Random Brain Dumping

Musings and observations about life

In the middle of nowhere, but absolutely loving it

Seems odd these days to stay at any hotel anywhere that doesn’t have in every room a flat-screen TV, Wi-Fi, cable service, and at least a bedside clock/radio (or iPod docking station, in some cases).

Yet, I find myself at such a place, by choice.

Well, I figured I might not have Internet connectivity or cellphone service. I did, however, expect a TV.

Here I sit, though, at Pisgah View Ranch listening to crickets and birds chirping (That sound crickets make is called chirping, right?). Katydids are abuzz, almost in a mating call and response.

It’s as if time stood still here in these mountains of North Carolina.

In fact, on the property is a two-room log cabin built in 1790, according to the sign. My cabin is slightly larger, is better constructed, and has a bathroom.

When I pulled up, my GPS said, “Your destination is on the right.” That’s the last time my phone had a signal.

I was greeted by the cook, who immediately wanted to discuss my dietary needs, in particular, what I wanted to eat for dinner. She advised me that the dinner bell would sound at 6 p.m.

As I read through the waivers and charges, a wrangler from the barn called down to say she would be ready in 15 minutes to take me out on the trail. Wow, even before I finished checking in, my ride was ready.

Nothing fancy here, and I know some of my friends would not fare well here. A bed, two chairs, a dresser, a nightstand, a luggage rack and two hangers. And windows that actually open.

This is my kind of place – and at least for 24 hours, I’m the only guest here. Talk about service.

I dated a self-professed hotel snob, so when we traveled, we tended to stay in the finest hotel in the city, and although I do remember being impressed that the bellhops and maitre des knew him by sight and called him by name, I don’t recall a chef or cook or anyone taking our meal order as we checked in.

Being here reminds me – in an odd way – of my stay at New Orleans’ Le Pavillon about two weeks after Hurricane Katrina struck the Gulf Coast but before the water from the broken levies had fully receded.

At the time, most hotels were either closed or were open only to law enforcement officers, emergency workers, utility companies employees and the like.

A fellow Army Reservist and I volunteered to travel to New Orleans to help tell the stories of Reserve troops and their mission there to support the 82nd Airborne Corps and others, as needed.

Our first night there, we slept in our respective vehicles, me in a rented SUV, to keep from sleeping in tents. The second night was in tents with other soldiers. The next few nights were at the Four Seasons Hotel in suites where the carpets had been pulled up because the pool had flooded.

Then, while searching for hotel availability online, I found Le Pavillon, which, before Katrina, featured nightly peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwiches in the lobby as a nighttime snack.

The price per night was exorbitant, but it was within the per diem rate. The website required full payment up front to reserve the room. We booked two rooms immediately.

When we arrived, we were greeted by police officers hired to live in the hotel to guard the valuables. They told us the hotel was not open to guests, but when I explained how I found the site, I was told to call back later to talk with the manager.

For about two weeks, my fellow Army Reservist and I were the only guests at this once five-star hotel walking distance to the French Quarters.

At Le Pavillon, however, no one asked me what I wanted to have for breakfast or any other meal, as the kitchen was not fit for cooking meals for guests. I ate MREs: meals ready to eat. The other soldier and I each had been given cases to take with us.

At Pisgah View Ranch, after my trail ride – on an amazing (and privately owned) Missouri fox trotter named Gypsy that one of the wranglers let me ride because I wanted a gaited horse – I went back to my cabin and freshened up, and then headed to the main house, the one spot on premises with Internet connectivity.

After all, I needed to let someone know exactly where I was, and since I couldn’t call, email was the next best thing.

So, for the next few days, I’ll enjoy this piece of heaven and the sounds of nature, punctuated by the occasional pickup truck (everyone here seems to have one) and barking dog.

I’ll also enjoy the comforts of home … from back in the day, including the mockingbird, my natural alarm clock that woke me at 6 this morning, and the homemade biscuits and oatmeal made just for me.

Pisgah View Ranch

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July 29, 2011 - Posted by | Random Brain Dumping | , , ,

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