The Carolinas

July 26th, 2006

I grew up in the south, but last week i learned to apreciate the carolinas a bit more. I spent 10 days with my older sister, her husband, and their 2 kids, Addy and Sam. The 5 of us drove around north and south carolina in their big red truck (chevy suburban) towing their Outback trailer. Thats right, an RV. But the best part was spending quality time with family, doing nothing but enjoying ourselves – hiking, swimming, eating, and drinking.

I met up with them in Boonville, NC, on Tuesday, July 11, after they’ve been on the road for over a week. They were staying in a private campground, with a pool, putt-putt, general store, and an amazing hiking trail down to a river. Of course we did that river hike, and had fun with the whole family (including rigby, their boston terrier) playing in the water. We also spent some time at the Rag Apple Winery, which had decent wines. The man pouring was very knowledgable about NC wine – many tobacco farmers are switching to grapes. Lara and bryan hope to switch to grapes from their jobs, too.

On Wednesday we drove to Boone, NC, a bit more in the mountains. We stayed at the Boone KOA tent/RV campground, the nicest spot we’d stay. It had a pool, putt-putt, playground, pond, goats, chickens, cows, green grass and blue skies. We got some serious chill on there. The weather was great – we were almost at 4,000 feet, much cooler than the rest of the hot humid south this time of year. On thursday we drove to blowing rock, a not-so-great tourist attraction, but a nice trip. On the way back we stopped in town for a tastee dinner near ASU. Friday we stayed at camp, enjoyed the pool and nature.

Saturday we packed up and headed to Asheville, NC. This was my favorite city – small mtn town that attracts people from all over the country, including artists and hippie types (gotta like a splash of san francisco in the south). On the way we stopped at another tourist spot, Grandfather mountain. This was much better than blowing rock, they actually had a zoo with cougars, bears, eagles, and more. And of course, they are famous for their swinging mile-high bridge. Later that night my parents met up with us in asheville, driving about 4 hours up from atlanta. The first night they actually slept with us in the trailer – and lara and bryan took the tent. But the next night they opted for a bit nicer bed at the Grove Park Inn.

On Monday we drove to Greenville, SC, and stayed at Paris Mountain State Park, the first non-private spot we stayed. This was right outside of greenville, and my grandfather used to take my mom there to swim when she was a kid. It was beautiful – the lake and the nature trails around it. We were also lucky enough to have my mom’s mom, edith, join us for lunch on monday and tuesday. Tuesday was especially nice, we got to celebrate Sam’s 3rd birthday (his actual birthday was wed, july 19). Larry and Evelyn treated us to lunch from whole foods, Sam got presents and a cake, and mama was very happy to spend time with her great-grandchildren. It was good to see her out and laughing.

Tuesday afternoon we headed to the beach, arriving at Hunting Island just after dark. The next morning i got up early and walked along the beach. It was perfect. Tide was almost all the way out, revealing the coolest patterns in the sand i’ve ever seen. And the lighting was amazing – the sun still coming up over the ocean – the waves were carefully crashing around me, birds flying above, a few people strolling about, not too hot yet, quiet, calm, peaceful. Later we came back out with full family, swam in the ocean, built sand castles, and walked an hour down to the lighthouse. An amazing view up there.

Thursday, July 20, was my last day. We stopped at the hunting island nature center on the way out, then headed for the airport. I got the pleasure of eating waffle house for my last meal – can’t beat their waffles! All in all an amazing and relaxing trip. Thank you lara and bryan for letting me into your mobile home!