"Once our eyes are opened, we cannot pretend we don't know what to do. God, who weighs our hearts and keeps our souls, knows that we know, and holds us responsible to act." Proverbs 24:12

“There are no strangers here; Only friends you haven’t yet met.”- William Butler Yeats

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Almost Heaven.....

Reaching the top of Spruce Knob.
Cabin Life
The view and wildflowers surrounding our cabin.
West Virginia's largest caverns.
Touring Lititz, PA
My limited photography doesn't do God's beauty justice.

West Virginia. Yes, we are almost at the end of the journey.

Wednesday morning we awoke, had our final breakfast at our marvelous B & B and did some touristy things throughout the small, quaint town of Lititz. A couple of fun things was visiting the Julius Sturgis Pretzel Bakery, where America's first pretzel was made back in 1861. We then hopped over to the Wilbur Chocolate Co., who has been around for over 100 years. I made sure to fill up a baggy of chocolate covered apricots and we were off to lunch.

Again, YUMMERS!!!!! Lunch was at Good and Plenty and boy, oh boy! Was it good and plenty! This neat restaurant seats you at a table with strangers, introduces everyone and then starts piling on the food. By the time the 3rd course had arrived we felt like we were sitting with old friends, who just happened to be from Wisconsin, California and Nebraska. Scott and I pondered parking the car under a shade tree and napping for a few hours, but we knew we had a 5 hour drive to a remote cabin in West Virginia, so we had to hit the road.

I have to say that I loved West Virginia and the beauty and peace that the mountains brought, but I am a city girl and I truly learned that you can take the girl outta the city, but you can't take the city outta the girl. Whoa! I was pretty frantic to learn that we were over 100 miles from any area where our cell phone would work.

We arrived at dusk and after taking what seemed endless twisting and turning roads up North Mountain, we drove down into a valley where our cabin sat. Both Scott and I were pretty speechless when we saw the view. My immediate thought was that only our God could create such beauty and such perfection. The sun was setting behind the mountains and the blue haze that covered them with an orange splash of sunshine created a festival of water colors in the sky. It was absolutely spectacular.

We gathered up fire wood and my mountain-lovin' hubby quickly began making a fire. I also have to give him great kudos because we did not have matches and he was able to start the fire with a votive candle that I had lit on the stove.

As we sat by the fire, with the temperature dropping to the high 50's, I tried so hard to relax, but all I kept thinking about was those horror movies (i.e. Michael Myers in Halloween) and how we would not have a way of reaching civilization because we had no phone lines and we were 20 miles away from the nearest anything! Of course, we also had the noises that stir in the night when you are out in the wilderness and I would pop up everytime some creature made itself heard. It made for an interesting night, including my waking up at 2:30 a.m. with horrible nightmares about Michael Myers. Oh yes, fun!

The next morning we woke up and again, I was in awe of the natural beauty surrounding us and to add icing on the cake, there were cattle and deer just outside our door! It was great having coffee on the deck and watching the deer pop their little heads up from the meadow when a sound reached them.

We then headed up to Spruce Knob, the highest point in West Virginia. Before reaching Spruce Knob, we decided to pull into this little place for breakfast. As we pulled in we read a big sign outside that said, "Welcome Mountainfest Motorcycle Rally 2008" Ahhh, yes! Not only was I looking over my shoulder expecting Michael Myers wearing a mask behind me, but I was now going to be sharing what I thought was a town of 200 with over 2,000 Hells Angels. Or so I thought.

We walk into the restaurant and it's empty with the exception of two older bikers sitting at a table. Scott and I find a table on the other side of the restaurant and settle in. Shortly afterwards, my husband decides he's leaving me alone there so he could go to the bathroom. As he's walking around the other table, the man comments on Scott's shirt. Obviously, a New England Patriots' fan. Scott smiles, mutters something and continues to the restroom. They then turn to me and say, "Where ya from?" I am seated about 20 feet away on the other side so I loudly respond, "Florida". The woman then says, "Why don'tcha come sit with us?" I smile nervously without responding. She waits and then says, "Are ya expectin' somebody?" I again smile, grab my cup of coffee and our car keys that were on the table and slowly make my way to their table. I then sit and say, "Nope. We're just here on vacation." Then some small talk ensues.
A couple of minutes later, Scott walks out, starts walking past us and I say..."Hey, I'm over here." After giving me a completely baffled look, he sits down in the empty chair. I then explain that I had moved over because they asked us to join them. The bike outside with the sidecar belonged to them. We had new biker friends....heh.

But as God always does, he slapped me upside the head and taught me once again not to judge others. Here I entered this place terrified of bikers and thinking we're gonna get kidnapped and my babies would grow up never knowing how much their Mama and Daddy loved them, and so on....and we were sitting at the table with a Shriner and his wife!

