'scene' along the way, a second look, adventure, Chassahowitzka National Wildlife Preserve, finding my way, Florida landmarks, friends, fun, making memories, nature, perseverance, photography, road trip, unintended images

And then there is the distillery…

When we arrived at Chassowitzka the other day we stopped at the station to check in and find out if we did or did not have to pay to enter the park. We didn’t, being over 65, in our case way over. But the real reason I was happy that we had stopped was because the ranger asked if we had ever been to the distillery in the park. No, we hadn’t, and once my friend heard that word ‘distillery’, and we didn’t know the park so we were wandering anyhow, we found ourselves following the signs for NJoy. And what a fun surprise it was to find this place after becoming convinced that we had somehow lost our way more than once. If you go keep driving, there will be another sign eventually.

We found a nice brick pathway to draw us in.
This butt-shot view was chosen to eliminate cars from the background. In case you wondered.
Conveniently placed near the entrance is this out house, complete with light switch.
Just to our right we couldn’t help but notice the outdoor bar area.
But the actual distillery caught our eye, with it’s working water wheel.
The coloring on this donkey, (it is a donkey, right?), caught my eye, but he wasn’t interested in posing for a picture.
There were horses and cows in the pasture.
And a pig just outside the distillery itself.
And a charming pond to sit by and enjoy the view.
Perhaps we will have to return for this event.

I had already decided that this could make a great venue for a party of any kind. There was lots of seating, a giant fire pit, and the bar of course. If private parties are allowed, I didn’t ask. Tours are offered all day long when it’s open, which is weekends only, and while we didn’t take the tour or even sit at the bar and have a beer this time, we might just correct that oversight when we return. Hours later my friend was still marveling over the idea that back in the woods, and I mean way back in the woods, you could find such an oasis waiting for you.

'scene' along the way, a second look, boats, finding my way, Florida landmarks, fun, making memories, nature, perseverance, photography, Rise and shine, sunrise

Rise and shine…

It’s not that I’ve lost interest in sunrises and sunsets, it’s mostly that I’m living a more ‘normal’ schedule these days. I used to get up around 4 AM, and after an hour or two of drinking coffee in the dark and quiet I’d get bored and head out for the sunrise. I might be home by 8 AM with pictures in the camera, and editing them and writing a post meant I had something to do that day. And then often times I’d head back out for the sunset that night. But lately I sleep in. If I don’t get up until 7:15 I feel like I missed half the day, but I’m enjoying myself. And I stay up watching TV at night, and most of the time listening to thunder outside close enough to time for sunset that I don’t bother checking to see what I think the sky might be like that night. Which means I miss a lot of pretty skies. But this morning I was up early and back at the bridge over the Pithlachascotee River. The feature photo is the first one I took, and the water was still and the color was pretty. It was early and I hoped for even more color, but eventually it just dimmed to a dull glow. Still it was nice and peaceful to be out, and the coffee tasted good when I got home.

'scene' along the way, adventure, exploring new places, finding my way, friends, fun, history, making memories, perseverance, photography, road trip, travel

Asheville…

Eventually we did reach the southern end of the Blue Ridge Parkway, which put us in range of Asheville. We only spent a day there, which was way too short. We would like to spend more time in the area this fall, wouldn’t that be a perfect place to see fall color? But once in Asheville we spotted the Basilica of Saint Lawrence, and headed in that direction to take photos. We didn’t expect to be allowed in, welcomed even, and told to take all the pictures we cared to. So I took a lot, but with the trusty iPhone. Our trip south was about to being in earnest, and even when you have had a nice trip the thought of home begins to sound very good.

What a beautiful sight, we wanted a closer view.
A lovely set of doors, but we entered by a side door.
And the interior was just as beautiful.
People were quiet, respectful of our presence in a holy place.
Beautiful stained glass windows surrounded you.
The interior details were amazing.
Another beautiful view.
But, soon it was time to leave.
And the workmanship was amazing to see even as we exited the church.

As I write this I still don’t know what we missed seeing in Asheville, we left the next morning. But we enjoyed our visit and left wanting to return.

'scene' along the way, adventure, antiques, attention to detail, backyard visitors, courage, exploring new places, fences, finding my way, friends, history, just imagine, learning, making memories, nature, on closer examination, perseverance, photography, road trip

Thoughts of the past…

The Blue Ridge Parkway offers more than just the fabulous scenery at their stops along the way. Sometimes you find a preserved example of an Appalachian Farm to explore. It was nice to get out of the car for more than a minute or two, to walk a little, and to think of what challenges people faced not too long ago, to make a living in this quiet place.

If you stop to think for just a moment you realize that each section of fence was the result of hard labor on someone’s part. The lovely tree we can attribute to God’s handiwork.
Simple home for simple living.
The barn, to shelter the animals who depend on you and also provide their labor as well as food.
We didn’t talk with these photographers, though now I wish we would have. They had a nice camera/lens set up, and a tripod, and they seemed intent on the flowers behind the fence. Or was it something else?
The root cellar, preserving the fruits of your labor for the long winter days.
And the outhouse. We all know how necessary that is.
'scene' along the way, a second look, adventure, finding my way, friends, fun, go with the flow, making memories, natural wonders, perseverance, photography, road trip, travel

Ups and downs…

The last time I drove Skyline Drive I popped the pop-up off the hitch when I drove over railroad tracks in Front Royal. Fortunately two very nice gentlemen appeared out of nowhere and jacked up the now bent front support and got me back on the road. So I drove the whole way preoccupied with the camper, worried it would pop off again. I know I took pictures and enjoyed the scenery to a degree, but not like I did on this trip down Skyline Drive. The fact that I wasn’t the only driver was both a blessing and a curse because we both really would prefer to be the driver, but we managed to share the driving duties peacefully. But driving that road with its ups and downs, and hairpin turns to the right, and hairpin turns to the left, and stopping at every overlook to take pictures, can wear a girl out.

And when you come to the end of Skyline Drive you immediately begin your drive on the Blue Ridge Parkway, with more ups and downs, and twists and turns. So we stopped for the night in Hillsville, VA. Which my son may remember from an infamous trip we took from FL to upstate NY, dragging a uHaul, and he said, looking at the map, “Mom, there is a road that’s a shortcut from the road we are on to the one we are going to”, and we took it. Much to our dismay we found it had twists and turns, and ups and downs, and we groaned when we saw that we had been driving, however appropriately, through Hillsville! I asked him if I had been driving him nuts by driving too slow over that road and he said no, I was driving him nuts because he thought I was driving too fast! I never imagined I’d spend four days driving that sort of road willingly, and calling it fun!

My first trip to Florida was in 1988 and I came away with the impression that it was entirely too flat. At this moment in time I think that Florida’s flatness just might be its best feature.

'scene' along the way, adventure, connections, family, finding my way, friends, fun, grandchildren, life goes on, making memories, perseverance, photography, road trip

Stops along the way…

On Friday we were headed to the Heritage Gardens, which I posted about. But I forgot about our stop to see this pretty gristmill along the way.

We purposely looked for this grist mill to take a few pictures, but it turned up right on the route.
It was prettier than I expected.
It was a quick stop, but so fun to see it.
This church was equally pretty but an unexpected find. St. Patrick’s in Falmouth.
We came across this church while we were driving around, and when we parked to take some photos we found a vendor setting up in advance of an event of some kind.
Here he is, the proprietor of Reid’s Real Baking. He was fun to talk to, and his bread and blueberry handheld pies were great. Stop if you see him, okay?
We stopped again when we saw these quite small cottages on stilts. They were cute, but I’m not sure I’d like to be inside looking out the window at a raging storm.
This is the Nobska Light, the same lighthouse that’s in the feature photo. With only a few parking spaces we felt lucky to snag one for a closer look.

I’m a lucky woman. Not only have I had someone special to enjoy this journey with me, and spent time with old and new friends, and family, but I’ve also spent the last couple of days with my daughter and family. So I’ve spent more time face to face with people than on the computer. And all the while I’ve been taking pictures, but I’ve lost track of all the places I’ve been and photos I’ve taken. But I’ll find them, they are in this computer…somewhere.