We left the sunny blue skies, palm trees and warm breezes of Florida two weeks ago tomorrow, as we headed for our home here in the Smokies. We brought my mom back along with us, to spend a week here at our mountain home. After greatly enjoying the shorts and sandal weather during the past week, we were all quite surprised to see snow falling Wednesday, and enough to mostly cover the ground and outline the still bare tree limbs. My mom and I enjoyed watching it fall and took several photos of it, sending them to the rest of the family in Okeechobee. It was actually enough snow, that I managed to build a wee snow lady I named Swampy, because of her “beautiful” Spanish Moss hair. The snow had all melted in no time, so we went for a nice walk later that afternoon without any chance of breaking a sweat! Wednesday morning, my mom and I headed into the big city of Maryville to enjoy a day of shopping and spending time together, just the two of us! We had a very fun day, mostly looking, but having a great time nonetheless, while also enjoying a yummy “girls lunch” at Cheddars, with the treat of the day being their delicious onion rings! We made a full day of it and got home after dark that evening.
We spent Thursday afternoon in nearby Cade’s Cove, taking time to walk a couple of the trails located inside the cove, one of which was to Elijah Oliver’s cabin, which is always a nice treat. Even though there was a chilly crispness to the gentle breezes blowing, the skies were blue and the warmth of the sun could be felt upon our backs as we walked along the wooded path. By the time we finished driving around the scenic 11 mile loop, we had counted a total of 32 deer and one lonesome tom turkey. Needless to say, it was a beautiful and very relaxing afternoon.
Rain fell much of the day Friday, so we just hung out here at the house most of the time, but did enjoy going to check out our new Ace Hardware store, which is really a big deal here in little Townsend! With several of our friends working there, it turned out to be the social hour of the day! Later, we joined friends Fred, Barb and Kit at Pizza Hut that evening for supper, with everyone returning to our house afterwards. Fred had graciously made a scrumptious dessert, consisting of his homemade dark chocolate fondue, complete with an assortment of tantalizing goodies to dip into it. Upon tasting it, I quickly decided that I could’ve just eaten it off of the spoon! Lots of “Mmmmmm’s” could be heard as we jockeyed our little spears with bits of cake , strawberries, sliced bananas and apples, and other tasty things, trying to dip them into the thick, rich chocolate sauce!
Mom, Wes and I went to Subway for lunch on Sunday, and it was actually warm enough for us to enjoy eating out on their deck, while soaking in the beautiful, warm sunshine! Later that afternoon we went over to Kit’s house not to far from our house, so my mom could see his art studio and the beautiful paintings that he’s currently working on. We then enjoyed a yummy supper before riding around with him to see the sights in Laurel Valley where he lives, sometimes on the very tippy-top of the mountain! Back to his house and from his front yard, we watched the sun set and listened to the spring peepers calling, as we loaded into our van and headed for home.
Monday morning started bright and early as we ate breakfast and waited for Fred and Barb to pick us up, and then we all headed over to Dollywood. My mom had never been there for the Festival of Nations, so thinking she would really enjoy this, we decided to go for the day. The first show we watched featured some amazing acrobats from Africa, and we sat mesmerized as they contorted, flipped , balanced on things, and balanced things on themselves. The most impressive act to us was a very, painfully thin man, who was able to fold himself into any shape or position imaginable, and I was amazed when he actually sat on his own head! During his performance he managed to fold himself in half and squeeze through a small silver round hoop, appearing as if he had no bones or spinal column!. Upon watching this, I decided I need to push a bit more during my yoga exercises . . . Ha Ha!
After lunch, my mom and I went on the lumberjack lift, where you pull yourselves up by pulling hand over hand on a rope, a great workout for one’s biceps! We went to the top several times, and we’re quite proud of our achievement! Then everyone kindly waited for me, while I rode the roller coaster called the Eagle. It starts by taking you up a very high incline, and then drops you straight down, and you actually leave your seat, being held strictly by the shoulder straps! Once your stomach settles back out of your throat, you begin going around a series of flips, turns and inversions, before coming to a screeching halt! The roller coaster reaches a height of 210 feet, while reaching speeds of 61 miles per hour! What fun, feeling like your flying through the air . . . well, like an Eagle! I loved every second of it, and only wished it had lasted longer! We then all watched a group of gentleman from Switzerland perform, while playing different instruments, one being the Alphorn, and then three huge cow bells. They also played the bowls, doing so by rolling coins in different sized bowls which created several different tones, that lasted as long as they kept the coins rolling, quite ingenious I thought. Periodically during the program, they yodeled which was very interesting as well. Afterwards, we rode a few more rides, before heading back home.
We had planned to hike to the Walker Sister’s cabin here in the Smokies on Tuesday, but a water leak in our front yard prevented that. So after getting it fixed, the three of us went for a nice walk around town, and ended up at our new Mexican restaurant, Monte Real, for lunch, which was quite delicious. Walking back home, we stopped in our visitor center, where mom and I enjoyed looking at a fiber arts exhibit. We finished the day off with supper on our back porch, consisting of one of my homemade Thai dishes and Dreamscicle Angel Food Cake! Early the next morning, we reluctantly took my mom to the airport, where we said our goodbyes. We had a great week together and made many, many wonderful memories!
~ Fresh off the easel ~
I finished my painting of a beautiful, but chunky Siamese cat, which we photographed while visiting the Sponge Docks in Tarpon Springs, FL. Wes finished his painting of a cougar, which we photographed during a visit to a zoo in New Jersey. Both miniature paintings will be part of an upcoming exhibit titled “Feline Fine II ~ Art of Cats” curated by Dr. David Wagner.
~ Currently on the easel ~
To see almost daily posts of what we’re currently painting and step-by-step progressions of the two above paintings, visit out Facebook page!
Don’t miss out on our news! “Sign Up” to receive an email each time I update the blog!
Until next time ~ Rachelle