I’m baaaaaaaaaaaaaaack!!!!! Whew, what a fast 7 days this past week has been! I did not announce here on my blog that I was going on vacation due to security reasons. You never know who is out there lurking…. All of my friends and family knew where I was though.
We had a great time! We camped in South Carolina, canoed in North Carolina, enjoyed the scenic beauty of the Tennessee mountains by staying outside of Gatlinburg for a night and then stopped in Arkansas last night on our way to get Taavi, the newest addition to our family. For anyone interested, here are some photos from our week and a snippet of information on where we were and what we were doing. I missed everyone! I am glad I am back home!
We left on Sunday. On our way to Alabama for the night, we stopped in Jackson, Mississippi to eat at Keifer’s. Keifer’s is the best doggone Greek food I have ever eaten. It is a small business located downtown and people drive in from multiple states to eat there. It is THAT good! If you are ever in the area, I highly recommend this family owned, on top of its game, restaurant. I also stopped in Birmingham to visit with a college friend, Consuela. I haven’t seen her in six years…..good times, good times! When we arrived at the hotel, Vivian wanted to swim. So, even though it was 10:00 p.m., we donned our bathing suits and made a lap or two in the pool. It never occurred to me that Vivian has not stayed in a hotel before. Upon entering our room, she had many questions and was amazed that someone set up a little bedroom just for us! Here she is after a full day of travel and an hour swimming.
Tired after a day full of travel and swimming
“Is Mississippi a road?” Vivian asked from the back seat (I guess that is better than “Are we there yet?”). “No, it is a state, baby” I replied. “What state do we live in?” I asked. “Alexandria!” was her triumphant answer. So, did ya’ll know that Alexandria was a state?
Oconee State Park, SC - Vivian feeding the geese
The main purpose of our trip was for Vivian to meet her great grandmother and great grandfather. On our way to see them, we stopped in downtown Greenville and visited the park.
On street parking, downtown Greenville, SC
The downtown area was thriving and very hip. We passed many restaurants and specialty stores on our way to Reedy Falls park, which is in the middle of downtown. We even happened upon a conversation of young businessmen (and women) who talked about living in their loft in the downtown area and how much they enjoyed living and working there. I thought that was very cool (All of my preservationist friends understand what I mean). The great thing about most of the streets in Greenville was that they had storefront parking. They never did widen the road or remove the parking spots from in front of the shops. I think this was one of the main reasons the downtown thrives. The other reason is the highly attractive park that has a creek/falls that runs smack through the middle of downtown.
Reedy Falls Park, Downtown Greenville SC
Greenville spiffed up one of their best assets by putting a bridge over the creek falls for people to bike over, or walk out on and admire the view. The bridge, from what I understand from the sign, was financed through private persons and non-proft groups. Greenville has also retained a good bit of green space in the downtown area despite development. I call that good planning by the city administration. Greenville also has bicycle lanes and has good walkability and bikeability (if that is a word). You would not have to talk me in to living there. It was beautiful.
The bridge across the falls/creek
Vivian at the park
Vivian at Reedy Falls
Vivian and Andrea at Reedy Falls
We got a wild hair and drove up to Rosman, North Carolina and took a four hour canoe trip. We had a good time paddling down the quiet French Broad. We saw a hawk catch a fish. At the end of the day, you could clearly see the spots I missed putting sunscreen on!
On the French Broad, Rosman, NC
A bridge over the French Broad, Rosman NC
We visited with my grandmother again and then went on to Easley, SC and visited with my grandfather and my cousins. It rained ALL day.
Grandma Petrone and Vivian
Grandpa Petrone, Me and Steven
Our plans were to stay at the park (Oconee) and boat, fish, make a fire…you know, all the things you are supposed to do when you go camping. The only problem was that the weather was not cooperating. It rained Thursday, Friday and Saturday.
Vivian, singing in the rain, Oconee State Park
Steven was determined to cook out, so he grabbed a poncho out of the car and flipped hamburgers in the rain. Our geese friends decided to come up and check us out again.
Resident Geese, Oconee State Park, SC
Vivian and Steven feeding the geese (wow, no mistaking paternity here)
Lazy rainy afternoon on the porch at our cabin
Friday night we decided to head to Tennessee. We left the park early, we were supposed to stay until Sunday. We went to Sevierville, TN which is right outside of Gatlinburg, and stayed the night at the Wilderness at the Smokies
, a waterpark/resort. Poor Vivian had been drug across four states and had not had any fun yet, so we decided to let her play in the water park for a day. This place was brand new and pretty cool. Included with your room you get free passes to their two waterparks and free tickets to the Ripley’s Believe it or Not Aquarium (which was voted the #1 aquarium in the country). We splashed for hours, rode down the slides, sat in the hot tub, went back to our room and then came back down and did it all over again!
The bucket of water just dumped out on them...you better move when you hear the bell ring!
Vivian and Me
Eating dippin' dots at the park
We packed up and drove to Little Rock and stayed the night Sunday and then today, we got up early and drove to Hot Springs to pick up Taavi.
Vivian and her new puppy, Taavi
We are now back home and I do believe that Taavi is adjusting well to living here in Alexandria.
Vivian and Taavi playing in the front yard