Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays from WW

Happy Holidays from WW

Despite the fact that I look highly unhappy, my old Santa photos seriously make me laugh. I think that if I were to be put in this Santa pic situation again, it would most likely illicit the same reaction--me screaming and crying like a baby. Well, maybe not, but I'm not going to give it a try. I didn't want to sit in some creepy guys lap then and I don't want to do it now! haha But I do want to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

Fantasy in Lights | Callaway Gardens, Ga


Even though we chose not to do any decorating ourselves, I still really enjoy and appreciate when other people put forth the effort to do so. And just because I didn't spend the time to festively decorate our home for the holidays doesn't mean that I'm a scrooge. In fact, I love Christmas!

I fondly remember riding around as a kid through the neighborhoods that went all-out with the decorative holiday light displays. There was a street where all the houses donned lights, it was my favorite because no dwelling was left undecorated. As a kid, seeing those lights were magical. 

I'd be lying if I said that it still didn't give me the same giddy feeling now that it did back then. It's the one holiday tradition - if you can call it that – that has stuck with me throughout the years.  It's sort of a guilty pleasure of mine because, as an adult, I know that it's an impractical use of power and that it's a waste of electricity (depending on who you ask). But I can't help it; I blame the fact that I'm such a sucker for sparklies on my childhood.

Fantasy in Lights

There isn't one place that I return to annually for my Christmas light show fix because it loosely depends on where we are and when we'll have time. A couple of weekends ago we attempted to make plans with some of our friends to visit McAdenville (Christmastown USA) to tour their illuminated town. However, the weather conditions prevented us from actually doing so, which was a bummer - maybe next year.

Last year, Cody and I decided to go stay at Callaway Gardens after spending Christmas in Georgia with his family. We opted for a holiday package that included an overnight stay at the Mountain Creek Inn with admission to the gardens and two tickets for the Fantasy in Lights show they put on at night during the holiday season. Oh, yeah, and we can't forget the free buffet breakfast :D

Trolly Ride thru Snowflake Valley

We arrived in the evening with a little extra time to relax in our comfy room before heading over to see Callaway Gardens covered in lights. It was a good thing that we waited to go later, too, because the bumper-to-bumper traffic we saw clogging up the entrance earlier was gone by the time we got there. Parking, on the other hand, was an utter disaster but we found an open spot despite the confusion from parking attendants.

There were a couple of ways that you could work your way through the 5 mile long light and sound show. You could drive your own vehicle, which would be nowhere near as fun if you're the driver, or you could hitch a ride on one of the open-air trolleys with the other guests. Despite the cold temperature, the latter was a lot more appealing to me because I didn't want to get stuck driving. I planned on rubbernecking and I didn't want to be responsible for a collision! Needless to say, hopping on the trolley was a wise decision.

Swans on a Lake

Fantasy in Lights debuted in 1992, and in its 18th year it still continues to mesmerize thousands of children (and adults) with more than 8 million twinkling lights illuminating Callaway Gardens' wooded landscape. An already idyllic setting is transformed into a holiday light and sound show extravaganza by nightfall for a visual experience that will infuse you with an extra dose of holiday spirit.

Christmas Tree

Popular Christmas carols were broadcasted over speakers that matched the theme of the larger-than-life lighted scenes displayed throughout. Although I was hesitant to do so at first, I found myself singing along with the other riders before I realized what happened. You know how infectious those holiday songs can be. Plus, I'm a dork for sing-a-longs with large groups of people :D


There were times, though, when the amazement could be heard over the music in the form of oohs and ahhs. The most spectacular displays were just simple tunnels of lights with sparkling strings hanging above head, like Snowflake Valley and the Enchanted Rainbow Forest.

Disgruntled Elf

I feel slightly fruity admitting that those were my favorites, but they were magnificent. However, not all the displays were the most well-designed or exciting. Some of them were kind of lame, actually, but they were still entertaining. If anything, it was a fun way to spend time with the people you love during the holidays that is out of the ordinary.

