• Shannon

Happy New Year & Vacay Recap

So it’s the first day of 2015 and I’ve spent the day going back and forth between housework and blog maintenance. Never one to leave the blog design well enough alone, I’ve changed a few things.  Shocker!  I hope you like it.  If you are new to our blog, welcome! We’re glad you’re here! If you are one of our regular readers we are glad to have you back and look forward to seeing you throughout the new year! Happy New Year to all of our blogging friends around the world! I hope the year brings good things to every one of you.

We wrapped up 2014 by taking a family trip to North Carolina. The last time we went anywhere with the kids was 2010. We figured we’d sufficiently recovered from that trip enough that we would attempt this one. We were hoping to see snow (the two youngest had never seen it), and in the end we got the man-made stuff, so at least there was that. The dogs stayed behind (boo) as we waited too late to make reservations.  I usually split them up between a pet sitter at the house and the vet hospital where I used to work (they also do boarding) whenever we travel without them.  I got photos and updates and they were well cared for.

Rama was not happy that we left her behind, however, and refused to go outside for the sitter, deciding instead to potty in the house.  She has NEVER done that, save one pee the first day she was here and diarrhea once when she was sick.  She is a very clean dog.  She has had an increasing dislike for the dog yard area since it was erected, not wanting to spend more than a few minutes out there at a time.  She is rather spoiled on being inside, though she loves to be in the front yard.  It is more interesting out there,  suppose, with the occasional person going by, bicycle, car, etc.  But the dog yard?  Eh, not so much.  She will pound on the sliding glass door so hard that the windows in the house will shake.  As a result, I have been making her spend more time out there.  Sassy has started to follow Rama’s lead, so I’m nipping this little revolt in the bud real quick.  We are having more outside time during the day, complete with yummy treats and new toys introduced out there.  Because she is being so stubborn, I will begin feeding her out there.

At this very moment Rama is sitting at the door to the dog yard, whimpering pitifully.  She’s been out there approximately 5 minutes and it’s a cool, overcast 73 degrees today.

“Why am I out here? What do you think I am? An animal?! Let me in!”

After a rather painful ride listening to the youngest kids argue, my husband sighing every time someone had to go to the bathroom and a lack of significant scenery change until we were nearly done with the trip, this was the view we woke up to the following morning:


We did some cave exploring, tubing, hiking and visited the Biltmore Estate during their Christmas Candlelight Evenings. The estate was lit by only what they would have had back when it was built.  It was stunning.  I have to say, there were several spots on the property I imagined a kennel would fit perfectly.  Yes, 8,000 acres would do nicely, thank you.

Photo by gatlinburgtnguide.com

The hubs and I next to a magnificent entwined tree at the Biltmore Estate.

One hell of a front door.

We were told that no photography was allowed inside the house, so here are a few photos from the Biltmore’s website:

Indoor garden. Photo biltmore.com.

Banquet hall. Photo biltmore.com.

Indoor swimming pool. Photo biltmore.com.

Magnificent doesn’t even begin to cover it.  It’s an amazing home, with secret passageways and gardens, stables and servant’s quarters.  There are priceless works of art, tapestries and furniture that speak of a time long gone.  I can’t imagine what it must have been like to grow up in that house.  What a great place to play hide and seek!

Tubing at Hawks Nest.

We were hoping for real snow but the temperatures were just too warm.  Thank goodness the ski resorts were making their own snow.  We had a great time tubing at Hawks Nest.  On the left (below) is me and on the right our second oldest who is home from college on winter break:

We also managed a quick hike before dark in the Linville Falls area.  I wish I’d been able to do more hiking on this trip, but with all of the kids and the husband wanting to stick to a strict schedule, it just wasn’t possible.  Because I was taking photos, I was at the back of the pack, with my 11 year old son.  Bless him, he is a sweet child, but he is not outdoorsy at all.  The entire time he talked of nothing but video games.  I tried to get him to stay still and listen to the sounds around him.  You could hear the falls just ahead, as well as the sound of the river, the occasional sound of wind in the trees and the voices of my husband and the girls up ahead of us.   Aside from that, it was magnificently silent.  A few times I stood still and closed my eyes, imagining I was alone.  I love my family, but I need some quiet time to myself sometimes.   As I write this, I have a 5 year old climbing all over my chair, combing my hair playing “hair salon” and asking me when dinner will be ready.  I’m really needing some of that solitude right now.

Hike to Linville Falls.

We saw 2 dogs on the trail, which made me miss my hiking pups.  One day I’ll have to bring them up to the mountains for some practice hikes so that they can get accustomed to the elevation difference.  I’ll need more practice with that as well.  I definitely felt it out there.  It made me realize just how much I need to work out.   Even though it was about 45 degrees and drizzling out, by the end of the hike I’d removed my jacket and hat and was quite warm.

I got to try out my new hiking boots on this trip.  I decided to go with Hi-Tec’s Altitude V Waterproof hiking boots.  I really like them so far.  I wore them every day on our trip and they were super comfy.  No blisters and my feet stayed dry despite rain, mud and rushing river water.

On the steps leading down to the Linville Falls overlook.

The same day we hiked to the falls we visited Linville Caverns.    Since I’m fairly certain people want to eat dinner today I’ll save those pictures for another post.  I still need to do some editing on them, anyway.

It was a short visit but a fun one packed with activities.  I wish we’d had more time, especially for the hiking portion.  The scenery is so different from what we are used to here in Florida.  The air is nicer, too.  We saw many Floridians.  A lady I met while we were waiting for our dinner reservation one evening said it was because it’s the farthest anyone from Florida with kids in the car can go without pulling their hair out!

True that, lady in restaurant.  True that, indeed.

#hitecaltitudeV #pinchpunchpost #dogs #vacation #bloghop #thankfulthursday #dogblog #linvillefalls #travel #northcarolina #biltmoreestate #thoughtlessthursday #thursdaybarksandbytes #hiking #canecorso

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