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Art can take you to the most wonderful places

It is easy to think of creating art as just a collection of paints, brushes, papers, pencils, workshops, etc. It is all of those things, but, one thing I didn't really think about when I started this long road of becoming an artist was how my pursuit of making art would take me to locations I would probably never have known about or experienced. Such was the case recently when my artist friend, Matt Gentry, a photographer for the Roanoke Times and an avid supporter of the Appalachian Trail, invited our group to come to the Wood's Hole Hostel in Pearisburg, Va. I soon learned it is one of the most frequented rest stops along the trail because of all the great services it provides.

I needed a break from a very tough schedule so I jumped in my car alone in search of this place in the woods about an hour away, despite the threat of rain. Not being at a place in my life where I would consider hiking this very long trail, I am sure I would never have heard of or experienced this lovely place. The moment I arrived, I knew just being here for the day was a gift.

The last mile and a half of the drive was gravel, setting the stage for the old and lovely log buildings off to the left. The main house, the bunk house and several other wooden structures offered an idyllic spot to arrive by car and, I am sure, a mecca of comfort and conversation for hikers arriving from the trail about a half mile away.

Matt and his wife Colleen, were hostel sitting for their friends who own it and had gone off for a week away. They shared this lovely piece of heaven with ducks, dogs, pigs, goats and myriad wild birds. Lush gardens of flowers and vegetables were everywhere. Comfort and welcome were apparent at every turn. The front porch rocking chairs gave me a come hither feel and, once planted in one of them, it was hard to make me move.

No sounds of civilization ruined the day. We rocked and talked and looked around at all the offerings awaiting hikers...showers, beds, laundry, mail service, food and drink, boot rack, massages, phone (the hard line kind), hammock and chatting for the conversation starved. They even had ice cream and smoothies.

I would have been content with just rocking and stillness, but friendly chatting with Matt, Colleen and the dogs was augmented by the arrival of a hiker whose trail name is Sir Pass-alot who had chalked up 675 miles and came to Woods Hole to claim an awaiting package and meet up with his girlfriend the next day. The package made it, the girl did not so his visit was a mix of joy and disappointment.

Mine, on the other hand, could not have been more perfect. Art connections brought me here and I did actually paint a little piece. Mostly, I was just rockin' and relaxin'. Thanks for the invite, Matt!

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