Cool, 57-degree air escorted us out of Virginia southbound to Edenton, NC, to spend another Christmas weekend with Dave and Lisa Salomon. Needing the break and committed to not working, I napped in the truck while Ron drove.
By 2:42 p.m., the dogs roamed free in their pen, and I took pictures of our temporary home, site 35, while Ron finished auto-leveling the trailer. Giving the pups time to do their business, we fed them early before heading to our friend’s home for dinner.
“That should go on Meanderings. Scuby van needs to be on Meanderings,” Ron said when he spotted the lime green GMC camped in the loop next to us. On our way to the Salomon’s, we did a drive-by to make his wish come true.
“This is Mabel and Millie,” Lisa said as we toured the farm and met the newest residents. Her flock expanded over the past year; new Roosters, Zues and Zack, ducks, and horses greeted us.
“Leo’s groomer willed them to us,” Lisa explained. Sassy, a mini, and Tara, a full-sized horse, munched quietly by the fence, unaware of our presence. Their previous owner passed away on May 2nd from breast cancer. Never married with no kids, she found her beloved horses a new home before passing.
Born over Thanksgiving weekend, Gracie and friends live inside until they gain their feathers, and then Lisa will introduce them to the outside farm life. Out of eight eggs, only five incubated and become cuddly little chicks.
“I made baked ravioli.”
Treating us like royalty, we enjoyed cheese and crackers while sipping wine and catching up over the past year’s happenings. Joey returned from his daily five-and-a-half-mile walk, joining us around the kitchen island.
“It’s a bubble,” Joey said, referring to life in Edenton. The hallmark-like town’s peaceful living made it easy to forget the troubles of the outside world. Picturesque homes, friendly people, and lovely landscapes make life here pleasurable.
“I walk the same loop every day, and I love it. Time flies by here.” Joey’s love of his home and contentment in life sparkled in his eyes.
Our main course, baked ravioli, filled us to the max. With Italian sausage to boot, no one left the table hungry as we headed into town to visit the beautifully decorated homes.
The 42nd Annual Christmas Candlelight Tour featured different houses from the prior year. For the first time, Hayes Plantation, a three-story waterfront home built in 1817, opened its doors to the public, causing the tour to sell out, maxing ticket sales at 2100. Since we waited too long to purchase ours, we couldn’t see the beautifully decorated home in period style.
However, we did get to view some of the other houses on the tour, including three homes in Cotton Mill Village, where workers lived in the 1800s that worked at the mill. Quaint, they welcomed us into the tiny abodes with love.
Wandering along McMullen Ave, we came across First Christian Church, a non-denominational church in operation since 1924. A life-size manger scene greeted us, parishioners offering hot chocolate to passersby beside it. Warm yellow light lit the night sky, inviting us into the tiny church. Greeters welcomed us inside the doors, and a lovely lady escorted us through the building.
“That’s where the meetings happen, and back there is the pastor’s office where he does what he does. Everyone’s welcome here. Sunday school at 10:00 a.m. and church at 11:00. Come back and visit us.” She said.
“You want a ride,” the trolley driver asked when he stopped beside our bewildered faces on the street. Recognizing our lost expressions, the jolly man helped us find our way again and gave our tired feet a little rest.
“Here’s a house on the tour. Does anyone want to get off?” When no one motioned to get up, he closed the doors and took us to our next stop, the Cotton Mill Village, where we explored homes 12, 13, and 14 on the tour.
Tucked behind home 12, we discovered the train station. Located in its own building, the trains ran non-stop through the miniature town. Proudly displaying his work, the conductor stood to the side, monitoring the locomotives as they steamed their way around the track.
“This is more than a hobby for you,” someone from the crowd said.
“You could say that,” the gentleman responded, his face beaming, eyes twinkling as he shared his passion with us.
Sitting on the corner of Phillip’s St, what once housed two families now featured a one-bedroom, one-bath home where Richard lived. Newly updated features include a rain shower in the bathroom, stainless steel fixtures in the kitchen, and modern decor. One thing remained the same: the hardwood floor shone brightly, carrying all of its secrets from the previous residents.
Walking out the back door on an enclosed porch decorated with a lone Christmas tree created a serene experience. The beautiful yard’s silhouette hinted at the peace in daily life. Off to the right, an open deck led to the garage, where a fire glowed, illuminating the tiny Airstream opened for exploration.
Well-designed Christmas lights welcomed us into the tiny trailer, a Gingerbread replica sitting on the counter, the table set for two, and the bed made, ready for use.
“I paid 220 dollars for it. My husband and I turned it into a coffee bar. I spent twenty years in social work and decided I needed a change. We started two years ago, and business is booming.”
Walking back to town, we discovered the horse trailer, converted into a wedding bar/coffee shop. Generously, the owner gave Joey and me her last two bottles of water. Lisa enjoyed a $2 hot chocolate as the owner told us of the history of her business.
On our way out of town, we stopped by Malcolm’s, Edenton Bay Trading Company, and enjoyed an evening nightcap. Lisa and I had a Bailey-like drink from a red wine base, heated and topped with whipped cream. Containing 14.5% alcohol, the warm liquid re-energized the bones as we sat beside the gas fire, reminiscing about our evening.
An excellent beginning to our Hallmark Weekend, we ended the evening and headed home for a good night’s rest.
“What us that?” I asked Ron, referring to the helicopter like machine rotating slowly to the right of our campsite.
“No idea babes, some kind of farm equipment,” he replied.
“It’s used to walk horses. There’s a motor on it that makes it go round and round. They tie horses to it and it helps cools them down after a heavy workout.” Dave solved the mystery.
After enjoying a Lisa’s breakfast casserole at the farm, guys and girls split ways. Lisa and I went to Restore and Dollar General while the guys went to get hay and dump the garbage
“I only spent $31,” I told Ron when we met them back in town. After stopping at the bakery for a sweet treat (Santa sugar cookies for Lisa, and peanut butter chocolate cookies for me) we shopped Surf, Fire and Wind where Joey works, then had a quick beer with the guys before shopping along main street. I didn’t purchase anything, but I found lots of ideas fory shop.
Afterwards we headed back to the camper to feed the pups. Back at the farm we watched Lisa take care of the animals, before enjoying left overs and a quiet night sharing laughter around the dinner table.
Back at the trailer we cuddled with the pups and watched the final episode of Squid Games Challenge, player 287 taking home the 4.5 million cash prize.
Sunday morning started leisurely. After finishing my Bible reading, I read Holy Moments by Matthew Kelly. Dave’s rave review of the free book made me curious.
“It’s a quick read and will change your life.”. I agreed with Dave’s summation and highly recommend the book to all.
At 9:20 we left to meet the Soloman’s for church.
“We did two bricks for our Dad’s,” Lisa said, showing me the new prayer Garden St. Anne’s put in since our last visit.
What does Advent mean? And why do we call these weeks before Christmas Advent?b It’s a season of looking towards the future of the hope that will be,” said the Priest as he began teaching us about Advent.
Jesus’s second coming gives us hope for a better tomorrow. Living prepared for Christ’s return means loving God and others.
As always, we enjoyed the service and the welcoming spirit of the parishioners.
Brunch at Herringbone’s ended another Hallmark weekend. Meeting Becca, baker of the delicious sticky buns we ate, highlighted our meal, her sparkling smile contagious.