Blue Ridge Thanksgiving Parade

Karen and Katie Beth waving to passing floatWe headed out this morning to the watch the Blue Ridge Thanksgiving parade, which is part of the Light up Blue Ridge celebration. We couldn’t get going fast enough this morning to see Mrs. Claus and Mr. Claus arrive on the train.  But, we arrived early enough to find a good spot to watch the parade. 

The best part of Blue Ridge parades is that they throw lots of candy and other interesting stuff.  We got cards for free ice cream and free putt-putt. We even got bottles of essential oils. 

After the parade, we got some hot chocolate and walked to the playground to let Katie Beth play with all of the child. Karen got to check out the shops while I watched Katie Beth. Once Karen returned, we headed to Masseria Kitchen & Bar for pizza, which is awesome. Katie Beth had been asking to go ever since we arrived in Blue Ridge, Ga. 

We are having a great time here in Blue Ridge, Ga. 

Great Thanksgiving

img_5121We had a great Thanksgiving dinner even if I did leave all of the recipes back home on the kitchen counter.  My mistake caused a bit of stress as I searched the Internet for the recipes while shopping for the remaining ingredients.  You can see Karen and Katie Beth with one of the cooked ducks. All of our dishes turned out great except the delicata squash recipe, which needed some adjustments to make it work.

Thanksgiving Day FunWe built the Lego Winter Holiday Train while watching classic Charlie Brown cartoons after we had our Thanksgiving meal.  We got the power components for the train, which made it neat to drive the train around the tracks.


Thanksgiving Vacation Started!

Cabin Fire place in Blue Ridge, GeorgiaMy feet are up and life is good. We are looking forward to an adventure filled vacation here in Blue Ridge, Georgia.

Karen has all ready put many dates on the calendar including a Silent Auction. Katie Beth is looking forward to seeing Hannah and Charlie this weekend. I’m looking forward to the drive-in movie at the Swan Drive-In, which is a double feature of Moana and Dr. Strange.  We may pass on the Dr. Strange as it is a bit too much for young children. 

DeSote Falls and More

Desote Falls Overlook with Karen and Katie BethDay 1: 

We headed east to the DeSote State Park to check out the area with the idea of purchasing property if we like the area. We started with lunch at a fun cafe called The Spot Coffee Shop. We had very tasty sandwiches and were reminded of hanging out years ago in cafes. 

Our next stop was DeSote Falls, which is sad due to the lack of rain causing the waterfall to be a trickle of water. There is a beautiful view from top of the waterfall looking down stream. 

After seeing the DeSote “Trickle” Falls, we headed to our first property to explore. We walked over three properties before heading back into town. The properties were a lot of fun to see. Sadly, many of the creeks, streams, and rivers were dry or trickles. 

Flower Fountain As it was getting to late to see more properties, we headed to Fort Payne for dinner and arrived just in time for the Veterans Day Parade.  The parade was a lot of fun for Katie Beth. We found a great spot near the downtown park with a wonderful fountain. Katie Beth got super excited as some of the floats were throwing out candies. 

We finished the night at Midtown Cafe & Grill which was very local. Everyone knew everyone. I had fried green tomatoes for the first time. I look forward to trying them, again.

Day 2:

Eagle Face PaintWe headed back for a second day of searching for properties in the area, but we stopped by DeSote State Park to see the “Creative Spirit Market” hosted by the Little River Art Council and DeSoto State Park.  Well, we never left the event. Katie Beth had a great time playing with the other children and even tried face painting without wiping it off for the whole event (not the norm).  She ended up playing most of the afternoon with one of the artist’s boy.  By the end, Katie Beth wanted setup her own booth selling origami. Karen enjoyed her adult time chatting with artist and locals. 

We got a great restaurant suggestion of Vintage 1889. They have a great menu and they are located in a consigner’s market place so you can browse during your dining. Katie Beth enjoyed her flat bread pizza. Karen and I had sandwiches, which were also tasty. If you like beer or wine, they have the best selection we saw in the area. The sun was getting low in the sky by now. 

Without much daylight, we decided to head back to Huntsville. On the trip back, Katie Beth said she would like to keep coming to the area. 

Katie Beth’s Halloween Costume

Katie Beth as Professor McGonagallKatie Beth and many of her classmates decided to dress as many of the Harry Potter characters.  Katie Beth wanted to be Professor McGonagall.  Her friends dressed as Hogwarts students such as Hermione Granger (Claire) and Moaning Myrtle (Maddy).

Karen set out to make this costume with the sewing machine.  After searching for a bit, Karen found a pattern that would work.  Then, she realized Professor McGonagall doesn’t wear a cape, but a robe.  Karen was able to complete redesign the costume into the needed robe.  She did a very good job if I say so.  Someone, at a party, made Katie Beth a clay snake that Karen wrapped around a chopstick and baked firm to be Professor McGonagall’s wand.

