So as most of you know from my endless (and totally odd) twitter pictures that yesterday I spent the day roadtripping to NY with my dear friend Holly, who I met in Australia even though she’s a full-on-accented North Carolinian. (It was basically fate if you’re wondering, or Baby Jesus, Hallelujah, and I mean that literally). We’re on our way to Chautauqua, NY (here, while I write this) for a writing workshop at the Chautauqua Institute, which we’ve just realized is the haven for old people, a retirement community where your kids can be at summer camp all day and you can take your sixty-year-old lungs, tired from the hills, walking through a town of giant dollhouses and end up with a pen, writing fiction with your cheetah-print instructor. (My instructor totally blended into the furniture with her choice of cheetah-print wardrobe). The furniture was wicker and my ass sunk in, just to be honest.
More about that later in the week though. Right now – our trip.
Hols and I started out at the bright and early time of 8am after having a hearty egg breakfast cooked my one and only maj. We then drove south to Winston and onto Virginia. Nothing really happened during the first part of our trip because we were catching up on girl talk, writing pro’s and con’s lists of our boy situations, discussing the boys we’ve kissed and our futures (Norway for hols, fingers crossed, RR and teaching for me) and just being girls. Ya know, spinning our hair around the tips of our fingers, and laughing like witches on trial. It wasn’t really until WVA when we hit the jackpot of all antique malls that we really got this trip started.
We stopped into Dove’s Outlet Village because we thought it would have a little cafe filled with expensive, snobbish coffee. And instead we found the mother load of all country kitsch shops. And lucky enough for you, I snuck pictures under the watchful eyes of Paula Deen look-a-likes and their forest green aprons. Just because you’re so special to be reading this right now I’m going to post a few so you can get the true, Dove experience without having to drive however many miles to buy yourself some 25cent Romy & Michelle earrings, or some wooden “man cave” signs (sorry no pictures for the actual males who read this. If you have a penis this blog might not be for you).
And lucky for us one of the Paula Dean minions told us where to get good local food. Actually, my friend Holly can just talk anyone’s ear off. I’m sure this women realized we’re both pretty earthy and weird and decided to send us to the Cathedral Cafe. Literally, a cafe with the most amazing coffee (Organic Mind, Body and Spirit), fabulous cobbler in a special little only-for-Cassie-mug (I’m sure) and a bangin’ grilled cheese. Holly and I are both vegetarians so we’ve been eating a lot of hardy salads (I’m sure that’s what my mother wants to hear), however I’ve also been eating fried pickles, and cheese fries because what’s a girl to do when the Northern food is calling her name? The Cathedral Cafe was actually true to its name and set up in a little cathedral, stained glass windows and all. It had a feel to it that made me want to write a poem about the twin boys-dating tall, model twin girls at the table next to us. And the obvious New River rafting guide (bandana around his head and trouser legs cut off at the knee) who was reading the newspaper behind us. (What you don’t know about me is that in another life, I really considered dropping out of college and becoming a rafting guide). Then, the tattooed girls across from us who were giving us dirty looks… probably because of my impeccable style of wearing a Taylor Swift t-shirt on the road. I’ll just write a sick love-hate song about them and seance Taylor into it. Plus, there were endless bookshelves which is always a turn on for me.
Here’s the cafe:
After the cafe we saw a broken-down train, stopped just before running over the screaming blonde, tied with rope from the county hardware store. We were passing quickly, I was driving and half missed it, only catching the very beginning: cro. Cro? Holly is laughing at something, amazed about a drawing she’s going to do, right now. She’s drawing the cars, the caboose we couldn’t see behind the trees and the words, with the end. The graffiti, the story-teller, the student who didn’t love class, but loved words big, on trains, in the rough side of town: crotch.
