the ancient french broad

before you enter hot springs from the east/north, you gotta cross the ancient french broad river – winding and cutting through the mountains all the way from rosman, nc to tennessee. it flows directly beside the town, just a few hundred feet away from main street. people say that this river is magical – and have been saying it for years… and i agree. there is just something about it that calms and stirs my soul all at the same time.

the french broad is known to be about the 3rd oldest river in the entire world. like… for real. here’s why people say that: it is devoid of any ancient fossils that newer rivers have, and has been in existence since before the appalachain mountain range (blue ridge mountains) was formed. the waters of the french broad flowed through the land when it was flat. and when the mountains were formed, the river kept on flowing through them, cutting through the hills and mountains. and these mountains are ancient in themselves… the third oldest mountain range in the world.

so, these are historical, beautiful, important mountains. there simply must be magical, healing powers in them, don’t you think? i believe it. just imagine of all of the people + animals who have lived and used these waters. the stories. the memories. the experiences. i feel connected to the world, to history, to nature, just being near the power and beauty of this river.

hot springs camping french broad river

hot springs camping french broad river

hot springs camping french broad river

my view of the river from our campsite.

hot springs camping french broad river

each morning, i walked across the path from my tent and down to the bank of the river… just to breathe and soak it all in. the water rushed past me. powerful. mighty. relentless. strong. determined. and yet, peaceful. staying true to its course.

hot springs camping french broad river

hot springs camping french broad river

hot springs camping french broad river

hot springs camping french broad river

hot springs camping french broad river

hot springs camping french broad river

 let the magic flow…

love + light. xx

off the grid + with the family

yesterday (sunday) was my dad’s 70th birthday, so my brother, lina + i decided that to celebrate his big day we’d head out to the woods to do a little family camping. of course, everyone else + their mother decided that it would be the perfect weekend for camping as well. why, you ask? this little thing called “leaf season”. up here, in the north carolina mountains, the leaves are just beginning to hit their peak beauty. needless to say, the campground we chose to visit was paaaa-acked! but, it was also beautiful.

on friday afternoon, lina + i packed up our car with food, a tent, sleeping bags, blankets, and cozy clothes. we headed just northwest of asheville, about 45 minutes, to the fabulous little town called hot springs – more on hot springs another day. my parents had already beaten us to the campground and had pulled their rv into their site by the time we arrived, so we went to our space and scouted out the best spot for our tent. we were not within sight distance of my parents’ site, but it was an easy 2 minute walk we went over to say hi to them and invited them over to our site (which is where we all hung out the entire weekend actually). then, we got to work setting up camp. let the coziness commence!

the weekend consisted of pure, quality family time. and food. yummy camp food. of course we sat by the fire practically the whole time (thanks to my brother’s mad fire-making skills + lina’s mad maintaining-the-fire skills). i read some + did a little walking. i took lots and lots of photos. and we all chatted and generally just spent time together. we were totally off the grid, so the only thing we focused on was each other. sadly, my brother had to travel back + forth to asheville a few times, but he slept in his tent at our campsite as well.

the whole weekend was just amazing. something that i will not soon forget, and will cherish in my heart for the rest of my life i am sure. it was an extremely special weekend for me – just the opportunity to be in the middle of nature, outside the whole entire weekend, living simply, being wild, and focusing on the things that are really important. the things that are the most important to me in my life.

day one:

lina me camping

all packed up!

hot springs camping

entering into hot springs campground. woo hoo!

hot springs camping

a few campsites were right on the river (lucky dogs). however, ours ended up being just across from it, and it was pretty much perfect.

hot springs camping

scouting out the best spot for the tent.

hot springs camping tent

our tent!! soooo cozy + perfect – a birthday present to me from my love last year. 

lina me beer pbr

a celebratory pbr (beer) ‘cuts we got the tent all set up!

hot springs camping

the fire is lit! and it stayed lit literally the entire weekend. soon awesome.

hot springs camping bread

darkness fell, and it was time to make some traditional campfire food – both swedish + american, of course. here, lina is baking bread on a stick over the fire. i devoured some s’mores.

hot springs camping campfire

dad warmed his hands by the fire for hours. clearly something silly was happening at this point too. 

hot springs camping campfire

the family is all gathered. xoxo

day two:hot springs camping morning tent

laying in my tent, early in the morning. just gazing the trees + listening to the silence. so peaceful.

hot springs camping lina morning

ready for the day!

hot springs camping morning me tent

mornin’!

hot springs camping nick coffee

first things first: hot camp coffee from a percolator. (that’s my brother!)

hot springs camping

hot springs camping

the morning fire is all lit.

hot springs camping

a little morning dog walking. these two are just the cutest. 

