When the world becomes a bit too much to take in, a trip to the mountains is quite often just what you need. We all know about unplugging—ditching Wi-Fi, phone data, and electronics—but that’s really only half the battle. Once you take those things out, what do you replace them with?
Here are six of our favorite ways to reconnect with ourselves and our roots here in the mountains.
Cook a meal from scratch with fresh food from a farmers’ market
Cooking is a beautiful art that gets lost in the busyness of day-to-day life. When was the last time you made food from ingredients gathered that day from just down the road?
Find a recipe that looks as lovely as it tastes and don’t take shortcuts. Pour a glass of your favorite beverage and savor the process, and when you’re done, share it with the ones you love or simply take it outdoors to eat in the fresh air.
Walk the entire Little Tennessee Greenway just listening to the world around you
The Little Tennessee Greenway is a walking trail central to Franklin with multiple outlets, so where you start and end isn’t as important as the access to a natural walk in the middle of town.
Walking in the quiet and keeping your ears open allows for the blend of natural sounds—water running, birds and insects, the wind in the trees—and human ones like the distant rumble of a car going over a bridge or a bike passing on your left. Take a moment to enjoy the cross section of human and natural life.
Read a book about something that fascinates you about the natural world
Few things are as good at making you slow down as a good book, which is why reading is often a challenging pastime to make space for in your schedule. A weekend away is the perfect opportunity to catch up, and with our local libraries being open by appointment and bookstores right in the middle of town, there are plenty options to find something that holds your interest. Ask a librarian or bookstore owner to help you find the perfect read, grab a book, and head to a local coffee shop to settle into an armchair for the afternoon.
Commit to a handmade craft that takes more than one sitting to finish
Knitting, embroidery, whittling, and painting are just some of the crafts that have historical significance in this part of the Appalachian Mountains. Take a few hours and browse some of our local craft stores for ideas and all the supplies you need. Choose something you’ve tried before, or explore something completely different—just make sure that it’s something you won’t finish in a single sitting.
The satisfaction of completion will be sweeter, and the commitment to one thing over the course of multiple days is a great way to return to a familiar routine that you don’t often get to indulge.
Bring home three different leaves from a hike, identify them, and then see if you can find them again on a totally different trail
When out in the woods, sometimes it can be equally as easy to lose the trees for the forest as the other way around. Take a short hike and gather leaves with shapes that fascinate you. Maybe one comes from a tree with blooms that catch your eye—maybe another is from the underbrush with interesting ridges. Once you return to civilization, get to know each by name and learn something of their history.
The next time you venture out, recognizing the plants again will feel like greeting an old friend, which is a treasure to enjoy each time you visit the mountain trails in western North Carolina.
Make a pot of locally-roasted coffee and listen to old Appalachian music
Local coffee is on the rise in North Carolina, and those farmers’ markets will likely have plenty options to choose from. (The Madd Ox brand is even roasted right here in Franklin!) Pick a morning of your trip to make a pot of fresh mountain joe and put on some old Appalachian music. Oral tradition is an art form that’s been passed down for generations here, and the lyrics of many old tunes will draw you in to the legacy of mountain life.
You can borrow CDs from local libraries, or, if you still have internet access, queue up a performance like this one from the NC Department of Natural and Cultural Resources.
Ready to plan your mountain getaway? So are we
However your plans take shape, Franklin is the perfect place to host you—we can’t wait to welcome you to western North Carolina!