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Friday, June 27, 2014

FOTO FRIDAY - 6/27/14

Dear Family and Friends,

We went to China about 10 years ago.  Outside of the polluted large cities, the countryside is fabulous.  This rice field is beautiful with the interesting mountains in the background.

Chuck, I am ready to go back anytime.


Thursday, June 26, 2014

Story Book Wedding

Dear Family and Friends,

Chuck and I have just returned from St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands.  We went there to witness the marriage of my nephew, Dan Simmons to Yvette Hyndman.  We had a wonderful time and the wedding was just story book perfect.

Take a look.

The setting....

Setting up for the rehearsal dinner on the beach.

The rehearsal dinner.

My sister, Mary Anne, and her son James and his wife Malena with Chuck.

Mary Anne and Chuck dancing the night away.

Our brother-in-law, Larry (father of the groom) doing his Captain Morgan impersonation.

We had breakfast on the room terrace with Mary Anne, Larry, James and Malena the morning of the wedding.

The wedding was held outdoors overlooking the water.

Beautiful bride, Yvette and her father.

Beautiful bridesmaids.

Dan and Yvette exchanging vows.

Proud Mary Anne and Larry after the ceremony.

Chuck and I at the reception.

The bride and groom made a grand entrance to the reception.

Dan dancing with his momma...Mary Anne

It was a fabulous time.  We are so glad we were able to share in this happy event.

Time to check out and return to reality.

We are now returning to Ecuador.....home sweet home!!


Friday, June 20, 2014

FOTO FRIDAY - 6/20/14

Dear Family and Friends,

I took this picture just outside of Moscow at Ismalova Park about 12 years ago.  This lady is showing her pendants that she is selling.  It was about January so it was quite cold.  I have heard that the Park burned and no longer exists.  That is really a shame.  It was one of my favorite shopping places.


Thursday, June 19, 2014

Can't Get Enough.

Dear Family and Friends,

We have made this trip to the U.S. for three main reasons.

1. attend my 50th high school reunion,
2 take our son, Matt, on a vacation and
3. attend the wedding of our nephew

We have been killing time between reason 2 and 3 since Dan's wedding is not until this Friday.

We have had more time than we usually do on our trips back here.  This turns out to be a good thing.

After our vacation with Matt, we ended up back in the south east.

Chuck and I have been so fortunate to have mini visits with some of my former high school friends.

We met up with Judy Self Ray and W.A. Tucker for dinner at a steak house in Alabama.

When we were on our way to Cherokee, N.C. I heard from my long time friend, Carla.  We met her and her husband, Paul, at the casino and had dinner.

And here is my friend Dannette.  She and I went to school together from kindergarten to graduation.
She invited us to visit her at her beautiful lake house in South Carolina.

On our way back to Columbus, Georgia we stopped in Augusta to visit my Aunt Shirley.  We had nice visit and breakfast with her and my cousin Laurie.

Each one of these visits was so special to me.  Chuck and I are so blessed.

We are now packed and off to St. Thomas in the Virgin Islands.  My sister's son, Dan, is getting married there on Friday.


Wednesday, June 18, 2014

A Taste of Scotland in North Carolina

Dear Family and Friends,

Chuck and I spent a couple of days in Cherokee, N.C.  The weather was perfect and to our surprise, it wasn't too crowded.

We toured the Cherokee Indian Museum.  It was real interesting and we learned so much.

After a couple of days of touring, shopping and going to the casino, we headed toward South Carolina.

When we have time, we really enjoy taking the backroads, sometimes stopping if a town looks interesting.  Since it was Saturday we lucked out.

As we came into Franklin, N.C., not far out of Cherokee, we found that they were staging for a parade.  I hollered for Chuck to stop the car and let me out so I could take pictures.  He did and off I went to the parade route.

Good ol' Chuck found a parking place and we met up a little later.

This was a wonderful, unexpected surprise to our trip.  Seeing miles of interstate and billboards, as you are making good time, just can't compare to being able to slow down and experience small town USA.

Townspeople relaxing and waiting for the parade to begin.

Franklin was celebrating it's Scottish heritage.  Many Scots settled here in the 1700's  Their descendants are keeping their heritage alive.

The small parade was led by boy scouts in kilts.

Followed by a bag pipe band.

All of the participants were dressed in colorful costumes.  Most of the men wore kilts.

There were even four legged participants, like this Scottish Terrier.

Then family, after family came down the street proudly displaying their clan names and their tartans.

The parade was finished off by civil war reenactment soldiers with uniform tops and wearing kilts.

After the parade we wondered around a bit enjoying the colorful people.

The civil war soldiers posed in front of the town confederate memorial monument in the park.

After about an hour we hopped in the car and headed on down the country road.


Saturday, June 14, 2014

Blue Ridge Parkway

Dear Family and Friends,

Today we left Asheville and went to Cherokee, N.C. via the Blue Ridge Parkway.  A trip that would take about an hour on the interstate took us 3 hours or more on this beautiful winding road.

The road was created in the 1930's by the CCC.  It is lined with trees with many pull outs to view the Blue Ridge Mountains.

Every lookout has a name and gives you the elevation at that spot and the elevation of what you are viewing.

The weather was not the best.  We ran into fog, rain and occasional sunshine.

The clouds were low and the views would have been better if the sun was out, but we enjoyed what we saw and are so grateful that the U.S. preserved this beautiful area for all to enjoy.

We saw part of the Appalachian Trail.  This hiking trail is over 2,000 miles long.  It passes through 14 states from Maine to Georgia.

Here is a map

We didn't walk the trail but many people hike it, or parts of it, every year.

The wild flowers were beautiful

We had a wonderful drive and met many wonderful people enjoying our country.

America!  So beautiful.


Friday, June 13, 2014

FOTO FRIDAY - 6/13/14

Dear Family and Friends,

This is a picture of petroglyphs in Capitol Reef National Park in Utah.  We went there in 2008.

While we have been visiting here in the U.S. I have seen many cars with similar figures on the back windows.

Maybe it is just a family...Dad, Mom and kids.


Thursday, June 12, 2014

Biltmore Estates....Asheville, N.C.

Dear Family and Friends,

The Biltmore Estate was on Chuck's bucket list so of course we had to get that ticked off.

We spent the whole day touring the house and grounds.  Unfortunately no pictures are allowed inside so I can only share this view of the house from the outside.

This house was built by George W. Vanderbilt II between 1889 and 1895 when he was in his early 30's.  He inherited money from his railroad baron grandfather Cornelius Vanderbilt.

This 175,000 sq. ft. house has over 250 rooms.  It originally set on 125,000 acres.  In 1894 the estate employed 438 people.

Inside the house there is a bowling alley, billiard room, library, gym, bowling alley and swimming pool.

The picture below shows what their back yard view was.  Trees and rolling hills as far as the eye could see.

Here is Chuck in front of the estate greenhouse.

This is a picture of the pond on the property.

Today there is a vineyard and winery on the property.  We tasted the wine and actually were not that impressed.  It is probably a good thing, we wouldn't have room to take any back to Ecuador if we had bought it.

One of the buildings at Antler Hill village, located on the estate property.

We had a great time viewing the home and strolling the grounds.  So glad this was on Chuck's bucket list.

We are headed on the Blue Ridge Parkway tomorrow toward Cherokee, North Carolina.