Sunday, July 7, 2013

A Dixie 4th

Carolina Country  |  A Dixie 4th on *sparklingly  |
{  Carolina Country: a crazy shade of green thanks to all the rain  |  July 2013  }

Yesterday I woke up at 4AM, got into a car, and wound along country roads, past quiet homesteads and barns to the airport for the first flight out to JFK. By just after 8AM I was back in the rat-tat-tat and buzzz-buzzz-buzzzzing of New York. My regular view could hardly compare with the vibrant and verdant view I had just left (see: above).

I had just spent a cozy, homey 4th of July holiday down south in North Carolina with my fellow "y'all"-saying brethren, while poor R remained up in New York with the Yankees (another instance of our opposite schedules being a giant pain). How ironic that his US Citizenship Interview + American civics test + English exam are rapidly approaching (less than two weeks away!), and he couldn't even celebrate Independence Day properly.

When my friend whom I hadn't seen in almost two years (this is what happens when you have a whole country between you) invited us down to visit her family with her at their new'ish house, I was thrilled. The chance to take a break from the city, spend time with my friend and her great family (seriously: so great), and be thisclose to some horsies and a crazy loveable dog? I bought a ticket as soon as I could!

R already knew he wouldn't be able to join me because of work, but I'm glad he didn't mind me popping down here alone. Unless you count quick little afternoon jaunts across or up the Hudson and East River, and of course that all-too-short amazing trip to the Caribbean, I've only left the city two or three times total so far this year and you wouldn't believe how excited I was for some fresh country air, farmer's markets and open spaces.

Runway View at JFK  |  A Dixie 4th on *sparklingly  |
{  This is why you always fly out of JFK in the morning...and hope for no rain  |  July 2013  }

Getting there was a teensy bit problematic, though. I foolishly packed my red leather bag (that I bought at the markets in Florence 8 years ago and lovingly carried wrapped in towels and plastic for the remaining 2 weeks of my trip through Italy) instead of a rolly suitcase. I must have forgotten that that (heavy) bag is better suited to car trips...or to carrying when R is with me so that he can carry it.

So there was that. Then there's the fact that I had to go to work first. Walking to the subway, descending into its sticky depths, and then trudging to the office, working for a few hours and then repeating made for an intensely disgusting state of things. I was hot, damp, and I had burst a few capillaries in my shoulders from the weight of my luggage.

The last few times I've traveled I've taken a car service, but this time, since I wasn't leaving at some awful time, I decided taking the subway made more sense (plus saved $100 round trip!), especially since I had to head out at rush hour.

After arriving at the airport breathless and a wee bit grungy, I wasn't so sure it was such a great idea, though. And then of course I get to the airport and the signage is all whackadoo so I wound up at the wrong terminal and than had to run with my bag banging against my hips only to get to the right gate in the right terminal to find 5 flights waiting to leave from the same gate and mine pushed back 90 minutes, thanks to the storm. When we finally boarded we ended up sitting on the runway for another 90 minutes.

Eventually I get there at midnight and my friend (who sweetly took over the bag situation) and her sister are waiting for me at the airport and they whoosh me back to their family's house and I wake up the next morning after sleeping in the most comfortable bed to this gorgeousness:

Grazing horses  |  A Dixie 4th on *sparklingly  |
{  Horsey morning—they're wearing masks because all the rain drew out loads of flies  |  July 2013  }

Over the three full days that I was there we kept busy barbecuing, bonfire-ing and boating plus lots of petting of the animals (ponies and puppies), porch-sitting, and puttering about aimlessly:

There was a trip to the Farmer's Market (which included my first full-on meal down South, so obviously fried chicken and fried green tomatoes were on my plate), a drive out to Fearrington Village to visit with one of my college roommates (whom I haven't seen for an even longer time—and oddly enough, she just moved to the next town over), and a ride out to Jordan Lake to try out my friend's brother's new boat and specially-purchased tube.

There was also the paging thru of Bon Appetit and Martha Stewart magazines while watching silly TV, meandering out to the vegetable and herb plot for some fresh-picked greens for our meal, the making of homemade ice cream (which was then churned on the back porch!), the building of a bonfire and roasting of s'mores over it to the soundtrack of our very own fireworks going off, a walk through UNC Chapel Hill's campus and, I finally learned how to make a proper margarita (a very useful skill).

Country porch and BBQing  |  A Dixie 4th on *sparklingly  |
 {  North Carolina July 4th feast prep  }
Boating on Jordan Lake, NC  |  A Dixie 4th on *sparklingly  |
{  Boating and tubing on Jordan Lake  |  4th of July 2013  }
UNC Chapel Hill  |  A Dixie 4th on *sparklingly  |
{  A little jaunt to the UNC Chapel Hill campus for a collegiate stroll  |  July 2013  }

But you know what I really loved? The house itself. It was such a perfect setup (which was of course made even better by the kind family that filled it!). Think: wide front porch, open kitchen and double-height living room, second floor balcony overlooking the living room, outdoor deck with a gazebo, screen porch with a lounge area and a dining area, and all of that opening onto a beautiful, literally rolling lawn that led down to the horse paddock (which also has a bonfire pit). There were just so many pretty and cozy areas of the house to sit and chat or watch the dogs and their crazy antics. Speaking of, look at this face!

Border Collie at rest  |  A Dixie 4th on *sparklingly  |
{  One of the dogs of the manor  |  North Carolina  |  July 2013  }

Such a lovely time.  So glad I got to tag along down to Dixie. A very happy 4th of July, indeed!


  1. Suchhhh a nice post. It'll be amazing to be able to look back at this here years from now.


    1. Fitting since it was suchhhh a nice holiday! XOXO to you! :)

  2. pretty yard! (with horsies). And I remember that bag! :)

    1. Ooo, right! I had a witness to my lugging of that beast around the last week of the trip :).


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