I'm constantly amazed with how much beauty lays just a few hours away when you dare to crest over the West Virginia mountains and venture into the forests.
For the month of February I decided to take a quick weekend jaunt. Something convenient, something inexpensive, somewhere new.
Somehow Seneca Rocks had evaded my hit-list until this third year of Somewhere New, lost among jet setting and wave chasing vacations, patiently waiting for me to notice it.
I found us a tidy little room on Airbnb. The reviews were good and while our hostess would actually still be in India when we arrived, her dog Bubba Lou was poised to welcome us.
The Seneca House, as the designer and builder Shelly likes to call it, was constructed out of the barn wood from the barn that previously stood on the site. With the help of a few friends she built the house over the course of two years.
It's one of the most unique and inspiring houses's I've ever had the fortune to be a guest in.
And best of all. Each room comes with a personal Bubba Lou. Or well, she invites herself into your room and makes herself at home on the bed.
Apparently Bubba has become such an icon of the house and so beloved that they even have shirts printed with her likeness now.
For $50 a night (now $60 when I last checked) it was a pretty sweet deal to be literally moments from the craggy peaks of Seneca and a quick drive over to skiing and adventuring.
Despite the draw to stay inside and snuggle into a blanket by the fire for the weekend we decided to get out into the snow and try out our cross country legs.
We drove over to Whitegrass and made our way up to the sloping red lodge. A potbellied stove pumps out heat waves just inside the door, weary skiiers already melted into chairs from an early morning of coordinated effort towards forward momentum. Clutching my thrift store skis in my hand I looked around at all the other skis stacked in racks, left behind like puppies so their owners could grab a hot cup of coffee while they watch pathetically from outside.
Our skis seemed rather short. Perhaps it was a new style? For being thrift store finds they were practically brand new.
Luckily for the uninitiated there are handy little tracks laid out, about hip width distance apart, within much the only real work to be done is just to slide your feet forward while pushing yourself with your poles. Turning and steering are not an option and thankfully so because even within the tracks I had tiny booted muchkins trying to pass me, giving me looks of disgust as they stepped out of the track to make an agile hop in front of me.
I'll be honest. I was a mess. The tiniest of hills sent me into a panic and when we did reach a more substantial slope I had to slide down on my butt and pat my poor bruised ego on the back for holding back the embarrassed tears.
Turns out, we had bought children's skis. And, amazingly, its rather impossible to balance on skis made for a toddler who only reaches two feet off the ground.
Despite the frustration and embarrassment I couldn't deny that the surroundings were beautiful, the snow throwing an immaculately white blanket over winter's harsher lines and dry, flaking face.
I dare say I even wanted to try it again.
Back at the Seneca House we said our goodbyes to Bubba and headed back for home.
Our trip was brief but rewarding.