This morning I joined Tammy and her visiting family to brunch at the Lake Lure Inn, per her recommendation we check it out. This historic hotel from 1927 right on the lake had all the charm of the 1920’s, from the player piano to the art deco and architecture. The dining room was pretty quiet but quaint, like visiting someone’s home dining room. The spread included everything from gravy and biscuits and french toast, to prime rib and potatoes, to German chocolate cake and chocolate fondue fountain. We paced ourselves and talked about our childhoods and family quirks.
We left the inn and returned to the farm to get our things and then went to the studios. I checked on the dripping progress of the second painting I have in progress, to see how much the paint moved overnight due to gravity. At first glance it seemed that not too much of the yellows and orange hues got overpowered by the blues and purples dripping from above. But upon closer inspection I found a insect or two stuck in the paint, right at some of the critical places in the painting.
I spent the afternoon brushing up the drips, trying to make some of the orange parts clearer, dragging some more purple up in to the sky, etc. Then we decided to make it an early finishing day, so we packed up our studios around 4:30pm to head home. We came back and sat on the back porch playing with the dogs for a short while. Then Tammy invited me to join her and her dogs to go for a hike up over at a property shhe had recently purchased and plans to put a barn/studio/homesatead built on it. The drive up was scenic and the path to the gate was lined with trees and rolling hills. She parked at the top of the hill, where we could get a 360 degree view of the mountains, hills, forests, and soon-to-be-setting sun.
We walked along a trail in the woods, through conservation land access that’s part of the property. Walking through the woods with a small creek, twigs snapping, and the smells of foliage and pine brought me back to when I hiked the woods of the Adirondacks all the time during a semester off campus. We even passed some naturally growing rhododendron plants and some small purple flowers growing close to the ground (but not snow crocuses).
The dogs, Scout and Jasper, ran along up ahead of us on the trail, darting to and fro weaving around the trees and brush to sniff any scent they picked up on the trail. When we stopped walking once for a break, we saw that Scout had crossed the creek to a clearing where it appeared he found the skull of a former deer. We slide down the bank and crossed the creek to see what he had discovered. It was indeed the skull of an eight-point buck, with complete antlers and completely cleared of all remaining flesh. Scout looked very proud, like he had found the best dog bone in the world, and all he wanted to do was chew it. We picked it up and brought it with us the rest of the walk, because it was such a cool find. The whole walk back Scout kept trying to bite the skull out of our hands, wanting it to be his chewbone since he had found and laid claim to it.
We continued the rest of our hike without incident, making our way in a loop back up the hills that we had driven in on. The lighting of the “golden hour” had just started, as we were just about an hour from sunset and the sun was thinking about going down after dinner. Instead of waiting to view the sunset, we left to go get pizza for dinner, which was perfect timing because by the end of the hike I was in need of a restroom, so it all worked out quite well.
We went to an italian pizzeria across from the Lake Lure In, where we had brunch this morning. Tammy and I ordered our drinks and then split a sicilian thick-crust pizza with slightly different toppings on each half. The pizza was delicious! We sat on the outdoor patio overlooking the lake — what a view! We talked and laughed and sympathized with one another as we discussed life, art, obstacles, goals, and more. While we were talking and listening to the house radio music, the music scratched off and the restaurant lights flickered off and on, while the string lights on the patio were switched off. Not wanting to miss a hint that the restaurant was closing, Tammy and I made our exit, or at least attempted to. It appears that we were locked in at the main door, since neither of us could push the double door open (or pull it open, for that matter), so we had to ask the restaurant manager to let us out, thinking the door was locked. He opened the door like it was a breeze, so we felt stupid as we walked out.
We rode home in Tammy’s truck, where Scout managed to sneak his way from the back of the cab up to the front seat where I was sitting. At first he just rested his head on my art from his spot in the backseat, just behind the front seat’s center console/armrest. But within a few minutes he was literally sitting in my lap, this fluffy 60-pound Australian shepherd dog. He contorted himself in my lap so that he basically had me hold him as though I was rocking a baby, where he seemed quite content, all the way until we got home. Where we realized he had slid down and had somewhat crushed the leftover pizza takeout box. Upon getting home we each went to our own apartment and said goodnight. Tomorrow’s plan include getting a rental car and checking out the art gallery and restaurant scene in Asheville.