The day after Christmas, myself and two of my best friends headed north to western Virginia (not to be confused with West Virginia) to seek out some of that elusive white stuff that never seems to find its way to Florida–snow! We rented a cabin near the tiny village of Allisonia, somewhere inbetween Wytheville and Blacksburg. For weeks before our trip we’d been glued to all of the most reputable weather websites analyzing the likelihood of snowfall during our trip.
Our first lesson in Things You Never Learn in Florida came in North Carolina when we started seeing patches of white stuff along the sides of the interstate. It never occurred to us that snow that had already fallen the previous week would still be on the ground because it hadn’t gotten much above freezing since it fell. It was unfortunate that this discovery came during my portion of the drive, because I was so distracted by the snow I nearly wrecked the car on a few occasions. And it wasn’t even for the pure white blankets of snow, it was for the slush pile of black, dirty snow shoved to the sides of the road by snowplows and traffic. But you have to understand that for someone from Florida who can count the number of times she’s seen snow on one hand, a big pile of snow dirty or not is pretty dadgum exciting.
We were so excited by the time that we got to our cabin that we could hardly put the car in park before jumping out to play in the 6 inches or so of snow on the ground. With the kind of zeal you just don’t see in people who’ve just driven almost nine hours in one day, we went out into the little yard behind the cabin and prepared to make a snow angel like we’d seen people do on TV. Arms out, grins pointed to the sky, we closed our eyes and let gravity take us down into the soft arms of–THUNK! It turns out that there are different kinds of snow. Not all snow is what you might call fluffy snow, especially when it’s been on the ground for a week where it’s frozen several times over. It’s really more like ice than snow. Thick ice.
Once our heads stopped spinning and our breath returned, we picked ourselves up and turned instead to throwing “snowballs” (more like hazardous chunks of ice) at each other. That lasted about 90 seconds, until the point when our knit cotton gloves were wet and we subsequently started to lose feeling in our fingers and other extremities.
The cabin we stayed in was absolutely beautiful–exactly what you’d imagine for a cabin, but with modern charm. When I woke up on first morning there in my little wood paneled room with the sun streaking in through lace curtains on the wall and dancing over the colorful squares of my quilt I thought, “This is the life!” The best part was there was no Internet! I highly recommend taking at least one vacation a year where you have no Internet access, and if you can help it no TV or cellphone reception either (but only if there’s a phone in the place you’re staying for emergencies). I plan to do that with my kids some day, I think it’s a healthy dose of reality.
To quote Ferris Bueller, “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”
At any rate, we spent most of our time up there exploring the surrounding areas. Windy roads through snowy countryside gave way to beautiful towns like Blacksburg, home to Virginia Tech. We rode around the beautiful campus there, with its stone block buildings and thick coat of white snow, it was close to magical.
On our second day up there, we decided we were no longer satisfied with the crusted snow at our cabin, we wanted falling snow. So we took a little jaunt across the border to West Virginia to a little town called Bluefield. I have to say, I was a little nervous about going to WV partly because of the sterotypes (Wrong Turn anybody?) and partly because two members of our group (myself included) are Florida State fans/grads and we are playing WVU in the Gator (a.k.a. Nole) Bowl of course. But it’s a gorgeous state, at least the southern parts of it that we saw, and we DID get to see real, honest to God, falling snow. It wasn’t really sticking, but once again these are the same people who tried to make snow angels in ice, we’re pretty easily impressed where winter precipitation is concerned.
We enjoyed the snowfall for a little while, then headed back to our cabin (which was about an hour away) under the assumption that the snow was heading in our direction. Unfortunately it didn’t arrive until very late that night, sometime around 11, but you better believe we threw our coats on over our PJs and ran outside to catch snowflakes on our tongues and make real snowballs with the freshly fallen stuff. It was mostly gone by morning, but for about an hour around midnight we were dancing around in the falling fluff.
Our trip was so fun we decided to stay an extra night and even then, we did not want to leave. If you’re ever interested in a trip to western Virginia, check out the accommodations at: www.southwestvirginiacabin.com. Paige is super nice and her cabins are beautiful and well-equipped.
I also had some writing inspiration while I was up there. I started to play around with some new characters and plot lines in my head. It’s still to early to share anything, but I think it’s turning me in the right direction.
All in all it was a wonderful trip, but now it’s back to the task at hand–beating WVU on New Year’s Day to send Bobby out on a good note! I wish everyone a safe and happy New Year’s and GO NOLES!
P.S. – Here’s my favorite picture from the trip–what a great action shot!