This past weekend we packed our bags and headed up to Blowing Rock in the beautiful Blue Ridge mountains for an overnight trip. Normally being a day trip, it amazes me the intense coordination and planning it takes for us to ‘get away’ for just one night. The house sitter for our baby boy Mojo, food and drink shopping for said house sitter, coordinating the alarm system, etc. Of course, it does help knowing the house sitter is non other than my baby girl and her robust boyfriend. So at least there’s no huge guesswork on food choices there.
We stayed in this same place March of last year, a week after Keith proposed – so this return trip was very special to us. Originally built in 1874, the adorable hotel is called The Hemlock Inn. Today, the original inn has been completely refurbished with additional rooms having been added. Each of the beautifully decorated historic rooms offer individual rustic mountain settings complete with hardwood floors and antique decor. Each room having it’s own unique decor, we opt to stay in a different room each time. This was our room last weekend:
Here’s a couple shots from their website showing what’s in store once our beautiful warm summer weather decides to arrive (and stay).
Knowing the shops on Main Street so well, I was surprised we’d never been in the Six Pence Pub. Then I remembered neither of us are bar people, never have been! But since this place came highly recommended, we decided to pop in after we were checked and settled in our room. It did not disappoint. Though I didn’t get them in the picture, I’ll have to admit the fried pickles here are probably the best I’ve ever had.
Of course the trip would not have been complete without a leisurely drive on the Blue Ridge Parkway before we left on Sunday. It’s my dream to someday drive the entire Parkway from start to finish. We always gravitate to ‘our’ overlook… Big Bear overlook. This overlook has 360º scenic views and is very near Price Lake. It was disappointing to see that someone had stolen the rustic sign that’s resided there since we started coming – I guess this tells me it’s not just ‘our’ favorite overlook.
Here’s another panoram of the luxurious mountain laurel.
As usual, I found a t-shirt in a local store that I just couldn’t leave without. This shirt might as well have come preprinted with my name on it…
So I guess I’ll save my story of walking around naked in the dark with a gun for another time.
My, how I’ve missed my little weblog. The last time I posted, Keith had hit a deer with his truck. He thankfully escaped injury to his self, but his truck (and the deer) was a hot mess.
What I failed to mention was the very next day was to be our 5th annual New Years beach trip. I was honestly ready to cancel any out of town plans at this point, but he seemed intent on going and rented an SUV so that we could still accommodate Mojo. Our first full day there, a small tornado touched down and ripped the roof smack off our condo. I was sitting on the couch against the wall and actually felt myself being lifted when it hit. Soon after, we discovered a large piece of the roof missed hitting our rental car by mere feet. Although it doesn’t show the extent of the damage from everything that fell (roof lights, concrete bags, etc.) here’s a photo of the aftermath.
Parts of the roof are visible on top of the adjacent restaurant and under the palms on the asphalt. Keith had just walked Mojo in this same area 10 minutes prior to it happening. What is it they say again about those silver linings?
Aside from a lot of cleanup noise including chainsaws, a crane and lots of workerbees – the rest of the trip was awesome. One of my favorite memories would be our farewell balloons. We each assigned a few private hells from our past, then sent them out to sea forever. The picture’s pretty poor, but believe me when I say it’s very therapeutic to watch these babies go until you can’t see them anymore. Then they’re just… gone.
I so enjoy watching the souls of the surfers… had to share this shot.
Flash forward to now. Other than a few sushi dinners, a winter storm, watching my fellow southerners make national news with their stupid driving, a dog that wouldn’t allow us to build a snowman, an extreme gum-popper at work, a few dozen Twilight movie reruns, a couple nice unplanned car repairs and vet visits, and a sick husband diagnosed with pneumonia at the urgent care today – life has been pretty typical since the first of the year. Aside from the temporary pneumonia bit, we’re still on our honeymoon and we don’t see that ending anytime in the near future. 😀 But I’ve definitely got my nurse Bon hat on, the poor guy.
Have I mentioned I’m stoked for full-time flip-flop wear again?
When I was a kid, my Mom used to point out the sand on the side of the road to indicate we were getting close to the beach. I must’ve worn the question “Mommy, how much longer ’til we’re there?” into the ground. She finally found a way to divert my attention from that irritating question every
ten minute s – to pay attention for my own self to my own surroundings. Another great lesson in life by a great Mom.
