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The Seeker: Lizzo, Camping and My Path to Emberglow

Katie Grant looks ahead and smiles
Katie Grant, The Seeker. (Photo by Lauren Mazzella)

Short on gas money but still need a getaway? Luckily, in the great state of North Carolina you needn’t look too far to find an affordable adventure. 

Based on recent experience, I recommend exploring your camping options at Emberglow Outdoor Resort. Emberglow is conveniently located near Lake Lure, less than a two-hour drive from Charlotte. So pack your goodies (friends, significant other, dogs, Ranch Water), and head west.

We are arrived at the time of year in which the weather gods and goddesses usually hold you and your vacation plans in their favor (save for an early fall hurricane here and there). It’s officially autumn, which means the temperature in North Carolina is almost dropping. So max your relax in a vintage camper, treehouse, glamping pods, or a yurt. There are even RV hookup sites and, yes, tent sites for you OG campers.

But first, let me back up a few steps, so you can better understand my path to Emberglow. I found myself there through an invitation that I am now grateful for. After an intention-setting autumnal equinox yoga and meditation session, I was steadfast in entering the fall season “grounded and with grace.” 

Friends, if you need to let go of any excess emotional baggage that’s been weighing on you, this is the time of year to reflect on what is no longer serving you and LET THAT SHIT GO! 

During the pandemic, I began convening with my yogi “pod” to practice on a different friend’s patio each month. During our most recent yoga and meditation session, on the day when summer fades to fall, the instructor invited our pod to envision a tree of life, then imagine what is hindering its growth. Or, to imagine if the fruits that weren’t harvested fell to the ground. What do they represent? 

The words that arose for me this season were social anxiety.

I then giggled alone (and awkwardly) on my mat because one thought fed another. I recalled the “Lizzo Has Writer’s Block” skit from the Please Don’t Destroy team at Saturday Night Live, in which Lizzo sought the group’s expertise to help her write a new song, and fast, so she didn’t get murdered by Andrew Dismukes. One of their tactics was a call-and-response effort — to no avail.

To start, she said, “I woke up feeling..” to which they responded, “Anxious!”

No, no, no … Lizzo doesn’t write anxiety bangers, y’all. She writes about self-love and empowerment, characteristics I affirmed to incorporate into my fall manifestation. I imagined my years-too-long social anxiety as the stumbling block on the way to my success. I imagined it as the poison that keeps the limbs on my tree of life from reaching their widest radius.

So when I was invited to Emberglow for a friend’s birthday bash, I, of course, accepted. What better setting to conjure the healing properties of Mother Nature and revel in her crisp, autumnal majesty?

So westward I ventured to enjoy some camping and the opportunity to reconnect with friends (and myself) in an al fresco fashion (away from screens). We enjoyed the outdoor pool and community fire pit — for one day at least until a seasonal deluge redirected us. I guess the weather gods and goddesses disapproved of our travel plans after all. 

We downloaded some Netflix movies to our iPad in case of more inclement weather. Still, after some cogitation, we tucked tail and drove home. Honestly, I would rather watch movies on the comfort of my own couch than in the back of a leaky van. So no magical outdoor meditation experiences were in store for me after all *sigh.* 

Silver lining: Lizzo had my back the whole drive home. 

Because intention-setting shows up differently for each of us, I cannot tell you where to place your focus. I can only recommend what works for me: a healthy mix of daily yoga, meditation when I can squeeze it in, and a lot of Lizzo played loudly with certain songs on repeat (or rewatch Dirty Dancing for the umpteenth time, as it’s a movie that Lake Lure is famous for).

My other suggested activities while you’re way out west are walking the Lake Lure Flowering Bridge and hiking Chimney Rock.

By the way, did you know there is an old town named Buffalo at the bottom of Lake Lure? Apparently, the orts of an 1800s Gold Rush town still lie 50 feet beneath the surface. Creepy.

So seek your next outdoor adventure in the Blue Ridge foothills of western North Carolina, aka WNC (which covers the mountainous areas west of Charlotte to the Tennessee state line, up to the Virginia border, and down to South Carolina) without the harsh expense of a plane ticket or breaking the bank on gas.

And an additional note to campers: You must complete your booking online for Emberglow beforehand. Sites fill up quickly, so book as soon as possible if you plan to travel with a group. And don’t forget to check the forecast!

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