Change of Scenery Does the Heart Good

I got away this weekend to the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina. It always does my heart good to drive on the Blue Ridge Parkway and be surrounded by forests and views across miles and miles of mountains.

A change in scenery and a change in altitude can clear the head and breathe new life into a person. A change in altitude can create a change in attitude. That’s what this weekend’s trip to Asheville did for me.

The bride’s bouquet

A special cousin of mine who lives in California got married in Asheville on Saturday. It was my first opportunity to meet her husband, and I feel very good about this match. The wedding was beautiful and the associated festivities were wonderful. It was an honor and privilege to witness Melissa and Marty’s exchanging of vows and their happiness and respect for one another.

Asheville is an eclectic city, rich in history and natural beauty. The change in scenery and altitude, along with the blessing of attending the wedding of two such special people, was just what I needed. Driving south on the Blue Ridge Parkway, and then taking US-276 by Looking Glass Falls was a perfect way to end the weekend.

I came home with my batteries recharged, ready to plunge back into my writing and playing the dulcimer.

Until my next blog post

I hope you have a good book to read. I’m reading Montauk, by Nicola Harrison.

If you’re a writer, I hope you have productive writing time and your projects are moving right along.

Thank you for reading my blog. You could have spent the last few minutes doing something else, but you chose to read my blog.

Let’s continue the conversation

What recharges your batteries and refreshes you for the task ahead?


Independent Bookstores are the Best!

If you haven’t visited an independent bookstore lately, do yourself a favor and look one up this week.

Foggy Pine Books

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Foggy Pine Books in Boone, NC

I had the pleasure of visiting Foggy Pine Books in Boone, North Carolina last week. It is the quintessential small town/college town independent bookstore. Located at 471 W. King Street in downtown Boone just a block or so from the campus of Appalachian State University, it has an excellent selection of books ranging from the classics to the current bestsellers. There are several cozy areas in the shop that invite customers to curl up in a comfortable chair with a good book.

My vintage postcard book, The Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina, was not among the handful of Arcadia Publishing books on the shelf; however, Christina promised to read my book and consider ordering it. Next time you’re in Boone, drop by Foggy Pine Books and ask for it by name.

Mary Ruthless purchased the bookstore in 2016 when the owner of the former Black Bear Books retired. It seems that Mary couldn’t stand the thought of Boone not having a bookstore. I’m so glad she rescued the shop. Foggy Pine Books is in a different location from where it started and is conveniently located on the main street with free parking at the side of the building.

In addition to buying a book, I purchased a couple of bookmarks at Foggy Pine Books. One bookmark is imprinted with the words, “She believed she could so she did.” I will explain the significance of those words to me in one of my blog posts in November.

Dan’l Boone Inn

A trip to Boone wouldn’t be complete without eating at Dan’l Boone Inn. Established in 1959, the restaurant is in what used to be the area’s hospital at the corner of King and Hardin Streets. The menu for lunch and dinner are the same, as is the price.

Fried chicken, country-style steak, mashed potatoes, gravy, green beans, slaw, corn, biscuits, and baked apples are served family style after you’ve eaten your tossed salad. What appears to be way more food than you can possibly eat soon disappears and you’re given extra napkins to wrap up the country ham biscuits to take with you.

The dessert choices were all tempting, but I opted for the chocolate cake. It was as delicious as the rest of the food. The country ham biscuits were my dinner that night. Two country ham biscuits were all I needed that night after such a big lunch.

Tribute to Doc Watson

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Statue of the late Doc Watson, musician, in Boone, NC


I just had to take a picture of this statue of local legendary musician Doc Watson. He was from Deep Gap, which is a community a few miles east of Boone. He took blindness in stride and had a family and a successful career as a musician and singer. The statue is on King Street in downtown Boone.

Blue Ridge Parkway

Autumn temperatures arrived a few weeks late this year, so there wasn’t much fall color in the trees in Boone or on the Blue Ridge Parkway; however, after a side trip to Ashe County Cheese in West Jefferson, the two-day vacation in the mountains was made complete by a drive on the Blue Ridge Parkway. I love driving in the mountains, so a road trip on the Parkway is always relaxing. The day was crystal clear after rain the day before, so the views were spectacular.