Blue Daisies

I'm really hoping that there is still time to experience another Fantasy in Lights display of some sort before the holidays are behind us. With all the festive light shows around us in NC, we shouldn't have any trouble accomplishing that. But there isn't much time left, though, so I better get on the ball!

What tradition will your family be continuing during the holiday season? 

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Wintry Weather in Boone, NC

Wintry Fence

The carefully constructed layers we took 20 minutes to compile took mere seconds to remove. We were beginning to sweat underneath the heavy clothing from the tiring walk we had just completed. It ended in the nick of time, too, because as soon as we got inside the toasty house the wind picked up and blew even more furiously than it already was.

The snow, I love, but the wind, mmmmm not so much. Sometimes, I wish that I could pick the perfect snow day where the photo ops are plentiful and extreme weather isn't threatening to damage your photographic equipment.

On a perfect snow day, for me anyway, it would be bitter cold so that the snow was sticking to everything, and the flakes would be floating around like feathers as they made their way to the ground. It would blanket our valley and the surrounding hills; everything would be covered in a sheet of white.

Wintry Fence

There would be no massive gusts of wind knocking you every which way, and the snow wouldn't be coming in sideways pelting you in your frozen face. Yesterday was pretty unbearable in terms of going for a nice stroll in the snow like I did a few weekends ago. The wind was howling non-stop and forced us to walk with our heads down for most of our trek.

The rare moments where I did whip out my camera to capture some wintry images, I made sure my back was to the wind so that it wouldn't get too wet. A futile effort, for sure, but I still managed to get what I went out there for. At least I didn't get all bundled up and freeze my butt off to come home empty handed.

Wintry Fence

Snow days are exciting because you have no idea exactly what they will bring. The conditions can vary a great deal. I know that I'll get many more opportunities this winter to experience all that Boone weather decides to drop on us. Although I'm not sure how long my motivation to get out and shoot winter scenes will last, but I do know that I'd be more apt to sticking with it if this relentless wind would take a hike! Until then, I'll just stay indoors where it's nice and cozy :D

What are you doing to stay warm?!

Saturday Stroll in the Snow {Part 2} | Boone, NC



With yet another forecast calling for copious amounts of snow, Boone weather is steadily doing its best to test our ability to endure a true winter. It has caught many of the blue ridge mountain residents completely off guard, too, because it doesn't typically start this early. People are scrambling to get preparations in order and we are no exception. This past weekend, we finally winterized our windows to help keep our precious heat from escaping -- it makes such a big difference. Just thought I'd share some additional images from the snowy stroll I took last weekend. I'm really looking forward to getting out and capturing some more of the winter scenes the the Boone weather brings. What's the weather looking like where you are?

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Shopping in New Orleans on Magazine Street | New Orleans, LA

 Magazine Street Details

In my research about places to visit on my trip to New Orleans, there was one road in particular that kept coming up. I searched for restaurants and unique shops along with many other places of interest before heading to the Crescent City. After adding the suggestions I found to my Google map, I realized that a trend was beginning to emerge. What I found was that the majority of businesses I was adding were all clustered together on the same stretch of road.

Little did I know at the time how serious this shopping district in New Orleans really was. While I had about 15-20 Magazine Street merchants on my New Orleans map, that was nothing compared to the collective of shops actually located on this strip, which totaled approximately 160+ retailers and restaurants. I mean, we're talking about a 6-mile stretch of “mom & pop” specialty shops filled with everything from home décor to clothing & jewelry. Magazine Street is truly a shoppers dream.

For some odd reason, I thought that my Sister and I would make our trip to Magazine St. a quick stop, but boy was I wrong! Typically, I'm not a big shopper when I've traveled such a long distance, or any time, really. Plus, my carry on was already overstuffed as it was; even my souvenirs had to be mailed back. However, despite the fact that I am not an avid shopper, I really enjoyed strolling around this beautiful neighborhood, peeking in at the places that piqued my interest.

