Saturday, November 24, 2012

Look For America Trek

So what is this Look for America Trek?  At the end of October I drove my parents to the Blue Ridge Mountains to visit family.  This is THE time of year to do it, so we did.  Since I wasn't totally recovered from my Disney adventure and illness, we took it slow.  Day 1 was from San Antonio to Lafayette, Louisiana.  Not much to report there.

Day 2 - Montgomery, Alabama
Day 2 was from Lafayette, Louisiana to Montgomery, Alabama. About halfway through the drive we came to Mobile, Alabama and the beautiful Bellingrath Gardens.  This was maybe the fourth or fifth visit for my parents, but my first visit.  Technically, this wasn't the best time to see the gardens.  However, the flowers were well into their autumn bloom cycle.  The roses were blooming as were some azaleas, and a few camellias.  The mums were set out for the huge November festival .  A few had started blooming, but most were still in the tight bud stage.

Let's face it.  I love roses.  Anybody who knows me, knows I love roses. Of all the photos I took of them, here are three: Sadly, I don't know the name of this rose.  But it's gorgeous!

Here is a Wild Blue Yonder rose.  It's kind of purple, not blue, but who cares??
Wild Blue Yonder
And the last is a Moonstone rose.  I'm not usually a fan of modern roses, but I might just have to get myself one of these!  The rose retains the pink edging to the petals throughout its life, although it fades as the rose matures.  It's beautiful!
Moonstone Rose
I could go on forever about the flowers in the greenhouse.  There were pineapples growing and hibiscus and all manner of tropical flowers.  However, the orchids really caught my eye.  Here's just one of them - a classic cattleya.
Cattleya Orchid
The house fascinated me as well.  It's not a huge place in an ostentatious style, but it's big and comfortable.  I couldn't take photographs of the inside, but here's one of the courtyard from the outer walk.

Here's the same courtyard from the other side. (Standing inside the arches.)

Here's the last flower photo - a camellia we saw on the walk out.

Day 3 - Blue Ridge, Georgia
We got a late start from Montgomery and decided to take a detour around Atlanta to visit Stone Mountain Park.  I'd never been there before and had always wanted to.  Okay, I'll be honest here.  The park is amazing and I'd love to come back sometime, but the carving is not quite up to what I expected.  Here's the best shot I got of it.
Carving on Stone Mountain
Day 4 - In the Mountains!
We visited quite a few places around north Georgia, but I took the most photos at Amicalola Falls State Park.  It's difficult to get the waterfall.  It's the highest waterfall east of the Mississippi (although I can't believe Niagra isn't higher), but it's impossible to get a clear shot of the entire fall.  Here's my best try:
Amicalola Falls
Here's a photo of the lower falls:

After visiting the Falls and having a wonderful lunch there, we visited a pumpkin farm and an apple farm.  The apple farm was dangerous!  I walked out with a half-bushel of the best Pink Lady apples I've ever tasted, a jug of apple juice and a bottle of sparkling apple cider.  Didn't get any photos, but the pumpkin farm was awesome!  People take their little ones to be photographed there the same way we take ours in the spring to photograph them in the bluebonnets.

That's my shadow in the lower left.  It's as close as I have to a photo of myself.

Day 5 - More Mountains!
Again, we spent the day visiting places around North Georgia.  It's been a dream of mine for years to hike the Appalachian Trail.  We stopped at Mountain Crossings at Neel's Gap which has the distinction of being the only covered part of the trail.  I left my parents and cousins at the store and hiked a little way up the trail by myself.  I wish I could have gone further, but at least I got my boots on the Trail!

My cousins know all the best restaurants.  The following photo is one I'd have never thought I'd ever take.  It's a mural on the wall of the ladies' room in Antonietta's in Blairsville, GA.  It's a great restaurant, I must say, but who would have ever thought to disguise a vent so cleverly??

After driving through the National Forest, we came upon this wonderful old bridge.

I don't know if it exactly qualifies as a piano bridge, but it's very small and rattles quite a bit.  However, the views from it are awesome!
Upstream, I could see a man fly fishing.  I've never actually seen anyone fly fish before.  It's fascinating, but I don't think it's my sport!

Day 7 - Johnson City, TN
On day 6, we left my cousin's house, heading to Johnson City, TN.  I've wanted to visit my great-great-great-great-great-great-grandfather's farm, the Tipton-Haynes Historic Site.  My parents visited it several years ago and told me about it.  We got there too late to visit the site, so we spent the night and visited the site the next day.  Dad forgot to get a photo of COL John Tipton's grave when he was there, so I insisted we find the cemetery and get a photo.  COL Tipton had quite a bit to do with the founding of Tennessee as a state.  Apparently, he was a strong-minded, rather colorful old character.  I do love his home and am proud to call him one of my ancestors.
Tipton-Haynes Farm
We got to share the site with several classes of second-graders.  Even so, the staff of the site was very kind to us.  I'm especially interested in an overshot coverlet in the museum.  I'm working on figuring out the draft and hope to have a sample woven before too long!

And yes, we saw the cemetery.  What a quiet, beautiful place!
COL John Tipton's Grave
The grave is at the lower right of the photo.  The marker is hard to see as it's sideways to the photo.  They aren't really sure which of the two (or possibly three) graves there is COL Tipton's.  He is buried alongside at least his second wife.  I'm descended from his first wife who may or may not be buried there.  It's such a beautiful place, though!

After leaving Johnson City, we drove through Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg on our way to drive through the Sequatchie Valley.  My mother's family lived there and migrated from there to Mississippi.  Okay, just forget Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg.  For years I've wanted to visit the big October craft fair in Gatlinburg.  No.  The place is so heavily commercialized, it just isn't fun at all. However, after fighting 10 mile-an-hour traffic through both cities, we did get to drive through the Smokies.  Again, a beautiful, beautiful place!
The photos need no commentary!

Sadly, by the time we got to the Sequatchie Valley, it was dark, so I didn't get to see it.  After a rather grueling trip across lots of mountain passes and up (and down!) Signal Mountain into Chattanooga, we couldn't seem to find a hotel for the night.  We finally found a Days Inn in Trenton, GA.  Trenton is in the extreme northwest corner of the state.  I didn't even know it was there, but they had a hotel with two rooms remaining, and we got those!

The next two days were the long drive back to San Antonio.  Day 8 was distinguished by crossing five states in one day.  Okay, we were almost out of Georgia when we started and we spent the night in Tyler, Texas, but that's still quite a bit of driving!  Day 9 brought us home to San Antonio.  The worst part of the drive?  IH-35 between Roundrock, north of Austin, and home.  The traffic was awful!

But this was a wonderful trip and one I look forward to making again sometime.

Since this trip, I've been staying home and am back to my looms again.  But that's a story for the next post!

No comments:

Post a Comment