Monday, October 31, 2011

A trip to the mountains

To celebrate the fact we both completed some major deadlines at work last week, the DH and I decided to reward ourselves with a last-minute trip to the mountains. They say it's past "peak leaf season" in the mountains, and perhaps so, but I still thought it was quite beautiful in the area around Highlands and Franklin, N.C. and Tallulah Falls, Ga. I think I took this photo near Highlands, but don't hold me to that!

Sometimes, I see so much beauty in nature it makes me think God was really showing off when He designed, say, these mountains, or the oceans. (Or the creek behind my house, or the petals on a rose, or the star-shaped pieces of moss, but I digress!)

We have only yellow, green and gold leaves on our trees at home right now, so I think we're both drawn to the pretty red ones when we're away.

In Highlands, where we stopped for lunch and a little shopping, the Episcopal Church of the Incarnation offers a lovely welcome to visitors, including the historic part of the church ...

... and this newer addition.

Along the fence in front of the church, there is the most interesting plant. Is this a flowering vine, or the remainders of one?

I had to touch, and it's just as soft and fuzzy as it looks! I'd sure love to know what this is. (Ginger? Lynn? Or any other North Carolina readers who can enlighten me?)

My biggest shopping request was for some fudge (I found some Pumpkin Walnut, and it did not disappoint), but I also found a culinary shop with a ton of cute cookie cutters. Since I have a few more tea sandwiches to think about before the year ends, I got these three. I especially like the raggedy branches on the Christmas tree. I'm not sure if this will cut bread well, though, but if not I'll use it to make sugar cookies.

I also found this Bija Cranberry and Rooibos tea. Now, while I haven't *tried* every brand of tea, I sure seem to have at least *heard* of most of them, but I'd never heard the name Bija at all that I can recall. When I looked online, I saw that these teas are sold at a lot of health food stores (including some in my town) and spas.

I liked the graphics on the teabag packets.

And I'm happy to report the taste is great! Cranberry and rooibos is a great idea for a blend, and this tea is incredibly sweet and fully satisfied my sweet tooth. If you'll come by tomorrow, I'll tell you a bit about the teacup this tea is in, my final souvenir from the trip. It's a shape of teacup I've never had before, and it is, well, kinda dangerous, actually!

11 comments:

amherstrose said...

What a glorious display of Autumn color. Indeed, a show of grand design. How nice that you could take time to enjoy the beauty of the mountains as a reward for all of your hard work.

The plant you shared is Clematis paniculata or Sweet Autumn Clematis. I have one that has taken over an arbor in the front of the tea room and explodes during the late Summer with a prolific display of tiny white flowers so thick that it looks like snow covering the green leaves. One of the only vines that blooms that late in the season, it then gives another show with those fluffy silvery seed heads in the Fall. It is among my favorite plants in the garden. It likes cool roots so if you plant it, it needs to be heavily mulched and will take over wherever you plant it so make sure it has plenty of space to grow.

Looking forward to seeing the mystery tea cup tomorrow. Have a happy day, Angela.

Mary Jane

Elizabeth said...

Thanks for sharing your mountain trip. We have been moving so did not make it this year. I love the fall in the mountains!

Frivolitea said...

Hi! Here is the response from my stepbrother who is an instructor of horticulture: Clematis paniculata (more common), or Clematis virginiana. The seed with fuzzy appendages assist in dispersal by wind or clinging to animal fur. Pretty and fragrant in flower, but can be a bit too aggressive in a small garden setting.

Marilyn said...

Oh I just your adventure into the mountains. Pumpkin fudge sounds wonderful too. Oh yes I see that is the final blooming of Clematis. I thought it looked familiar.

Lavender Cottage said...

Hi Angela
Beautiful country in your part of the state. I've never seen a clematis look like that in fall, what an interesting way to show off after flowering.
I really like the idea of bread cutouts with cookie cutters, I have a huge collection myself and will try the smaller ones with cheese too.
Judith

Ginger said...

I'm glad Mary Jane and Lynn knew what the plant was. I've never seen it before but it is very pretty.

paperbutterfly said...

Love your tea sandwiches and how you present them with such gracefulness. Perfect wee nibble with our tea.
Excited to see what you have in store for us next.
Blessings,
Pam

Heather said...

I will have to find some cranberry tea. It sounds like a good flavor. I lived in Knoxville for several years, so I miss the drives over to the Smokies to see the fall colors!

Angela McRae said...

Thanks for the ID help, friends!

Noah's mom said...

I used to get the Bija brand from a natural foods store in Greenville, and the only time I can get my hubby to drink hot tea with me is when I make the Bija Rooibos Chai. It is a particularly good Chai. I have also used their Cold Stop tea.

ChaChaneen said...

Wow, that is gorgeous! What a lovely treat! God is better than he has to be huh?!
Hugs!