Category Archives: North Carolina

Ocracoke Island

Recently, we spent a few weeks on Ocracoke Island, sharing a house with several friends and family members. Although it was beautiful, truthfully, I was somewhat bored and ready to come home by the end of 2 weeks. I was also disappointed in myself, I had brought some work with me and didn’t do as much as I would have liked, as well as not making time for some day trips that I had planned. It was very relaxing, and it was great to see everyone, some family we haven’t seen in a few years, and some friends I hadn’t seen since we moved from Virginia Beach three years ago. We did get to go to Portsmouth Village for a day and I did finally try stand up paddle boarding, I just wish I hadn’t been so lazy the rest of the time.

First Row: Beautiful view of Pamlico Sound from the house we rented, which is why I didn’t get much done, I was looking at this peaceful view all day, Forth of July fireworks, A thunderstorm moving across Pamlico Sound

Second Row: Pathway through the hammock, a very crowded day at the beach, Panzer and Sasha waiting for Jon at the ferry landing

Blue Ridge Parkway

A few weekends ago we were able to take some time and spend a few days on the Blue Ridge Parkway. It is one of my absolute favorite places. So beautiful, I love the mountains, the waterfalls, the colorful foliage in the fall, and the wildflowers in the spring. I also love how easy it is to use, with scenic overlooks every few miles, campgrounds, picnic areas, and hiking trails.IMG_3328

View from one of the scenic overlooks.


The reward for hiking the Cascades Trail, actually a pretty easy hike.


Rhododendrons in bloom at Craggy Gardens. I was hoping to see these in bloom, and I did!


Duggars Creek Trail.

Tundra Swans

This time of year the marshes in more remote areas are full of migrating Tundra Swans, thousands of them. Last week, after my visit to Pettigrew State Park, I drove the scenic route home and accidentally came upon a large flock in Mattamuskeet National Wildlife Refuge.IMG_2939 IMG_2941 IMG_2943 IMG_2944

Pettigrew State Park

This week I took a day to drive up to Pettigree State Park, about 2.5 hrs away. Its a beautiful area surrounding Lake Phelps, and the shoreline is populated by these amazing bald cypress trees.

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When I first moved to the south, from New England, almost 10 years ago I was fascinated by these trees standing in the water. We had marshes and bogs up north, but nothing like the cypress swamps found on the coastal plain. The size of these trees is amazing, some of them must be more than five feet in diameter at their base, and I can only imagine how old they are.


Goose Creek Park

Its easy for me to get stuck in a rut of always going to the same places. Hard to believe, but I do get tired of always walking on sandy beaches, I like more variety. Also, even though we’ve lived here for almost 3 years, there is still a lot in the area we haven’t taken the time to explore yet. So, last weekend I decided we were taking a day trip to a state park about 2 hours away. Goose Creek State park is north of us and is located on the Pamlico River. It has an interesting beach along the river with live oaks going down to the water, some beautiful pine forests, and a half mile boardwalk through a pretty swamp (no, that is not a contradiction).

Nicely maintained trails wander through a forest of towering longleaf pines.

See, the swamp really is pretty!

Jon, Panzer, and Sasha.

I’ve noticed that many parks in the south have boardwalks through swampy and marshy areas, I love seeing them up close and getting a perspective that I wouldn’t from dry land.