Now when I’m on the way to the beach, I still pay attention to how the red dirt slowly evolves into beautiful white sand. Except now, I also appreciate the beauty of it. It serves two purposes.
Sometimes it takes patience while you’re waiting on the dirt to evolve into white sand. As my dear uncle used to say, ‘such is life’.
Ever felt like you’ve bonded with an animal of the wild? I tend to bond with many of the seagulls, at least I like to think so. This little girl seemed ever-accommodating – a trait I see as both admirable and disturbing. I named her Bon.
“Only once in your life, I truly believe, you find someone who can completely turn your world around. You tell them things that you’ve never shared with another soul and they absorb everything you say and actually want to hear more. You share hopes for the future, dreams that will never come true, goals that were never achieved and the many disappointments life has thrown at you. When something wonderful happens, you can’t wait to tell them about it, knowing they will share in your excitement. They are not embarrassed to cry with you when you are hurting or laugh with you when you make a fool of yourself. Never do they hurt your feelings or make you feel like you are not good enough, but rather they build you up and show you the things about yourself that make you special and even beautiful. There is never any pressure, jealousy or competition but only a quiet calmness when they are around. You can be yourself and not worry about what they will think of you because they love you for who you are. The things that seem insignificant to most people such as a note, song or walk become invaluable treasures kept safe in your heart to cherish forever. Memories of your childhood come back and are so clear and vivid it’s like being young again. Colours seem brighter and more brilliant. Laughter seems part of daily life where before it was infrequent or didn’t exist at all. A phone call or two during the day helps to get you through a long day’s work and always brings a smile to your face. In their presence, there’s no need for continuous conversation, but you find you’re quite content in just having them nearby. Things that never interested you before become fascinating because you know they are important to this person who is so special to you. You think of this person on every occasion and in everything you do. Simple things bring them to mind like a pale blue sky, gentle wind or even a storm cloud on the horizon. You open your heart knowing that there’s a chance it may be broken one day and in opening your heart, you experience a love and joy that you never dreamed possible. You find that being vulnerable is the only way to allow your heart to feel true pleasure that’s so real it scares you. You find strength in knowing you have a true friend and possibly a soul mate who will remain loyal to the end. Life seems completely different, exciting and worthwhile. Your only hope and security is in knowing that they are a part of your life.”
Oh, he was indeed a rare find – God broke the mold when he created Bob Marley. I wanted to share my ‘rare find’ of a gem from our New Years beach trip. I paid too much for it, but it’s a Billabong so it’ll probably still be here after I’m long gone. Do know that I will be wearing this thing all summer long and it’ll have to be pryed from my nubby little fingers to make it into the washing machine. It’s true – come next Summer, there will be one 44-going-on-24-year-old woman running around in a (very fashionable, might I add?) Marley tank. Sue me.
I. Love. This. Thing. Have I mentioned I’m going to see my Red Hot Chili Peppers in a few weeks with my daughter (her Christmas present to me)? And did I mention Lo-WER Le-VEL? So see, sometime between now and then I’ve got to get my cool back. Thanks for the head start, Mr. Marley. 🙂
In searching for the post I wrote about last New Year’s beach trip, I found I never wrote one. This surprised me since it was such a beautiful time and the weather was so mild. I guess this is old news now, but at least it’ll get posted in the year 2011. Oh, well.
Each year we go to the coast to bring in and celebrate the New Year. It’s become customary for us to do this, and I like traditions. We stay somewhere different every time, and have found the winter season a good time to familiarize ourselves with the different hotels in the area. The hotel choices can even be a bit more exclusive in the winter because of the rates. The lodging possibilities really are endless.
Glow-bracelets and necklaces are a must for New Years Eve at the beach, because you’ve got to be able to see each other. 🙂 After that, they’re assigned a proper resting place on the terrace.
In addition to the firework show at Broadway on New Years Eve, the fireworks are also plentiful on the beach. You don’t even have to buy any, just sit back and enjoy the ones that others bought. 🙂
On our most recent trip we visited the Aquarium, I’d wanted to go for years now. We instantly fell in love with it, and when it came time to leave almost couldn’t pry ourselves out of the large ‘tunnel’ area where you’re able to walk under the sharks and other marine life. It was like being ‘at one’ with these amazing animals. We talked about how awesome it would be to spend the night in there – the pictures really don’t do justice.
