I recently spent some time traveling around Georgia and the Carolina's. It was both a vacation and to do research for my latest book. Past vacations have always been going to one place and staying for the duration, with a short trips to see nearby sights. This vacation had us moving around a lot, and I was afraid I'd made it stressful rather than relaxing, but we had an amazing time! Here are some highlights:
This is why they're called the Smoky Mountains
The Ocoee River, site of the Canoe Slalom for the 1996 Olympics
The Supermoon rising over the Blue Ridge Mountains in Blue Ridge, GA
The Blue Ridge Mountains from our deck in Blue Ridge, GA
Morning coffee on the deck in Blue Ridge, GA
My daughters and I in front of the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, NC
Chambers Waterfront Park in Beaufort, SC ... how ingenious to use porch swing as park benches!
The picturesque marina in Beaufort, SC
A majestic live oak tree, dripping with Spanish moss, growing in the middle of North Street in Beaufort, SC (Note: It has the right of way!)
Hunting Island Lighthouse (I love lighthouses!)
Shrimpers catching my dinner off Hunting Island, SC
And here's a picture of what's left that dinner. It was undoubtedly THE best shrimp salad I've ever had the privilege to eat
A spectacular sunset over northeastern Georgia
And last, but not least, my daughters hamming it up in front of the incredibly beautiful and awe-inspiring Angel Tree on John's Island, SC (estimated to be 300-400 years old)
The unpaved, dirt road leading to the Angel Tree was impassable due to recent rains, so we had to back down the narrow road about a half a mile (where stunt-worthy backwards driving impressed my daughters!), and hike the a half mile back to the tree. It was thundering and lightening (in the distance), and we were caught in a torrential downpour. I know it is unwise to walk under a canopy of towering trees on the way to a gigantic tree during a thunderstorm, but we had driven an hour and a half to see it. I have wanted to see this tree for years and I just couldn't force myself turn around and leave when we were this close!!
We slogged through the muddy road ... in sandals. We were dirty and soaking wet when we reached the tree ... but we were rewarded for our efforts. Pictures do not do justice to the majesty of this tree. It is truly incredible to behold!
The rain was slowing as we walked back to our car, passing a dozen or so others on their way to see the tree. Each and every one, without exception, asked "Is it worth it?" Meaning, of course, walking a half mile, in the mud, in the rain, just to see a silly tree!
We answered honestly. "YES!"
One man asked if it was worth it, and we said yes. His daughters passed, then his wife. She looked at me and asked skeptically, "Is it really?" I told her yes, it is absolutely worth it.
Because it really and truly is worth the walk ... in the rain, through the mud!
We had an amazing time, and like all vacations, it ended too soon. But, I have a good life here at home, so I don't guess I have too much to complain about!