Not far from my home a big bridge crosses the Columbia River and takes you into Washington. The state of my birth. My roots are there as well as a piece of my heart. The Mighty Columbia River separates Washington and Oregon as it flows from the eastern part of both states on to the west where it meets the Pacific Ocean. Highways on both sides of the river take you through The Columbia River Gorge where you find some of the most beautiful scenery possible. Early Saturday morning I joined a dear friend for the drive over the river (and through the woods) into Washington for the first ever Flourishes event. From what I have seen and read about previous Willow Nest events at that location I thought I could imagine the setting. I thought I knew what to expect. But I was wrong! What I did get right was that it would be a special place far away from the rush of life - a place that would capture my heart and call me back again. A place of magic. A place of bliss. A place where there were smiles on each face and everyone seemed like good friends.The views of the river and the meadowlands nearby were breathtaking and I found myself wishing for a day away with my camera. To go slowly and stop wherever my heart desired. To try to capture bits of what my eyes saw. Suddenly, as if out of nowhere, a sign at the side of the road told us that Flourishes was just ahead - "Next left"! I was about to be transported into another world. But I didn't know it yet. Suddenly, there it was. We were welcomed by ribbons and lights and flowers. And sweet people.We opened the door and stepped inside. Another world. A world of enchantment and activity. Just inside the door a little table held the sweetest little birds and flowers and pretties. Too much to see quickly. Each piece placed just right. With such care.Across the room the beautiful new fireplace looked like it had been there forever. It provided warmth to the room. And the warmth of friendship as we stood near the hearth and chatted with friends new and old. Friends from days gone by. Friends from lovely blogs. Friends who shared the moment.
But no one stood and chatted for long. There were things to see and things to buy. Sweet things. Carefully hand-crafted things. . .Soft things. . .And old things.It was obvious that each treasure had been carefully arranged and placed just right to capture our attention.I love old children's clothing. I would be happy to own every little piece I see. There were sweet little dresses. . .And precious little silk jackets.Too many to take home. Except in my heart.I knew exactly what I wanted to buy. The sweet little yellow birds on the table near the entry. Soon they were in my arms. Waiting in line to pay was part of the fun. A chance to talk to someone nearby. A chance to see what they were buying. A chance to overhear conversations about some of the treasures. And a chance to meet Bill and Aleta, the new owners of this enchanted land high above the river. The creators of Flourishes. Blog friends. Now new face-to-face friends. Friends I plan to see again and again and again. You can learn about future events at Aleta's blog here.As we walked to the car to head down the hill to our next stop I had to take a minute and sneak past the old schoolhouse that is Bill and Aleta's home. Out past the quaint stone patio to the corner of the house to TRY to get just a little peak at the view from the quiet place in the land of enchantment. Pictures can't do justice to what the eye sees. And there is no way to take away the sense of serenity and peace you find there. Except in your heart.What a wonderful place to be on a rainy Saturday morning. I could have stayed there forever but it was time to move on. More adventure was planned. We couldn't miss it. We're glad we didn't! I'll share that soon.