Soaking Up the Last Bit of Summer: Outdoor Movies & Shows

Eeeep – it’s been a while since I’ve posted! Happy Friday, y’all!

I’m so excited – even though I have to work late today, and extra some tomorrow, tonight we’ll be going to the outdoor amphitheater to see Jim Gaffigan.

If you have not watched Jim Gaffigan’s stand up, get on Netflix, search for him, and prepare to basically roll on the floor for at least an hour and a half (or watch this YouTube video clip). I love his brand of humor, he’s hilarious without being ridiculously vulgar or obnoxious, just incredibly witty and clever. [He also has a new sitcom I’m thrilled about].

I can’t wait! So, I thought I’d revisit some of my pictures from our last visit to the outdoor amphitheater when we had a packed up Thai Salad picnic, with a game of checkers before the movie! So much fun.PicMonkey Collage

I hope you get to have a great weekend and soak up some of the last of summer, fall is on its way!

What are you doing this weekend? Any plans to enjoy the last bit of summer? Or are you looking forward to fall? 

A Day in Richmond, VA [Time Traveling & Things to Do]

So, I’m on day two of Whole 30. We’re short staffed at work, running with about 20% of the staffing we should have. One of my cats has some bizarre looking cut on her neck I’m worried over. I’m kind of all over the place, here. So my posting has been erratic to say the least – sorry!

Anyway, today I wanted to share our itinerary and day through Richmond, VA. I was completely blown away by the charm of the city, the historic buildings, the skyline on the river, the historic mansions and homes, and the hospitality of the people in the area!

THINGS TO DO IN A DAY:

Maymont Mansion & Estate Tour
Agecroft Hall Tour
Lavender Fields Herb Farm (We didn’t get a chance to stop by, but it was on the to-do list – I hope we get to go next time we’re in town! I love, love, love, love lavender.)
Monument Avenue

We started our day at Maymont Mansion, built in 1886 by James Dooley. The tour started in the “below stairs” part of the house, with a view of the servants quarters. If you spend any time watching Downton Abbey, you’ll be right at home imagining the lives of the servants there. There are museum like exhibits with things set up similar to the way they were when the Dooleys lived in the home. We then headed up to the main level where a tour guide took us around the different rooms of the mansion.

(You’ll have to forgive the grey and cloudy day. Despite the weather, everything was still so beautiful!)

The Dooleys’ style was, let’s say, eclectic (see here for what I mean). They had pieces from all over the place, different eras, all mixed in together. It wasn’t necessarily my style, but there was so much to take in and the tour really was informative and entertaining. After the tour, there were also beautiful gardens to explore, and an EXTENSIVE Japanese garden area that seriously felt like we stepped into Asia as we walked through the bamboo.

Afterward, we grabbed lunch and headed to Agecroft Hall. For both Nick and I, this was really the highlight of the day. Not only is it just a “cool old giant mansion” to explore, it is literally over 500 years old. It was built in England in the 1500s, and moved to Richmond VA in the early 1900’s. Only about a third of the house was reassembled here, but it is still absolutely enormous. The detail of the home is incredible, kept the way it was in the 1500s, complete with a tour guide explaining just how people lived 500 years ago. Even if you’re not a history nerd, the estate, the grounds, the home itself is incredible to explore!

We ended the day by walking down historic Monument Avenue. Every few blocks or so there are enormous statues to the greatest thinkers, activists, poets and figures from throughout history. But for Nick & I, we were really drawn into taking in the enormous mansions and grand homes, walking hand in hand down the tree-lined boulevard. It was just as cheesy and beautiful as it sounds. We also spent a ridiculous amount of time on Zillow on our phones, deciding if these were homes we could ever afford :-) [fyi, no.]

Later, we relaxed downtown at Tarrant’s Cafe where we had the best She Crab soup, ever. I’d highly recommend it if you have time for a nice sit down dinner! It was such a fun day, and I’d highly recommend Richmond as a place to explore and immerse yourself in history, culture, southern charm and good food!

Happy Monday! {4th of July Recap}

I hope everyone had a chance to enjoy some part of the Independence Day weekend with family or friends, and appreciate the freedoms we enjoy here in America! Hope the celebration and joy carries right on in through the rest of the week!!!


