• Madison Miller

Road Trippin' during Covid

I’m back! It’s been a little while since I updated the blog. I decided to take a break since we weren’t able to go anywhere due to COVID-19. I felt like I tried to tread water with some travel-related posts for as long as I could and I didn’t want to end up filling the blog with unrelated content. But, we finally felt safe enough to take a road trip to see my dad this past weekend, so I finally have something to write about!

I just looked through the blog to confirm, and I realized I haven’t done a post on visiting him yet. He and my stepmom have a cabin in the small town of Bostic, North Carolina. It’s actually pretty close to Asheville, an area I have covered before. It’s a beautiful place. There’s tons of nature to look at, some cute little towns to explore, and excellent views. It’s a great place to relax, and it’s also just great to get a chance to see my dad.

We got in around dinner time on Friday night. The drive from Birmingham to Bostic is around 5 ½ - 6 hours. We ate some delicious Olive Garden take out and drank lots of wine. Dad and my stepmom, Nancy are wine people, which I appreciate.

A fire pit crafted at Cherry Mountain Farm

The next day, we woke up and had some great home-cooked eggs and toast before heading out to explore a little. Our first stop was a local farm called Cherry Mountain Farm. From what my dad said, the family who owns it retired from Florida and decided to start the farm. They raise goats, train horses, create metal art, and run a gift shop filled with local goods. It’s an adorable, unique set up. Andrew and I picked up a couple of candles from the gift shop. I’d say the highlight of the visit was interacting with the various farm creatures. We met Tank, the goat dog, and his two fellow goat dogs on the farm. They did their job by barking loudly at us at first, but quickly became more interested in pets and nose boops. They are truly massive dogs.

Tank the goat dog

Of course, we couldn’t go on a trip without finding a cat, so we met the farm cat as well. I wish I had learned her name, but I didn’t. She liked me, but Andrew is the true cat whisperer. We couldn’t get her to come to us and then Andrew tried one time and it worked, clearly.

Next, we went into Forest City to check out some of the local shops. Forest City was shut down just like the rest of the country, so they are following re-opening precautions. We wore masks and tried to use hand sanitizer whenever it was available. It was great to see people trying to make things work as best as possible. I saw a lot more masks and social distancing than I thought I would. In Birmingham, people are tending to take the virus pretty seriously and we’ve had mask ordinances in place for quite a while. However, I’ve heard some nearby cities are just acting like everything is normal. So, I wasn’t sure what to expect in NC. Luckily, it felt like most people were taking precautions.

After Forest City, we headed back to the cabin to hang out for the rest of the evening. We ended up spending a lot of time hanging out outside because the AC was actually out in the upper part of the cabin. I really enjoyed it because it kept me from spending much time watching TV, something I’ve been doing way too much in quarantine. We went on a walk around the mountains. Nancy and Dad made some delicious fish tacos for dinner. We drank more wine and some “cabin beers” we brought from home. It was the closest to normal I’ve felt in a really long time.

On Sunday, we spent the morning sitting on the porch looking out at the mountains, sipping coffee, and talking. Andrew and I packed up and we all went to grab Mexican food at a local place, Don Ramon’s, before heading back to Birmingham. This was the first in-restaurant dining experience we’ve had in months. They were doing a great job of following guidelines. Tables were socially distanced, they were limiting numbers of parties, servers were wearing masks. It felt good, and you know I love some Mexican food. I had the pollo loco, a dish that is basically just rice, beans, chicken, and cheese sauce. It hit the spot, of course.

Finally, it was time to get on the road back home. I had such a great time on this trip. I can’t say for sure yet if it was the “right” thing to do. It’s so hard to know for sure in a time like this. We took the precautions we needed to with masks, hand sanitizing, and social distancing. Knock on wood that we don’t get anyway, but we’ll just have to wait and see.

I hope you enjoyed this little update on my first travel experience in this crazy time! Hopefully I’ll have some more to share soon. Please stay safe and healthy!

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