Friday, August 29, 2014

KY, VA, NC, among others (2)

 ~ wine tasting at the Biltmore

 ~ laundry and groceries in Asheville

 ~ Great Smoky Mountain National Park

~cutting sticks for fairy houses

~ Jr. Ranger program: helping catalogue invertebrates of the river

~ the Dragon Fly Larvae Greta and I found

 ~ this and next two photos by Greta

 ~ waterfalls at Deep Creek "hike"

 ~ Greta and my evening hike from Balsam Mountain Campground

Looks like my "quick posting some trip pictures" will involve more than I planned... thanks to unplanned sickness (my own) and feeling a little better, we're not just watching old movies today and I can pretend like I'm accomplishing something (with a non-functioning washing machine and an unfinished porch with a self-imposed deadline, any accomplishment is okay in my book, especially if I don't have to deal with the standing-whilst-sick headpounding.)  Though the girls thoroughly enjoyed Charade, one of my favorite movies ever, so we did have a fun afternoon yesterday.

This was the middle section of our trip, where we pushed through a lot of traffic and rolling hills and had a lovely campsite tucked away on the edge of the camp.  Biltmore was fantastic, but not for a tired 8-yr-old on an extremely busy Saturday - someday Jeff and I will be back for some behind-the-scenes tours and eating at their (expensive) restaurants.  The Smoky's were... okay.  Our campsite was 45 minutes away from everything, which was tough (but quiet), and most of the "things to do" were around the perimeter of the park also, and not accessible without hours of driving.  We still couldn't do big hikes, as Gret's ankle still hurt from Shenandoah, so we were limited in our activities.  The girls built a spectacular fairy house at camp, though, and learned to use an ax!  (homeschooling: check.)

Now for resting up and preparing as much as possible for the rapidly approaching chaos.  I do think my body periodically forces downtime, as I'm not very good at it otherwise.  We'll finish up vacation with a cave visit.  Stay tuned!

Saturday, August 23, 2014

KY, VA, NC, among others (1)

~ in the insect rooms at the Creation Museum

~ Rosemary in Virginia

~ setting up camp at Shenandoah National Park

~ Dark Hollow Falls hike

~ Rosemary helps mail postcards at Byrd Visitor Center

~ our friendly neighborhood black bear, 
who frequented our edge-of-the-campground site
(we avoided him, he avoided us!)

~ view from our hotel, Asheville, NC

Too busy soaking up the end of summer, too busy starting more homeschool, too busy working on the upstairs porch (to finish before the chaos of post-Labor Day begins), I wasn't going to sit down with pictures from our trip East. But we had a few minutes today, since I'm waiting to paint until after Jeff finishes trim, (I'm listening to the air compressor and nail gun right now), and decided this was do-able.  And that I wanted to do it.

We haven't been East in a long while, the girls never.  They added six new states and three new Junior Ranger badges, we visited three National Parks and whatever "National" the Blue Ridge Parkway is.  ("National Parkway" the internet tells me.)  I'm a list-maker, can you tell?  We found places we loved and will visit again and places we mark of the list as been-there-done-that.  So many beautiful views, short hikes, chilly nights, (impromptu stop at REI for a better sleeping bag for the girls, this has been the second major trip Greta's frozen at night), grouchy kids, good food, (not so good food), fairy house building, and lots of hilly winding roads where the speed limit is a joke ("Um, yeah, ain't no one going 45mph on this road!" we said more than once).  New-to-us Big Red Van now has 3,500 more miles, and we have a different car picture with "123,456" on the odometer.

Hopefully I'll get to the second half of the trip soon, because I'm planning on some quiet around these parts and the summer winds down and the school season picks up.

Thank you for your visit to our family vacation slide show!