four normal eclairs) to eat for breakfast the next morning. The bakery and the Mountain Eclairs have been featured in Our State Magazine.

The next morning we enjoyed breakfast, then packed and loaded up — the dog, the hubby and me made three — to begin the five-hour trip home. We stopped at a great, local, railroad-themed restaurant called the Boxcar Grille in Statesville for lunch. As wonderful as it was to get away and as much as I like to explore new places, Dorothy said it best in “The Wizard of Oz” as she clicked her heels together, “There’s no place like home.” The older I get and the longer COVID goes on, the more I realize how very little I need to make me happy, and my simple home and simple life truly bring me joy. The discoveries of traveling and the resulting desire to return home are what’s percolating this week.

Christina Wells lives in Halifax with her husband Bruce and their dog Sunny.

Christina Wells lives in Halifax with her husband Bruce and their dog Sunny.