In looking back over my photos, I was disappointed that I’d not gotten pictures of the thing I fell in love with most there (aside from the sharks) – the stingrays. There were many different kinds, and they seemed to really enjoy seeing the people and showing off for us. The ones I loved the most looked like they actually had a ‘head’. They seemed the most entertaining, and even appeared to be smiling for us. I’ll definitely get some shots of them if we go back to the Aquarium this year.
There’s enough people here still during the New Year’s holiday to keep things interesting… but it’s still not crowded. I do think this coast at New Year’s thing is catching on, though. If the sea is your thing, being here for the holiday is magical and enchanting – dare I say, almost dreamlike. It’s definitely a different state of mind, and makes a great start to a brand New Year.
At long last, we’re making a little trip down to the coast. Sure it’s no 7-day caribbean cruise like my daughter just came back from, but it totally works for me. It’ll be nice to get away, even for a few nights! Forecast is calling for cooler temps with possible showers, but it’s all good since we’re not currently in the path of a hurricane. Hoo – wahh.
Last night Keith mentioned taking a couple of rods with us so we could go pier fishing – something I’ve wanted to do for years. Being a fishie myself, I’ll of course throw back any fishies that I’m lucky enough to snag. ‘Cause that’s how I roll.
All this led me to some serious thinking.
Common Sense Beach Thoughts, by Bon:
- It’s September, so don’t wade too far out in the ocean if you favor the concept of a complete pair of legs.
- While enjoying a leisurely stroll on the beach, keep a sharp eye out for those huge wooden structures called piers. Avoid any and all contact between them and the top of your head.
- Relish the memories of previous parasailing events and resist the urge, however strong, to do it again. Your luck on not having yet become just another accident statistic is bound to run out sometime.
- Do not opt to eat at Taco Bell immediately prior to taking a dolphin watch cruise on the ocean.
- Never wait until mid-September to decide you’d like to add ‘just one more bathing suit’ to your collection. All that’s left in that area of the store is chirping crickets.
Now… if I can just figure out where to score one of these fins and an invisible push-up bra
I’ll be set. The hair extension part is easy.
I love spontaneous roadtrips. With us they usually end up in the mountains, and I’ve grown to love the area a lot. Yesterday we set out early to Maggie Valley/Cherokee, NC. This is the location of mine and Keith’s very first trip together over two years ago, and I was surprised to see how much I remembered about it! Maybe my old memory isn’t as bad as I thought it was. Keith has Cherokee roots from his mother’s side of the family, and even looks the part. He could probably put on a headdress and pass very well.
We mostly walked both towns and perused the shops,, and ended up in Waynesville to eat dinner. Thought I’d share some photos of my favorite findings of the day – I hope everyone has a enjoyable and safe Labor Day Weekend!
This morning I drove past my favorite bull in the misty morning field, and noticed a little calf with exactly the same coloring he has. I just had to smile. The slightest hint of autumn air whisked past me – I’d recognize this transition even if I weren’t conscious of the coming season change. I don’t mind autumn, really I don’t – I think of it as an end-of-summer reward at it’s best. At last, we will have bearable temperatures, cool nights, and gorgeous colors everywhere. I can even go hiking again. I’m just not fond of what comes next – bare trees, blustery cold mornings of devoting an extra fifteen minutes to defrost the car, the careful layering of our clothing to keep warm. I sleep about twice as much in the winter, hibernating like a bear. A cute little mama bear, that is. 🙂
Lucky for us, we have the current friendly neighborhood hurricane season to take our minds off those imminent winter days and nights! Oh, yay. Katia looks to be the next big boy coming our way. Incidentally, my daughter sails off from Tampa on Sunday for a seven-day cruise. She’ll be hitting some optimal ports – Cozumel, Belize, Isla Roatan Honduras and Grand Caymen. Tonight we’re taking her out to dinner bon-voyage style at our favorite Japanese hibachi restaurant. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a bit nervous about the weather for her. I know it’s to be expected, though…
Because that’s how September rolls.
