Just got back from a long weekend away in West Virginia. Wonderful place, (www.thefourseasonswva.com), fantastic scenery a hot tub, so much space that the dogs could run free and wild, chasing anything which happened to invade their new domain (which, as it happened, was nothing ... the deer were wise to their presence and all that they found was a squirrel skull, complete with teeth, which was removed for their safety [not entirely sure, are squirrel bones like chicken bones, prone to splinter in dog throat?])
Anyway ... enough space to swing several thousand cats ... not that we took ours, and for the children to reach deep into their imaginations as they explored the hills and valleys and all the nooks and crannies in between.
The journey there was uneventful, save for 7 people and two dogs being confined to a cramped place for 2 hours and one of the dogs being found to be an unhappy traveler. Driving along in near zero temperatures, one is forced to choose between opening the windows and freezing, and keeping them closed and succumbing to the noxious fumes ... we chose the open window.
Many a pleasant hour was spent lounging in the hot tub, sighing with the satisfied feeling that comes with hot bubbly water, a clear crisp night sky and the fact that no one (except your closest family) can see your post- Christmas-pre -diet body spilling out of your swimsuit.
We enjoyed the fire pit, and sat out in the frozen temperatures staring into the flames long into the night (all except Jessica who after a few minutes said "this is boring!" and went to do something more interesting.)
The real fun came though, when we woke on Tuesday, our last day, and found 2 inches of snow outside. And it was still falling. A beautiful sight, the trees, the hills, covered and glistening. The dogs and the children played till their paws and their fingers were frozen, and Andy and I debated the wisdom of staying another night or attempting the journey home in our two wheel drive, in need of new tires, Honda Odyssey. We decided to leave, based on the fact we didn't really have enough food for much longer, and our knowledge (thanks to the Weather Chanel) that there would be more snow, possible ice and we would be stuck for a week.
So we packed the van, and began the job of clearing the quarter mile incredibly steep driveway with only a broom and two old rakes (nothing like being well equipped for the job in hand!)
Then we all traipsed to the top of the hill, and watched as Andy "Hero of the Moment" attempted to make it up the drive. At the first real incline, the car skidded and the wheels spun uselessly, and we were forced to rake away more leaves and snow. This happened several times, but after an hour or so, he had reached the top. By this time we were all pretty frozen, and the snow was falling steadily. We clambered in, taking "Old Faithful Rake" as a precautionary measure, and continued on our way. The road was unploughed and the hills which before had been mild undulations were now scary mountains, and the van, despite her efforts was not up to the job. Three times Andy got out and raked away the snow, creating just enough traction for us to skid-start up. On the third hill, we couldn't make it. Every time the accelerator was touched we veered dangerously closer to the edge of the road, and the drop into the valley. So we stopped. In the middle of nowhere. It was getting dark. There were no houses nearby. And it was snowing.
Thank God for West Virginians. After what seemed like hours but was probably 20 minutes, someone came along, and went to fetch her husband who had a nice big Ford 4x4 and a nice chunky, clunky chain, and they towed us up the hill and around a few bends and up another hill, until we reached as near as West Virginia gets to civilisation.
The next two hours was not pleasant. In fact, I don't think we have ever driven through such atrocious conditions, but we made it home, and I am very thankful to Andy, West Virginians with 4x4's and God.
I am looking forward to going back to that cabin, but next time, we will take snow chains, or perhaps experience West Virginia at another time of year!
- I have been married to Andy since 1991, we have 4 daughters, 2 dogs, 2 cat, 4 rabbits (and various baby rabbits) and a hamster (not dead). We have lived in the U.S.A since 2000, and are citizens of the U.K. I miss many things about the U.K.(pubs, old buildings, red post boxes, church bells,narrow roads, a good joint of roast lamb with mint sauce, to name but a few) but I have grown to love the U.S.