the most romantic picnic spot

It’s difficult to find a more beautiful place than the Smoky Mountains in June.  Spring’s lush green is everywhere.  Colorful wildflowers blanket the hillside.  The sun sets late, slipping slowly behind the mountains as lightening bugs flicker in the evening sky.  The heat and humidity of later months has yet to arrive.  And, best of all, the rhododendrons are in full bloom.

Catawba Rhododendrons, native to the Southern Appalachians, bloom in late-May at lower elevations and in mid-June higher up. The purple-pink bloom lasts only for a short time but is beautiful. One of the best places to view them is at the Roan Mountain Gardens on the North Carolina side of the NC/TN state line.  

Here you can wander through a naturally occurring rhododendron garden high up at an elevation of over 6000 feet. The main path is paved so it is accessible to most people. The bushes are dense and, when in bloom, make for a magical hike.

But the best part are the picnic areas. Tucked away in corners of the park are picnic areas. Moss covered tables nestled under pines and the rhodendrons. As the flowers fall they cover the ground creating a pink carpet. A fairytale setting for a romantic picnic!

You can find more information about Roan Mountain Gardens, including its exact location, here.

someday (soon)…

My baby sister got married this past weekend.  It was such a fun weekend and the wedding was perfect!  She’s 13 years younger than me and it’s hard to believe that she is now married.  Makes me feel old.  It also encouraged me to finally complete this list, a bucket list, of things that I would love to do, see, and accomplish in my life.  Time goes by so quick!  Not that writing down a list necessary makes them any more likely to happen, but it is fun to dream and start the “how’s” of accomplishing some of these.  We have also started a “Family Bucket List” which we, as a family, are writing down things that we want to do together (I’ll share it sometime as well).

I encourage you to do the same, either a personal list or as a family, because it is so much fun!  Here’s my list… Continue reading “someday (soon)…”

why we race

I’ve noticed something in the past few years about many of my friends and acquaintances that are around the same age as me.  We have all suddenly developed a desire to compete in some type of physical activity that requires training!  Marathons and half marathons, triathlon, mud runs, bicycle road races, Masters swim meets, even a first 5K; you name it, my friends are training for it.  What is it about this stage in life (mid 30s-40s) that suddenly makes a person have a strong desire to compete in a race that, just a few years ago, was not even a blip on their radar? Continue reading “why we race”