We stopped in at many the Magazine St. shops in the Uptown area of New Orleans and oohed and ahhed over all the items that I would have loved to purchase. Cute dresses, neat jewelry & unique home decorating items were all things I could have easily went home with had I not exercised some restraint. But I fought the urge to splurge! It's wasn't easy, though, with all of the awesome stuff we kept spotting. To a seasoned shopper, the temptation would be impossible to overlook because you're bound to come in contact with many I-can't-live-without-items on display begging you to buy them. Even I don't know how I resisted & I'm not a big shopper to begin with! 

Joey K's Diptych

Our first order of business was to get a bite to eat, although our original plan, which was to buy a bag of boiled crawfish from Big Fisherman Seafood, was thwarted because they were all out and wouldn't get any more in for 2 weeks. Forced to improvise, we kept walking until we stumbled upon another suitable option. What we found instead was Joey K's, a popular Magazine Street restaurant among locals who are in the mood for homecooked food at reasonable prices.

This hub in the heart of Magazine Street in New Orleans has a funky flair and has been featured on the Food Network's Diners, Drive-ins & Dives. While we could have sampled any number of delicious dishes named after neighborhood streets, such as the Shrimp Magazine & the Trout Tchoupitoulas, we opted for a seafood sampler of fried fare to fill our tummies. The platter had fried shrimp, oysters, catfish and hush puppies all of which were rather tasty, although next time I might try one of the signature dishes.

Even after stuffing ourselves we were still up for exploring. We popped into the Poet's Gallery to soak up the visually stirring “A Carnival of Saints & Souls” exhibit featuring fine art dolls and photography. The display of dolls showcased were created by an array of artists and they ranged from cool to creepy, although still darling. I wanted to adopt one myself.

FunRock'N was the next place we stopped in at. It was crowded with fashion and other quirky finds, there was something for everyone to be found in this modern day five-and-dime.

A fast forward from fashion to furniture lead us to take a quick look inside Nadeau (furniture with a soul). This store housed many hardwood pieces from India and Indonesia. I was somewhat surprised by the reasonable prices most of the items were listed at, although they were still out of my range. Not entirely, though, there were a few smaller (more affordable) decorative pieces that I would have totally walked away with had they been local.

Sucre Diptych

Once our full bellies had time to digest, we decided to stop in at Sucre to satisfy our sweet tooth. I was seriously delighted to be stepping foot through their doors because I've actually ordered from their store online in the past. Walking into the brick & mortar store was like stepping inside of a sweet treat with the mint green coated walls. Glass cases were overflowing with confections of all kinds from cakes to chocolates to parisian macaroons.

Sweet Diptych

The mini-desserts were all magnificently presented which made making up our minds rather painstaking, they all looked scrumptious. I didn't want to pick on looks alone. I also wanted to pick one that was big on taste, too. Although I'm sure you couldn't pick a bad one no matter how hard you tried. My Sister and I decided to share the Turtle dessert, a chocolate bread pudding, chocolate mousse, salted caramel mousse concoction that was pure bliss. I'm glad that we shared because it was really rich.

GoGo Diptych

Afterward, we hobbled to the car so that we could hit up another section of Magazine Street further up the road before heading back home. The next stop was GoGo Jewelry, by far one of my favorite stops along the way. Their foundry was jam-packed with necklaces, cuffs, earring & rings, you name it, they had it. The designs were uncommon and unlike any other pieces I have seen before. Very cool stuff, indeed.

Next door to GoGo was a different kind of Magazine Street boutique called, UP/ Unique Products. What caught my eye when walking by was the life-sized alligator crafted entirely out of melted green Mardi Gras beads. Inside they had a lot of other items made from recycled materials that would otherwise be discarded as well. It was wonderful to see a store dedicated to environmentally friendly retail products where items are being handmade.

Unique Products Diptych

Across the way, we decided to swing into Spruce. From the outside one might get the impression that this is a gallery as opposed to a home décor/design studio, the showroom was clean and contemporary with eco-conscious style in mind. I wanted everything in that posh place, it was beautiful.

While Magazine Street is a mecca for shoppers and is considered the “Best Shopping Street in New Orleans”, it's more than a mere shopping destination. With its diverse array of restaurants, shops and other businesses to keep you coming back for more, I can see why it's such a popular place for locals and tourist alike. Just make sure you take an extra suitcase for all of the wonderful goodies you're bound to find!