My mother and her husband finally got out of town for a couple of days. She’s had a rough Summer with her brother passing away recently from a terminal illness, add to that the fact they haven’t been anywhere in years. Everyone deserves a vacation every now and then, and it’s been way too long for them.
Our family has this unique ability of finding humor in our own self, and Mom is no exception. The kind of laughter I heard from her yesterday was priceless, it’s the kind of laughter I haven’t heard in a long time. Mammaw was terrific at it too, and Mom is definitely a chip off the ole’ block! She was laughing so hard I couldn’t even understand her (no alcohol involved). Of course she couldn’t leave her husband out of the ‘roast’, so he got included too. 🙂
The complicated directions they were given to their room in the casino hotel made me think of the Griswold’s Vegas Vacation. There’s my sick sense of humor – I usually think of a movie to compare things to. Now, if Mom comes home with Wayne Newton on her arm I’m gonna have to give her a lecture.
Ever have a place you’ve visited just stick with you – certain sights and events bringing the place fresh back into focus? As I crossed the sunrise-laden bridge this morning, I was reminded again of a visit a couple of years ago to a little portside town in Virginia – to a little town called Urbanna.
I think about this place every time I see a sunrise. I think about it every time I pass over the river on the way to work. I think about it most every time I lay my eyes on a boat. Sometimes I consider this a burden and wish it to be lifted from me; to regain the ability of forming my own thoughts and memories from such sights. It doesn’t seem meant to be, though – and this morning was no exception.
Urbanna is located on Virginia’s middle peninsula on the Rappahannock River, which eventually spills into the beautiful and majestic Chesapeake Bay. This historic town was originally established as a port for the shipment of tobacco to England. The old tobacco warehouse built in 1766 is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and serves today as the Visitors Center. This warehouse is located on Virginia Street, which ironically enough is one of my favorite streets there.
The town itself is as friendly as the day is long, and the locals seem to go out of their way to please you. They are proud of their towns history and the fact that aside from the annual Oyster Festival which attracts 70,000 each November, Urbanna is still able to maintain that hometown feel. As you walk through town, it’s almost as though nothing at all has changed since the fifties. The in-town drugstore still has a fully-operational diner inside, complete with swivel-seat barstools. Even the streets seem to want to tell you their story as you stroll down them.
I learned being rocked to sleep by the waves is one of my most favorite things, as well as waking up the next morning to the sunrise over the water. I ended up adapting to that little sailboat so quickly it about made my own head spin. Within a day I’d perfected my way around atop and below the boat – finding out exactly what I could hang onto and what I couldn’t, and what I could swing from and what I couldn’t. 🙂
I was sad to learn of the vineyard I visited closing down in 2010, White Fences Winery and Vineyards. What a nice drive over the bridge where you can see the Rappahannock River merging with the Chesapeake Bay. Unlike some local wineries, White Fences had acres and acres of vineyards to walk. The massive greenery would hold your imagination captive for as long as you would allow it.
The town slogan, as it appears on main page of their very well-put-together website:
“Turn off the main road. Or cruise up the Rappahannock River from the Chesapeake Bay. To the slightly off the beaten track tidewater town of Urbanna,Virginia. Home of Virginia’s official oyster festival, more boats than folks and laid back innkeepers, shopkeepers, chefs and townspeople who’ll help you shuck your stress and slip into an island state of mind.”
Yep… in this case, I’d say the city slogan fits quite well.
Although I appreciate most genres of music, I’ll admit I’ve grown into a country music kinda girl. My thanks to Keith who keeps me current with other stuff like hip-hop, pop and rock – if it weren’t for him, I’d be stuck on just country for sure.
I love this song. Listening to it puts me in a
car pickup on the way to the beach or mountains for a long four-day weekend. Sun’s high in the sky, and it’s mild enough out to have the windows down blowing my hair everywhere. Instead of a beer beside me, there’s an ice-cold diet Coke or diet Dr. Pepper – no DUI for me, thanks.
But when we arrive at the beach/mountains, I’m poppin’ that top. To whoever made this video, you deserve to be at a million hits by now. I tip my hat to you for a fantastic job…
Yeah, I’m chillin’ on a dirt road…
Laid back swervin’ like I’m George Jones.
In reverse order.
