We aren’t especially good at taking relaxing vacations. Not physically relaxing, anyway. We hike, run, walk – you name it – and we often joke about needing a vacation when we’re done.

But not at Mountaintop.

We’ve spent the last several July 4th weekends with the Atlanta Hoods at their mountain house in North Carolina — and it is hands down the most relaxing few days we spend all summer. The Hoods are golfers and the course (and the weather!) is gorgeous at Mountaintop — so they squeeze in as many rounds as they can.

The big joke is the weather, though. That area of the country is a bona fide rainforest — and it rains every time we visit. But this year! We had sunshine! And I got to see the view from their back deck in its full glory for the first time.

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That deck and I have a special relationship. There’s something about it. Maybe it’s the cool breeze. Maybe it’s just what happens at the intersection of geographical remoteness and a seriously comfortable patio sofa — but I do my best napping on that deck.

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Yes! I needed a blanket! Glorious.

We left Northwest Arkansas at an unreasonably early hour that Saturday in order to fly to Atlanta, drive to the mountains — and be on the course that afternoon. They don’t waste any time. So while I was napping to make up for my first-day-of-vacation, 4am wake up call — the rest of the gang was bonding on the course.

It was Wear The Brightest Shirt In Your Closet Day…

Taking full advantage of the sunshine that weekend, we also spent plenty of time at the pool where Colt devoted an entire afternoon to perfecting this:

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And a favorite at the club! Bingo night! We always get sooooooo close, and Colt starts mentally calculating how far each pot would go at the Lego Store… But we’ve never been lucky until this year! Courtney won a $500 pot!

At some point over the weekend, I got a text from my Mom that said, “we’ll be in the same state tonight!”

Now, here’s the thing:

  • My parents live in Texas.
  • They are both (relatively) newly retired.
  • They are constantly (CONSTANTLY) traveling. It has become a running joke that family and friends cannot keep up with them. Thank goodness for Facebook.

Why would they be in North Carolina? Heck if I know! They zigzag the country like you wouldn’t believe — and through the course of a few more texts I learned they were driving between Washington DC and Atlanta. So we did the math, consulted the Googles, and realized they were indeed coming fairly close to where we were in western North Carolina.

So we sent them directions — and they showed up for coffee Monday morning! Happy 4th of July from the Hoods + Martins!

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Since it’s usually drizzly or outright raining, I’ve never ventured very far from the house and seen the beauty of the club or the area. But Monday was shaping up to be a clear, sunny day so I tagged along to the course. That round at Mountaintop was exactly the second round of golf I’ve witnessed in my life. I’m usually content to let Jeff and Colt enjoy without me, but I’m so glad I crashed the party last week — it was truly beautiful.

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Paige, Lynn, Colt, Jeff
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The 18th Green – Mountaintop Golf & Lake Club

I can’t believe I didn’t snag a photo of it, but we saw A BEAR on the course. Twice! At one point, Lynn walked up to her shot and turned straight back around to the cart, and — MUCH more calmly than I could have — informed us, “there’s a bear… directly behind me…” Then a few minutes later we saw it run across the course!

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Hoods in the Blue Ridge Mountains | Mountaintop Golf & Lake Club, North Carolina

And who can resist a giant Slip ‘N Slide?? Last year, Colt was hesitant — but this year, he was counting down the hours! We saw everything from babies to full grown men going down this thing!

After a handful of turns down the Slip ‘N Slide it was time to get cleaned up for the carnival.

We ate our weight in corndogs and lost count of how many times Colt went down this giant inflatable slide. (Evidently, it was enough times to turn his feet completely black.)

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Hoods | Sarah, Jeff, Colt, Lynn, Paige, Courtney | July 4, 2016

That night we listened to the fireworks from the back deck with a glass of wine — and talked about next time. Happy, happy 4th.

Freedom lies in being bold.
– Robert Frost

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