Related Links:
  • Magazine Street Merchants Association | Website  
  • Joey K's Restaurant | 3001 Magazine Street | (504) 891-0997 | Website 
  • Poet's Gallery | 3113 Magazine Street | (504) 899-4100 | FB Page
  • FunRock'N | 3109 Magazine Street | (504) 895-4102 | FB Page
  • Nadeau Furniture | 2728 Magazine Street | (504) 891-1356 | Website
  • Sucre | 3025 Magazine Street | (504) 520-8311 | Website
  • GoGo Jewelry | 2036 Magazine St | (504) 529-8868 | Website
  • Up/Unique Products | 2038 Magazine Street | (504) 529-2441 | Website
  • Spruce Eco-Studio | 2043 Magazine Street | (504) 265-0946 | Website

Saturday Stroll in the Snow | Boone, NC


Yesterday, here in Boone NC, we had our first substantial snow of the winter season. When I say substantial, I mean a few inches, but it did snow all day long and throughout the evening. I managed to tear myself away from my movie marathon to take a walk along the Greenway Trail near my house.

The snow was steadily streaming from above as I attempted to capture the winter scenes. It wasn't the light and fluffy kind that gently floats down to the ground either. Instead, I had to endure being pelted by tiny balls of ice that were determined to drench me and my camera.

Since the conditions weren't favorable I had the entire trail to myself. I didn't pass a single soul during my walk through the winter wonderland. I could tell, though, that people had braved the snowy conditions at some point because I saw many sets of footprints during my trek.

Snowy Stroll

It feels like it's been too long since I've set out to take any nature pictures. And it's been even longer since I've had the opportunity to get any pictures of snow. Hopefully, this season I'll have the chance to get out and shoot all sorts of winter photos.

While I am looking forward to copious amounts of snow and the changes that the season brings, I am also thinking about how I'll combat the inevitable blues that will ensue at some point. Taking snowy strolls with my camera in hand to capture winter pictures is definitely something I'll be encouraging myself to do more of, that's for sure.

What is your take on snow? Love it? Hate it? Have you had any snow show up in your neck of the woods yet?

Photo Essay: Bourbon Street by Night | New Orleans, Louisiana

Bourbon Overview

I'm well aware of the stigma that is synonymous with Bourbon St. It has a seedy reputation for reasons that are readily apparent once you've seen so for yourself. The wacky and weird are everyday occurrences on Bourbon St., so be prepared to witness the odd and outrageous. Some things will make you laugh while others will make you gasp.
My first trip down the strip was rather alarming to say the least. A homebody like me felt extremely out-of-place with the party people at first, but I quickly came around. The electric energy was impossible to resist mingling with no matter how hard I tried.

Fat Catz on Bourbon

Day or night, the streets are teeming with bead wearing, oversize drink toting pedestrians who are ready to PAR-TAY! It also seems as though no matter what day of the week you venture to this non-stop party spot, it's always Fat Tuesday. 

Bourbon Strip

Strolling down the strip flanked by the blazing glow of neon lights along with the flooded streets and balconies overflowing with fellow party goers was a lot to take in at times. And I was told on many occasions that what I experienced was nothing compared to Mardi Gras. Seriously, I can't image.

Neons on Bourbon

It's no wonder that nightlife fanatics from all over are flocking to New Orleans to let loose. After all, the city was named the #1 destination for nightlife in the world by Not to mention the fact that they pretty much invented the cocktail. Bourbon Street is most definitely a tourist attraction on its own with numerous bars, restaurants & night clubs to keep you occupied.

Old School on Bourbon

While it's wildly popular among tourists it's pretty much loathed by the locals. And I can't really blame them. Tourists can be obnoxious, especially when large quantities of alcohol are added to the mix. Bourbon St. is an anything goes kind of place with no laws regarding open containers, which allows people to walk around the streets with cocktails. Even the bars don't have specific closing times that they must adhere to. They can stay open until 2am or 5am, it just depends on whether or not people are still drinking. With barely any rules, things can get out of hand, people start acting like fools. That's why locals don't step foot on that strip.

