Archive for the ‘Travel’ Category

When we were driving into Holden Beach for our family vacation back in September, we noticed this place on the side of the road.  It was actually kind of hard to miss.  The best way I know for you to be able to see it is to check out 2431 Holden Beach Road, Holden Beach, NC in Google Maps and take a gander at the street view.  Basically it was all this….. just, STUFF… on the side of the road.  Stuff everywhere and lights in the trees and on all the buildings.  But remember, this was back in September, so they weren’t Christmas lights.  Just lights in general.  Year round lights.

Once we got settled in at our beach house, I asked my uncle about it.  Turns out, I should have known exactly what it was.  A few years ago, my mom’s cousin’s daughter… so my third cousin or something?… made a short documentary film about the woman who lives there.  Blaire stumbled upon this place one day when she was in school and in need of a subject for a documentary she had to make.

I suppose the place is known as Mary’s Garden, and the film my cousin made is called Mary’s Gone Wild.  Anyway, Mary is an artist.  She mainly paints on the reverse side of glass.  But, she also paints on pieces of plywood and any other thing she can find.  She recycles old windows and boards and paints on them.  She has also recycled old glass bottles into actual “houses” and other pieces of art on her lot, including a wishing well and a sailboat.  Not only does she sell her art, she also has tons of old stuff in some of her buildings (buildings which she builds all by herself!) that you can buy if it strikes your fancy.  She even paints the floors and walls and ceilings of these buildings.

My mom and I went back and stopped by later in the week and met Mary, and we each bought one of her paintings, mine a dragonfly and my mom’s a sun.  She donates the proceeds from all of her paintings to Feed the Children.  While we were visiting, I took a few photos of my own, which hardly do the place justice.

Mary also mentioned while we were there that the TV show American Pickers had called and was supposed to be coming by in October to see if she had anything they’d be interested in, so I keep checking to see if she will be on one of their episodes one of these days.

Anyway, this place was unreal.  You can check out the website for both Mary’s Garden and read more about my cousin’s documentary (and even watch it!) by clicking here.  And if you’re ever in the Holden Beach area, you should definitely stop by!  It’s worth checking out.

Anyone out there ever been there?


Read Full Post »

Holden Beach, NC

My aunt and uncle have had a beach house at Holden Beach, NC for years.  I can’t believe it, but I had never been to it until a month or so ago when my brother flew in from Phoenix to go spend a week with my mom, Jake, and me at a house we rented right down the street from theirs.

We spent lots of time just visiting with each other, shopping in nearby Southport, doing some knitting (well that was just me and Mom, but I finished a sweater that I’d been working on for forever!) and eating some of the best food ever.  We cooked dinner each night, but Sunday for lunch, my uncle Dick treated Jake and me to lunch at the Provision Co.  It was the perfect little waterfront beach restaurant.  I had conch fritters… yum!  And it was so good, my mom and I ate at the one in Southport later that week when we went shopping there.  We ate lots and lots of yummy seafood that week, and my brother, Max, treated us all to his specialty one night… jambalaya!  It was the first time I’d had it, and I must admit, it was pretty good.  We also got a bonus visit later in the week from my cousin and his girlfriend.

Max, Jake, and I bought fishing licenses early in the week so we could go fishing with my uncle.  The guy at the tackle shop was pretty grumpy about having to issue our licenses, and he explained that he only gets 6% of the $10 license fee.  And it took him a pretty significant amount of time to enter all of our information.  Jake was only able to stay through Tuesday, and about an hour and a half after he left the beach, Max and I realized he still had our licenses in his wallet where he’d put them for our fishing excursion.  So, I called him and asked him to mail them to us at my aunt and uncle’s house in case they’d get there quickly enough for us to use them at the end of the week.  After that, we just decided we’d go see what it cost to just have them reissued.  Turns out, the reissuance fee was $5, and the tackle shop guy must get a larger percentage of that, because he was infinitely happier to see us return.  All of that to say, we had a great time fishing with Uncle (Captain) Dick, and it was more than worth the extra expense.  Oh yeah, and I showed ’em all how it’s done and caught the first fish.  And our original fishing licenses arrived in the mail on Friday, our next to last day.

Before Jake left on Tuesday, we all had a little family photo shoot in an attempt to get a good shot for both my mom’s and our Christmas cards this year.  Some of the photos are hilarious, but could also be a you-had-to-be-there thing.  Anyway, we won’t share the Christmas card shots yet, but enjoy these other photos from our week at Holden.

From left to right is my aunt Becca, my mom, Max, me, Dick, and Jake:

A surprisingly good photo of the two of us:


Good times!  Anyone else out there ever been to Holden Beach?

Read Full Post »

Some friends and I have a bit of a tradition which involves going away for the weekend someplace at least once or twice a year or so.  In as big a group as we can get to go.  Our general thought is the more the merrier!  More people = more fun and less cost.  Both of which are really great things.  We then rent as big of a house as is necessary for those going, and the whole weekend is pretty much a blast.

Our most recent trip like this was to Lake Lure, NC to celebrate BFFL Mandy‘s 30th birthday!  We had about 12 of us, I think.  We had a nice, three-level cabin rented where we explored the “creek” behind the house, enjoyed lunch in Lake Lure that Saturday, and some shopping in nearby Chimney Rock.  Otherwise, it was just good old fashioned fun!

Here are a few pics (for some reason, we didn’t have very many of our own, so I had to steal some from facebook):

Me with my two Amandas!