But that cafe with epic-life-changing-story-telling grilled cheese sandwiches wasn’t the only hidden gem that Fayetteville had to offer. They also had windows full of manequin legs, antique shops with $8 leather purses (not to mention the artist drawn women on the front flap) and a place called the “Hobbit Hole” that was much more expensive than any hobbit would pay for any string of pearls. However, we got some pretty choice pictures in these-here-parts of Fayetteville and I learned how to parallel park. Contrary to popular belief, they no longer teach that in driver’s education and my road rage has kept me from the parallel park monster for quite some time. It got a little crucial before an old couple (OLD, who had been rafting the day before) directed my Prince Frederick Focus into the space. I think the Sextrology book my friend Nat owns telling me my monarch is a grandmother might be coming to fruition.
Here are a few of the highlights:
Fayetteville was a really unique town, and something you can definitely miss if you aren’t looking out, or you don’t have a country mole on your side. However, that was the extent of our lucky finds on our trip to the North. The next place we decided to stop was Harmony. I’m sure you’re thinking, how can Harmony ever be bad…we’ll our thoughts exactly. Harmony was a ghost town, literally their bed & breakfast had ghost sightings, I have pictures to prove it. Everything (even bunnies in the gravel parking lot) were either 80+ or not moving. We each had a really bad feeling about the whole place (I was ready to leave after pee was about to make my bladder explode, and I saw the shop of dolls. Like a little shop of freakin’ horrors). We gave it our best shot though, and we took a few photos. Plus, I got a bit of history in, which 1. makes me a complete nerd and 2. makes me educated on the small town of Harmony, where nothing is harmonious and most things are dead, or hiding behind bushes ready to “boo!”
First of all, Harmony has a total of 937 people according to the 2000 US Census (and wikipedia). Second of all, the buildings all had these s-shaped iron signs attached to them (it was the Washington Trail so it had to mean something) and so I’ve been on a fact finding mission through the great maze of google to find out. While looking I found this small tidbit about the Harmonites (the original settles of Harmony, PA and other locations): “The Harmonites tended to view unmarried celibate life as morally superior to marriage, based on Rapp’s belief that God had originally created Adam as a “biune” (a human with no sexual organs). According to this view, when the female portion of Adam separated to form Eve, disharmony followed, but one could attempt to regain harmony through celibacy” (wikipedia). I just thought this was a juicy thing I could share from my findings. However, still no details on the “crooked s” legend.
Okay, so I’ve basically given up. I’ve googled every synonym and everything I possibly can. I think it has something to do with George Washington because Harmony, PA is on the Washington Trail and I was stuck here for a good long while, so this is really bothering me. It sucks when the GPS doesn’t realize that a whole ramp is closed down and circles you around a creepy historic town with ghost sightings for thirty minutes. However, we did enter the Haunted Inn that has been on television shows and been through a few psychics and paranormal investigators. (By the way I’m OBSESSED with Ghost Adventure, and Zack the douche from that show and so this is why I love cemeteries and other haunted places. Also, why I sleep with the light on).
Here are our pictures of the Inn:
Harmony wasn’t exactly friendly – we didn’t see any faces really – dead or alive. The teen skateboarder gliding along the porch steps was the soul human and he was a teen. We passed the main church and heard the low murmur of the air conditioning unit (at least we hope it wasn’t a lost soul) and we walked past countless closed signs. I’m telling you people, the air wasn’t right in Harmony, PA, even before we found the Inn with its tales of ghosts and the paranormal.
And now I just sound like a super freak. However, here we are in Chautauqua; a few Rhianna songs later, windows down, truckers dancing along with us. Holly has some sick dance moves so we got a few honks, a few winks and unfortunately no mooning incidents, but maybe on the road home? We sang, we did the Disco, we stopped off for tidbits of buzz-nutrients, we ate, we antiqued and we just enjoyed each other’s company. What are friends for? (“Aw” moment here folks). And now we’re here, writing like fools in the retirement community. You better believe I’ll be blogging about all the giant dollhouses in the Institute, among other things that happen during my people watching adventures. It’s definitely time for bed though, hope this blog stayed lively. Not so sure about that one. (I’m not in a witty state of mind, Panera has made me feel fat and homey).
Goodnight ghosts of Harmony, PA. Goodnight readers in their beds and monsters in their closets.