Desire on Bourbon
I was warned, but I went against my better judgment and took my chances. And it was fun while it lasted.  Maybe even too much fun! There were only two nights during my trip that we braved Bourbon St. After the second night, I declared that I'd had enough. There is much more to New Orleans than Bourbon St. and I still had a lot left to explore. But staying up till all hours of the night made that an extremely difficult task to undertake. It was an experience that I won't soon forget even if I'm not ready to repeat it any time in the near future!

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Pigging Out @ the Oak St. Po-Boy Festival | New Orleans, Louisiana

Red Fish Grill Po-Boy

In a city that lives to eat, it's no surprise that a food festival centered around stuffing your face can pack in a crowd of people. This is especially easy to do when the superstar happens to be the quintessential staple of New Orleans culinary culture. It's nothing fancy and can consist of any combination of ingredients from seafood to cold cuts and is sandwiched between two slices of french bread, the Po-Boy.

The 30 vendors participating in this years po-boy festival lined a shut-down section of Oak St. Navigating the shoulder-to-shoulder horde of hungry sandwich seekers was trying at times, although that was the least of my worries. Bigger issues were more important, like which of the vendors we wanted to buy a po-boy from. This was no easy feat when it comes to how indecisive I can be at time when presented with an overflow of options. In this case, they were plentiful and seemingly endless. 

Boucherie Po-boy  

Once you have narrowed down the choice about what you'd like to devour first, your next predicament is dependent upon whether or not it's worth standing in line for. Some of the lines had upwards of 30-40 people waiting, which wouldn't have been so bad had they not been inching forward at a snails pace. Although once you set your sights on a particular po-boy it was hard to turn your back on the possibility of savoring such a tasty sandwich. Proximity and price also had a lot to do with selections we made as well.

In an attempt to taste test as many po-boys as we possibly could, my Sister and I decided to share our sandwiches. At the end of the day we tried at least 5 different ones. And who knew we would do such a good job of sniffing out the crème de la crème because I later found out that we ate many of the po-boys that were voted the best of the festival. 

Oak St. Po-Boy Festival

One of our favorites came from Red Fish Grill who won the honor of Best Shrimp Po-Boy with their Grilled Shrimp & Blackened Avocado Po-Boy; it was packed with flavor and the shrimp were super fresh and tasty. Our second favorite came from Sammy's Deli who won the honor of Best Specialty Non-Seafood Po-Boy with their Fried Chicken with Chisesi Ham and Swiss Cheese Po-Boy, talk about a scrumptious concoction, it was amazing! Another notable po-boy we tasted was from Coquette Restaurant who won the People's Choice Award for the Homemade Hot Sausage Po-Boy, it was juicy and the least expensive one we had all day at only $5.00. 

Sammy's Deli Fried Chicken Po-Boy

I felt really lucky that my trip coincided with one of the many festivals that New Orleans hosts because it allowed me to try a variety of po-boys in a short period of time. There were a whole handful of other sandwiches that I would have liked to sample, however my stomach could only endure so much. Had I not had the opportunity to attend the Oak St. Po-Boy Festival, though, I wouldn't have put a dent in the plethora of po-boy options the city has available. 
It was an interesting and amusing experience to say the least and I hope that the next time I venture to New Orleans that my trip will include another festival where I can feast on other flavors made famous by the Crescent City.

Related Links:
  • New Orleans Po-Boy Festival | Website 
  • Red Fish Grill | 115 Bourbon Street New Orleans, LA 70130 | (504) 598-1200 | Website
  • Sammy's Deli | 3000 Elysian Fields Avenue New Orleans, LA 70122-3627 | (504) 947-0675 | Website  
  • Coquette Restaurant | 2800 Magazine Street New Orleans, LA 70115-2229 | (504) 265-0421 | Website 

Postcard from New Orleans | Ending a Sugar Strike in Style!

