Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Staycation Bliss

After years of dreaming about taking a staycation, I finally scheduled one for the week of my birthday this year. It was everything I dreamt it would be and more. In fact, I think I'll have to take one every year!

Taken from my loft perch on a very bitter cold morning. The dusting and sparkle (slightly evident in the photo, though not nearly as much as in person) was a result of the moisture in the air freezing and floating about. We had hoarfrost (rime ice's cousin) on every surface.

Started off the week with dinner at a friend's house. Salumi and schnitzel from hogs raised by friends and cured/butchered by our host as well as Moroccan goat eggrolls, also raised/butchered by our host. I am beyond grateful to have such good friends who raise, butcher, and cure their own meat. Well over half the meat I consume comes from local businesses like this!

Home grown and home cured pork, homemade mustard, and some crispy brussels with more home raised/cured bacon pieces
Moroccan seasons goat egg roll
Schnitzel (pork loin) frying in lard
Home grown collards with homemade capers and lemon juice on schnitzel. YUM.

I worked my final days on ski patrol over the long weekend and Monday. Yes, my final days. No, the resort hasn't closed. I quit a job for the first time in my life! For a lot of reasons, but suffice to say it was well merited. I look forward to getting back on a different mountain next winter.

An accidental selfie when I was trying to capture the below photo, but the look on my face sums up my feelings about so much with ski patrol this year that I had to share it lol!
The paraglide launch and gorgeous view from behind the patrol shack on top of the mountain. Nearest ridgetop center and right of center is where I live!

And speaking of that different mountain... I also enjoyed a super fantastic ride with the mountain's new GM's wife while on staycation. She has a horse training facility where she currently lives in Lexington, KY and was up helping with some of the mountain renovation last week.

We were introduced back in December because we were both "horse people". Which, y'all know how that usually goes. Sarah and I both looked at each other with polite expressions on our faces like, "Oh, okay. Sure. Probably won't be my kind of horse person, but hi." Except when we started talking... Yeah. We didn't stop. And our husbands rolled their eyes and wandered quietly away as we geeked out about hay analyses, her 5* and Olympian neighbors in Lexington that she routinely works with, and discussed the mare she's planning to take PSG this summer if she stays in KY and doesn't move to WV.

Was laughing too much to take any photos of our ride, but I did capture this awesome sunset as we gabbed afterwards

I opted to let her ride Griffin, knowing his exuberance wouldn't bother her. Upon their introduction (in the barn) she promptly dubbed him "Sparky" for his excited-yet-polite in-your-pocket wants-to-be-helpful temperament. They were pretty fast friends despite Grif being LIT. He was so lit, in fact, that I opted to throw in a few short uphill gallops to let him get his willies out. Grif thanked us for that decision by calming down a few degrees immediately after. Sarah spent the rest of the ride laughing at his vibrant personality as he expressed his opinions about not being the lead horse for the ride.

We ended up riding for 1½ hours, covering 6 miles and climbing over 1500 feet. While Sarah was a bit skeptical about the rugged footing conditions in places, she was praising the hell out of my "mountain horses" by the end of the ride and joking about how Lexington's primo horse country has skewed her perspective a bit. It was so wonderful to get all three of my horses out (another local girlfriend joined us) and to spend so much time nerding out over horses.

A different ride at sunset two days prior

A really huge to-do I knocked off my list during my staycation was to find more hay to get me through until July. I reached out to the facehive to get some recs and was impressed with the number of options presented to me! After striking out with immediate local options, the first cold call I made resulted in finding another 300 bales. SCORE.

I had a little bobble with my truck that morning, but was fortunately able to borrow a friend's work truck and trailer. I've still got another 200 bales to pick up this weekend (hopefully with help?!), but it feels really good to have 100 bales put up already. It feels doubly good to know that it is stacked well this time and not as haphazardly as it was this summer!

My uncertain face with regard to driving the ridiculous borrowed truck
It was a manual and the gears made NO SENSE. That little map was merely a suggestion. By the end of the trip I felt a bit more comfortable, but I was still MFing the damn thing. 
This guy was wonderful emotional support though!
Successfully home and backed in! Which, okay, Dave backed it in because I'd simply Had It by this point with the GD truck and its GD gears. Dave MFed the hell out of the gears, too. They simply made no sense. Per the truck's owner, "You get used to it." LOL!

