fly fishing the new

Ever since we arrived in the gateway to the New River Gorge, Luke has been dying to go fly fishing. I remember him packing up his final items just before he left New York, looking like he was on his way to big boy camp with his golf bag and fly rod in tow, a huge grin on his face.

So last night he finally got out there and took some of his players along. The river and the dusk made for picturesque surroundings. I sat on the rocks and read Garrison Keillor. Their plan was to catch a few fish and fry them up for dinner over a campfire, since we are still without power.

 

I was mesmerized by Luke fly fishing! I knew of his affinity for it but had never seen him in action. It was truly beautiful. Just like Paul MacLean (if you've never seen it, watch it).

 

Luke and Carter (in the picture above) actually ended up getting carried away by the current...so scary! It was crazy, because the river looked so calm, but water is so easily underestimated. The rocks they were walking on dropped off suddenly, and as soon as they lost their footing they were pretty powerless against the flow. Thankfully they made it out safely, but both of them had a pretty good scare. We ended the evening with a campfire, PBJs, and soup heated by the fire. Country living at its best.

In other news, we are going on day four without power. Luke and I had an interesting conversation this morning about convenience and comfort--how little of either we have currently, but how content we've managed to be. We have no electricity, no cell phones, no internet, no hot water, no way to do laundry, no food and no way to cook it. In the back of my mind I'm looking forward to going back to our cozy apartment and the conveniences of regular life, but I'm really okay with this way of life (which has me more convinced than ever that I'm a country girl at heart). I think it's been really good for us to be forced to go without all of the luxuries we're accustomed to. Again, it reinforces my belief that going outside of your comfort zone can only result in good things.

 

 

a day in lewisburg, wv

This past weekend Luke and the team were traveling for two away games in Northern Virginia and Maryland. I'll admit that I was upset when I first realized I would be spending almost three days on my own in Hinton. There's not exactly a whole lot going on here.

But once I got over myself, I began making plans. For a Saturday day trip, I was tipped off by Alisha at Chestnut Revival to visit Lewisburg (voted one of the top 10 coolest small towns in America, 2011) which is about 45 minutes northeast, and I'm so glad I did. It was right up my alley. I spent the entire day touring the town's historical sites, wandering into cute shops, checking out the local farmer's market and hanging out at cafes.

What first caught my eye was the beauty of the aged homes and buildings. I don't know a lot about architecture, but I thought these buildings were really beautiful.

 

 

 

My first stop was the Greenbriar Valley farmers' market. Vendors were a bit sparse, but the live bluegrass made up for it.

 

 

I enjoyed an incredible cinnamon roll with brown butter glaze. A quaker-looking woman sold it to me. I guessed she probably didn't want her photo taken, so just imagine her in your mind, bonnet and all.

 

 

I then walked to the Lewisburg visitor's center to pick up some maps/walking guides/suggestions from the nice older ladies to help determine my next move. They told me that Lewisburg is home to one of the world's four Carnegie Halls (right along with that one in New York)! Who would have thought? I had to see it, so I walked through a beautiful park (part of what is now a local college) until I saw this fantastic building.

 

 

 

I was disappointed to find the front doors locked even though I could hear music coming from inside. My discovery of an unlocked side door allowed me to go into the small theater and listen to, presumably, a student in a piano lesson. I really enjoyed about ten minutes of peaceful solace in the presence of beautiful music, in a seat that has held hundreds of thousands of people before me.

 

 

At this point I still hadn't had my morning coffee, so I found my way to the Wild Bean cafe.

 

 

The menu looked amazing. I ended up spending quite a bit of time here blogging, catching up on some work emails, talking to my Mom and eating one of the best sandwiches of my life. It was a really large space that they'd filled out quite well with tables, booths, and lots of little nooks and corners to settle into. I decided on a window seat, though.

 

 

 Seriously, the sandwich above--one of the best of my life. The Wild Bean calls it the Green Goddess, and it consisted of spinach, sprouts, avocado, cucumber and cream cheese on ciabatta bread. Served with a side of sesame pasta. I think I could eat it every day.

From there, I checked out some of the little shops and antique stores along the main street.

Wolf Creek Gallery

Edith's Store

Stone House General Store

 

When I was all antiqued out, I found my way to a really pretty restaurant before the dinner rush hit. For the rest of the evening, I enjoyed the cool air and a beer and journaled in their tented area where I was surrounded by gardens. Such a pleasant way to spend time. And to top it all off, I ordered an appetizer of brie with caramelized pecan topping. Delicious!

 

 

A really cool gem of a town in the middle of nowhere, West Virginia. I loved my time in Lewisburg.

 

 

currently working from: coffee beans & books

This post serves a dual purpose.

