By Diana Bosse for Loveland Beacon

LOVELAND, OH and beyond (December 29, 2023) – The exploits of Diana Bosse continue here on her Loveland Beacon Feature: Destinations2Di4 – Flack Mountain. 

Roberta Flack Mural – Black Mountain, NC (Diana Bosse)

Flack Mountain

Five states, several restaurants, one house, one hotel, an apartment and one ER visit. It was a busy week, my friends! 

I left South Carolina on Tuesday morning after a semi-good oncology appointment.  I continue to be cancer free (that’s the good news), but my blood pressure was 186/88 (that’s the bad news).  

Apparently my “Destinations2Di4” diet just might cause me to die.  I’d been having heart palpitations for a couple of weeks and some light headedness. I thought it was because Steve had me working so hard – like a borrowed mule in the heat.  I didn’t feel up to making the 11 hour drive back to Cincinnati by myself in one day so I did a little research on scenic towns in North Carolina and discovered Black Mountain. 

I promptly reserved a nicely appointed room with a comfy queen bed, little soaps and shampoos (Oh, how I love to load up my suitcase with these!) and free continental breakfast at The Monte Vista Hotel, a quaint old respite circa 1919.  I booked online as fast as I could before they realized the price of $143 was probably a typo.

Kilwins – Toasted Coconut (Diana Bosse)

As I pulled into town and turned onto State Street, I held my breath as I pulled up to The Monte Vista.  I was relieved to find it to be exactly as advertised!  After dumping my luggage and getting a lecture from the front desk about a $50 charge for stealing a room key, I set out on foot to explore the town.  Black Mountain is a haven for artists and craftsmen (is that still politically correct to say?) and if you like blown glass, carved wooden bowls and pottery, this is your place!  Since I’m still in purge mode due to our upcoming move, I was more interested in finding a nice place for dinner. 

Vintage toys from Town Hardware and General Store (Diana Bosse)

I ducked into Town Hardware & General Store, and stepped back in time.  I not only found an ice-cold bottle of Coca-Cola in the antique cooler, I found replacement patterns for my Lite-Brite, additional wheels for my Spirograph, candy cigarettes, pots, pans, and every nut imaginable (from bourbon pecans to hex nuts of various sizes).  The place as a museum of hardware and trinkets. 

As I admired some dish towels near the register, I overheard the purveyor telling a group of women that Pure & Proper had the best Brussel sprouts in town.  I made a beeline for the place to beat the ladies for a good table outside.

While everything on the menu caught my eye, I decided to go with the trout (more heart-healthy than a burger) with corn puree, asparagus, sweet potato hash and chow-chow, all for only $17 (Black Mountain is deal, my friends!).

Trout from Pure and Proper (Diana Bosse)

The weather was perfect, the view of the mountains (beyond the blue dumpster) was gorgeous, but nothing compared to the clear blue eyes of my curly haired teenage waiter.  I was mesmerized.  I’m sure he was uncomfortable because I couldn’t stop staring.  I passed on his offer of dessert and left before getting arrested, satisfying my sweet tooth with a dip of Toasted Coconut Chocolate ice cream at Kilwins while taking in a view of an unflattering mural of hometown hero, Roberta Flack.  I don’t recall her needing braces.  As I ate my ice cream, I listened to “The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face” (trying to think of Steve and not the blue-eyed waiter) and “Killing Me Softly” (which is what Steve would do if he knew what I was thinking about the blue-eyed waiter).  As my playlist continued on, I thought about starting a petition to change the name of Black Mountain to Flack Mountain.  Gosh, that woman could sing!  But then again, I thought I might get too much flack from the townsfolk.

The next morning, after a plain bagel and half glass of juice, I headed back on I-40 toward Asheville and eventually North, marveling at the wonder of mid-week travel.  Hundreds of miles without one accident or construction delay.  Life is good, indeed!  My next meal coincided with a need for gas, so I pulled into Buc-ees in Richmond, Ky for 11 gallons, a root beer, a veggie burrito (healthier than the brisket) and to – as the billboard says – “potty like a rock star”.  I made the cut in the hill with its stunning view of Downtown Cincinnati by 12:48 p.m.  By 12:58 p.m., I was nearing the Kenwood cut in the hill, with no view what-so-ever, and pulled into my garage to find Steve waiting to help me unload.  I was so excited to see him and the cat, Manny Carl!  Steve seemed happy to see me, but MC couldn’t have cared less that I was home.  Some things never change.

I spent the rest of the afternoon relaxing on the couch trying to coax Manny to sit on my lap, but since I wasn’t snacking, he ignored me completely.  Just before bedtime, I took my blood pressure with the cuff I inherited from Dad years ago.  The reading was not good.  Despite being a couch potato, only moving to use the remote to skip the intro on Suits, my blood pressure was still 176/101.  I Googled “what if my blood pressure is 176/101?” and Google informed me I was in stage 2 hypertension that required immediate medical attention.  Ugh!  We both changed out of our PJ’s and back into sweats and headed to Christ Hospital.  The good news is I was only there for 5 hours.  The really good news is I wasn’t in AFib, my rhythm was good (tell that to Barry, who tried to teach me ballroom dancing) and I wasn’t having a heart attack or stroke. But my pressure was up and down like a roller coaster at Kings Island so a decision was made to put me back on meds. 

I’d actually been on meds for 10 years, but after losing weight and receiving numerous recall notices from Kroger about my Rx containing carcinogens, I weaned off it in 2019 just as I was diagnosed with the cancer the recall notices had warned me about. Up until recently my blood pressure had been under control.  Over the last few years, I’d found a few of the pounds I had lost.  Over the last few months, my eating habits have been less than healthy.  But honestly after discovering my birth-mother died from a massive heart attack (although I understand she was a heavy smoker) and my birth-father has high blood pressure, I think I’m destined to be medicated.  Plus, I prefer to blame all of my problems on someone else.  Hopefully, the Norvasc will kick in soon, because I’m leaving in an hour for another trip and the first stop is at a hole in the wall for lunch.  Stay tuned!

INDEED, Stay tuned to Loveland Beacon for the next edition of Diana’s Destinations2Di4 coming up in the New Year on Tuesday, January 2nd. Thanks for reading. 

Diana Bosse (Photo Diana Bosse)

Diana Bosse: In her own words – 

Diana Bosse has jotted notes in her diary, written thousands of grocery lists, hundreds of Facebook posts, a few articles in company newsletters as well as The Cincinnati Enquirer, The Island Packet, Ladies Home Journal and Women’s Day. In 2019 she published her first New York Times Best Seller (well, that’s a stretch, but she’s still hoping), The Perks of Having Cancer.

Diana grew up on the west side of Cincinnati and did what few West-siders ever do – she crossed Vine Street and moved to Loveland in 1990, where she lived for 31 glorious years.  (Editor’s Note: Also where Diana fought and survived cancer.)

Her plan in retirement is to move to South Carolina.  One morning, about a year prior to THE.BIG.MOVE.SOUTH, she had a panic attack when she realized there were many places in Tri-State area she had yet to explore.  Thus, her gastronomical and intriguing adventures began.

Thanks for traveling  along with Diana on her journey through diners, drive-ins, dives, quirky museums and off-the-beaten path destinations in our beautiful town and beyond. Buckle up your seat belt, undo your trouser belt, and enjoy Destinations2Di4!