Just say No !

In February we had a few warm days and prematurely we congratulated ourselves on successfully enduring another winter. March was bitterly cold with snow, April promised more of the same.  We needed a break.  When you drive South from Lake Erie, it doesn’t take long before the snow and serious frost is replaced by a world of yellow willows, hawthorn and redbud. At the border, we drank coffee at the historic Blennerhasset Hotel in Parkersburg, strolled by the flooded Ohio River, and then crossed into West Virginia.  There was time for a coal country picnic in the sunshine of Ripley and a delightful walk around the lake in the Hungry Mother State Park.


Walschaert    SOLD

The railroads criss-cross the state, hauling their loads of coal, chemicals and timber. Our motel was by the tracks.  It didn’t matter, we kept our windows open, loving Spring.  By early afternoon we reached Flat rock, and our cottage. IMGP2474 It overlooks a ten acre paddock, and from a rocker on the porch we enjoyed the pastoral quality of sheep and goats cropping the grass, watch new leaves bursting from their  winter casings, and catch the jewel tones of orioles’ in their flashy spring plumage.


Hendersonville is a short drive away, it’s quiet Main Street, lined with outdoor eateries, and pedestrian walk ways, with planters full of tulips, and daffodils.   Kathy and Pete drove up from Seneca, and we ate pizza in the local bar, and walked around the excellent Flat rock Park, a reclaimed golf course, we explored the hilly neighborhood. . This is the Chagrin Falls of North Carolina, and I could live here.  There is plenty to paint, mountains to hike, waterfalls, a market for art, and a climate that is perfect.



Next morning, we drove across country to Black Mountain to spend a few days with Linda and Earl. Their new rescue pup welcomed us with a huge spreading pool of pee on the tile floor.  Maggie is an endearing young sheepadoodle, with some annoying habits.  We had a long rough walk to Catawba Falls, a Kortuba ride along the back lanes of Black Mountain, and a fantastic day at Chimney Rock.  We climbed the 500 steps to the top of the rock (the elevator is out!) Tons of subjects to paint here, the clear river bubbles over small falls, on a sandy base between lovely rounded boulders. The trees were just budding out, so the view from chimney rock was unobstructed, no weekend crowds, and if you like to paint waterfalls, here there are plenty!  If we had stayed in Robins Mountain top tiny house, we might still be there. It has a tiny kitchen, a tiny bedroom but sweeping views of Mt Mitchell and nearby mountains seen from the hot tub.  An artist could live here, too.


We made the drive back in one long day.  Damn it is cold.  We built a fire, and I went back to the studio.
The painting of Americas Cup boats was fun, the paintings of Hendersonville, the sheep side cottage in Flatrock or the falls of Chimney Rock will be sheer pleasure.  I look forward to those.  But first the wood interior, this will be WORK.  Sometimes you have just got to say no.  Why didn’t I!  This will be a challenge, you’ll see.

Harrietts garden

Harriett’s summer garden   SOLD






About Tan

Hello friends! I am an artist, not a writer, but please enjoy my blog. We no longer own our lovely boat and we don't often go often Tortola to visit our friends. They have sold their apartments and their Edel Catamaran, Wildfire, but I"ll be seeing them again in Wales. I completed two Round the World voyages as Cunard's watercolour teacher on board Queen Mary (2016) and Queen Elizabeth (2017). Pete came along for the ride! See paintings and sketches, and read about our adventures here. Now, Pete is gone, and I am back in our home/studio in Chagrin Falls, trying to reestablish a normal life, and enjoying the entertaining company of a young ginger cat....Thomas.
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1 Response to Just say No !

  1. Norma Gabrielson says:

    So good to hear from you! I envy your trips to beautiful areas. Our family is hurting. Our Michael was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer stage 4 Feb.2017. He has been treated, but time is getting short now ,maybe weeks or month. Our hearts are broken as you can imagine. George has stenosis of the heart valve, so sleeps a lot. Mind is good. Kids are good help. Julie came from Phoenix to stay a while and spend time with Michael I just f inished Michaels portrait for his funeral. Love to you , Norma

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