We spent the better part of last week in the mountains. It was so good to unplug, finally get over some nagging illnesses, and just relax. The weather was about 70 degrees and rainy, making it perfect to open up all the windows and doors.
The rain let up enough for us to feed the ducks at Lake Susan. (The Montreat ducks really liked our organic $6-per-box Puffin cereal).
The Montreat 4th of July parade was a little shorter than usual, probably because of the rain. But there were plenty of fire trucks, bagpipers, and candy to keep everyone happy.
One of my favorite parts of July 4th in Montreat is the annual book sale at the library.
You can find some real treasures at the book sale- my brother in law once found a (valuable) first edition set of South Carolina history books. The books I found this year aren't that valuable, but they are pretty, and I never would have found them online. (If you are looking for some pretty coffee table books, I would recommend all of these, and they are inexpensive on Amazon.)
Drawings and Watercolors by Raymond Cogniat
Architectural Digest Designers' Own Homes
Helen Comstock's Most Beautiful Rooms in America
One of the best parts about Montreat is its proximity to Asheville, which is home to so many excellent restaurants. We celebrated my sister's birthday by going to lunch at her favorite Asheville restaurant, Curate. Having lived in Spain, I love authentic tapas, and Curate is the best I've had state-side. The chef trained at Il Bulli and is married to a Spaniard- they run Curate together, and it truly is an amazing culinary experience.
When you first walk in, you can't help but notice the chic vertical garden on the wall. The restaurant has a traditional long tapas bar where you can choose to sit, just like in Spain.
We started with cava sangria. It is full of fruit and tastes as good as it looks.
Then we enjoyed jamon serano, served on a slate tray.\
The chef sent over a special birthday dessert, a very tall, paper-thin chocolate, raspberry, and pistacio "panuelo," a testiment to long hours and techniques learned at Il Bulli.
Just down the street from Curate was an antique shop (I can't remember the name!) with some interesting pieces. Asheville is a fun place to "hunt," because it was historically the summertime playground of many of America's wealthiest families. It is also interesting to see what styles and pieces are popular in different parts of the country.
If my husband wore cufflinks more than twice a year, I would have bought him a pair from this fabulous collection. The sets included everything from large turquoise nuggets to cowboy hats to chinoiserie figures, and everything in between.
The antique shop also had a great collection of vintage Christmas ornaments. The colors are so soft and glittery.
I came so close to taking home this Moroccan end table. If the car hadn't been 5 blocks away, I would have bought it.
I did pick up this enamelware Blue Willow tea set for my girls. It won't break since it is tin enamelware, and I never tire of the traditional blue-and-white pagoda pattern.
After lunch it was prezzie time. I love buying estate jewelry- the quality and craftsmanship is unlike what you can find today (for the price at least). When I spotted these mabe pearl and gold rope earrings, I knew they would make a good 30th birthday gift. Not too small, not too big, just right!
Stay tuned for my round-up from the Tobacco Barn- no trip to the mountains is complete without it!