The conversation had turned, of course, to our kiddos. Scott pulled out pictures (proud Daddy) to show them and they of course asked about the 2 little Chinese ones. The picture Scott had showed Anna Grace's hand and the man asked about it, which I thought was a bit strange. I responded that she had syndactyly of her hand and we were awaiting any day now to hear from Shriner's Hospital in Tampa. He then told us that he owed his life to Shriners followed by his complete story (which was quite fascinating) of how Shriner's allowed him to be able to walk. He was so thankful that at age 27, he became a Mason and then a few years later became an actual Shriner. What are the chances that in the remotest of town we would sit down to breakfast with 2 complete strangers in an empty restaurant and one of them be a Shriner, whom I am desperately awaiting to hear from? Yep....God at work.

After breakfast we toured West Virginia's largest caverns, The Seneca Caverns. After spending about 2 hours there, we finally made it up to Spruce Knob. It was beautiful, but I have to admit, not quite as beautiful as the view from our cabin.

I was feeling pretty miserable that I hadn't spoken to the kids in 2 days and unless we drove over 100 miles to speak to them, it wasn't happening, because we couldn't even find a public phone to call collect from. I still carried my phone on me praying and hoping. As we climbed the observation tower at the highest peak of Spruce Knob, I hear a "click" coming from my jeans pocket. Scott said, "Hey! That's your phone!" I quickly pull it out and look at it. The NO SERVICE sign was gone and in it's place were 2 bars! I don't remember dialing it happened so fast! I was beside myself with excitement when my Mom answered the phone at my house. I was able to say, "Mom? Can you hear me?" She said, "Yes!" and that's the last thing I heard. The line dropped and the NO SERVICE flashed on the screen again. I felt like crying. It totally sucked that we were in one of the most beautiful places on earth and I could not enjoy it because I wanted so badly to talk to my little ones. Scott even offered for us to drive back to town the 100+ miles, but I knew that was ridiculous when we would be going back to the city the next day.

From the observation tower, we went on a walk through a beautiful nature trail. The wild flowers and foliage were magnificent. I took the opportunity to take lots of pictures and just enjoy the quiet time with my husband, trying to put the cell phone and the kids in the back of my mind. For a while it worked.

We eventually made it back out to the parking lot. As I was walking back to my car, the "click" of my cell phone went off again. This time I held the phone high in the air, trying to make as many "bars" appear as possible. I hit redial and got my Mom again. I then told her to quickly get the kids on the phone before I could lose my connection. Anna Grace and AJ were with her. Kai was at my sister's house. I spoke to both my sweeties and told them how much I missed them and that Mama would be home in just 2 more days, all the while in a frozen position so as not to lose my connection. My neck ached from being so still. I hung up with them and called my sister's house. I was able to speak to Kai. Just as I hung up, my phone rang. It was Amanda! I knew it had to be God giving me this time. People were walking by me and commenting on how in the world could I get a cell phone connection up there. I didn't take the time to respond. I was so wrapped up into telling all my babies I loved them! I missed them so much! After speaking to all my 6 sweeties, my heart was lifted and I was renewed.

We went back to the cabin and had a fabulous steak dinner, followed by sitting around the fire outside sipping on wine and munching on smores made with marshmallows roasted in the fire. A perfect night.

The next morning, I awoke before Scott, grabbed a cup of coffee and headed to the deck to watch the sunrise. Again, another gift from God. I was in awe of the natural beauty that surrounded me.
We packed up and headed to the last stop of our vacation before heading home. Annapolis.

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mommy24treasures said...

sounds like you are having a wonderful time:)

Sherri said...

You make me homesick for West Virginia! When we moved to Alabama, I begged my husband (a native Californian) to please buy me a house at least NEXT to a mountain. I just have to be surrounded by hills.

I was raised in Charleston....we have cell phone service there. LOL

And by the way, my daddy was a Shriner, too!


The Ferrill's said...

WOW. I am a city girl, too Ohilda. I can feel your anxious heart not being able to call your babies, so praise God He gave you cell service for that little bit so you could make contact to the "outside world"! ;)
I bet you will forever remember the beauty you have seen on this trip! What a blessing! I am really enjoying reading about your adventures!

The Byrd Family said...

What a wonderful and beautiful time with your husband. I love the smooching picture and the cabin is just lovely.

Michelle said...


I am so glad that you and your husband were able to get away and have such a nice time! What a wonderful blessing!! Love all of the pictures!!

mybaby@blogspot.com said...

I had a funny vision as you were describing the peak of the mountain and the cell phone being in your pocket, that the beep sound of service turned on and as you reached to dial out and froze the phone fell from your hands from the peak of the mountain all the wayyyyyyy down the mountain as you SLOWLY YELLED "NOOOOOOOOOOOO""" HAHAHA!!!

The Princess's Mommy said...

I have loved reading the recap of your trip! Sounds heavenly (well, except for the no cell phone part!). Anyway, your pictures are amazing! I'm so glad you had a great time!


Denna said...

Looks like you guys have had a nice and beautiful vacation.

Michelle said...

What a memorable trip!! I used to live in WV for five years - right after getting married. It's a beautiful part of the country.

Walker said...

Look at you two love birds! I love the pictures!!!!
love ya,

Barbie said...

Wow!! What beautiful scenery! I would love to be sipping a cup of coffee on that deck!

I am so glad you are having such a wonderful time together.

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