Wednesday, March 14, 2012

A Day of Adventures

Julia and I took a day trip today to Black Mountain, NC. That's the location of her favorite college, Montreat College.
Montreat has a special place in my heart too. When I was a little girl, in elementary school, I spent a week each summer at Montreat with my family. We attended a Christian conference there. I spent days roaming the grounds, investigating the streams, climbing the hills, and running away from other mean elementary-age girls who persecuted me mercilessly. Still, I have very fond memories.
Here's Lake Susan, one of the many picturesque places on the campus. They have swans!!
I'm inaccurate when I use the word "campus." Montreat is a village, a conference center, and a college, all wrapped into one, intermixed and intermingled in one scenic locale. Technically, the conference center and the college are no longer affiliated. The conference center still belongs to the Presbyterian Church U.S., which is decidedly liberal. The college withdrew from that denomination, and although it still has a strong Reformed Presbyterian bent, it is now a non-denominational school.
Here is one of the stunning old stone buildings -- one! The campus and grounds are full of them.
Here is Lake Susan, viewed from the front of that building. You are looking from the conference center, across the lake to the college area.
We went into Assembly Inn, I think it's called. The lobby upstairs is grand, cool, luxurious but not ostentatious.
I could read a book here.
Grand fireplace:
Back outside, in front of the old Auditorium, Julia poses beside a mammoth forsythia. They're in full bloom right now.
We finally tracked down the college administrative building, Gaither Hall. The college chapel is inside this building. Here's a (bad) photo of the warm wooden chapel inside. A friend just told me on Facebook that she was married in this chapel!
Okay, one more trip down memory lane :) All those years ago, my family always stayed in the South Carolina Home, a guest house immediately behind the college. I tracked down the house a few years ago, and today I wanted to get a closer look. Right after I took this photo, a man walked out of that basement door and introduced himself. He's been running the South Carolina Home now for 17 years. Keeping up an old home like this is a labor of love, especially when it is used by many people, day in and day out.
He gave us a full tour. They have completely re-done the inside. They stripped off the drywall that had been put on all the interior walls, and pulled down the ugly drop ceilings too. With the old bead-board exposed, they painted the rooms simply. I love this soft baby-blue. All the rooms look like this: simple, calm, restful. Exactly what you'd like in the mountains.
This house sits right on the edge of the mountain, so the views from the rooms are breath-taking. If you're visiting around Asheville or Black Mountain, consider staying at the South Carolina Home. They serve a full breakfast downstairs in their expansive kitchen/dining room. There are also quiet sitting rooms for reading or napping, if the the hiking wears you out! Here's their website.

Julia discovered this quaint bridge over a creek. Stone is everywhere, and where there's old stone, there's lush moss. If you look carefully you can see a little built-in stone seat on the left hand side.
After a picnic lunch, Julia played in the stream that runs out of Lake Susan.
Julia has decided (in 7th grade!) that Montreat is her college. She's watched three siblings choose a college in the past four years, so it's no surprise it's on her mind. I think many teens simply fall in love with a college, or if that sounds too romantic for you, they feel at home there the first time they visit, and know it's the right place for them. Julia feels that way about Montreat already. It'll be interesting to see if that feeling sticks!

1 comment:

  1. It looks very serene. Or maybe you women just carry serene with you! I think it's a bit of both! The Willows are missing yout serenity. They're stuck on my cooker hood in between excursions!


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