This past weekend was a whirlwind trip to the Great Smoky Mountains in western North Carolina, and while I do enjoy sightseeing this trip was mainly so we could spend some quality time with my father-in-law who got a weekend pass from the hospital (either that, or we inadvertently busted him out!). He's staying in his hometown of Cherokee, which is right on the reservation and if I know my urban legends that means no laws at all. As it happens, I forgot to bring my counterfeiting plates and spotted owls filled with cocaine, so instead we kept things pretty PG-13. A few observations about Cherokee:
1) Very friendly people, even by Southern standards. Everyone's happy to give you directions, and unlike the horrible wastes-of-life that we get on Northern Virginia's highways, people down there will actually let you merge in and change lanes without acting as though you just murdered their family.
2) Want to eat healthy? No chance, bub! Everything is fried, and delicious, because they don't even try to make the stuff they fry it in healthy. But you can also feast on catfish and frogs legs for about half what you pay in D.C.
3) The scenery is absolutely amazing. It reminded me a lot of Maine, except the mountains are higher and steeper. It would be a terrific place to own a country home.
4) It helps to have a rental car with Florida plates, because everyone automatically assumes you don't know the area and being a Floridian are more likely insane and not to be messed with.
5) We got to see a nice outdoor play depicting the plight of the Eastern Cherokees (nutshell--Trail of Tears? No thanks, we'll just stay here, we're not fans of long walks! Oh and Andrew Jackson sucks!), to get some culture and see some of my wife's roots on display. Now, to even things up, I'll have to have her watch The Godfather.
6) Seeing that my father-in-law's housing situation is coming together and spending time with him on Father's Day made the trip a success, though it meant missing Father's Day with my own father. However, I hear he got served surf-n'-turf at my sister's new place in Brooklyn, so I don't think he was complaining!
All in all, we hope to get down to those parts again soon for a longer visit. And back to a rainy Monday!