  
  
  
  
  
  
   
 We had so much fun enjoying the perfect weather, Southport parade, and Wilmington fireworks! {and plenty, PLENTY of watermelon}

Grandfather Mountain, NC

Grandfather Mountain NC // A Southern Silver Lining // TravelI don’t think words can get across just how much of an experience visiting Grandfather Mountain is! When we decided to go, I assumed we’d just be driving up to the top of the mountain, walking across the swinging bridge, maybe hiking a trail, and calling it a day.

Nope.
Grandfather Mountain NC // A Southern Silver Lining // Travel
Grandfather Mountain NC // A Southern Silver Lining // Travel Grandfather Mountain NC // A Southern Silver Lining // TravelWe pulled in to the base of the mountain and drove through a bit of a nature preserve, eventually coming to the line of cars getting their tickets to go up the mountain. After paying for our tickets, they passed back through the window a receipt, a brochure, and a CD. “A CD?” I thought, kind of cheesy. But, we rolled down the windows, put in the CD, and on comes the bluegrass music! [Note, I love bluegrass music]. So, we were off to a great start.
Grandfather Mountain NC // A Southern Silver Lining // Travel
The map they handed us showed ~15 different stops on the way up the mountain, and each track of the CD perfectly narrated along as you drove up, with the music in the background. It was the quintessential, perfect southern tour guide complete with your own little band in the car.
Grandfather Mountain NC // A Southern Silver Lining // Travel
Grandfather Mountain NC // A Southern Silver Lining // TravelEach stop was an exciting experience from the overlooks, to the fascinating historical and geological sites, the beautiful museum, and the zoo and conservation area.
Grandfather Mountain NC // A Southern Silver Lining // Travel
We spent a few hours making our way up the mountain at each of the stops, taking in the scenery, visiting the animals, grabbing a meal at the cafe and ogling over the views. Grandfather Mountain NC // A Southern Silver Lining // TravelGrandfather Mountain NC // A Southern Silver Lining // Travel
When we made it to the top we had the choice of either driving straight up to the bridge, or taking a half mile hike up to the peak. We of course chose the more adventurous option, and made a few new friends along the way!
Grandfather Mountain NC // A Southern Silver Lining // Travel
The Swinging Bridge at the top was my very favorite part. It stands one mile above sea level (though the ground below you is only a few hundred feet). So, you aren’t standing with one mile of air below you to the ground, which was a huge relief to me!!! I wasn’t sure I could do it, but Nick encouraged me and it ended up being so, so much fun. My fear of bridges didn’t ruin my adventure, and for that I’m thankful.
Grandfather Mountain NC // A Southern Silver Lining // Travel
Grandfather Mountain NC // A Southern Silver Lining // Travel
We walked across the bridge to the other peak and talked with one of the park rangers, while taking in the gorgeous view. We of course had to ask if anyone had fallen from where we were (given that there were sharp cliffs all around, and duh we’re just naturally morbidly curious). Interestingly enough, only one person had ever fallen and it was something like 30 years ago. With all the visitors that come and go, they’ve had a great success rate in keeping the park very, very safe.
Grandfather Mountain NC // A Southern Silver Lining // Travel
Grandfather Mountain NC // A Southern Silver Lining // Travel
Grandfather Mountain NC // A Southern Silver Lining // Travel
She pointed out a trail that was just a few miles, with an option to hike back to our car in the parking lot below, so we figured we’d give it a shot. How hard could it be, right?
Wrong.
Grandfather Mountain NC // A Southern Silver Lining // Travel
That sign is such an understatement! I want to go back with a Sharpie and write “Turn around. Or you’ll have a heart attack on these trails.”
No but really, the burger we had for lunch had worn off and my blood sugar had gotten low. Not to mention I didn’t have any snacks with me [I always have snacks. My propensity for becoming “hangry” is a real issue.]
Grandfather Mountain NC // A Southern Silver Lining // Travel
Grandfather Mountain NC // A Southern Silver Lining // Travel
Grandfather Mountain NC // A Southern Silver Lining // Travel
Anyway, we made it about halfway to the other peak before I had to call it quits. There were ladders, ropes to climb, vertical cliff faces to scale. All too much after 4 miles, for a lady with low blood sugar. We did promise though to come back in the fall, fully stocked with snacks, and give it another try. The views were the prettiest I’ve seen from any NC mountain (and I’ve been on alot).  I’d definitely recommend a visit to Grandfather Mountain! It’s an experience you wont forget!
Grandfather Mountain NC // A Southern Silver Lining // Travel

