Next Stop…Georgia.

After downpours and high winds delayed our afternoon flight for hours, we finally took off from St. Maarten with the setting sun. I don’t know how the exact numbers work but either we followed the sunset or it followed us. For more than an hour, the bright orange ball hung just out my port window.We headed west toward the U.S. It was beautiful as only sunsets in the Caribbean can be and left me with a great final memory of the last seven years of adventure on, Corcovado, our boat. We will miss her but are looking forward to what life brings next.

We are now homeless and left Simpson Bay without so much as a clue as to where we would spend our night once we arrived in Atlanta. A bed for the night fell through the cracks as we waited until we knew when the sale of Corcovado would go through. We knew the new owners weren’t backing out, but we couldn’t leave her to be pillaged and plundered while the paperwork was completed. And then when it was signed, stamped, and the money transferred to our account, our boat was no longer ours, and we had to get off her quick as can be. Thank goodness, modern technology allows us to book hotel rooms while on a plane.

Sometimes you just have to go with your gut. We had never been to the North Georgia Mountains, but our rental car sped north from Atlanta. We knew we wanted four seasons but with very short winters. Over the years we had traveled all through the southeast and hadn’t found just the right spot to spend our next life. We wanted a friendly community that welcomed outsiders and retirees. We didn’t want a city, at least Bill was dead set against it, but we did want nice restaurants and an active life. I never once imaged that we would look to Georgia as a possibility. But, there we were, with an appointment with a Real Estate Agent the following morning. We had just enough time to drive through Blue Ridge and see if it town was mostly about hyped up lakes and trout streams or if she would meld with the life we wanted this time around.

Our first stop was a BBQ joint on the main road of town. When we walked in the door, Bill glanced over the clients and slowed. He had been thirsting for an I.P.A. since we last left the states many months before. It’s his favorite beer and not available on the islands. He wanted one I know. But,  ut, oh. He asked the lady behind the counter, “Do you serve beer.”

“Never have. Never will,” replied the stern-faced woman.

That was that and out we went. Dread sat in my belly like a full keg of bitter brew. I’ve never been to a dry town before. I had heard of them, of course. Growing up, the south was known to be dry. That’s probably why my parents never took us there. That is one of the “Southern” traits that carried a stigma of the south. The mountains here are beautiful, but I know if Blue Ridge is a dry town then we can’t stay. Our years of house searching and the list of house hunting needs that we sent to the agent would be for naught. But a few blocks later we tried again and Bill is served his IPA with a smile. As it turns out, these days, few dry restaurants exist in town. We just happened on one. I sat back in my chair, relieved that we could continue our tour.

Bill has a problem, and it is one I can’t cure. He’s convinced that you can get a feel for a town from the main highways. If it doesn’t have four lanes, then we don’t go on it. In this area of the country, paved roads aren’t a certainty, be happy if its gravel and not dirt. I am sure there is more to be explored than fast food chains and a Home Depot, but I can’t get my husband to make a turn onto a side street. Where is his need of adventure? My spirits jump when I notice a sign for Historic Downtown Blue Ridge and Bill actually turns off the four lane road. Is there hope that here we would discover a revitalized town with upscale restaurants and boutiques lining both sides of Main Street! One pass down the packed road and we know. Yes, this is what we are looking for!

On the way to house hunting the next day, I wondered if years from now, will we be driving down a well-worn dirt road and look back on these days remembering when all of this was new and curious? OR will we be sitting on our deck on some faraway hill, having our evening cocktails and I say, “Yeh, that place wasn’t for us.”

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