my first time // in boone

my first time // in boone

In October, the family and I went to Boone, North Carolina for a fun filled weekend in the mountains.

my first time // in boone

Boone is a good four or five hour drive from where we live. In true McHenry/Harkness style, we listened to music the entire drive and arrived late Friday evening.

my first time // in boone

Our host was Noah, a former student of Jon’s. He and his family let us stay at their cabin for the weekend. My favorite thing when traveling is to be there with a local. Their perspective is completely different and they know exactly where you should eat, the things you should see, and the cool facts you should know. Also, Noah happens to be a fellow film lover and we spent some good time watching horror films in anticipation of Halloween.

my first time // in boone

For our first day in the mountains, we definitely had to check out a staple Smoky Mountain experience. The Mast General Store. Its floors are properly uneven, with steep staircases and narrow aisles. They display their impressive candy selection in barrels, host antique displays, and even have banjo playing musicians on their rocking-chair strewn porches.

my first time // in boone my first time // in boone my first time // in boone my first time // in boone my first time // in boone my first time // in boone my first time // in boone my first time // in boone
my first time // in boone

The next day we went on a hike up to Flat Top Fire Tower. It was at least two miles up hill to get there. I might have been severely unimpressed by the lack of fall colors in the mountains had it not been for our hiking locals, Noah and George, or our group’s insatiable desire to take pretty much every “shortcut” we could find. I’m here to tell you, not every shortcut was actually a shortcut. At one point we were climbing on rocks and crawling through tunnels of trees and bracken, laughing and jokingly asking if anyone had food or water, in case we got lost.
(No but seriously, we all had food and water.)

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Flat Top Fire Tower
The winds of Hurricane Matthew were whipping through the mountains. We continued our wise life decisions and climbed the tower anyways. It was a little bit terrifying, and terrifyingly exhilarating. The views were incredible. I’ll be honest, I didn’t really pay attention to the photos or video that I shot because I was clinging to the railing for dear life as my extremities slowly froze.

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The way back down the mountain was much more enjoyable, with many more “shortcuts,” on which we got even more lost.

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Thanks for humoring my need for photos, guys!

my first time // in boone

This photo captures the joy we experienced when we discovered the trail again after being briefly lost in the woods.

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After our exhilarating adventure (AKA: hiking), we ate a delicious meal of barbecue recommended by our locals, and then went to a strip mall where we shopped the sales, Kasey and George got excellent jackets, and we ate some quality ice cream.

my first time // in boone

That night back at the cabin, I took advantage of the wide open skies to take some shots of the stars to work on my astrophotography.
(Can you see Grandfather Mountain in the distance?)

my first time // in boone my first time // in boone my first time // in boone my first time // in boone

Our trip was short, but sweet. I spent a good piece of it worrying about Hurricane Matthew and the devastation happening to our home. Despite that, I know that Boone is beautiful, that the restaurants are amazing, that our host and his friends were very entertaining and welcoming, and that I continue to love the Appalachians.

“There is nothing prettier in the world than a girl in love with every breath she takes.” -Atticus

Until next time,

Jamie

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october in the smoky mountains part I

October in the Smoky Mountains: Part I

I had been looking forward to this trip since I moved to North Carolina. The trees on the east coast are famously gorgeous during the fall. Taking a small break from work, life, and the weather of home, we drove several hours to the mountains. The air is fresh and crisp. The leaves were turning and the views were stunning. The day we left it was raining, but the clouds and fog in the mountains made that okay.

October in the Smoky Mountains: Part I October in the Smoky Mountains: Part I

Here’s a road trip tip. If you find yourself driving through the mountains while it is foggy, listen to “Once Upon a Dream” by Lana Del Rey from “Maleficent.” It is appropriately creepy.

October in the Smoky Mountains: Part I October in the Smoky Mountains: Part I

We rented a cute little place through Airbnb, which I would highly recommend. There are a lot of affordable and fun options for pretty much anywhere in the world. I know people who have traveled Europe and went Airbnb the whole way.
By the way, this is not sponsored. I’m just saying.

October in the Smoky Mountains: Part I October in the Smoky Mountains: Part I October in the Smoky Mountains: Part I October in the Smoky Mountains: Part I October in the Smoky Mountains: Part I October in the Smoky Mountains: Part I

My room was so tiny and hilarious. I loved it.