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Sign at an overlook on the Blue Ridge Parkway

The sign gives an explanation of the legend of Tom Dula and is located at one of the overlooks on the Blue Ridge Parkway. This murder and love triangle in Wilkes County, North Carolina in the 1860s was made famous in the 1960s by a folk song recording by the Kingston Trio.

Until my next blog post

Don’t forget to visit an independent bookstore such as Foggy Pine Books in Boone, North Carolina as soon as you can.

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Foggy Pine Books, Boone, NC

I hope you have a good book to read. I’m finishing My Dear Hamilton: A Novel of Eliza Schuyler Hamilton, by Stephanie Dray and Laura Kamoie today.

If you’re a writer, I hope you have productive writing time.

Thank you for reading my blog. You could have spent the last few minutes doing something else, but you chose to read my blog. I appreciate it! I welcome your comments.

Let’s continue the conversation.

What’s your favorite independent bookstore? What is it about the atmosphere and feel of an independent bookstore that the big box stores can’t offer? Please share the names and locations of independent bookstores you have enjoyed visiting so the rest of us can patronize them.


Not one single sales gene!

Making “cold calls” at bookstores and other stores that might sell my book is not my idea of fun because I was born without one single sales gene. It is difficult for me to enter a store and introduce myself and my book. Perhaps it will get easier with practice. I am much happier at the keyboard writing. That’s probably true of most writers, but promoting one’s book is part of the job.

I told my friend, Kay, that I was not cut out for life in the fast lane. She didn’t miss a beat and came back with, “Maybe you should of thought about that before you wrote a book!”

If you’ve been following my blog over the last week, I don’t want to leave you with the impression that my book was on all the bookstore shelves in the mountains. I visited several bookstores that had not heard of my book, The Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina. That was not a surprise.

Eastern National operates the gift/book shop at the Folk Art Center on the Blue Ridge Parkway in Asheville. There were a couple of Arcadia Publishing books available there, but mine was not one of them. The cashier said they will “probably have it eventually.” He said it has to be approved for sale by the national office, the regional office, and then the local office. I’m hopeful my book will be for sale there by spring. Winter is a slow time for tourists on the Blue Ridge Parkway, so spring will be good.

The woman at Fountainhead Books in Hendersonville was not very encouraging, but gave me the owner’s business card and told me to have Arcadia contact the owner directly. I did that when I got home, and Arcadia is following up with Fountainhead.

The Fountainhead Bookstore in Hendersonville, NC.
The Fountainhead Bookstore in Hendersonville, NC.

Joy of Books is the other bookstore in Hendersonville. The woman there was upbeat. She has never ordered books from Arcadia, but she has ordered from History Press and she knew that the two companies recently merged. I’m hopeful that she will order my book.

Joy of Books in Hendersonville, NC.
Joy of Books in Hendersonville, NC.

All the contacts I make while promoting The Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina will serve me well if I get to write additional vintage postcard books for Arcadia Publishing and when I get my historical novel published. The title I’ve given that 98,000-word manuscript is The Spanish Coin. Someday….

Blue Ridge Parkway Visitors Center

I visited the Blue Ridge Parkway Visitors Center near Asheville on Tuesday. How I have missed it for all these years is a mystery. I love driving on the Blue Ridge Parkway!

The visitors center cannot be seen from the road. It is located about five or six miles south of the Folk Art Center — one of my favorite places in the mountains — and adjacent to the parkway headquarters. The building is eco-friendly. It is difficult to tell in the photograph, but grass and weeds are growing on the sod roof! It reminded me of a storybook I had as a child that had a drawing of a house with a cow grazing on the roof. I want to return to the visitors center next summer and see what the roof looks like then.

Outside view of the Blue Ridge Parkway Visitors Center near Asheville.
Outside view of the Blue Ridge Parkway Visitors Center near Asheville.

Imagine my surprise when I walked into the bookstore/gift shop in the visitors center and found my book displayed on the shelf! I did not know the visitors center had my book in stock. Since there was only one copy, the employee said, “I guess the rest of the copies have sold.” I don’t know how many copies they started with or when they received the book. I hope they will restock it!

Janet with her book at the Blue Ridge Parkway Visitors Center near Asheville, NC.
Janet with her book at the Blue Ridge Parkway Visitors Center near Asheville, NC.

I want to stop by the visitors center again on my next trip to Asheville. I was on a tight schedule on Tuesday and did not have time to look at anything but my book.