When I say this was probably my favorite trip ever, I mean it! I loved graduating with my best friends since childhood and being able to celebrate in this way. We were a group of 4 young adults and 2 mamas and it could not have been sweeter. Everyone brought something so special and unique to the mix, from personalities, to passion and skillset. We all traveled so well together, and there was such a lovely balance of action and rest, producing a result of intentionality. While each day was filled with adventure, and the nights were filled with laughter and shenanigans, I never once felt drained, because Christ was at the forefront, our relationships are so tight knit, and we were attentive to each other's emotions. Each morning, we all had our Bibles and journals out, alongside a hot cup of coffee or tea, and spent time with Jesus. Not because we were told to, but because it was an integrated habit. Each meal, everyone took the initiative with meal planning, grocery shopping, cooking, and cleaning, not because we were assigned with specific roles, but because each person was walking in the posture of a servant's heart. Friends, I was so blessed and refreshed by this! This is truly such a special, Spirit-filled, group of people.
Day 01. Blue Ridge Parkway, Blowing Rock, Wildflowers, + The Annex
On our first day, we drove along the Blue Ridge Parkway and stopped at various lookouts and walks. We walked to blowing rock and that was such a fun way to start the trip. It was cold and windy, and being cold and windy on a cliff is definitely an adventure. You feel as if you will blow off if you are close enough to the edge! It was worth it, though, and so beautiful. We then stopped in a field of dainty yellow wildflowers, frolicked, and made sure Daisy knew that the cliff was bigger than a hill, and way to steep to roll down! Haha. After a lovely, fresh meal in Boone, thrifting, and some coffee shop time, we drove to a cute local general store, and of course we bought so many packs of 50 cent candy cigarettes. Daisy and I walked to a field behind the general store to walk and take pictures. Huge thank you to her for being willing to hop in front of the camera so many times, because for a beachside photographer, mountains make for great portfolio content!
Day 02. Ducks, Geese, The River, Valle Crucis Wildflowers, + Grandfather Mountain
We took another trip to the general store, ya know, candy cigarettes again. Across the street, there was a lavender farm with a pond filled with ducks and geese! All were friendly, accept the geese may have been a bit too friendly. About a mile away from there, we took a walk along a beautiful, bubbling river in the valley that led us to one of the most amazing wildflower fields I have ever seen. Beside the wildflower field was long grass, and a crystal clear stream. It felt like Psalm 23 coming to life, and it was beautiful, both physically and spiritually. Afterwards, we put together a charcuterie picnic and ate it at the beginning of our big afternoon hike. Because of high winds (90mph gusts), grandfather mountain was closed, but we were able to explore it a back way. Earlier in the day, the screws in my joints were causing me to limp. I remember being so excited about this hike, and being willing to go regardless. I asked the Lord if, by His will, I could still participate without pain. While it was a moderate to difficult hike (which is difficult for a bionic woman) I was able to run up and down the mountains and climb the rocks with zero pain and zero loss of energy. There wasn’t even soreness the next day, just a bit of tiredness. It was crazy! And I am very thankful! God was in every detail, and I love so much how He delights in our joy and how close He always is, whether we are aware or not. Once we hit the top, it was snowing a bit, and was SO windy! We sat on the cliff, attempted a picnic with our charcuterie leftovers, had a few snacks blow away, and the headed back down the mountain. We also did our best to not blow off, haha. We were all pretty pooped after that hike, so we took the evening to rest in the cabin, and resume the shenanigans all over again.
Day 03-07. Not Pictured From Here On Out
Still so much amazingness, but more rest. Another coffee shop visit at Callista Flower Co. Such a cool place; it was an old train caboose repurposed into a flower shop with an espresso bar. Some of the best coffee I've ever had! You better believe we took some coffee beans back to Florida! After we left the mountains, we drove to a small town a few hours away to meet up with our families, and we stayed there for a few days as well as had our high school graduation with Classical Conversations students from across the country.
I am so thankful for this time, and the spiritual refreshment and memories that came along with it. While the trip came to an end, the friends are forever.
Now that we are back in Vero, I (amongst others) feel very inspired to travel and see the National Parks. It's a passion I've always had, but it is now reignited. At the top of the bucket list are Yosemite, Zion, Glacier, The Grand Tetons, and Olympic. We may need to work up to this level, but nevertheless, I cannot wait to see where we will go next.