October in the Smoky Mountains: Part I October in the Smoky Mountains: Part I

The owner of the cabin seemed to love horses. Literally everything was horse themed, even the movie selections.

October in the Smoky Mountains: Part I

On the morning of our second day, Jon visited the neighbor to ask about the area and came back with the best news ever. The Appalachian Trail was just a couple miles down the road. I will post about that hike and amazing life experience later so that I can properly share the photos. This photo of Jon and Coco is just a teaser. I am itching to go back. Maybe I can live on the trail? Anyone with me?

October in the Smoky Mountains: Part I October in the Smoky Mountains: Part I

Coco survived the first hike of her life. She thought it was the greatest thing ever, but wasn’t so sure about getting her feet cleaned before getting back in the car.

October in the Smoky Mountains: Part I

After hiking we drove into town. Waynesville, North Carolina is beautiful and their downtown is picturesque. We visited the classic and necessary tourist trap–the Mast General Store, followed by a dog shop, a Christmas store, and some antique window shopping. We decided to stop and have Thai food for dinner. It was delicious and extremely satisfying, especially after our hike.

October in the Smoky Mountains: Part I October in the Smoky Mountains: Part I October in the Smoky Mountains: Part I October in the Smoky Mountains: Part I October in the Smoky Mountains: Part I October in the Smoky Mountains: Part I October in the Smoky Mountains: Part I October in the Smoky Mountains: Part I

Being people who like to make the most out of every second of vacation, after dinner we had a fire. It took over half an hour to get the blaze going due to very damp wood, but Jon refused to quit. What a Man.

October in the Smoky Mountains: Part I October in the Smoky Mountains: Part I October in the Smoky Mountains: Part I October in the Smoky Mountains: Part I October in the Smoky Mountains: Part I October in the Smoky Mountains: Part I

My first attempt at a star photo. Space is pretty nuts. I have decided that I want to be an astronaut when I grow up.

October in the Smoky Mountains: Part I

The next morning we got up before six am and climbed a mountain in the dark so that we could watch sunrise from the summit of Max Patch. This is a bucket list item I didn’t even know I would have. I am still in awe of this experience. I will post separately about it to share more photos and thoughts.

October in the Smoky Mountains: Part I October in the Smoky Mountains: Part I October in the Smoky Mountains: Part I October in the Smoky Mountains: Part I October in the Smoky Mountains: Part I October in the Smoky Mountains: Part I October in the Smoky Mountains: Part I

I can’t even begin to explain how amazing our weekend was. Just three short days in the mountains is enough to give you a new, refreshed view on life. I’m excited to share a couple more posts with you. Here’s to hoping you all are having amazing Novembers!

Until next time,

Jamie

my first time // in asheville

My family came to see me!
In June my parents came out for a good long(ish) visit. I hadn’t seen them since December, which is the longest I have gone without seeing them. Ever.

Their last weekend here we took a road trip out to Asheville. I’m pretty sure this place is the Portland of North Carolina. Needless to say, I was in heaven.

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After driving for several hours, we got to our hotel just outside of Asheville.  We settled in and then drove into down for some exploring. It was super hot and I was a little toasty in my skinny jeans, but the feel of the city was not lost on me. From the people riding the river on tubes and other floaties, to the street performers and art booths, I felt very at home and familiar, even though I had never been to Asheville before.

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Before we went to Asheville I asked my coworkers what we should do. They recommended that we go to the Mast General Store by the main street.
Score.
They have local jams, art, lotions, books and cookware upstairs. Downstairs they have hiking, camping, and outdoor gear for everyone. It was glorious.

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After we explored downtown a little bit, we headed to a distillery where they gave us a tour and we learned how to make whiskey. I now also know how to drink whiskey properly and it is much more enjoyable when done the right way.

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We went back downtown for dinner.
Tupelo Honey. Literally everyone who found out we were going to Asheville for the weekend recommended that we eat here, and we were not disappointed. It was the most delicious southern comfort food we could have dreamed up, complete with complimentary biscuits (and local Tupelo honey) as an appetizer.

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To say the least, we had a fabulous first day in Asheville. The next day we drove a section of the Blue Ridge Parkway. I will post those photos soon so stick around, will ya?

Until next time,

Jamie