I ended my staycation with a trip to Hevetia (hel-visha), a little Swiss German village (pop'n ~40?) hidden in the Appalachian mountains about 90 minutes from Canaan. The reason for our visit was 1. a friend lives there and 2. it was Fasnacht, a prelenten celebration where an effigy of Old Man Winter is burned.

The house we stayed in, a former inn, was absolutely incredible. Built in the early-mid 1870s, there was a wealth of history contained within it. I questioned our friend, who lives there, for nearly an hour on the various things throughout the house. What an amazing history lesson!

I drank and ate and made merry visiting with friends new and old. We ended up missing the parade and skipping the dance (these events are what all the tourists drive in for) in favor of attending several house parties. While the tourist attractions are great, I felt I enjoyed a much more authentic experience getting to spend time with the descendants of the families who founded the town.

The house we stayed in. There is a whole other wing of it blocked from view.
Our room. That wallpaper has peacocks all over it...
The informal dining room
Prickly Ash Bitters
I got a kick out of this
Friends new and old playing hammer dulcimer and fiddle in the "music room" it was such a treat!
How ornate is this piece?! I love the Asian figurines, too. 
The old sink in the bathroom upstairs
I had no idea such stoves were ever made in Parkersburg. The door is to the oven in this old wood cook stove. We enjoyed snacks and breakfast made on this thing. IT WAS THE COOLEST. And yet, incredibly time consuming compared to first world appliances I'm used to.
"Warner's Safe Kidney and Liver Cure - Rochester, NY"
Former sign that was on the front of the home/inn
Yet another one of the wood stoves behind me...
On the wall in our bedroom...
I have no idea how old these things are....
But this was super cool.
And surprisingly sharp!
Dave adding to the old time music

One of the horse masks the fiddle player's brother crafted for them. 
Remind anyone of Emma's Isabel? Just me? lol
Another mask (there were hundreds) we saw at one of the house parties
The horses en route to the parade!
My mask that we threw together with gorilla tape and turkey feathers lol!
Dave playing the hammer dulcimer - I had a turn, too! SO COOL
Breakfast the next morning.
Serving up food in the kitchen

Fasnacht was a wonderful way to end my staycation. The whole week was so relaxing and I feel remarkably rejuvenated as a result. With the time change coming in short order + my office move happening next week (helloooo 7 minute vs 40 minute commute!), I'm looking forward to many more hours available for horses and otherwise. I've got so many exciting mini projects planned that I am eager to implement with my new available hours. With any luck, I may have my own mini XC course by summer! Stay tuned...


  1. Oh man, sounds like a staycation well spent <3 love the new horse friend you made too (the wife in Kentucky, not that horrifying mask LOL)

  2. Sounds like a fun week! Great to meet new horse friends and tour some sorta-creepy uber small town parties! ;-) That old inn/house is amazing - and the woodstoves are really neat. You don't see a lot of those here in old farmhouses anymore, they have to be so well maintained to be safe. My friend has an amazing one in her kitchen, but she had it quoted at several thousand of repairs to make it safe enough to not burn the place down! Right now she uses it to keep the cat food up and away from the dogs. ;-)

    1. Totally makes sense that your friend got a huge quote - this is the only one I've ever known to be functioning!

  3. Sounds like a great staycation! That reminds me, I need to call my hay guy and get more hay too... Hopefully he has some (he USUALLY has hay as he doesn't sell beyond his regular clients)...

  4. I love staycations. They are relaxing and full of fun as well. Glad you got the hay. I can't imagine hauling with a standard truck. Your new friend sounds awesome. I want to come to WV and ride Grif!!

    1. Any time you wanna visit he's here and waiting ;-)

  5. Did you get to eat Fasnacht donuts?

    1. I mean, we had Krispy Creme donuts in the house.... lol

      But no, unfortunately they ran out of all food by the time we considered wandering about town in the evening prior to sunset. The turnout was supposedly 3x greater this year due to a new documentary that was released about our host's family. I had no idea it was even a thing until yesterday, but apparently it drew an excessive number of hipsters in from cities near and far.

  6. Sounds like a successful staycation! You live in a such a beautiful and fascinating part of the United States.