One of the best times from our summer vacation this year was getting to spend a day in Montreat, NC. I‘ve written before about what a special place Montreat is to my family and me and it was great to revisit after a long absence. For those who have been to Montreat, this will be a familiar pictorial taste of Montreat.
As always, the iconic rock gate that has eternally greeted us upon our arrival warmly welcomed us again to what many have referred to as “Paradise on Earth.”
After driving up the narrow road running along the burbling mountain stream, our first stop was the porch at Assembly Inn overlooking the frigid Lake Susan where we swam as kids. In later years after the lake was closed to swimming, my brother would fish there for rainbow trout.
With near perfect weather (which means no rain for those familiar with Montreat), my wife and I decided to hike up Look Out Mountain, a trek we had not taken in well over 10 years, maybe longer.
Parts of the trail are fairly easy, but towards the summit, it can be quite rocky and steep.
And at the top, one can see Lake Susan and the Assembly Inn way down below…
and the Blue Ridge Parkway well off in the distance.
After the healthy exertion of our climb, we wanted to take our time snapping off photos everywhere we looked.
I recently posted a picture of me from many years ago on this summit and so I wanted to get an updated one…
along with us both.
After our hikes back down, it was time to refresh with a beer and some lunch in the nearby town of Black Mountain.
Then it was back to Montreat for an afternoon of reading on the porch of the bookstore.
Only, we discovered it wasn’t a bookstore anymore. After so many years of providing a wealth of religious, spiritual, and general interests books for the Presbyterian conference goers that travel to Montreat each summer, the bookstore apparently went the way of so many “brick and mortar” bookstores and was supplanted by the Montreat general store that had been on the ground floor of the same building.
As the afternoon wore on and I knew our time in this wonderful place was coming to a close, I decided to take a stroll around Lake Susan once more as I did as a child, capturing current images along the way that brought back so many fond memories of the fun times I’d had.
Next year, our plan is to spend an entire week in Montreat for a multi-generational family get together. For several grandchildren and spouses, this will be their first introduction to the mountain retreat that I have been to for vacation so often for more than 50 years. We’ll do all of the many fun activities I did growing up and likely discover some new ones as well.
As we left the rock gate behind it wasn’t the usual sad valediction I often feel upon driving away; no it was the knowledge that we already had plans to return in less than a year for a special week that made our departure bursting with excited anticipation of another fun time in Montreat!