Starting back in 2007, some friends and I began meeting up for weekend visits to cities none of us had ever visited before. Those of us in on the trip pay our own gas and meals but evenly split the cost of the hotel. I have been able to keep in touch with old friends and make new friends with these weekend jaunts to places all over the southeastern U.S. And isn’t it always more fun to go exploring in a new city with someone else? Some of us have kids and some of us do not, but we all enjoy each other’s company and the excitement of discovering something new (even if it is only new to us!). When Elle was little, she called it adventuring, a word I’ve loved since she first came up with it. To this day, I still call it what it is – adventuring.
Elle and I have visited the port cities of Charleston and Savannah, downtown Charlotte, rural Warner Robbins (Georgia), and the mountains of North Carolina. I have a pretty strong connection to the places I have found myself in, whether the time I spent there was for a week or for a night. To fall asleep in a city when it is dark outside and wake to see it in a whole new light (literally) is an exciting thing for me. I’m not an adventurous person by nature so I find gratification in small things. Most importantly, I never pretend that I am not a tourist.
I just recently came across these photographs of our trip to Chimney Rock in North Carolina in July of 2009. That weekend was supposed to be spent in Asheville but we just weren’t enjoying the city’s atmosphere. Our small group of friends decided to leave town the following morning and find another place to spend our time. We all agreed to grant Elle’s wish to see an honest-to-goodness waterfall and eventually found ourselves on some winding, mountain roads that led us to one of the most incredibly stunning views I’ve ever seen.
My connection to Chimney Rock is a simple one in that it allowed me to grant my daughter’s one wish to see an actual waterfall. Not only did Elle get to see one, but she was assisted over the slippery rocks by the Park Ranger so that she could be inside the waterfall! After a hike of less than 2 miles, uphill and over menacingly hidden tree roots, my child was given the opportunity to play in a waterfall on the top of a mountain. We found snakes hiding under rocks, took an elevator ride up to the top of Chimney Rock, and saw an endless expanse of mountains and lakes once we stepped off. It was a little heartbreaking to have to come down from there and head home.
All of that sounds way better than sitting inside some coffee shop in Asheville waiting for the rain to stop and the weather to turn warmer so the kids could waste away a few hours in the hotel pool. And it undoubtedly was.
Wouldn’t you agree?