The Hidden Benefits of Massage

Every Body Massage | Boone, NC

I didn't realize how many knots I had until my Megan began working her magic. One after another she attempted to release the tension that was binding my neck, shoulders, and back. Lucky for me, the chronic pain that I used to experience on a daily basis is a thing of the past. However, that doesn't excuse me from feeling the negative effects of my neck surgery every now and then when I've spent too much time on the computer and no time exercising.

While I may have a heightened awareness about my body most of the time, this massage made me realize that there are underlying issues that I am completely clueless about as well. Our bodies are capable of enduring all sorts of physical challenges, and it has the capability to heal itself in ways that many don't fully comprehend. That's why it's important to seek out ways to help nurture ourselves and our bodies, so that they can perform to the best of their abilities.

Every Body Massage | Boone, NC

The majority of the public believes that getting a massage is only something you do to pamper yourself, or treat yourself to on special occasions. And the advertising we see on TV and in other ads (magazines, newspapers, etc.) reinforces that fallacy even further. The reality is that massage should be treated as much more than a mere indulgence. You might be surprised to hear this, but regular massage is actually part of a healthy lifestyle.

Not only is it a soothing way to reduce stress, pain, stiffness and soreness, but it also has a myriad of other benefits to be aware of as well. It's too bad that most health insurance coverage doesn't include these beneficial treatments. However, that doesn't stop medical practitioners from prescribing this to their patients anyway. Research suggests that massage can relieve insomnia, control blood pressure, manage anxiety & depression, boost immunity, improve circulation, and promote joint flexibility to name a few of the positive effects experienced as a result of a professional rub down. Megan was extremely mindful of my comfort levels and did a wonderful job of lessening the tension in my neck and back. I'm ready to go back in for another treatment already! 

Every Body Massage | Boone, NC

I felt like a new person after my massage therapy session. Overall, the experience I had was soothing and relaxing. Little did I realize at the time that I booked the appointment that I was in such need of her services. It didn't take me long to see that it's something that I need to do more often as a way to continue on my path to happy healing. If you ask me, it's something we should all do! Some of you might be thinking about how costly massages can be, and sometimes they are, but maybe you're looking in the wrong place?! For instance, upscale spas here in Boone, NC (in most cases) charge significantly more than the rates Megan charges at the salon. It doesn't hurt to shop around to ensure you're getting a price you can comfortably afford. This may not be something that I could do weekly, but I definitely plan to get treatments at least monthly.

Megan Ward is a licensed massage therapist here in Boone, NC, who recently opened her new business, Every Body Massage & Bodywork Therapy, in the Shear Shakti Salon located in downtown Boone. Her Therapeutic Integrative Massage technique incorporates Trigger Point Release, Swedish massage, & Deep Tissue work. It's apparent that she loves and enjoys this type of work, and that energy comes across in the way that she moves and manipulates your body. I felt so at peace that I nearly fell asleep during our session!

To the lucky few who read my blog that live in (or around) my hometown, Megan has offered one complimentary 60-minute massage as a giveaway! How awesome is that?!? If you'd like to be considered for this random drawing, please leave a comment here or on the WW Facebook page answering this question:

Have you had the opportunity to experience a massage from a licensed professional? If so, what was your experience and how has it helped you?” 

Even if you aren't eligible for the giveaway, I'd still love to hear your responses! For those who can enter, if you'd like to receive an extra entry, head on over to the Shear Shakti Facebook profile and become a friend. Just leave a comment here once you've done so.

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    Winner Announcement: Celebrating Spring with Shutterfly {Giveaway}

      Farmers Market Flowers

    Thank you to everyone who took the time to enter the “Celebrating Spring Shutterfly Giveaway”. Many of you shared how you plan to celebrate spring and I hope that you've been doing just that! The weather here in the High Country has been up and down, but overall it's been wonderful.

    Well, I know you've been patient enough, so without further ado, the randomly selected winner of the Shutterfly giveaway is...

