So as I was driving I don't know I was trying to really appreciate the change of landscape going from the coast to the sandhills (pretty much same as coast minus the wonderful ocean), into the rolling hills and finally to the mountains. I kept driving... all that really changed noticeably at first where the trees... pines to hardwoods. Not very exciting. But then as I was driving I started noticing my cruise control having a hard time maintaining the speed going up and down hills! hooray! So as I was driving I kept waiting for the Great Smokey Mountains to appear up ahead and I would be getting closer and closer and it would be exciting... instead I rounded a hill and thought I saw my first mountain! I was so excited... after that many hours alone lame things get to be very exciting.
But, then as I approached the first mountain.... it turned out to just be a big hill. I was really hoping for a wee mountain... maybe a little guy who had some leprechauns living on it even (I got over excited with the wee and isn't this area the Scottish highlands?). But noooooo just a big hill. So, then with every passing turn and new horizon to look at I pondered the big question: Is that a wee mountain or a big hill?
And what do you know I was suddenly in BOONE and going over the Eastern Continental Divide! I was in the mountains!!! Moments from seeing Sam (the boyfriend!) and his sweet mountain home he shares with this band mates. Then I promptly got lost in Boone. Which as a bummer but it looks like a cool town. Last time I was here there were several feet of snow on the ground and I was intoxicated for 90% of the time... visiting old friends and catching up... too cold to go outside and see anything. But after driving around yesterday and today it looks pretty cool. All of the big box stores are made to look prettier (as much as possible) and not distract from the natural beauty.
After getting very detailed directions from one of Sam's roommates I finally made it to Banner Elk. It is a little reminiscent of the town Gilmore Girls takes place in but more mountain-y. The landscape is amazing and beautiful and breathtaking and relaxing. How can a landscape be relaxing? I don't know how to explain it... it makes you breath deeply and sigh and feel like you are breathing clean air and your body is like "this is how it is supposed to be."
So now I am deeply happy sitting in Sam's wonderful living room with one band member outside strumming on his guitar and Sam messing around in the kitchen and I am looking out to Sugar Mountain and some others (see the below pic which is their awesome porch view). These are no longer wee mountains or big hills BUT real mountains! Hooray! One day this we plan to hike up Grandfather Mountain and maybe visit the Banner Elk Winery and Blueberry Villa. I hope to enjoy this end of the state as much as the other end... which won't be hard in this place and being with Sam.