North Carolina

50th Anniversary Celebration

When we left Montana at the end of August, we had exactly 6 weeks to make it back to Charlotte, NC for a very special occasion. We covered a lot of miles in those 6 weeks! The special occasion was a party for my parent’s 50th wedding anniversary. Not many people these days can say they’ve been married to the same person for 50 years. That’s quite an accomplishment and I’m so proud of them.

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The party was held at the Extreme Ice Center in Indian Trail and we couldn’t have been happier with the excellent customer service we received there. Many friends and relatives came in from out of town and we appreciate all of them so much, as well as all of the local friends and family that came out to celebrate with us! It was so much fun spending time with people that we haven’t seen in so long.

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Pre-party festivities at Mom and Dad’s house

My amazingly talented brother-in-law Chris and my sister Cheryl put together a really awesome video highlighting my parent’s story beginning from their dating years. There were a lot of really funny parts to the video and I love the pictures Chris captured here of everyone’s laughter.

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We had wonderful food, dancing and lots of laughing.

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My beautiful Mom with Cheryl and me

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Group picture with my mom’s sister Jackie and her brother John with wife Patty

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Lifelong friends: Jim & Beverly and Fred & Rita

After the party we went back to Mom and Dad’s house for some more family time. Yes I’m wearing pajama pants in the picture below. After a fun-filled day I was ready for “happy clothes”. ūüėČ

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My Aunt Jackie… I love her!

After the action-packed party weekend, some of us went to Hilton Head Island to continue the celebration for a few more days. We stayed in a really cute rental house together and had lots of fun playing games and just spending time together.

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My Chris (my brother-in-law is also named Chris so I have to distinguish by saying “my Chris” and “Cheryl’s Chris”) prepared a fabulous dinner one night for everyone including crab legs, salmon and steak.

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One day the guys played golf while Cheryl & I took the boys for a bike ride, and the rest of the ladies went shopping.

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One thing that made this trip extra special is that Chris & I were celebrating our 16th wedding anniversary that week and it just so happens that we were married in Hilton Head. We visited the Westin Resort where we were married and showed the boys the “scene of the crime”. ūüėČ Our wedding took place to the left in the picture below where the green roof is.

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Westin Resort, Hilton Head Island, SC

The week-long celebration was such a wonderful time for all of us! Next we headed back to Florida.

Categories: Fulltime RV'ing, North Carolina, South Carolina | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Home for the Holidays

Home. ¬†Where exactly do we call “home” when for the past year home has been where we parked it? ¬†Going¬†home consisted of a few different places this year. ¬†First, we went home to Fernandina Beach, Florida where we lived before we started traveling. ¬†Going home to Florida was a strange feeling. ¬†Wandering¬†around our old hometown and driving through our old neighborhood was really weird. ¬†Everything still looked pretty much the same, but felt so completely different. ¬†We visited with our old neighbors and it was strange to look across the street at our old house and realize I can’t just walk over there and go inside like I could have last year. ¬†It really was wonderful though to see some old friends. ¬†I really enjoyed catching up with one of my closest¬†friends Kim¬†over Mexican dip and wine. ¬†I really miss this girl!

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We camped¬†at Ft. Clinch State Park. ¬†Another blog post about that park later, but it was a real treat to stay there. ¬†I had tried several times to get a reservation there for weekend camping trips back when we lived just 10 minutes away. ¬†I used to ride my bike there and loved the campground, but it was always booked. ¬†It’s one of those state parks that you must book several months in advance to get in.

This is the beach just beside the campground loop we stayed in.

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While we were there¬†we visited Santa’s house because everyone knows that Santa Claus really lives in Fernandina Beach, Florida, not at the North Pole. ¬†We used to visit Santa several times every¬†December when we lived nearby. ¬†I have pictures of the boys with him every year since they were babies. ¬†Santa’s house always looks so beautiful!

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Going “home” for us also included a trip to Disney World. ¬†When we lived in Florida we usually had Disney annual passes and would go there several times a year. ¬†My favorite campground has always been Disney’s Ft. Wilderness, and even after all of the campgrounds we have stayed at this year, guess what? ¬†Ft. Wilderness is still my favorite! ¬†Visiting in December is my favorite time to visit because several of the campsites are decorated for Christmas and it’s really fun to ride the golf cart around at night and look at all the beautiful sites. ¬†This was one of the best. ¬†They had a lighted walkway to allow visitors to¬†walk around their site.

