To finish up my tale of a wonderful surprise 24th anniversary getaway ...
I loved the tour of the house and the glimpse behind the scenes of a working bed and breakfast. By the time we left the house—via the backdoor, where we found the kitchen herb garden that obviously provided the fresh basil Katherine had served with sliced tomatoes at breakfast—I was on serious information overload. But here were new and interesting things: for one, the kitchen building, which had been converted to a “man cave” by Robert Weeks, the owner back in the 1930’s, and in which Katherine has experimented with open-hearth cooking. Outside, it’s beautiful, sound old brick. Inside, cypress boards line the entire walls and rafter ceiling. I could only sit and gape. In my head, I was seeing the attic of Laura’s house in A Family To Keep, which has a similar look but in heart pine rather than cypress. Absolutely exquisite. Bruce talked about some the difficulty they’d had after last April’s storms knocked one of their oak trees over on the building, collapsing the chimney and part of the roof. One engineer told Bruce that three-quarters of the structure needed to be torn down and to start over; Bruce argued that he was not ripping out all that costly, beautiful cypress. I couldn't blame him!
He also showed us the original smokehouse, no longer on their own property, and the original carriage house, fitted now with garage doors that raise vertically but look like the historic, horizontal-open equivalent. And then back around to the front, where the driveway forms a wide loop through the front lawns, paved not with gravel but smooth, pale pinkish-gold river rock. All of it just beautiful.
And oh, not only was Camden the site of the battle by the same name, which is where my historical novel starts, but Bloomsbury Inn is located less than a block south of where the British and loyalist forces lined up during Hobkirk's Hill, another battle in my story.
Something else that made this weekend meaningful was the timing. This marked 24 years for us, which means that Duncan’s birth and short life now marks the halfway point of our marriage. Since that twelfth year was so pivotal for us, I’ve had this feeling that this year was also significant. Just how, I can’t quite articulate yet ... but it’s related to the fact that after the loss of a child, some 80% of marriages in divorce. I don’t consider Troy and I out of the woods yet, although our relationship is stronger and deeper than ever. I work hard to count God’s grace as precious, every day.
I’m still in awe that my darling man took the time to arrange this for me—and I hope at some point we can go back, with a camera!