    Katrina from Wakeboarding Mama who said, “I will be spending spring by the pool and the beach on the weekends with my daughter and husband!”. Well, Katrina, that sounds like a lot of fun. I hope that this news helps to brighten your day too! Again, thank you all for participating in the “Celebrating Spring Shutterfly Giveaway”!

    The next big giveaway will offer foodie photographers a chance to WIN a Sony Cybershot WX9 point & shoot camera courtesy of Sony Electronics. The official announcement and giveaway details will be posted on June 9th, so mark you calendar! Until then, you should practice taking food photos...hint...hint! 

    Interested in finding out more about the WX9? 

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    Food Vendors @ Trail Days | Damascus, VA

    Outback Kate's @ Trail Days

    You'd think from all the pictures of food I post that Cody and I have the worst diets on the planet. Sad to say, but to some extent, we do. I'm sure it doesn't come as a surprise that we indulge a lot more often than we probably should with foods that are greasy, fattening, and generally unhealthy, but I can't help it. They're soooooooo good! (If you stay until the end of this post, I will tell you how this is going to change.)

    In a recent post, I shared with you how we spent our day in Damascus, Virginia for the annual Trail Days event that brings hikers of the AT together from all over the country for a reunion. During this 25th anniversary celebration, this small town is bombarded with backpackers taking a break from (or just finishing) the trail.

    Even though we weren't hikers coming off the trail, we arrived super hungry and ready to grub. The smells wafting through the tents made our hunger had to ignore, so we headed straight for the food. We walked around to see what was cooking and after scanning over a dozen or so vendors, we ended up going to the place with the longest line. You know the place with the longest line has the best food, right?!

    Chicken-on-a-stick @ Trail Days

    This food vendor was one we've had the pleasure of trying before, so we know it's good stuff. Outback Kate's had one of the largest menus of any other vendor. They had everything from burritos to veggie plates to alligator bites on hand. Cody and I ended up getting the chicken-on-a-stick ($6) after waiting in line a good 10 minutes. The chicken-on-a-stick was no where near as flavorful as the sauce coating it was, the inside was a little bland. While waiting in yet another line to get a sweet tea, we ended up scarfing the whole thing before it was our turn at the window, so it wasn't too bad!

    Still in a munchie mood after the chicken-on-a-stick, I wanted to get something else to go along with that. I mean, we did share it! We contemplated a bloomin' onion ($7), but because Cody was not feeling as hungry as I was, we ended up just going with a little basket of chili cheese fries ($3) instead—it was much cheaper, too. 

    Chili Cheese Fries @ Trail Days

    For dessert (as if we needed it), a bourbon bacon brownie I got while waiting in line at Outback Kate's was beckoning for us to give it a taste. The brownie was rich and chocolately with bourbon soaked walnuts the size of a knuckle and slivers of bacon sprinkled throughout. I could hardly taste the bourbon flavoring because it was too subtle and the bites of bacon were thicker (and longer) than I expected. I'm wondering if the bacon would have blended better if they chopped it up a little finer, so that you didn't have bites with such large pieces. Either way, it was an interesting combination that I couldn't resist trying. 

    Bourbon Bacon Brownie @ Trail Days

    Cody couldn't believe that I still wanted to eat after sharing chicken-on-a-stick, chili cheese fries, and ½ of a bourbon bacon brownie, but I used some restraint, and we decided to venture to the outdoor gear vendors to see what they had to share and/or sell. One table that we stopped at was the PRIMAL tent where they were issuing samples of their strips. (Yay! More food!)

    Primal Strips @ Trail Days

    Think of something similar to beef jerky without the beef and other fillers they manage to mix in. The Primal strips have no preservatives, no artificial colors, they are safe for vegans, are gluten-free, and all natural to name a few selling points. I've tried them before, and they are available in a local grocery store here in Boone called Earthfare, but that still didn't stop me from sampling them again. The strips have an interesting texture, not too hard and chewy, and the flavors they have like Thai Peanut, Teriyaki, and Hot & Spicy are delicious. I'd like to pick some up the next time we go backpacking or camping for a hardy snack. Give them a try, they might be available in a grocery store near you!

    If you'd like to see/read more about Appalachian Trail Days, check out the overview I posted of the event, here.

    Now that I have removed all doubt about our seemingly unhealthy diets, I would like to reveal that we will soon be altering our eating habits in a really dramatic way. At the beginning of June our weekly CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) shares will begin, which means tons of fresh veggies from our favorite farmers. The Farmer's Market has started back up, too, which will also inspire us to eat healthier by providing a plethora of fruits and veggies. With our new diets, we will cut out sugar and processed foods. This isn't going to be easy, especially for us, but we are making a commitment to improve our diets once and for all!

    How does your household maintain healthy eating habits?
     Please share in the comments!

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    Trail Days 2011 | Damascus, VA

    Appalachian Trail Sign in Damascus, VA @ Trail Days

    It's been three years since Cody and I started going to the annual Appalachian Trail Days in the small town of Damascus, Virginia. (This year they were celebrating 25 years!) It has become one of those events that automatically gets put on our calendar every year because we have such a great time, and it's only a short one-hour drive from Boone.

    Big Yellow Tent @ Appalachian Trail Days

    It's not everyday that you get to bump elbows with hundreds of backpackers who are taking time off the trail to attend this special event. Not all of them are in the middle of a distance hike, however, the majority of them are. You can tell the difference between who is and isn't a long-term hiker by how strongly they smell. That is, unless they've taken advantage of the free showers being offered by the local church.

    Church Sign @ Appalachian Trail Days

    You don't necessarily need to be someone who has hiked the Appalachian Trail in order to attend this exciting event. Heaven knows I haven't hiked the 2,181 mile long trek from Georgia to Maine, and I probably never will. It takes a special kind of person to do something like that. Hiking the AT in it's entirety is no small feat. I'm just not that kind of hiker and/or camper, but I appreciate and respect those who are.

    Laurel Creek Bridge in Damascus, VA @ Trail Days

    On a normal week, Damascus' population is around a 1,000 residents but that number quickly multiplies during the days leading up to Appalachian Trail Days. Come mid-spring, the town of Damascus becomes a melting pot that blends anyone and everyone who has an appreciation for the outdoors. Although it's mostly those who have an affinity for or a connection to the Appalachian Trail specifically.

    Crowd + Tents @ Appalachian Trail Days

    During Trail Days they have outdoor gear vendors showcasing their products, a hiker's parade that may be the largest water fight in the world, an amusing talent show, dozens of tempting food vendors, and lots of other family-friendly fun to keep you entertained!

    Colorful Vendor @ Trail Days in Damascus, VA

    This year, we missed the hiker's parade because we were too busy schmoozing with the vendors who had neat gear and FREE stickers!

    Characters @ Trail Days in Damascus, VA

    There are some really awesome products sprouting up that are extremely innovative. Cody and I actually went home with a new lightweight tent (1lb. 11oz.) that we're excited to tell you all about. I'm trying to talk him into doing a guest post!

    Mid-day Downpour @ Appalachian Trail Days

    The weather on Saturday was back and forth all day. It was overcast and cloudy with a slight drizzle that turned into a brief stint of sunshine that developed into a downpour that drenched a lot of people. The ones who needed a bath I hope :D Thankfully, I had an umbrella and Cody had his raincoat, but we still sought shelter under one of the large tents with others who were looking to escape the relentless rain. Even though the weather didn't completely cooperate, we still enjoyed the day we spent in Damascus.

    Hippie Mailbox @ Appalachian Trail Days

    Appalachian Trail Days is a unique event that brings some really wonderful folks together for a reunion that is, mainly, geared toward backpackers from all over the country who have hiked the AT. However, people from all walks of life can also enjoy this event, especially if you love and enjoy spending time in the great outdoors!

    Have you ever heard of the Appalachian Trail? Or have you been to Trail Days before? 
    Please share your thoughts in the comments!

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      My Favorite Food Vendors @ Shakori Hills | Pittsboro, NC

      Sugar Shack @ Shakori Hills

      Anyone who knows Cody and I well enough will be the first to tell you that we may be mildly obsessed with food. Some of our most favorite events throughout the year are greatly dependent upon the food that they serve. For us, that can make or break an event because we really like to eat. Festivals are usually some of the best places to try out some of the most interesting cuisine that you don't normally get to eat. Shakori Hills, a wildly fun music festival we recently attended, was one of those events that didn't disappoint when it came to the selection of food vendors.