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The weather was beautiful that week and warm enough for the pool, and not the least bit crowded as you can see by the empty chairs in the background. ¬†I remember coming here when every single chair was taken and the pool was wall-to-wall people. ¬†It’s kind of nice to come when it’s not too busy. ¬†This was obviously in early December before the massive crowds that I heard were there this past week.

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Another great thing about visiting Disney in December is the amazing display of Christmas lights at Hollywood Studios.  I absolutely love seeing these lights that dance to Christmas music.  Sadly, this is the last year they will have this display.

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After Disney we visited my sister and brother-in-law at their new place in Georgia.  While we were there we went to another really nice Christmas lights display.  We love to take goofy pictures!

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And finally, coming “home” also meant home to Charlotte, NC where Chris & I lived before moving to Florida over 15 years ago. ¬†We enjoyed a wonderful family¬†Christmas at my parent’s house.

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We had a chance to see Chris’s sister and family that we have not seen in a few years so that was very¬†nice!

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It was also a nice treat to visit with old high school and college friends during our visits to GA and NC. ¬†Unfortunately I don’t have pictures of all the people we visited, but here are a couple.

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And of course I can’t forget to mention that Fat Cat enjoyed the holidays as well. ¬†She even got wrapped up in paper like a present and she liked hiding under the Christmas tree. ¬† ūüôā

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It was so nice to spend time with so many friends and family over the holidays.  To me, that is what coming home means.  Being at home means being with family.

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas season and have a blessed 2016!

Categories: Florida, Fulltime RV'ing, North Carolina | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Great Smoky Mountains National Park

We spent a few weeks around the Smoky mountains, but since it rained for a lot of the time we were on the Tennessee side we did not see much of the park from there.  By the time we moved to the NC side, we were able to do more exploring of the park.

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On a Sunday morning while we were in Cherokee, NC my parents drove out to spend the day with us.  I did not tell the boys that they were coming, so it was a great surprise when they showed up and knocked on the door.  We spent most of the day at the national park.

The first place we visited was the Mountain Farm Museum.

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Then we went¬†up to Clingman’s Dome. ¬†This was a strenuous uphill hike that I’m afraid had my parents wondering why they had decided to join us for this. ¬†But this was the highest point in the park with beautiful views. ¬†It was quite chilly up there too!

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I can see why they call these mountains the Smokies.

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After a quick lunch break we went on another hike up to Mingo Falls which was beautiful.

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Later that week we had a day off work for Veteran’s Day so we went back to do some more exploring of the park. ¬†We hiked a small portion of the famous Appalachian Trail. ¬†No, we didn’t make it the whole 1,972 miles to Maine.

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Then we visited Mingus Mill.  It was closed for the season but it was still pretty to see from the outside.

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We went back to see more of the Mountain Farm Museum so the kids could earn their Junior Ranger badges.  We also saw lots of elk there.

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The boys even got to learn about an outhouse!

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New Junior Ranger badges!

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After that we visited the Cherokee Indian Reservation.  It was really cool to talk to these guys and learn some of their history.

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Lastly we drove a portion of the Blue Ridge Parkway.  Unfortunately we missed the prettiest time of the year to see the fall colors.  By this time most of the leaves had already fallen off the trees.  But we drove through some cool tunnels.  I was glad we were not towing our house behind us at this point.

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We almost adopted a new cat while we were staying in Cherokee. ¬†This little stray cat came to visit us at our campfire each night. ¬†It might have had something to do with the fact that Chris kept feeding it, I don’t know! ¬† ūüôā ¬† ¬†Anyway this cat loved sitting by the fire because the nights were so cold! ¬†Fat Cat and this cat did not get along very well though so we still only have one cat. ¬†For that I am thankful, one is enough!

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We really enjoyed visiting the Smoky Mountains. ¬†It is such a huge national park that we were not able to see all of it, so we’ll just have to go back some day and see some more. ¬†Thanks for reading!

Categories: National Parks, North Carolina, Tennessee | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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