Beignets for Breakfast

My one and only wish for the first day of exploring was to end a five week long sugar strike in style by eating a plate full of deep-fried dough doused in powdered sugar, otherwise known as beignets. Mission accomplished!

We went in with the intention of sharing a plate of 3, however, after plowing through our first few we decided that it was imperative to order yet another plate. The excitement of eating sugar for the first time in five weeks was almost as exciting as the band playing on the sidewalk just outside the cafe. A front row seat was waiting for us when we got there so we could see all of the action.

Afterward, we set out to explore more of Decatur St. by foot. It's hard to believe that I spent a total of five hours touring the city – well, a portion of the city -- and only saw a very small fraction of what this place is really made of. To give you a better idea of how little ground we actually covered, we didn't even walk the entire length of that one road. Luckily, I have plenty of time to see even more while I'm here, which I definitely intend on doing!

Finding the Comforts of Home in a Rental Cabin | Bearadise Chalet | Helen, GA

Bearadise Chalet
I lost count of how many times I proclaimed, “THIS PLACE IS AWESOME!” Amazing details were found around every corner of our cozy little chalet that delighted us to no end. It truly had a homey feel, and we found ourselves instantly comfortable with what would be our home for this weekend getaway. A hotel doesn't offer the same comforts as a well-lived in home that the owners willingly open to the public. This place was outfitted with amenities that other lodging options just can't compete with, which is why we stayed here instead of a hotel room. You're not only getting more bang for your buck, but you also have a lot more space, having the comforts of home was an added bonus.

Upon entering the darling domicile, we excitedly took a tour around the cabin. The house had the most beautiful light filtering in through the walls of windows, which prompted me to grab my camera before we began scattering our belongings throughout the house. Before we arrived, the place was immaculate. We could certainly see that this home is cared for a great deal with the special touches sprinkled around. 

Another thing you'll notice sprinkled around, well, not quite, more like scattered, or plastered, rather, are the cute little mascots the homeowners collect. A mascot derived from the name they donned upon the cabin they lovingly refer to as Bearadise Chalet. You will find them EVERYWHERE and on EVERYTHING; black bears, grizzly bears, brown bears, cuddly bears, big bears, little, there, BEARS everywhere! It bordered upon being too much, but I still thought that they were charming. 

Master Bedroom & Bath

Even with the massive amount of bears everywhere, the chalet was tastefully decorated. The bedrooms were adorned with rustic wood furnishing that complemented the neutral tones used in other areas. The master bedroom, where Cody and I slept, was a loft with a ton of space. Our bathroom was lovely with the sand colored tile and the rock covered vanity and accent wall. The walk-in closet was enormous, although we didn't get much use out of it. The second bedroom downstairs was nice and cozy as well. It was connected to the smaller primary bathroom and is adjacent to the kitchen, dining and living room areas. 

Living Room @ Bearadise Chalet

The couches were especially comfy with oversized pillows; it became a coveted place to sleep once our guests realized that the downstairs bunk beds weren't very comfortable. Our kitchen wasn't too large, but I'd say that it was just the right size with everything we needed to make meals and then some; they offered plates, cups, silverware, cookware and a coffee maker to name a few. We also had a small dining room table to sit around that was situated next to a really cozy bay window. It was a terrific place to pop a squat and stare out at the surrounding trees on the property. Even though the chalet was located in a neighborhood of sorts, it was still pretty secluded. 

Cozy Cuddly Nook

While the main living spaces were all amazing, the real highlights were the recreational areas, namely, the sunroom with a pre-heated hot tub that was ready and waiting for us. The temptation to take a dip was too hard to resist, and we ended up getting in after about 30 minutes of touring the house. Seriously, can you blame us?! We followed up our soothing soak with a game of pool downstairs in the finished basement. Yep, they also had a pool table! And a Foosball table, too! There was also a room with those uncomfortable bunk beds I mentioned earlier. It's mainly because they don't have real mattresses, instead they use thin pad-like cushions similar to what you would find on a futon just not as cushy. That was the only complaint raised the entire time that we stayed, though. 