One, it begins a trend I would like to continue: the documenting of all the different venues I find myself in as I work remotely! You may know that my job is portable in that I can work wherever there's access to Internet and an outlet for my laptop. We don't have wireless at the Shanty, so I have been coffee shop hopping for the past month!

Two, it's my first attempt to post from my phone! So far so good, although you will have to deal with strictly iPhone photos.

Anyway, today I'm at Coffee Beans & Books (a good no-nonsense name) which is about 10 minutes from where the Warriors train in Beckley. This is one of the most unique locations I've ever found for a cafe: an old Jr. High school! What?!

 

This is just outside the door where I entered the school-turned-small-business-emporium. Apparently a new Jr. High was built a few years back, and rather than leaving the old building abandoned, several businesses moved in. Coffee Beans & Books is actually in the room that once was the old library! I love it!

It took a little maneuvering to find my way into the shop--think winding school hallways--but once I found it, I was delighted. It has that feeling of many, many people filling its rooms over the years and I felt cozy inside immediately. There are new and used books lining large bookshelves in the lower level, for sale or just to borrow as you sit and sip your drink. It might be difficult for me to get work done here, since I'm just going to want to check out all the great books available!

 

 

Upstairs, there are plush couches and tons of seating. There's even a little conference room in the corner to hold book clubs! I have no idea how people find this place, and I'm not entirely convinced that they do, as I'm currently the only patron and the barista is watching a television show on her laptop in the lower level. But it really is a gem. I will never go back to the freezing Starbucks again. Coffee Beans & Books, I love you!

 

hinton life

I guess you could say I'm officially settling in to West Virginia life.

This week I've been spending hours upon hours in any given establishment with wireless (my favorite: the Chestnut Revival coffee shop). Work has been fairly busy, so I'm grateful for that, otherwise I'm not sure what I would be doing, since Luke has been gone all day every day running another camp somewhere even MORE out in the middle of nowhere than here.

It's a different world here, for sure, but I've been enjoying observing all the little things that make this place special. First of all, the mighty New River flows directly below the town of Hinton, and we're tucked away here in the mountains, which makes for incredible scenery.

 

 

Hinton is a tiny town and people here are living a totally different lifestyle. You'd be hard pressed to find a single store open past 5pm. Luke and I have running tabs at the joints we frequent the most. In fact, Jerry and Mrs. Alice over at Kirk's Market keep a tab for us all week long and then, when it's time to settle up, they quote us some absurdly low number (last week it was $6.50 for a week's worth of meals PLUS a jar of strawberry rhubarb preserves) and won't accept more money when we try to give it to them! You guys!

 

 

One of the most incredible things I've seen here so far were the falls at Sandstone. One day I decided to follow some vague signs on the other side of the river to what I hoped would be a good place to spend the rest of my day while Luke was still at camp, and I found true refreshment for my soul. It has been so long since I've allowed myself to be in nature with no other distractions, only writing, thinking and taking the outdoors in.

 

 

There was a boardwalk over the marsh and plenty of trails, but I wanted to see the mighty falls. I passed this...

 

 

...and thought that was it. Beautiful, but not as mighty as I'd hoped. I found a little place beside a creek and wrote for a long time. Then I decided to venture a little further until I came upon the river. Looking upstream, I saw even better falls.

 

 

I veered off the beaten path and forged toward those falls, hoping for something better. To be on the banks of the water is a really comfortable place for me. My feet always feel nimble hopping from stone to stone; ducking under branches, I can move quickly over rough terrain. The house I grew up in was surrounded by woods and just a little ways up from a creek, and I would often find myself alone, trekking through the woods or along the water, daydreaming, taking in the sights, smells, and sounds of nature. It was a beautiful place to find myself in once again. I felt like part of me that had been submerged was rising to the surface. And it was so worth it--the falls I came upon were beyond anything I was expecting to see. The sight took my breath away. And I was completely alone with God and the falls, and I knew he had led me there just to show me something beautiful.

 

 

Is there anything better than the sound or sight of rushing water? It's scary, too, to think of the sheer power that lies within that much water. But I sat on the massive rocks, knowing I was safe, knowing I was there for a reason, and stayed as long as I possibly could. What a glorious day.

 

 

Overall, I'm really happy and content here. There's something about our environment that is rejuvinating us. My relationship with Luke is being challenged and built up in incredible ways. I am so lucky that he is my one and only. To see him in his element as a coach, making connections and building mutual respect with these guys, helping them better themselves as athletes and men--it makes my heart so very proud.

 

 

It was really tough to make the decision to come here. When the question was first posed, I was so hesitant to step out of the comfort and familiarity of our life. And then when it was decided that we would do it, I was like "Couldn't it be somewhere other than West Virginia, for crying out loud?" But now I can't imagine if we didn't do this. I would encourage anyone at any time to detach themselves from what is comfortable and typical, take a risk, and place yourself outside of what is normal life. You never ever know what you will learn about the world or yourself.