Us in the morning!
Us at lunch at Larkin’s on the Lake:
Group shot (some of us, anyway) after lunch:
And lastly, I’ll leave you with this final shot of the reason for our trip.  Birthday girl, Mandy, and her sweet hubby, Stephen:
Anyone else ever been to Lake Lure?  What fun things did you do?

Read Full Post »

As I first mentioned here, we spent the week of Labor Day at Litchfield Beach with Jake’s mom and dad.  We enjoyed a relaxing week walking on the beach, swimming in the pool, and eating delicious food.  Here are some pics!

This is the view from our balcony at the beach.  Isn’t it awesome!?

We decided to do a little walking down the beach and took this picture along the way.  This is Jake with his beach beard.

While walking down the beach, we came upon copious amounts of wildlife!  The starfish were everywhere!  It was amazing how many we saw.  Daddy Dan had to save a few because they had flipped over… he is our hero!

Did you know that they can move so much?  The starfish were washed up on the beach and as the tide went out, they scrambled towards the water.  When that didn’t work, they would bury themselves in the sand and wait for the goodness of the ocean to return and wash them back out to sea.  It was truly one of the neatest things ever.

How cool are starfish?  Have you ever run across them at the beach?  Anyone else ever been to Litchfield?  Peaceful little beach, that one.

Read Full Post »

Hi everyone!  Currently, I sit in a hotel room in Washington, D.C. in the middle of Hurricane Irene.  I have been here on a work trip this week, and on Tuesday was able to experience my first earthquake.  A 5.9!  Can we say natural disasters???

I sit here now hoping not to lose power.  I don’t think Irene has gotten too bad here in DC, at least not yet.  And to be honest, I am not really keeping up with it in the news, either.  Jake and my mom both keep giving me some updates, but the way I see it, I can’t really do anything about it at this point, so I may as well not worry about it.  And just hope not to lose power.  Which I haven’t yet!  I have stocked up on some food and water, though.  Ya know, just in case.

As for the earthquake, it was, in a word, terrifying.  Probably the most scared I’ve ever been.  A close second would be that time that a guy broke into our front window scaring us half to death, only to find out he thought he was at his sister’s home.  WHAT?

Anyway, the earthquake was terrifying.  Of course, being in a building belonging to a government agency in our nation’s capital, in a part of the country rarely experiencing this natural shaking of the earth under our feet, an earthquake was most definitely not the first thing to enter our minds that it could be.

I’d guess the shaking lasted around 30 seconds, though it felt like 5 minutes.  As soon as it was over, someone screamed, “Get out of the building!”  Of course, I didn’t know where to go once I was out of the building, so I found someone I recognized and followed them.  Thank goodness too, because the office’s designated meeting place was obviously blocks away, and I’d have never found the group in all the swarms of people outside.

So, yeah.  Exciting times!  I can’t wait to be home.

Read Full Post »

The ageless question: If you could travel to one place in the world, where would it be?

It is a difficult and exciting question to answer. A part of you wants to blurb some exotic destination fret with danger while another part of you wants to say somewhere relatively safe. How do you choose where to travel? Generally, it is determined by the availability of funds at your disposal and the amount of time you have ‘saved up’. However, there are some trips that are a necessity in life and having little to nonexistent funds simply means that you will take the trip in a few years instead of a few months. The first trips in the US that come to mind are the Grand Canyon, Las Vegas, and New York City.

The type of trip you want to go on might put you face to face with an African beast, allow you the ability to snorkel with Great White sharks, or hang out with Longfin eels (New Zealand). Haha! I have always wanted to go to Mt. Everest Base Camp. I don’t know how realistic that trip actually is, but it is fun to ‘dream’. While these are pretty extreme travels, it is all about using your imagination to determine what trip would suit you best. Everyone has that one trip, the one that is always in the back of their mind, lingering, waiting for someone to ask this exact question… where would you go? The world is a fascinating place. Go out and explore, the leave a comment on where you explored.

If you had to pick one place in the world, where would you go?

Picture: Flickr by Satoru Kikuchi

Read Full Post »


Taking a road trip is an awesome way to enjoy the company of others and potentially push yourself to the limits of human endurance through sitting for a ridiculously long amount of time. “We are going to see the biggest ball of yarn in the US!” This is the usual type of statement that begins a road trip. Only after the initial agreement with one another do you sit down and try to hash out a plan of action. Maybe you want to touch the Pacific Ocean, visit Canada, or Touch the Gulf of Mexico (or all three), only one thing is certain… there will be many hours of riding in a vehicle.

The usual types of car games will only last you a few hours, not the days you plan to spend with these other people. Eventually, even the most seasoned road tripper will get tired and fall asleep, leaving only the driver to fight with his own neck muscles and eyelids in such a way you would think he is communicating with spirits. How does the determined driver have such resilience to the temptations of numerous sheep hurdling themselves over farm fences? My answer would be:

  1. S/he wants to get to the destination alive
  2. Impress their friends by remaining steadfast in their resolve of absolute dominance of the road
  3. A combination of both 1 and 2

These are just some thoughts I had today while we took a 8.5 hour ‘joy ride’ in the form of a triangle through the upstate of SC and into NC. You may wonder what we were doing to constitute such an expedition. If you must know, we were procuring objects to enhance the decor and functionality of our dwelling, aka… Furniture. More on that later… we are exhausted *headdesk*.

What is the longest amount time you have driven in one sitting/day?

Picture: Flickr by Mi Pah

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »