Monday, July 21, 2014

Coffee, a campfire -- it's great in the Smokies

Nothing like a campfire and coffee in the Smokies
When it heats up in July down in south Mississippi, its time to head to the mountains. 

Wifey and I are on the way, having left today (Monday) with a one-night stopover in Marietta, GA.

Tuesday morning we will be setting our sights on setting up camp at our site in Elkmont Campground in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

There’s anticipation of cooler nights (and having a campfire), taking a few walks around the campground, travels to favorite picnic areas, and historical spots and a trek over to Pigeon Forge maybe to buy some new clothes. And the usual visit to Walmart in Sevierville for more food.

This will be the second time this year we’ve made our way to the area around Gatlinburg.

We’ve also scheduled to be up here in mid September.

We’re on the road now and don’t know about posting on Tuesday because we’ll be tied up traveling and then being in a place without Internet access.

So I’m sending out this short post on Monday and hoping that by next week, we once again will be at a location (possibly Starbucks in Sevierville) to make a scheduled post.

If not, then we’ll post whenever possible.

Have fund this summer, stay out of the heat, and head on up to the Smokies. It’s usually great up here — anytime of the year.

Next post: July 29, 2014

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Cat Island Coffeehouse -- a drink and a view

We’re always on the lookout for a new coffee house to frequent.

And it just so happens we came across such a place on a visit to the coastal city of Pass Christian a number of months ago when participating in a Parade of Homes program.

We didn’t know the place existed but were surprised to find the combination Pass Christian Books and Cat Island Coffee House in a building overlooking the local harbor and the Mississippi Sound.

It was a great location.

Pass Christian is about a 30-mile drive from home. We didn’t have the time on the previous visit to stop and imbibe, but a couple of weeks ago decided to take a Sunday afternoon excursion to enjoy the trappings of a new place.

And it was enjoyable. They served the usual offerings of coffee and a bunch of different teas. I got coffee, wifey got tea and we sat at a table where we could take advantage of the scenery.

There were  a number of “tables for two” inside along with a few lounge chairs and tables along with one location big enough for at least two to sit with their computers on a table.

There was also outside seating.

There was a spiral staircase leading to the second floor (a portion opened to the lower level) which housed a selection of books by Mississippi authors.

I guess the next time we head west to places father away, not only will be take the time to travel on the famous Scenic Drive, but also stop at our newfound offering.

And one of the great things was the fact that I was served my coffee drink in an actual ceramic cup -- with a bit of a decoration on top.

Next post: July 23, 2014

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Peaks of Otter revisited -- after 37 years

The previous time we visited the Peaks of Otter Lodge, it was foggy.

That was back in late fall of 1977. We were on the end of an almost nine-week excursion that was part of a year-off-from-work odyssey that took us throughout the United States.

We didn’t stay at the lodge which is located on the Blue Ridge Parkway in Virgnia at Mile Post 86.

We spent the night in our van at the nearby campground, but ate an evening meal at the lodge.

Our oldest and only son at the time, at five, threw up after eating some raw onions. It wasn’t bad onions.  He just doesn't like onions at all. That's one of the most vivid memories.

Looking back, I though the restaurant was configured in a different layout. Maybe so, I don’t know.

What I do remember is the copper plated fireplace, which at the time offered up a warm fire for that early November night.

It is still there. And looks just as good, although it seems they’ve gotten away from burning wood and have gone to gas.

This time, we were too late for breakfast and too early for the noon meal, so a gratious waitress allowed us some coffee and tea which we consumed at a table overlooking the lake. We were well down the road  at dinner time.

It was a great feeling being there. We checked out their handicapped units which seemed suitable, and then shopped their other units which also overlooked the lake.

It took us almost 37 years to make it back. Maybe next time won’t be as long.

Next post: July 15, 2014

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

GPS journey through captivating countryside

Virginia farmstead 
On a recent trip, we had spent the night in Lynchburg, Va., on the way back toward home after a stay in Hampton, Va.

Our destination the next day, in addition to other sites, was the Peaks of Otter Lodge on the Blue Ridge Parkway, a location that we had fond memories of on a trip taken back in 1977-78.

Upon leaving the motel, I plugged in the ”Peaks of Otter” into our GPS system and hoped for the best.

I expected the female voice to give us a rather direct route so we could cover the distance is as short a span of time as possible.

I had read stories where people followed the directions from their GPS to literally the “ends of the earth” and ended up in a lot of trouble. One example, I believe, took the people to the end of a dead end road somewhere out in a desert.

We weren’t near any desert, but I was a little apprehensive upon receiving the second command from our female leader.

We turned right off the major highway at an early juncture of the trip and were directed down this country road that at times was barely large enough for a vehicle and a half. It was early in the day, there was civilization all around, so we decided to give in to her directions.

We went north, then took a left turn, meandered over hills and through valleys as the morning sun started moving high into the sky.

We continued on following the definitive voice of someone who sounded like they knew where they were taking us.

But then, after a little while, I started to wonder just where we were going.  I wish I had a print out of our leaders directions, so that I could retrace the route.

After about an hour and a half, we finally heard the much anticipated words, something like, “Peaks of Otter, 1.2 miles on the right.”

It wasn't the route I had anticipated.  I thought we would be taking the major highways that lead to our destination, but that was not the case,

Having attained what was soon to be the end of that part of the journey, I couldn’t help but look back to when we first headed out and what we experienced.

The drive ended up being one of divine beauty and joy through the Virginia countryside.

Next post: July 8, 2014