Overall, the Bearadise Chalet was impeccable and we all thoroughly enjoyed our time at this quaint cabin in the woods. Having a home base like this to kick back and relax in exceeded any expectations we initially had. While having a cabin helped us save money by offering cheaper (and better) accommodations than a hotel room, as well as a cute little kitchen to cook meals in, we were almost too uninterested in heading into the town of Helen, GA to celebrate Oktoberfest because we were too busy being lazy at the cabin. Not that it was entirely a bad thing, since we were on a mini-vacation of sorts and a little relaxation was just what we needed. It may have only been a 8 minute drive, but Helen, GA seemed like a world away when we were chilling in our chalet! 

We had a wonderful experience and would definitely recommend this place to anyone looking to hideaway in a vacation rental in the woods of N. Georgia. The owners were extremely responsive and definitely have this whole rental property business down to a science, which made the entire process stress free. To see the listing for Bearadise Chalet, follow the link below. Also, I have a few more photos to share that I will post later this week, so STAY TUNED!

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    Fun Things to Do in Fall {Boone, NC & Beyond} - Part 3

    It seems like it was just yesterday that I was eagerly awaiting the arrival of FALL. Somehow, it slipped in right under my nose without me noticing and is currently in full swing here in the high country. Try as I might to soak up as much as I can, there are many things that I am afraid that we won't get to do because this beloved season fades entirely to fast. With that being said, we have done a whole heck of a lot recently with more to come, so I'm not complaining. All you can do is enjoy it while it lasts, right?! 

     Hebron Rock Colony

    12. Hebron Rock Colony By accident last year, I discovered that this was the most beautiful place around Boone to soak up fall. While it entails a brief hike to reach the rock laden gorge, this is the least of a visitors worries. Navigating the plethora of boulders requires a lot of rock hopping and scrambling, however, this can easily be achieved as long as you're being extremely careful. I could have spent all day marveling (and photographing) at the luminous display of golds, oranges and yellows blanketing the surrounding trees. We visited Hebron just yesterday and it appears as though we missed the peak colors, but it was still very pretty.

    13. Sleep in the Woods: One of the great things about being in western North Carolina is that there is never a shortage of places to sleep outdoors if you're looking to commune with nature for a night or weekend. There's nothing better than bundling up during the chilly nights, and waking up to crisp, cool mornings that warm up as the day wears on. With the Blue Ridge Parkway near by there are a number of well-maintained campgrounds that are typically less than $20 a night if you want to car camp. However, there are just as many free options to be found if you know where to look and aren't afraid of a hike (or trespassing :D j/k). For instance, backpackers can camp for free (with some restrictions) in the Linville Gorge, Pisgah National Forest and Grandfather Mountain's backcountry to name a few available options.

     Corn Maze

    14. Getting lost in the New River Corn Maze is a surefire way to get the giggles and have a goofy good time. This year a new maze opened just outside of Boone that winds through 4 acres of corn along the New River. Expect to be laughing too hard to notice whether or not you took a wrong turn until you hit a dead-end, although the little street signs marking the paths help to steer you in a new direction. Cody and I went with a couple of friends and the boys insisted on teaming up to scare us many times along the way. However, we did manage to make it out in just 23 minutes even with their shady shenanigans!
     ASU Football Game

    15. ASU Football Game: I've lived here in Boone,NC for over 5 years now and I had never been to a football game until last weekend. I suppose that I just didn't have the urge to dilly dally with a boat load of drunken college kids, and I'm not sure why I chose to do so now, but it was a lot more fun than I thought it would be. Initially, it was sort of a way to say that I've gone to a football game, finally, but I actually enjoyed myself and we're already talking about going to another one. Over the years, I must have forgotten how much fun it is to cheer on a team alongside a bunch of overexcited fans who are hooting and hollering. 

    16. Play Disc Golf: A 30 minute drive from Boone is an amazing disc golf course in Ashe County with 20 holes to accommodate both amateurs and pros. Playing the course doesn't cost you anything, although you need to have your own discs in order to do so. Besides having a really great course set-up with holes ranging from easy to difficult, you'll also be swept away by the mountain scenery surrounding you. For anyone who has never experienced the game of disc golf before, it's a lot of fun to play and it isn't too hard to get the hang of. Now, scoring a goal (or basket) is a different story.

