Tag Archive: vacation

It was barely over a week after we returned from Maine when it was time for me to “hit the road” again.  This time my trip took me south – to northeast GA – above Atlanta and not far from the SC border to my good friend Claire and Terry’s.  Terry is a minister on a Methodist “circuit” – serving two churches, and Claire and I were scheduled to play a “summer concert” at one of them.  We’ll play a Christmas concert at the other one in December.

I drove down on August 7th, arriving on the 8th.  We decided to take two days before getting down to work on our concert and go to the Blue Ridge Parkway.  I think it’s hot up here on Long Island?  I’m sorely mistaken as to what “hot” really means when experiencing what they call “summer” in Georgia.  It was so oppressive and “heavy” that when we’d go outside, it felt as if the air could knock you down!  However, the climate in the mountains on the “Parkway” is often 20 degrees cooler, and a few days there sounded like heaven.  At least we’d feel “refreshed” once we got back and had to go to work on preparing music.  At least the air conditioning in their house was a godsend.

So – off we went “to the mountains” – cameras in hand.  And – even though I managed to catch a cold / cough, I took close to 600 pictures in our two days there.  Yeah – I think I went overboard, and I went into “overwhelm” mode trying to decide which pictures were the ones to save to Flickr.  I narrowed it down to just a bit more than 200 pictures.  Now I’m again in overwhelm mode trying to choose the best ones to post here!  It is true that the more you post, the less likely that people will bother to look at them all, so it is imperative to be selective.

It’s hard because I loved the trip and my emotions are all wrapped up in each photo.  I am SO in love with the mountains.  It’s odd for me to say living as I do on two US east coast barrier islands:  Long Island and Hilton Head Island!  The ocean is what brings people to islands, and is what Ray loves.  I have learned to love the ocean from him – – but my heart will always be in the mountains.  As a child, we vacationed in the foothills of the White Mountains where they jut over into Maine – as have been posted in my last two entries (“Kezar Lake Maine:  A little slice of heaven and “Kezar Lake is vacationland!”).  Each year while there, we’d choose one mountain to climb.  I’m not much into that anymore (with my knees as they are) — but my memories of those family hikes, and the lovely views, remain.  My favorite views are of mountains — and I also much prefer a mountainous climate.  It’s usually cooler, crisper, and less humid.

Without further ado – here are photos – topically, rather than chroologically organized….

WILDFLOWERS – they are everywhere!

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1.  White Snakeroot

2.  Green Headed Coneflower – Echinacea

3.  Umbrella Leaf

4.  Touch-Me-Not

5.  (still unsure what this is)

6.  Bull Thistle

7.  Filmy Angelica

8.  Wild Blackberries

I have to admit — I do not know what any of these flowers actually are — except for the thistle in the one vertical picture, and the one which looks like blueberries are NOT blueberries!  Claire and Terry know a few, and often availed themselves of a wildflower book they kept in the car.  However, the names rolled off my brain like water off a dam  😦  If Claire gets here — I hope that she’ll share whatever she knows and I’ll update the blog!  I just concentrated on marveling at their beauty – not plant names!

EDIT!!  Claire has checked these flowers out and has helped me with some of the identifications and have posted what I know here.  I’ll add to it if I figure out any more of them.

We stayed overnight at the Cliff Dweller’s Inn – – a hotel in Blowing Rock, NC that’s built into the side of a hill.  It’s such a friendly, family owned place – – not an impersonal chain.  Even though the decor is “dated”, the rooms are spacious and clean, and the price is right, not to mention that they also have wifi *g*.  What more could you ask?  When we arrived at the motel for the night, there was a sign on the door that they had “stepped out” for 15 minutes, so we had some time to kill – and what better thing to do than take pictures of the flowers planted right there.  Again, I do not know what the flowers are:


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The 7th picture is the reflection of the motel on the window of the motel’s office.  The last picture are the motel’s units that are on a higher level than our room was.

On our second day we spent some time at the “Linn Cove Viaduct”, which was the last section of the Blue Ridge Parkway which was completed in September of 1987.  It was tricky construction, and quite an engineering feat, as it was built literally on the side of the mountain.  The idea was to make this roadway environmentally friendly to the area.  It’s as if the road is “meant” to be there, and is not some ugly structure that seems out of place in the surrounding beauty.  It was also built so that nearby Grandfather Mountain would not be marred by any road construction.  The Viaduct was constructed with 153 precast fifty-ton concrete segments with only one of them being “straight”.  They were not cast on parkway property, but constructed elsewhere and brought in.  One other tidbit of information:  They are held together *in part* by EPOXY GLUE.  Dear God, I didn’t need to know that!  It had best be VERY STRONG epoxy!  :-0

There is a pathway which takes you underneath that roadway where you can see how it was constructed, and I took many photos.  It was incredibly interesting….


