…”there once was an inn, a merry old inn beneath an old grey hill”…for all of you Tolkien fans, you will remember Frodo’s song began with this line as he danced his rear-end into trouble in Bree.
I am reciting the lines to “hey diddle diddle” because it brings to mind a sweet spot in my heart, Little Switzerland, NC. It is home to the Switzerland Inn that sits atop the continental divide. Somewhere in the center between Mount Mitchell and Roan Mountain, this beautifully quiet retreat is modern enough to make you feel comfortably at home but rustic enough to allow you to feel like you have escaped the 21st century.
For more than 20 years, I have been calling this place my home away from home because the folks that live there have always made me feel like part of their family.
No matter the season, the mountains and valleys with their whispering pines, the hardwoods tranquil silence and the babbling brooks are salve for the soul.
In the spring, the mountains slowly wake from the long winters sleep. Wild flowers and budding hardwoods color the landscape. Mayflies take to the air and life begins anew.
Summer has the trees and greenery fully leafed providing welcomed shade from the afternoon sun, a place for the breeze to bring the scent of hemlock and cedar to the resting wanderer. The free stone streams still cold from the runoff and hidden springs welcoming the hot, tired feet.
Autumn finds the hardwoods ablaze once again in golds, reds and orange. With the warm days and cold night, deer and other animals prepare once again for the long, slow drag of winter. Brook and Brown trout in their brilliant colors of spawn readily feeding on almost any fly properly presented in the thinning waters.
Winter finds my mountain home deep in slumber once again. Trees are bare, the air is unforgiving and cold, a reflective time.
A cycle of life beautiful and consistent, I cannot wait to go back home.