Annette at This Simple Home and Dorie at These Grace Filled Days have teamed up to create Together on Tuesdays as “a casual way to meet and connect with other women” over the summer. They’ve created a schedule of topics to discuss in order to get to know one another better, and the topic for this week is our favorites spots, either locally or a vacation spot.
Honestly, my very favorite spot is my own home. I’m not much of an adventurer and don’t travel well. I feel more at peace and rest at home than anywhere else. But it is necessary to get out of the house every now and then.
Many of our vacations have been to visit family, but we’ve had a few other outings over the years. Probably one of my all-time favorites was SeaWorld in FL. We had gone down when my oldest son was checking out colleges to see Clearwater Christian College (loved it, but they didn’t have the major he wanted at the time.) We were so near all the Orlando attractions, we took an extra day to do something fun. We had been to a similar place while visiting Jim’s brother in CA years before when Jesse was just a baby, and I had always wanted to take the family back to something like that when he was old enough to remember it, and this was our chance. I just loved the dolphin show.
I grew up near the beach, and didn’t realize how much I missed it until a family reunion when my older two were small. Unfortunately the standard of dress (or undress) has gotten so bad that we didn’t feel comfortable taking our guys out to the beach much, but some years back when our school’s spring break was a different week that the pubic school’s we took a few days and went to Charleston, SC, and stayed at a hotel right on Folly Beach. This photo was taken from a gazebo out at the end of a pier looking back at the hotel.
It was lovely. We had the beach mostly to ourselves. I loved hearing the sound of the ocean at night while going to sleep, and because we were right there we could go out on the beach at any time. Jim and Jesse liked going out in the early morning.
But we were also close enough to everything else in Charleston that it wasn’t far to drive into town and see a few things there. We took a buggy ride around the city and a harbor tour and took the guys to visit the Yorktown and Naval Museum. It was a perfect blend of sight-seeing and restfulness. I remember coming back and feeling more rested than at any other vacation return. We had been to Charleston as a young married couple before we had children, going with a tour group the local Christian radio station had gotten together, and then we revisited it on our 30th wedding anniversary. At that time Jim had enough hotel points that we got to stay at a hotel right on the heart of the downtown area. It was fun to be right there in the city (for a visit — I wouldn’t want to live where it is so busy!) with restaurants, museums, and tour homes within walking distance.
Another place we’ve enjoyed visiting is the Asheville, NC area. We’ve been to the Biltmore House a few times. On one anniversary — maybe our tenth? — we went there, stayed in a generic hotel, and ate one dinner at the Grove Park Inn. The food was wonderful, and at first we were concerned when we read there would be live music (we’re not prone to rocking out 🙂 ), but it was a lovely string quartet. I said I’d love to come back some time and actually stay in Grove Park Inn. We did on our 25th anniversary. Inside — it was pretty much just like any other hotel room, so I doubt I’d be inclined to do that again, but I love eating there. I don’t really like the outside of the building, either, but their fireplace in the lobby is gorgeous. One of the restaurants in the hotel (there are 5 total, I think), looks out over the mountains, and I always wanted to take my folks out there some autumn, but we never made it before my mom passed away. She loved the fall colors. When we went for our anniversary during December, there was a Gingerbread House contest, and it was fun to look at those (some of them are here).
When my kids were little, some of our favorite places were the library and the Discovery Place in Charlotte, NC, about an hour’s drive from where we lived at the time. We went camping a lot then, honestly not my favorite thing but Jim and the kids really enjoyed it, and we had a couple of favorite spots at Paris Mountain State Park.
A favorite activity at one was feeding the ducks at the lake. This is Jason at about age 2 or 3.
I think we only rented paddle boats there once or twice. They didn’t have them available all the time. This is Jeremy and I when he was maybe 5. Jim was on a different paddle boat with Jason (the back of whose head is in the foreground) and took the picture from there.
But mostly we did the usual camping stuff: slept in a tent, cooked over an open fire (including s’mores!) took walks, etc.
A couple of times Jim received an award or bonus or “thank you” from his work in the form of a trip, once to Chattanooga (we enjoyed the aquarium there) and once to Callaway Gardens in GA: the Butterfly Center and the little chapel were really nice.
Another favorite outing was to the Applewood Farmhouse Restaurant in Sevierville, TN. We lived in SC at the time, and my mom loved to come visit in the fall because she didn’t have all the pretty fall colors in TX. It was a gorgeous autumn drive, and the food was superb. Plus they had some little shops connected to them, so we could do some of that kind of thing without getting into the more touristy parts of the area. My mom’s brother and sister-in-law lived close enough that they met us there. It was an all-around good time.
I’ve really enjoyed going back and revisiting these memories. Thanks, Annette and Dorie!