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VISTAS – so many of them – hard to choose!

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1.  On one view – the clouds were dancing in the valley — making it look rather misty and ethereal
2.  The air continued to be unstable, making for some really pretty cloud cover
3.  Wildflowers at one vista — gorgeous.  I have close-ups of these
4.  Looking glass rock


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click the 1st picture to see the butterfly larger in my flickr account!  Also, the second flowwer is a Coneflower – Echinacea, and the last flowers are green headed coneflowers – Echinacea.

We were going to eat dinner at the Mt. Pisgah Inn, but because we had eaten lunch too late, we weren’t hungry, so decided to have dinner later once off the parkway and on our way home.  But — at the time we arrived, the late day sunlight was wonderful, and the Inn has wonderful views, so we stopped anyway…


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1.  The tree is Pyracantha Mohave – “Firethorn”

2.  The berries are from that tree

And – – I guess that is the photo overview of our two day trip.  There was so much more — like pictures coming out of tunnels, rock cliffs on the edge of the roadway, tiny water falls, and one picture of a fall leaf — a harbinger of fall to come!  However, this is long enough.  I’ll leave you with a picture of the three of us — taken by a kind stranger who offered to snap it of us:


Me, Claire, Terry


It’s been a crazy summer, and I admit I haven’t been all that happy in it and with myself as to how I’ve chosen to spend these months.  In short, I’ve lacked organization and motivation.  Quite frankly, I blame it mostly on the heat that was relentless and went on for days with what seemed to be no relief in sight.  I’ve alluded to my lack of tolerance for it a few posts ago.  Nothing excited me about my days, and I spent way too much time holed up in one of our two rooms which have a/c units.  I didn’t get enough sunshine, and exercise, and lacking those things breeds sluggishness and lack of focus.  I guess that pretty much sums it up…

However, there were a few bright spots – and that’s where I’m headed in this blog entry.  I am grateful for our 10 day trip to Kezar Lake Maine in mid July (17-27).  I shared a few photos from that week in my last entry here.  It was our first time there in 2 years, and it was a breath of fresh air (literally!) to finally be back.  The weather was cooler, though still warm for several daily lake swims.  It was also one of the first times Ray and I have been there alone without other family members.  This allowed us to do exactly what we pleased without worry that we’d break some sacred Maine tradition that would somehow send us “straight to hell”.  Of course I exaggerate when saying this, but it’s time that Ray and I forage our own Maine traditions suited just for us.

We had a motor boat ride….

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1.  Out in the main part of the lake headed south to Center Lovell

2.  Inside “north bay” – looking towards the islands

3.  Mountains that can be seen from within north bay – I think that is Evans notch and Speckled Mountain

4.  View of the old Cliffwood boathouse – in shambles.  One of these years it will fall into the lake!  When I was a kid, there were people living there in a house up on the hill – and we used to water ski off that boathouse!  That house has been torn to the ground.

…and a canoe ride down one of the brooks

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1.  Purple flowers gone wild!

2.  yellow water lily – and lily pad

3.  white water lily – and lily pads


We also read several books each, especially on the one rainy day in camp.  I like rainy days in camp as long as there is only one.  It’s cozy reading on the porch with the sound of the rain on the roof.  Our meals were simple – and we went out to eat on several nights to a new pub that is there, Ebenezer Kezar Pub in Center Lovell.  Great beer selections there….!

We also took one side trip to Portland.  I’d never been there before – and went to Freeport to L.L. Bean, then to the Portland Head lighthouse…

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When we arrived at the lighthouse – it was crystal clear.  Then we went into the museum to see – and read – some of the history about the light – and in only 20 minutes a very thick fog appeared!  What a change!

Then we went into Portland to have dinner – on the wharf at DiMillos, a restaurant that was a ferry that had been converted into a restaurant.  It had a great ambiance where pretty much every seat had a great view of the outside.  It was probably what would be considered a tourist trap, but – admit it – we WERE tourists!  Besides – the food was good and the atmosphere was fun.

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1.  Outside view of DiMillos

2.  Inside view of DiMillos

The weather really began to get bad while we were eating, and clearly a good sized thunderstorm was brewing.  We had a few blocks to RUN to get to our car and we barely made it before the skies opened.  Our trip back to camp was wild – with hail and tornado warnings in all the places where we were.  Later we found out there were some twisters – but we managed to not be there when they were!  there also had been quite a thunderstorm in camp, but we didn’t lose power, nor fry my computer, which had been plugged in while we were gone.

Next entry:  My trip to Atlanta – and a side trip to the Blue Ridge Parkway!

This is the best way I know to let you know what I’ve been up to – – and why I haven’t been posting!  Kezar Lake was the “vacationland” of my childhood, and it’s ranking pretty high as an adult.  Let the pictures do the talking for this blog entry….  🙂

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