Katie Beth as Professor McGonagallKatie Beth had a blast with the costume, but she didn’t want to keep it on as usual.

Natural Well Trail Hike

Natural WellWe went hiking this morning on the Natural Well trail in Monte Sano State Park.  The key feature of the trail is the Natural Well, which is a 191.5′ deep pit. I have never been in the pit, but I understand it features domes and a waterfall.

The weather was beautiful this morning with a light breeze and sunny so the light was dappling through the trees on fallen leaves. The fall colors were wonderful to see.

Katie Beth and Karen with Fall ColorWe hiked 1¾ miles to the pit opening. Along the way, we crossed a previous land slide, which was impressive to see the damage that can cause.  Karen spotted a large knocked down wasp nest and collected pieces for a art project. Katie Beth was collecting large leaves along the whole way.

You can see more photos here.  Remember, the username and password are “Friends” and “Photos”.


Rickwood Cavern State Park Camping

American Heritage Girls Rickwood Cavern CampingWe went camping with our daughter’s American Heritage Girls troop at Rickwood Cavern State Park.  We got an early start on camping as Katie Beth’s school let out at 1 o’clock on Friday since they were having parent-teacher conferences for the first terms report cards.  (By the way, Katie Beth got all A’s, hoot!) We had our campsite setup hours before everyone else started to arrive.

We should have packed more bedding as it got very cool at night.  One night was as low as 40°F.  But, the weather was great during the day for all of our activities.

The park has a nice playground, a pool with a high dive, a couple trials, and the cavern.  The cavern is small and they have tours 4 times a day.  The cave tour costs: $17.00 for age 13 to adult, $8.00 for age 5 to 12.  In the past, cave was setup as fall out shelter and still holds the remains of the supplies from the Civil Defense.  The park grounds are covered with many aquatic fossils as Alabama was historically a seabed.

Fossil Mountain Hiking TrailOn Friday evening, the campers played at the playground.  On Saturday, we did the cave tour and walked Fossil Mountain Hiking Trail.  Everyone enjoyed seeing all of the fossils in the rocks.  On Sunday, we broke camp.  We had to get back to town for a birthday party, but the rest of the group went to the Holy Door of Mercy at the Shrine of the Most Blessed Sacrament in Hanceville, Alabama.

We learned more about camping on this trip.  We need better cold weather sleeping gear.  Blankets take too much space so I see better sleep bags in our future.  A burn restriction prevented wood fires so the cooking plans had to be adjusted and people were expecting a large log fire to keep them warm in the evenings.

You can see more photos here.  Remember, the username and password are “Friends” and “Photos”.

Skipping School for Nashville Trip

Adventure Science MuseumWe took Katie Beth out of school today and we went to Nashville for the day.  Our main goal was the Adventure Science Museum.

First, Karen got to stop and check out possible new cars that she is looking to purchase.  She wishes she had more time with the car shopping on the trip.

Next up, we headed to the Adventure Science Museum in Nashville.  Our old Sci-Quest membership came in handy allowing us to get in free using the ASTC TRAVEL PASSPORT PROGRAM.

We had a blast climbing all over the museum.  The center of the museum is an climbing structure that takes you to the top of the building for a full 360° view of Nashville, which very cool.  We played games and pretended we were on the International Space Station.  I even picked a car with a lever and got the high score on food pyramid “Whack-A-Mole” style game.  The science display and activities covered health and body, underwater research, space, physics, and much more.

Rock Bottom Brewery RooftopFinally, we ended up on a roof top restaurant, Rock Bottom Brewery, and finished the day well with great appetizers, wonderful weather, and super view.

You can see more photos here. Remember, the username and password are “Friends” and “Photos”.

Fall Break Trip to Orange Beach

Playing in the Water at Orange Beach AlabamaWe had a wonderful trip to Orange Beach during Katie Beth’s Fall Break.  We met some nice families with child that Katie Beth truly enjoyed playing with for the whole trip.

We rented kayaks from Paddled by You and we paddled out to Gilchrist and Bird Islands.  Katie Beth enjoyed discovering all of the creatures on the island.  After the islands, we paddled over to Tacky Jacks for lunch, which was much appreciated.  Paddled by You was nice and you get a free chocolate bar after your rental, but they require cash.

We had great meals of Royal Red shrimp and lobster picked up at the local grocery stores.  By the end of the week, we were sharing meals with the families that we met on the trip.  These meals were so much fun with all of the adult time and the children playing.

You can see more of the photos here.  Remember, the username and password are “Friends” and “Photos”