     Me in Autumn

    17. Not Just Child's Play: Gather up a great big pile of leaves, launch them as high as you can above your head, and spin around as they fall! As goofy as it may sound, something magical happens and you're instantly transported to a more playful age (if you don't already act like a kid). I had such a blast and haven't laughed that hard in a while. The people who were watching as they walked by definitely looked like they wanted to jump in too. If you think that playing in a pile of leaves if just for kids, you should absolutely try it yourself sometime. 

    This short list of fun things to do in fall consists mainly of things to do around Boone, however, I'm sure that football games, campgrounds and corn mazes can also be found around your home as well with a little research.
    This blog post is PART 3 of the "Fun Things to Do in Fall" series. In Part 1, I shared a list of Fairs and Festivals in and around North Carolina that we enjoy attending. And in Part 2, I shared our favorite National and State Parks in the Western NC region that we frequent during this time of year. If you missed those, the links can be found below.

    Related Links:

    Fun Things to Do in Fall (Boone, NC & Western NC) - Part 2

     {National & State Parks}

    Linn Cove Viaduct

    6. Blue Ridge Parkway This 469 mile long scenic drive starts in Virginia, meanders through North Carolina and ends in Tennessee. It is an extremely popular destination among those who covet the myriad of colors our region is famous for producing. Seeing your favorite vistas and hikes cloaked in the most vibrant fall colors is an added bonus, however, the congestion the parkway experiences is almost enough to make you steer clear. The BRP is also celebrating their 75th anniversary this year and has events scheduled throughout the season for everyone to enjoy.

    Linville Falls

    7. Linville Falls Located at milepost 316.5 this highlight is a stop off along the Blue Ridge Parkway that attracts a high volume of visitors during any season. The 90 foot powerful plunge can be seen from many different angles and can be reached through a variety of hikes that range from easy to difficult. It's one of my favorite waterfalls, especially in Fall.

    8. Wiseman's View Just a short distance from Linville Falls this overlook offers an equally impressive display (sans waterfall) of the Linville Gorge. The trail to the rock outcropping requires nothing more than an easy stroll, and the concrete path makes it handicap accessible. This detour won't take much time, which makes it a great quickstop before or after seeing Linville Falls.

    From the Top

    9. Grandfather Mountain At an elevation of 5,946 ft above sea level, the views from this biosphere are incredible, especially from the top where the Mile High Swinging Bridge resides. Wildlife habitats and hiking trails will also keep you busy during your visit to GM to get your monies worth. Not too long ago, the state of North Carolina purchased GM's backcountry for a state park; before this took place an overnight hiker had to purchase a permit to camp, however, now the permits are free.

    Under the Parkway

    10. Hiking @ Cone Manor From this central location off the Blue Ridge Parkway you can access an array of trails. Shuffle through "The Maze" down at Bass Lake or hustle your way up the Flat Top Trail to the firetower where your efforts are rewarded with spectacular 360 degree views. We start a lot of our hikes from this point because it's conveniently located near Boone and we have options to choose from depending on how hard we're willing to work.

    Devils Head

    11. Chimney Rock State Park in NC A perfect place to find fall and reconnect with nature is at Chimney Rock. With nature trails, a waterfall and fresh mountain air this place seriously can't be beat. It is definitely not a secret, so don't expect to have the place to yourself, though.

    These posts are keeping me motivated about Fall, because right now it seems as though we skipped this season altogether and winter has begun to set in. Or at least it has for the past two days. We've already had our heater on and I've broken out the sweaters! I hope this cold snap subsides soon, because I really want to experience some FALL.

    This is a continuation of a series about "Fun Things to do in Fall". In part 1 (link below), I shared a list of festivals and fairs happening across North Carolina, and even one in Georgia, while this portion of the list is focused more on state parks around Western North Carolina. With this list you will find links to archived posts or to other websites where you can gather more information.  

    Related Links: