Thursday, March 22, 2012
Long Overdue Update
Biltmore Estate - Asheville, North Carolina
It was never my intent to go this long without posting. After our fall break adventures, we didn't do a whole lot of traveling, but there was some fun to be had. Lest anyone think we sit around idly twiddling our thumbs, I'll do one of those quick recaps with a picture or two from each month. After all, a picture is worth a thousand words and will get the blog caught up to the present. Just to whet the old appetite, I'll say that the 2012 Summer Adventure is fully planned and the excitement is building. Much more about that coming later.
In mid-November, we met friends from college for a weekend at Boyd Mountain Cabins, our favorite go-to spot in Waynesville, NC. We stayed in the Clinch Valley Cabin which was a new one for us. These are very special friends that we don't get to see nearly often enough given the fact that they are only 2 1/2 hours away, but when we do see them, time just melts away! We headed over to Biltmore on Saturday where I took the above picture on an absolutely perfect fall day. Our friends had to leave early Sunday morning, so Bill and I headed out for a fall hike on what has become one of my favorite trails in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Flat Creek Trail isn't long, but boy is it ever packed with beauty. The upper trailhead is on a road which had already been closed for the season, so our solitude was complete. It was a perfect day!
Upper end of Flat Creek Trail near Heintooga Picnic Area
After a wonderful Thanksgiving spent with our family, we rolled right on into December. We traditionally celebrate Bill's completion of another semester with an adventure of some sort. My sister was performing as part of a back-up choir during a concert in Nashville that coincided with the end of finals, so off we went. We stayed in another of our favorites, Uncle Pete's at Rockhaven Cabins in Mt. Juliet. We found this delightful oasis when there was only one cabin (Magnolia), but have since stayed many times in all three. Rhonda and Nate Powell have lovingly BUILT and decorated these cabins which are located on the property where Nate was born and grew up. Unfortunately, Rockhaven's beauty has been discovered and it is becoming increasingly difficult to find any of the three cabins available. Since my sister was in the concert, we did not get to see her at all, but enjoyed treating our two nieces to dinner and attending the concert with them and the oldest niece's fiance. We spent the rest of our time walking some of the greenways we love, meandering around the Opryland Hotel, and of course, shopping at Whole Foods and Trader Joe's. The daughter of the friends mentioned earlier lives and works in Nashville, so we took the opportunity to enjoy lunch with her at Brick's Cafe and get caught up on what's been happening in her life. We met other friends for dinner in Franklin at an amazing place which, unfortunately, I cannot recall its name. Looking back, no wonder we were exhausted when we got home!
Opryland Hotel - Nashville, TN
Christmas, 2011 came and went with much celebration. This was our second Christmas without Bill's dad and although we still miss him every day, the holiday season was much easier this year than last.
For the first time in over a decade, we did not go to Florida during Bill's break. It was an experiment to see how much we missed it. And we did! But we also thoroughly enjoyed being at home and one of us got the winter hiking season begun in fine style. Between January 1 and February 29, I hiked 95.6 miles and loved every minute of being in the woods. It doesn't matter to me how cold it is (you can always dress properly), my favorite time of year for hiking is winter. Clear blue skies and expansive views through the forest floor are instant calm for my soul and I simply can't get enough of it.
Bradley Fork Trail - Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Bradley Fork Trail - GSMNP
Cucumber Gap Loop - GSMNP
Cucumber Gap Loop - GSMNP
Indian Flats Falls with one of my many groups of hiking friends - GSMNP
While I was hiking, Bill was preparing his auditioned choral ensemble for their fifth annual Spring Break European Tour. This year's trip was to Germany. They left on March 2 returning on March 11 with tales of amazing experiences and videos of incredible concerts.
Did I let any grass grow under my feet while he was gone! Oh no, of course not! I took a solo trip to Atlanta and turned it into one of my favorite ways of travel. Ten hours to travel 216 miles. But that's another post all on its own.
Thanks for reading!
My plan is weekly updates - more often when we are traveling!