      Knowing good and well that we'd be sampling a little bit of this and a little bit of that, Cody and I took a wad of cash to compensate for any culinary delights we would allow ourselves to partake. In retrospect, we may have allotted too much money for the feasting that ensued as a result of all the tasty options before us. We gave business to just about every vendor out there, sampling all the snacks that caught our eye. We have a tendency to go overboard! I was a little embarrassed by how much we actually consumed over the 4-day festival after I tallied it up in my head, but then I remembered how delectable everything was and quickly got over it. As a follow up to the overview post I did about Shakori Hills last week, I thought it might be fun to share a few of our most favorite edibles from the festival. 

       Veggie Thing from Sugar Shack @ Shakori Hills

      THE VEGGIE THING from The Sugar Shack

      This beast was by far the most delicious item we tried. Rightly so, because we kept hearing about how awesome it was from other people. I couldn't help but stare at the folks around us who were devouring them as they gushed about how good they were. Once we saw the overstuffed medley of madness being eaten by others, we were determined to get one for ourselves. It was a flour tortilla packed with raw broccoli, spinach, spring mix cabbage, carrots, two kinds of cheese, salsa, and a chutney-like sauce that gave it a little zing. For something so basic and simple, it was incredible! This week, Cody and I actually worked on recreating this masterpiece. You'll be happy to know that it was a success! Interested in the recipe? We might be willing to share our secret ;)

      Hillbilly Bob's Homemade Soda @ Shakori Hills

      HOMEMADE SODA from Hillbilly Bob's

      His cute little trailer with the rustic wood siding was hard to miss. We investigated further to figure out what was so special about his soda's. Besides the fact that they are homemade, unlike most soft drinks, he uses pure cane sugar and other extracts for flavoring, and not high fructose corn syrup. The cost for these isn't the same as what you buy in the gas station or grocery store, they came at a slightly higher price. The initial drink was $5.00, and the refills were only $2.00 after your first purchase.

      Passing up the opportunity to try one when we first stopped by, we ended up going back because we heard that the Root Beer was amazing. I'm not typically a big fan of Root Beer myself, but this concoction was good. Real good. Drinking out of the tin can was an interesting novelty; I'm glad that we could recycle it afterward. In the end, we tasted all but one flavor, the cream soda.

      Duck Fat Tots from Kokyu @ Shakori Hills Music Festival

      DUCK FAT TOTS (w/ Rosemary & Black Pepper) from Kokyu

      While scanning over their menu, I impulsively decided to try these strictly based on the name alone. I can't say that I've ever tried anything cooked in duck fat before, so I was unsure about what to expect. But who doesn't love tater tots? And tater tots cooked in duck fat?! I had to get a taste of this! They were incredible. Seriously. I don't even know how to describe the explosion of flavors I experienced when scarfing them down. Thinking about them as I write this makes my mouth water! At $3 a tray, it was likely one of the cheapest things we ate while at Shakori. Thank goodness, too, because we had about 3 trays :D

      What is the most interesting food you've consumed during a festival or other event? 
      Please share in the comments!

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      10 Reasons to Visit the Farmer's Market | Boone, NC

      Bucket of Sunflowers @ the Farmer's Market

      This is such an exciting time of the year for me because I've been waiting months for the growing season to begin again. I'll admit that my household's healthy eating habits have been in decline since winter began. There's really no excuse either. It's not like we can't go and buy veggies at the grocery store, but it's just not the same. The quality is far less superior than what we can obtain directly from the local farmers in our town. You'd be surprised by the noticeable difference.

      Last week I talked about “Celebrating Spring” and how I plan on getting outside and taking photographs of some of my favorite subjects, flowers. Over the past week, I have been doing just that. However, I celebrated spring in a different way recently by heading to the opening weekend of the Watauga County Farmer's Market here in Boone, NC. Judging by the amount of other shoppers shuffling around the stalls, they really missed the weekly market, too! 

