At least a little visual of it, anyway. This only scratches the surface of the surface of all that happened last year. I enjoy seeing photographer’s “best of *insert previous year*” photos. I decided to include some of my best and favorite shots of the year, as well as a few other random shots of life.
Every October I get the urge to travel to where there is leaf color change, and every October the weekends seem to fill up quickly. In 2010 my sister and I, along with 2 friends who were with us part of the time, spent 2 weeks in the New England states. If you are free to travel and can make this trip, do it!
This late spring, when my nephew and his girlfriend announced their engagement for an Oct. Virginia wedding, I decided to work in a trip to Babcock State Park. BSP has an iconic grist mill that is in a stunning setting. The park itself is kind of remote and not on the way to anywhere. We stayed in a cabin just up the lane from the mill. There are about 8 cabins back this lane.
We got lucky and got cabin 12 which only has 12 steps down to it. Even with that, the lane was about even with the roofline. Some of the others were were way down the hill. The good part was, there were closer to the rushing stream.
Our cabin was their “intermediate” level cabin. It was warmed only by a big open fireplace. We needed it because the night temperatures dipped into the 30s and the bright sunshine warming to daytime temps in the 60s hardly warmed the cabin because of all the trees. It had a full kitchen, though a bit rustic and small. There are not many restaurants or grocery stores close by so were glad we had planned ahead and picked up some things at a Kroger a few hours before we got there. They provide plenty of good fire wood, which burned nicely and cozily.
The best time to shoot the mill only sunny days is in the hours just after it gets light. When we were there, bright light didn’t hit it until after 9 AM. By 5:30 or 6, the sun was no longer hitting it. If you want to use a slow shutter speed to make the water look silky, you have to shoot when the sun is not hitting it.
There were quite a number of other photographers around morning and evening. We had to work around each other.
In the morning there was mist coming of the water. Can you spot the other photographer below? One of the ladies dressed in camouflage and she blended in well.
There’s a pretty lake in the park where you can rent boats in the summer. It was closed down for the season when we were there. In the morning there was mist dancing over the water.
We hiked one of the many trails in the park. This was along a narrow-gauge 2.5 mile trail. I’m not sure what this rail was used for, possibly mining purposes? There was a swinging bridge that we wanted to see and we got to within a short distance of it, but gave up because the trail hit a ravine, and I didn’t have shoes with enough support on plus the knee I had hurt a month and half ago was starting to ache a little.
The trail was muddy in some spots from recent rains. While not considered a treacherous trail, for a portion of it, one misstep close to the edge could’ve sent you rolling down a steep embankment.
We didn’t see all of the park but were impressed with its quiet beauty. I’m sure there was quite a bit more activity during the weekend because the cabins were all booked.
Leaving this area, we crossed the New River and stopped to snap a picture.
The beauty that does exist in spite of it being a fallen world boggles my mind as to what a perfect world would look like. One of the things I loved about the Sight and Sound’s In the Beginning show (I didn’t see this live, only saw the dvd version) was the idea that in the beautiful, perfect, sinless world were very large flowers. I never considered flowers that were 10 times larger than we have now. Imagine being able to use a gardenia for a pillow! That may or may not be how it actually was but it is fun to imagine!
Savannah has old beauty in its architecture and history. Springtime lights it up with flowers and brilliant new greens. There is really no off season for Savannah, but spring it is at its peak, in my opinion. I was there over Easter weekend with my sister and niece. It was fun to enjoy it with them!
Prepare for a photo overload!!
This first grouping is all taken around Forsyth Park.
I could just stare at this place all day!
This next set is from W Jones Street. It is a quiet residential street and has some of the most beautiful places.
Savannah has lots of humidity, and with lots of trees shading the area, viney things grow like mad.
Mrs. Wilkes Dining Room is located at 107 W Jones Street. If you want delicious, southern cuisine in an interesting and laid-back setting, this is the place to go. Be prepared to either arrive early and wait until opening time, or waiting in line to get a seat once they’ve emptied a table. They’re only open M-F for lunch, hence the high demand.
It seems as though I only get posts done any more of vacation and travel. I assure you that is not all that I’ve done the past year or more!
Let’s see … a few highlights of the past few months.
I. My family was home for Thanksgiving. We ate our meals in our mom’s garage. We were thankful for beautiful weather where we could do this with the doors open.
I found an idea on Pinterest that I used for the centerpiece. It’s a little hard to have a center piece with tables set up like this so we set up a card table in the center. The pumpkin is a little big for the size of the flower arrangement but otherwise I was pleased with it.
The flowers came from a local florist. Most florists will sell flowers by the pack or stem if you want to arrange them yourself (or if you’re like me and usually only want a few or have waited until the last minute to look for anything). Some grocery stores carry beautiful seasonal flowers but the 2 we have here don’t have a very good selection for a varied bouquet.
The jars for the candles came from HERE. I wanted them in time for a supper we host (See more info below).
My nephew is a pilot so we were able to enjoy an afternoon of flying over the local area.
There was, of course, a necessary stop at Cafe Euro on our way to the airport!
Along with volleyball, we played this game. I don’t remember what it’s called … Air 4-Square? 🙂
One afternoon we helped my sister and her family do some cleanup around the house they bought. They usually host a wiener roast over a fire at our winter family gatherings so we ate at their place. My 2 oldest brothers were in charge of them the meal featuring their favorite cooking methods … Dutch oven and grills.