The Christmas season has officially begun for most, but for some reason my mind seems to remain stuck on a warm, tropical setting. Instead of Christmas shopping this weekend, I’d rather be packing for a several-day stint at the beach for New Years. I can’t get it off my mind, and anxiously await the week before to at least see how the weather’s looking for the New Year.
I’m going to give my best attempt at finishing my Christmas shopping this weekend. I’m sure they’re will be a few extras to get next week, but even getting the majority done will be a huge relief. In the meantime, I’ll catch a few new oceanic documentaries that my love dvr’d recently for our viewing enjoyment. Uh-oh, here comes that tropical feeling creeping ’round again…
Although my body might be back in the piedmont, my heart and soul is still at the beach.
Figured I’d share a few pictures of where most of me still resides…
of where a large piece of me will likely always reside.
Sunrise on our last day there. The ocean was so calm on this morning,
so different from all the strong waves and currents earlier in the weekend.
I love this picture. Before I slightly enhanced the lighting of it,
this could’ve been either the sun or the moon that lit up the ocean.
K and his newfound little buddies.
They seemed to adore him (almost) as much as I do.
Their colors were so rich and true… couldn’t quite capture it on camera.
The sunshine making water diamonds on the beautiful Atlantic.
Yes, my mindset is most definitely still here.
♥ My Heart. ♥
K helped me gather shells for this little work of art.
Out on Second Avenue Pier.
I could literally camp out at the end of a pier and sleep all night.
We’re taking the poles with us next time!!
Hope everyone has a wonderfully long and blessed weekend.
Sitting in front of the Atlantic ocean writing a blog has just now become one of my favorite things to do. My love is beside me, as well as a cooler full of cold beers… and waves are crashing so rhythmically that it’s a sound finer than that of any music I’ve ever heard.
I stole the idea from Perpetually Peeved to keep track of blog ideas via the ‘notes’ app on my iPhone. Works pretty well… although mine are far less interesting than hers. Here’s what I have so far, in raw form:
• People wading around in the cold ocean, and swimming in the unheated pool.
• Old couple walking the dog with the ball in his mouth the whole time.
• Beautiful bright spinning star that changes colors (Sirius).
• ‘Beetlejuice’ star that is constantly red, part of the constellation ‘Orion’ the Hunter.
• Waiting for a prettier shell to come along.
There’s more that packed this already jumbled head but I’m still trying to get the hang of jotting things down before I forget! It’s not fun maneuvering a blog around via a phone, so I’ll end this with an attempt to load a picture.
Blessings to all for a wonderful weekend!!
I’ve been slammed at work the past couple of days which I know is a good thing – although it’s not so much my normal production work, it’s those challenges that come around every so often that make my head hurt. I know, all the better to keep the old brain sharpened. The icing on the cake just came when our payables person just told us our pay will be deposited a day late, for reason of the Veteran’s Day holiday. Amazing. Some people do actually still live paycheck to paycheck, and what a difference one damn day can make in such a case.
We’re going to try to get to the coast this weekend. It’s still in the dream stages right now as no lodging has been reserved, but a big dream nonetheless. To feel the ocean breeze in my face… well it just sounds heavenly.
Here’s to Wednesdays, and the fact that it’s 5 o’clock somewhere.
As I gaze out at the ocean this morning waiting for the sun to rise (wish I were there…gotta love those webcams) I once again find myself analyzing me. Go away, overanalyzer. I force my thoughts elsewhere, as the analyzer diligently struggles to return.
Thought you all might enjoy a few snaps of the sunrise over the sunrise over the Atlantic this morning, taken off the South Carolina Coastline. Live webcam can be found here, and the snapshots I took below are courtesy of.
Real beauty comes from within.
The world always looks brighter from behind a smile. So smile! Besides, the sunshine is good for your teeth.
The spaces between your fingers were created so that another’s could fill them in.
I love deadlines. I especially like the whooshing sound they make as they go flying by.
Never argue with an idiot. They drag you down to their level and then beat you with their experience.
Although rare – once in a while, in the middle of an ordinary life… love gives us a fairy tale.
Goodbye to the three-day weekend – but oh, how I enjoyed it’s stay! It brought much cooler temps and beautiful skies – a chance to rest as well as the opportunity to get some things done.