      Cherry Tomatoes @ the Farmer's Market

      {10 Reasons to Visit the Farmer's Market}

      1. Support the Local Economy – Investing your dollars back into the community by shopping at the Farmer's Market helps to keep small farms thriving while also supporting sustainable growing practices.

      2. Get to Know your Farmer – Having the ability to cultivate a relationship with our local growers is an opportunity that I relish. I feel a deeper connection to the food that I am putting in my body as a result of the friendships we have forged. 

      3. Freshest Food Available – One of the greatest benefits to shopping at the farmer's market is having the ability to obtain fruits and vegetables that were picked just the day before or, in some cases, that same morning! The same surely can't be said for something shipped from California.

        Blueberries @ the Farmer's Market

      4. More Bang for your Buck – There are many misconceptions about how expensive produce from the Farmer's Market can be. In my experience, I have found that shopping at the local market is significantly cheaper than the grocery store. Buying directly from the farmer cuts out the middleman (putting money straight into their pockets) and it also eliminates additional expenses incurred from shipping items from miles away.

      5. Organic Options a Plenty – Organic is not a gimmick for farmers who genuinely care about the environment and are aware of how harmful pesticides can be to it and our bodies. Many of the growers at our farmers market don't chemically treat their crops and they've been doing it that way before eco-friendly became a buzz word. Just be sure to clarify before assuming they organically grow their crops.

        Blue Potatoes @ the Farmer's Market

      6. Connecting with the Community – One of my favorite things about going to the farmer's market is the chance to see some friendly faces. There are many times when trips to the market will include more socializing than shopping! The Watauga County Farmer's Market has such a lively atmosphere, it's a great way to spend a Saturday morning regardless of whether or not you need to shop :D

      7. Better for the Environment – Shopping at the Farmer's Market will prevent you from purchasing items that have been shipped in from miles and miles away. It's more sustainable due to the fact that less resources are used, such as those required for packaging and fuel. Plain and simple, food that is grown in your community doesn't have to travel as far, which puts less stress on the environment.

        Avocados @ the Farmer's Market

      8. Try New Things – Seeing all of the bountiful baskets overflowing with fresh produce may be a great way to encourage you to eat more fruits and veggies. But it's also a good way to expand your culinary horizons, too. You're bound to find something you weren't familiar with that piques your interest. Don't be afraid to experiment with uncommon items!

      9. Reduce Supermarket Shopping – Going to the Farmer's Market can significantly reduce how often you venture to the grocery store, which can help save you money and assist you in making healthier choices as well. Grocery stores are filled with processed foods that aren't good for you, so it's better to avoid them as much as possible. 

      10. Much Much More – Along with fresh fruits and veggies, specialty items can be found at the Farmer's Market as well. You can find basket makers, flower growers, bakers, photographers, the best coffee in Boone, and a whole lot more!

      There are so many great reasons to venture to your local Farmer's Market. It offers a unique shopping experience to say the least. I could probably keep going with this list if I thought about it long enough, but I'll stop here.

      Do you go to the Farmer's Market? 
      Please share your experience in the comments!

      Want to know if there is a farmers market in your area? Go to and with a zip code entry, you will get a list of local farmers and other sustainably grown food vendors.

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        Celebrating Spring with Shutterfly {Giveaway}

        Red Tulip Diptych

        While it has most definitely warmed up here in the High Country, the weather still likes to yo-yo. Some days it's nice enough to keep the doors open, which the kitties really like, while other days, it's downright icy. Although not cold enough to warrant our monitor heater being turned back on. It's been at least a month or more since we shut it down, and I'm determined not to turn it back on at all to save oil. So far, our temperatures here in Boone, NC haven't dipped back down that far (knock on wood). Who knows, though, maybe we'll get one last snow?! I would be perfectly fine with that so long as it didn't kill all the precious plants people have begun growing, seeing them freeze is a crying shame.