II. A few weeks before Thanksgiving, the companies I work for hosted the 4th annual apprecation supper at our facility for the local public safety officials/employees (police, sheriffs, fire depts, EMS, Air Evac, etc.). My co-worker and a committee do all the planning and other businesses sponsor the food and money for door prizes. If you want to bless your local officials, this is a fun way to do it. And they are always so appreciative.
III. December is usually a busy month but since our family was together in Nov, I didn’t need to prep for that. Also, I design a calendar for church and for work I managed to get that done right before Thanksgiving too. Maybe I should’ve waited a little because I found a few errors. Grr! Double-checking and triple-checking doesn’t always find them. It was fun to be able to have time to help my sister and her family with some painting at their “new” house. They have done a lot of work to the house and it is fun to watch the transformation!
IV. We had a little quieter Christmas with a few siblings coming in from out of town plus local family. The week between Christmas and New Year I spent on Tybee Island. That deserves a post of it’s own!
V. January at work brings a lot of end-of-year things. Such as:
Getting out W2s for one company, payroll related forms (quarter and annual) for one company, 1099s for 4 companies (all under the same roof), annual corporation renewals for the same 4 companies, business license renewals for 2 companies, sales tax reporting for 1 company.
I’m always afraid I will forget one of them. I think this year I’ve got everything done on time, although as I was putting 1099s in envelopes last week I said, “Why do at the beginning of the month, what you can dread doing all month?!!” 🙂 Yes, I suffer from acute procrastination.
VI. I got to spend a weekend in Pinecraft, FL with a couple of friends. The oddity of Amish in paradise, as it were, (since beauitful, tropical city of Sarasota feels a bit like paradise) always cracks me up. I was as touristy as the next person, walking to Dutchmans for an early supper of Amish dressing/turkey/pot roast/dinner rolls, then strolling to Big Olaf’s that night for some ice cream. I will say this, though, driving to Long Boat Key and finding a quiet public beach access is more my speed than the busy Siesta Key beach. If you’re not familiar with Pinecraft, here is an interesting page to read: http://amishamerica.com/visiting-pinecraft/#contread
This is the first time I saw the battery powered 3-wheeled bikes (trikes? for some reason I only think of tricycles as a child’s small trike. I guess that is the correct term though for the big ones as well.). I was crazy seeing people humming along busy Bahia Vista street on these things.
The last few days of our trip were spent in Western Montana. One of my dear friends from my days at Northern Youth Programs, Lisa, and her family live in another beautiful part of Montana. The live in a valley between two ridges. As we approached their area, we began noticing more and more dear. It was dusk Sunday evening when we arrived and the dear were everywhere!!
Backing up a bit …
Leaving the Fairfield area, we enjoyed the views of the light covering of snow that was quickly melting.
Heading southwest we went through an area where houses are few and far between. Lois mentioned that she feels like she might be on the moon. I totally agreed.
The closer we got to the Roger’s Pass at Continental Divide, the patchier the snow was.
Until we started climbing to Roger’s Pass, the snow was thick and wet!
There was pretty much a beauty overload the whole trip!
Check out the overpass below. It is for wildlife to cross the road.
We could see a little smoke hanging in the air to the west.
Our only full day in Thompson Falls area, Lisa took us around to see the local area, something both Lois and I love doing!
There was a lot of vibrant colors in the towns!!
It was quite amazing to us to see all of the wildlife just wandering around town. How would you like to eat a picnic lunch at the park, surrounded by these?
Lisa had to drop something off for a friend, and there was a buck in a yard down the street.
We took a walk on over the area where the hydro dam. We noticed several Bald Eagles flying nearby.
I noticed an eagle dipping down toward the water and it was one of those moments that I was glad had my camera ready!! You can see the fish toward the bottom left of the photo. I didn’t notice it until I was editing the photos.
He flew off to enjoy his spoils and soon there was a group of crows around him, offering him help with eating it.
Lisa’s friend, Sadie, invited us over for supper and apple cider making … brewing … pressing. Yeah, that’s it, pressing. I guess that’s how you say it. Either way, we made apple cider after supper. It was an interesting and delicious experience!
The setting of their place is amazing!! This view is from their back porch.
And they, also, have deer wondering around the place.
Sadie tried to get the buck to come closer but the extra people around made him a little skittish.
The cider was SO good!! Here’s a photo of the biggest and smallest apple I could find from the boxes we were processing. This was an off year for Lisa’s trees.
I wish I could’ve been out during a time when the Milky Way was at the best viewing location. I think this happens in the spring/early summer for the US. This is only a fraction of the Milky Way. The lack of light pollution in the west makes it a great spot to see a maximum number of stars.
On our way out the next day, I finally saw some bighorn sheep grazing near the road.
The ladies took us to one more hot springs in Paradise, MT. You can find out more info here: Quinn’s Hot Springs. This has a total of 5 outdoor pools, most of them only a few degrees apart, except for the one pore-closing, hair-standing-on-end one that gripped it’s icy fingers around your ankles (me) or your neck (my cousin Anne who shrieked her way through a dip every once-in-a-while).
We flew out of Missoula, relaxed, rested up, and ready to get back home (for the most part). If a vacation feels like it could/should go on longer, it must have been a good one!!