A day-trip to the mountains was just what the doctor ordered. The weather couldn’t have been more perfect, and the crowds were even manageable. After miles of hiking on some not-so-desirable terrain, we could both probably use the care of a doctor. The statement “we’re sore” doesn’t quite describe the magnitude of the pain. Until today, I’ve never had trouble at all getting down my stairs. I had to laugh at myself this morning and hope no one was looking as I stepped sideways down the steps in an attempt to minimize the strain.
What amazed me about Sunday was the visibility factor. One worker pointed out two mountains in the distance that are ‘local’ to us – Kings Mountain and Crowders Mountain. Those mountains were now approximately 75 miles away, and we could still make out their silhouettes perfectly. Amazing!
Now if you’ll excuse me… I’m off to see how long I’m able to break the rules by donning my white threads after Labor Day.
What is it about the mountains? Hmmm…
Ever since K and I started dating, it’s kind of been our forte. For some reason we’ve just always gravitated here. I never was much of a mountain person previously – I mean, I tolerated the area, I just didn’t yearn for it. I guess I didn’t appreciate it. But now… well now, it’s different somehow…
Is it the cleaner air… the clearer views that stretch so very far… the endless abundance of trees, the greenery… the feeling that I’m on ‘top of the world’… or possibly the fact that I don’t have cellphone service…
Whatever the case, once again I yearn for it. The cooler air shall usher in endless possibilities for the area, and my mind is scrambling…
Oh how I’ve missed my little blog! I feel the weight of a thousand plus words just waiting to be written, though I’ll spare you that one today. It really is amazing how dependent I’ve gotten on this ‘release valve’ of mine (I love calling it that) and when I can’t write, or vent, well – it’s like a part of me is missing.
Late last week I graciously acquired a case of the intestinal flu. I have not been this sick in at least twenty years – it literally landed me on my ass. This is something that I would not wish on my very worst enemy. I was more than a little concerned over our beach trip and the fact that my boyfriend would also contract this highly contagious virus, since we’d been together for dinner just the night prior. Amazingly enough, as of right now post-weekend – he’s still virus-free. I thank the Lord for this.
So we had our little beach trip. 🙂 K called it ‘one of the most amazing times he’s ever had’ to which I have to agree. Ironically enough, his sister and her husband were also taking a trip down there, staying 2 blocks up from us! It made for double fun, we got together for a bikini lunch on the beach then had dinner later at Murrell’s Inlet, and barhopped a couple of venues there on the tiki strip.
Saturday night, we went out to the infamous Garden City Pier (I heart this place) where in peak season, a band plays at both ends of the pier. We actually found a table at the end of the pier where the band Coldshot was playing. Keith made a dream of mine come true when he stood and held his hand out to me for our first slow-dance ever on the pier. I can honestly say I have never been more in love with him than at that very moment – and it’s that moment in time I know I’ll remember for the rest of my life.
Another first happened when we were in the ocean – we were about waist-deep (chest-deep with the waves) when he noticed about 100 or so feet out a pack of dolphins gracing us with their presence. As the waves allowed, we watched them move rhythmically in and out for about 8 minutes from one side of the ocean to the other, until they finally faded from our sight. I’ve never physically been in the ocean and privy to dolphin sitings all at once, and we both felt very privileged.
I’ll even go so far as to say it was magical. But then again… so was the dance.
K and I went out for Mexican last night to a fave little hangout, then touched on a few stores looking for a very particular type of lounge-chair. The chairs look something like this…
These chairs just look like us. And yes, there’s a particular reason we need want them. There will be an upcoming beach trip in our future. Not a long one, but one nonetheless. A high-rise oceanfront trip to the beach is very much mandated at this time… as well as a few slow dances on the end of a very long pier, Nights in Rodanthe style.
Our last beach trip was during New Year’s Eve 2010, which was absolutely the coolest New Year’s I’ve ever had – not to mention the most meaningful. I don’t even have words to describe the deep respect he and I have for one another – the things we’ve been through together and how we’ve chosen to deal with them have only served to make each of us a stronger and hopefully wiser individual.
The philosophical tangent is done. Suffice it to say I need a vacation. As for K? Well, put a man on a decade-plus long stretch of no vacations, and believe me when I say he’s ready too.
And I’m more than willing to help entertain. 🙂