Sunday, January 22, 2012

Boone, NC

Claire Cothren drove up from Athens, GA to meet us to do an overnight hiking trip on the Tanawha Trail that runs along the Blue Ridge Parkway right outside of Boone, NC. We took a few side trails off the main trail completing a total of about 16 miles in 2 days.

We saw lots of deer as soon as we got on the Parkway. They were not even scared of us.

The view from High Balsam Shelter overlooking the Parkway.

Stopping for lunch at High Balsam Shelter

The three of us at Flatrock View.

 A side trail led us to find an old plane crash from the 1970s.

One of the ladders up to Calloway Peak.
View from top of Calloway Peak

There was a 30 foot drop right behind us which was a popular location for hang-gliding and repelling.

Linn Cove Viaduct

Biltmore Estate, Asheville, NC

Biltmore Estate
My mom and Maggie drove to Snow Hill to come visit us for the Thanksgiving holiday. Since Clay and I both had to work the day after Thanksgiving, we decided to take a road trip that weekend back to Asheville to the Biltmore Estate. Every inch of the mansion was beautifully decorated for Christmas and it took us almost 2 hours just to tour the house. Unfortunately, they wouldn't let people take pictures inside of the house, so I just have outside pictures.

Amazing views off the back of the house

Side view on the way to the gardens



 Some of the beautiful flowers inside the conservatory

Lit up all pretty at night
Everything in the house was so beautiful and well maintained it's hard to believe that real people actually used to live there. The house is still owned by members of the Vanderbilt family, but no one lives in the house currently. After touring the house we went to the winery and did some Biltmore wine tasting.

Goofing off in the gift shop

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Snow Hill, NC

While working in North Carolina, we had the privilege of living at a wonderful bed and breakfast that was located on a farm in Snow Hill, NC. The Benjamin W. Best Inn is owned by Ossie and Mary Betty Kearney, and they made our time in North Carolina very special. They made us feel like a part of their family since the first day we got there, complete with Thanksgiving dinner and visiting their church. We also enjoyed spending time with their 3 energetic grandchildren Mary Elizabeth, Nell Mason and Drew.

Perfect Saturday morning
I wish I would have taken more pictures of their beautiful home, but you can see it at

We had a dance party in my room the night before we left to go back home to MS. Miley Cyrus "Rocking Around the Christmas Tree" was the star performance. 

Mary Elizabeth
Nell Mason

I just wish I had as much energy as these sweet girls! We had a blast!

 In addition to running the B&B, the Kearneys also operate Nooherooka Natural Beef. Their motto is "Our cows don't do drugs" and we had the chance to buy fresh beef from them on several occasions. Check them out at

Enjoying the beautiful weather on Thanksgiving

Clay was trying so hard to get Maggie in the hammock with him.

But she wasn't having it at all. 

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Asheville, NC

Asheville Fall Foliage
We drove over to Asheville for my birthday the last weekend in October.  This time of year is the peak of tourist season in Asheville because of the beautiful fall colors in the mountains. I've never been so excited to see changing leaves before haha! We did a lot of driving on the Blue Ridge Parkway and stopped at many overlooks to take in the mountain scenery. Clay got me a new camera for my birthday so, of course, we had to stop every 5 minutes so I could use it!
Blue Ridge Mountains

Top of Mt. Mitchell

Blue Ridge Mountains--they really do look blue

We stopped at Mount Mitchell State Park and did some hiking over to Mount Craig. Mount Mitchell is the highest peak east of the MS river at 6,684 feet. We drove to the top and walked up the accessible ramp to the summit for a great view.

We then took the Deep Gap hiking trail from Mt. Mitchell over to Mt. Craig which is the second highest peak at 6,647 feet elevation. We were so high up that there was snow and ice on parts of the trail in October!

Summit of Mt. Craig--good birthday hike

Playing around with my new camera
St. Lawrence Basilica

Downtown Asheville

We also did a lot of walking around downtown Asheville and visited some of the local breweries on the Asheville Brews Cruise. We learned way more about the science of brewing beer than we ever needed to know, but it was fun!

Green Man Brewing Company