hot springs camping family

breakfast preparations are underway. can’t wait!

hot springs camping pancakes

hot springs camping coffee

hot springs camping gunny

hot springs camping camp food

hot springs camping me

hot springs camping lina pancake

trees hot springs camping

hot springs camping reading

passing time by doing a little reading after a little walk into town. (those photos coming up tomorrow!)

hot springs camping trees

the sun is setting…

hot springs camping campfire

evening arrives again. this one will be a special one.

hot springs camping dad

happy birthday to my dad! 

hot springs camping campfire

my last little peek out from the tent as i tucked myself in.

hot springs camping campfire morning

when i woke in the morning and unzipped my tent, this is what i saw. sooooo cozy.

hot springs camping

i climbed out of my tent early and walked over to the river for a few moments of solitude. amazing.

hot springs camping campfire me

camp liz!

hot springs camping coffee

more camp coffee to get the morning started!

hot springs camping

hot springs camping campfire me nick cooking

brother-sister breakfast cooking team. eggs + bacon… coming up!

hot springs camping

our cozy home for the weekend.

hot springs camping campfire family

family time ♥

hope you had a good weekend, too, dear friends. check back over the next few days and i’ll share with you some photos of hot springs, the french broad river, + a little walking on the appalachian trail!

love + light. xx

OKTOBERFEST, BABY!

one day last week, my love and i were driving home, discussing whether we should or should not head over to a local brewery for some beer. just because. well, the weather was pretty damn near perfect – deep blue skies, a chill in the air, warm sun. i mean, peeeerfect. we decided to save money and drink a bottle of gaelic (highland brewing) each at home on our balcony – smart girls, huh? truth: we were a little dejected and disappointed. but, we felt responsible.

as soon as we got home, though, i got a text from my brother that basically said: “this is by water weather”. the bywater is my favorite outdoor watering hole (it’s where we held out 70th birthday party a few weeks ago). lina and i looked at each other, pondered what to do for a minute, then i texted my brother: “we are leaving in 5!”

at the bywater, sitting around a campfire, watching the sun dip down behind the mountain on the other side of the river, we began talking about the upcoming weekend. nick was going over to help my parents hang some beadboard on their walls. (they are settling in nicely!). lina and i decided that we’d get tickets to oktoberfest in downtown asheville, happening on saturday!! FUN.

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so, the rest of the week came and went. we stayed home thursday + friday nights = good, responsible girls. but, saturday, we celebrated oktoberfest the asheville way. with local breweries. woooo.

a street in the south slope part of downtown (the new, up + coming hip area of asheville) was blocked off and we stood in line to get out tickets – luckily we had bought tickets early, because the event was sold freaking out. paige was even able to snap a ticket a the last minute line.

at 1:00 pm, the gates opened, we received out little souvenir stein, and we were ready for beer – along with tons of other people. a german polka band was playing music on an outdoor stage and tents & tents of breweries lined the street. all we had to do was stand in line for a minute, hand them out stein, and they filled it with beer. amazing!

the event was from 1-6, and i did not anticipate staying the whole time, but time flew by and we were there the entire 5 hours. filling our steins. talking. people watching. laughing. dancing. drinking. and having super fun. of course, we had a method to our madness… when we walked through the gate, we went straight down to the end of the road (the farthest tent away, walking past everything), so we could start at the end and work our way back up, thereby missing the crowds at the beginning who were all crowded at the first few tents. and, we would also be at the entrance/exit at the end of the day. perfect planning.

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celebrating our first taste + our free pretzel/beef stick necklaces given to us by highland brewing!IMG_8738

a guy sitting under a beer tent, writing poetry on the spot. just name a topic and off he went! IMG_8759

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weird photo, i know. but we are smelling the most wonderful smelling/tasting pumpkin ale in the area – courtesy of catawba brewingIMG_8776

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there was even a place near the entrance/exit that we visited at the very end of our day: a breathalyzer tent. so, now, after drinking beer for 5 hours, we could test and see how drunk we were. i won’t revel that other girls’ scores, but let’s just say that they were not legal to drive. one was just over not legal. and one was waaaay over legal. i’ll never tell which was which. hehe.

me? i blew a 0.067, which is totally legal and quite below the legal limit of 0.08. i’m not sure if it’s a good or bad thing that i can drink so much and still not be drunk. at the same time, i’m always the designated driver, so at least we are safe. ha!

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we left this year’s oktoberfest behind, taking with us lots of memories and a yearning to try oktoberfest in munich, germany best year. stay tuned to see if that happens!

now, it’s time to be responsible liz again. it is monday, you know. hope your weekend was a good one!

love + light.