“I would rather sit on a pumpkin and have it all to myself, than be crowded on a velvet cushion”
~ Henry David Thoreau
Me, my Mom, Dad and Wes sitting on rocks instead of pumpkins!
Wow . . . time really flies, and I can’t believe it’s been over a week ago now, that I stood by the security gate in the Knoxville airport, waiting to see my parents smiling faces, as they came from their flight. It was a happy reunion and the beginning of several fun filled days together, as we picked them up and began our adventures. Unfortunately, we were unable to do the first thing of interest, to see the miniature Thorne Rooms at the Knoxville Museum of Art, because there was no parking spot available within miles of the museum due to the . . . you guessed it . . . the Vol’s football game. Oh well, no problem, we just headed back to quiet Townsend after grabbing some lunch, and spent the remainder of the afternoon relaxing, with me cooking my parents a belated gourmet Anniversary dinner, which we all enjoyed later that evening! Later Sunday morning, we grabbed a few subs for lunch and drove the lovely drive up the Foothills Parkway to one of my favorite spots I call Christy’s Rock. Wes first set up a chair for my mom directly on the edge of the rock, which drops off for quite a distance when past the edge! She wasn’t happy at all with this arrangement, so I kindly moved the chair, wanting to keep my mom safely with me for many years to come! But Wes had brought us all some great laughs, as he often does at my poor mom’s expense!
The unacceptable seating arrangement!
We then safely set up a couple of chairs and sat there all spread about on the sun-drenched rock, overlooking a magnificent view of the mountains, showing their first real signs of fall color. It was a postcard setting as we sat there enjoying this amazing place all to ourselves, while eating our sandwiches, and finishing lunch off with a few pieces of delicious dark chocolate! Picnics are indeed a glorious thing, especially when in a beautiful location topped off with perfect fall weather! We sat there for quite some time just absorbing the warmth of the sun and surveying the vast mountain view, with the occasional bird making a quick visit or serenading with a short song.
Enjoying a gorgeous day, a spectacular view and yummy food!
Then it was time to start exploring a bit, so after a time of relaxation, we headed to our next location, Look Rock Tower. The scene from on top was amazing once again, sporting even more glorious fall color than before! Although there weren’t any hawks migrating over this time, there was however, a trio of buzzards soaring above, catching thermals, thus swirling in giant circular patterns, which could easily make one quite dizzy, if one gazed up in the vast blue sky watching them for too long! Coming down the tower we thought it a nice time to check out some surrounding rocks, so Wes took the lead and we followed suit, when we happened upon an amazing setting of giant boulders! Never having been there before, it was quite exciting to climb around a bit and see what all we could find. There was one particular spot that was too enticing to pass up enjoying. So after the first one climbed up, the next two followed, not wanting to miss out on anything! While my dad, Wes and I explored this new world, my mom watched from the safety of the above rock grouping.
The first rock climbing monkey . . .
Monkey see . . . monkey do . . .
Having checked out just about every square inch of this incredible stone world of nature, we started our hike back down the mountain a ways. There we got into the van and finished driving the Foothills Parkway, being offered with every twist and turn in the curvy tree lined road, more and more views of gorgeous trees covered with leaves in brilliant reds, or the brightest of yellows and gold! Every so often the forest would open up, affording a grand view to the mountain ranges spread out before us and the valley down below. Sometime later we arrived at the Fontana Lake, where we got out, seeing the remaining damage from the tornado that ripped through the area a few months ago. Big towers are still missing and sections of the woods lay down as if sleeping, after being pushed over with a very large steam roller! Leaving there, we drove into Maryville where we all enjoyed a nice supper, before returning home later that evening.
My dad and I standing on the ledge where Wes placed the chair for my mom to sit in!
More precarious places for us to climb to make my precious mom fuss . . . ha ha!
It was already our last day together, thus we had to make it a great one! So after enjoying a meal on our back porch consisting of my homemade sweet potato ravioli, we loaded up our picnic supplies and headed into Cades Cove. There we began driving the loop road, while enjoying a vast palette of fall colors throughout the cove! Of course we had to stop to feed and pet the horses awhile, which they enjoyed as much as we did!
Me petting beautiful Snuggles, a sweet horse that I rode in the past.
There were Tom turkeys still gathered in small groups, some still continuing to strut about, perhaps getting in a bit of practice. Several White-tailed Deer were scattered throughout the grassy fields in lush colors of mauve, orange and rich gold. At one point we came to a complete stop as there was a bear jam! This is when everyone parks in the road and many get out of their cars to get as close as possible to get a nice bear photo! I’ve seen mothers take their children right up to these large wild bears, almost as if they were in a petting zoo! Well, the traffic finally started moving and we were able to see the bear in the very top of a tree, perhaps eating nuts. We had then reached the location for our picnic supper, by a cemetery. A great spot for a picnic or quiet rest as the residents don’t make much noise! So we carried our things over and set up under a large tree. What a gorgeous spot, as you sit there looking out over the grassy fields leading to the mountain ranges there beyond. The tip of one of the tallest mountains in view was Gregory’s Bald, where Wes and I once hiked up. Looking at it from this location, we could then see it was certainly no small feat to have made it there and back in one day!
The best seat in the house!
It was another magnificent setting, as we sat there enjoying our picnic supper, before just sitting and watching as the bright sun became golden colored and began to lower until it slipped down behind the mountain, at which time the temperature dropped what felt like twenty degrees instantly! Everything was loaded back into the van and we continued on our way, winding around the many curves that make up the loop road. A couple of stops were made to take in the view and to explore an old cabin and barn, before the sun had completely set and it became dark rather quickly. All too quickly our adventures and time together had come to an end, as we drove my parents back to the airport early Wednesday morning. Hugs were exchanged and then we watched them as they walked toward their flight that would take them back to Florida.
Enjoying my time with mom and dad!
Upcoming Events and Exhibitions of Our Paintings This Week:
The Premiere for Art of the Dive: Portraits of the Deep:
David J. Wagner, Ph.D., Curator/Tour Director
October 1 – November 30, 2011: IGFA Fishing Hall of Fame & Museum, Dania Beach, FL
The three miniature paintings seen at the left are mine. Wes also has three miniatures in this exhibition.
~ The Art of Miniature Painting Workshop as part of the 5th Annual Miniature Fine Art Show October 22 – November 19, 2011: Artistic Designs Gallery, Brownsburg, IN. We will be attending the ticketed opening reception on October 21st from 7-9PM. On Saturday, the 22nd, Wes and I will be giving a demonstration/workshop from 10AM until 5PM. (Demo from 10-Noon with full workshop continuing until 5PM). For more information, or to sign up, please contact Laura at the gallery.
Fresh off the easels: I finished my miniature painting “The Gaze” of a gorgeous wolf that I particularly liked the intense look in it’s eye as well as the gorgeous backlighting being given from the sun. Wes finished his miniature “In the Deadfall” from a photograph we took during one of our wonderful trips to Yellowstone. I’m currently painting on a miniature of a gorgeous Tiger, and Wes is painting on his miniature of five beautiful turkeys that we photographed during a recent visit to Cades Cove.
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Until next time ~ Rachelle