The North Carolina Zoo

NC ZOOMy posts have been on hold for a bit – it’s been a whirlwind of a few weeks. Traveling for conferences, seeing family, having repairs done to my apartment, the general busyness of life. But I am so thankful that June is here, and I’m looking forward to a month of rest. There’s been a lot going on, so many prayers sent up for so many people in my life, and so much soul searching. I’ve been thinking a lot about what I want this space to be, the things I like to think about and write about, and how to be more involved in this little blog of mine.

I’ve found that so much of it just boils down to intentional living. It’s easy to get caught up in the humdrum of daily life, social media, work demands, car repairs, errand running, and the mind’s incessant thinking – that we miss the little, grace filled moments that make life so beautiful. It’s like in the midst of all of that commotion I come across these great opportunities, great ideas for reaching out to people, inspiration for walking with God, and dreams that float around in my head, but never have time to flesh them out, take the first step or really get involved.. So, after a work conference this week I’m definitely going to be spending more time here working on living intentionally – I hope you’ll join me!

In the meantime, I wanted to share a snapshot of an awesome restful day at the North Carolina Zoo a few weeks ago. If you’re in NC, its centrally located in Asheboro, NC and worth the trip. Nick and I go every few years and there’s almost always something new to see. The animals aren’t kept in cages or inhumane conditions by any means, like some smaller zoos might have. Instead, there are open spaces for them to roam across acres and acres of land.

NC ZOO NC ZOO

NC ZOO NC ZOO

(Yes, the buffalo do roam, right by Old Faithful…)

The park is grouped into two different sections, North America and Africa, with parking at both entrances. There are trams to take you to and from, and across the park. I’d advising checking ahead before you go to see what’s open because they’re constantly renovating and making it better. For instance, when we were there many of the “desert” exhibits were closed but due to be open soon, and the polar bear exhibit had just re-opened after renovations were completed.

NC ZOO NC ZOO NC ZOO

They put a lot of effort and time into conservation, community education and creating a sense of appreciation for animals and their habitats. The animals are well cared for and fascinating to watch. They have quite a few interactive exhibits, but we didn’t get a chance to stop at any.

NC ZOO NC ZOO NC ZOO

If you’re in the area, pay these amazing animals a visit!

But ask the animals, and they will teach you; the birds of the air, and they will tell you; ask the plants of the earth and they will teach you; and the fish of the sea will declare to you. Who among all these does not know that the hand of the Lord has done this? (Job 12:7-9)

Waiting In, and Appreciating, This Season

A Southern Silver LiningOne of the reasons I was inspired to start my blog was because of many of you. Seeing gorgeous adventures, and travel all around is always inspiring. However, right now foreign countries aren’t necessarily on the radar, or more importantly aren’t in the budget, but are definitely being saved for. Hopefully soon in the future after Nick and I settle down and are married, we’ll have plenty of places to adventure (double the income and only one place to pay for will surely help!), but in the meantime we spend a good bit of our weekends making as many day trips to as many nearby places as we can.

A Southern Silver LiningA Southern Silver Lining

The weekend before last it was a day trip to the NC Zoo. And this past weekend it was a trip to the mountains of southwest Virginia to see my Grandma, and Memorial Day at Grandfather Mountain – both of which I want to post on soon.

A Southern Silver Lining

A Southern Silver Lining

I think it’s so important to take advantage of where you are and to explore the areas around you. It’s easy to be impatient for the next big adventures in life, but there’s so much importance to stopping and appreciating where you are right now in whatever ways you can. We don’t have to go very far to see some of the beautiful wonders God has created. I’m thankful for this season in my life to focus on who I’m becoming as an adult, where I’m going, strengthen my relationship with Nick, and together our relationship with God. And in the meantime, see all that the area we’re in now has to offer!
This Season5