        After enduring frigid temperatures and snowfall during the harsh months of winter, spring is a highly welcomed and anticipated season for many folks across the country. A number of us are sometimes left aching for an inkling of days with warmer weather because those at lower elevations get to experience spring sooner than we do. It's torturous, and I find myself getting a little jealous of those enjoying warmer temperatures earlier in the season. What makes the transition even more difficult is seeing all the beautiful photographs of the blossoms blooming, because I am eagerly awaiting my turn to take some flower photos, too. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy getting a glimpse of what we will soon have coming our way, but it's such a tease! (I'm not the most patient individual)

        Dogwood Diptych

        As far as I'm concerned, we have officially crossed over into spring! The flowering trees, flip flops, and festivals are all sure signs that we are finished with the frosty days of winter. Whether or not it does decide to come back and pester us one last time, I'm over it. It's that simple. I'll stay focused on all the wonderful things I want to plan for the months ahead instead of worrying about what may or may not happen. Boone's weather has always had a mind of its own anyway, so being flexible (and prepared) is a must if you live up here in the mountains.

        That's part of what makes being in Boone so awesome, though. This town is unpredictable and full of surprises! It's beautiful up here no matter what season it happens be. However, spring is so much sweeter since it follows the wintry weather most of us are desperately seeking a break from. I love spring and I'm celebrating it the best way that I know how; it involves a lot of time in the sun and being on the lookout for flowers!

        White Magnolia Diptych

        Flowers are my favorite. I could take photographs of flowers for hours on end. Seriously, you let me loose in a garden, and you might be waiting days before I return. Some of the usual flowering trees that I like to revisit were just too quick for me to capture this year, but I'm keeping a close eye out now. One thing I keep reminding myself of is to enjoy spring while it lasts because it'll be gone before you know it!

        The coming of spring brings many things (not just flowers), there are occasions to celebrate, new beginnings (and endings) to commemorate, along with other thrilling announcements to share with family and friends. Reasons to celebrate are all around!

        How will you celebrate spring this year? 
        I'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments!

        This post is sponsored by Shutterfly for their Spring Announcements promotion. They will be providing a special giveaway that I am giddy about awarding. One winner will receive a Shutterfly promo code that is good for 50 5x7 flat or folded announcements/cards OR one 8x8 20-page photobook! You could use it for Mother's Day Cards, Birth Announcements, or any other occasion they have to offer. I'm excited about making a photobook, personally, because I have yet to do this with the plethora of images I'm hoarding on my hard drives. 
        To ENTER the Shutterfly giveaway, all you have to do is leave your answer to this question in the comment section, “How will you celebrate spring this year?”. Extra entries (1 each) can be received by following Wayfaring Wanderer on Facebook or Twitter. Another entry can be gained from sharing a spring related photo (anything you choose) on the Wayfaring Wanderer FB wall. To let me know you have completed any of these steps for extra entries, just leave a message in the comment section of this post. Please be sure to include the pertinent information that I will need to contact you in case you are the winner. Thank you & Good luck! This giveaway is now CLOSED, the winner is announced HERE.

        Have a blog? Sign up for a chance to receive 50 free cards from Shutterfly!

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        Shakori Hills Grassroots Music Festival | Pittsboro, NC


        Shakori Hills Music Festival Collage

        Music could be heard echoing in the distance from practically any direction you walked, the strong, smoky scent of a hundred (or more) campfires permeated the air, and an electric vibe was being emitted from every happy-go-lucky festival goer we passed. The atmosphere was an extremely lively one from the get-go. I was super excited to be attending the Shakori Hills Music Festival for the very first time. While it did have its fair share of ups and downs during the 4-day event, in the end, I was glad that we attended because I had an absolute blast.

        Big Owl Parade Puppet @ Shakori Hills Music Festival

        Friday, however, was another story. We were drenched with buckets of rain nearly all day long. I enjoyed it at first because I was excited about getting a chance to wear my wellies (rain boots). However, I grew weary of being waterlogged very quickly. For the most part, I stayed dry due to the raincoat, rain boots, & umbrella I carried with me, but it was much colder than we anticipated and it chilled you to the bone. Refuge from the rain could be found under one of two large tents set up with stages for music or we could choose to huddle under our tarp back at the campsite for a brief reprieve or the warmest option was to thaw out near the public fire pit when a seat opened up. Only the brave bothered to endure the downpour, not many other people were out that day. Truth be told, Friday was a little miserable on account of the rain, but we stuck it out nonetheless.

        Umbrella Dome @ Shakori Hills Music Festival

        By the time we reached the mid-point of the music festival, Cody and I had already heard several outstanding bands, eaten more than our fair share of food from the vendors, and walked almost a million miles passing out recycling bags to the many campers in need. On top of this being my first time at this grassroots festival, it was also my first time volunteering to get free admission with any festival. Our job (mine and Cody's) was to pass out recycling bags to all of the campers staying at this festival, there were literally hundreds of people and they covered a rather large area. Aside from the blisters I got from trudging through the mud in my rainboots, we enjoyed our jobs and hope to do it again next year.

        Food Vendor @ Shakori Hills Music Festival

        When we weren't working (3hrs a day) or listening to the amazing music, Cody and I could most likely be found grabbing some grub from one of the many food vendors. We were given a couple suggestions about what to get from our friends who have been to this festival before. A “Veggie Thing” from the Sugar Shack (pictured in the collage above) was one item we heard people raving about that we couldn't resist trying. It was a tortilla packed with fresh raw veggies, salsa, and a chutney-like sauce that gave it a little zing. For something so basic and simple, it was incredible! We ate two of them over the course of our 4-day stay. In fact, we ate a TON of stuff throughout the festival; I won't give you a list of everything because it's too embarrassing. I will say, though, that we didn't try anything that we didn't really like, it was all very tasty!

        UMALALI @ Shakori Hills Music Festival

        After tearing ourselves away from the area where vendors were dishing out delicious food, we moseyed on over to a nearby stage where the music was being played. In all, there were two outdoor stages (one large and one medium sized) and two large circus-style tents. A band always seemed to be playing somewhere between the various venues. They started early in the morning (9am) and played until late in the evening (1am). I didn't realize that I would be in for such an abrupt awakening the next morning; next time, I'll be sure to bring some earplugs! Out of the 60 some odd bands that were playing during the Shakori Hills festival, there were only 5 or 6 that I had even heard of, which ended up being ideal because I wasn't concerned about seeing a certain band at a specific time. Instead, I could just stumble upon whoever crossed my path. This made for some delightful discoveries along the way, like accidentally catching the sultry songstress Nikki Talley (and her band) in action or hearing the rhythmic beats bellowing from the stage when UMALALI played. You could end up just about anywhere and have the opportunity to hear some fantastic music.

        Arrested Development @ Shakori Hills Music Festival

        One of the most notable performances for me was seeing Arrested Development, a blast from the past. They were extremely entertaining, mainly, because their music conjures some old-school memories for me from the early 90's, but also because they just put on a really stupendous show. I couldn't take my eyes off one of the back-up singers who had an amazing amount of energy, she stole the show as she flipped and danced and bounced all over the stage. Another memorable musical experience came from one of my new favorite performers, Langhorne Slim. If you recall, I got to see Langhorne Slim when they came to Boone, NC a couple months ago, so getting to see him again (and so soon) was a special treat, especially since this show was 10x better than the one I saw at Boone Saloon!

        Langhorne Slim @ Shakori Hills Music Festival

        I'm extremely thankful that Friday's flood didn't stick around the entire weekend. Had mother nature not intervened and bestowed upon us brighter days on Saturday and Sunday, it may have ended up being a waterlogged weekend. I can only imagine how it could have soured me for future festivals. I'm glad that's not the case, though, because I enjoyed my first overnight festival experience. I mean, what's not to love about a family friendly grassroots music festival filled with dancing, friends, food, and fun on a farm out in the middle of nowhere in Pittsboro, NC?!? Yeah, I don't know, you tell me :D I enjoyed it so much that we are already planning on doing another one called Floyd Fest with friends this coming summer!

        What's your take on music festivals? Love 'em? Hate 'em? 
        Please share your thoughts in the comments! 

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