Tag Archives: trees

Elizabethan Gardens… Manteo, Outer Banks North Carolina

 

Next up on our Outer Banks day trip? The Elizabethan Gardens in Manteo.

But first?

Some rocks…

 

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You’re welcome.

From Nags Head to Manteo?

 

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Scenery.

 

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Scenery from a bridge.

 

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More scenery.

How’s that for detailed description?

 

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The Gardens were recommended to us as a must stop… so we did. Even though it was off season and very little was blooming.

 

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Gardens without flowers? Let’s go!

 

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It was a pretty spot… with lots of different areas to explore.

 

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They were in the middle of their annual Christmas light show….

 

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So of course we went in the middle of the day when the sun was shining.

 

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There was an impressive set of gates.

 

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Neatly trimmed boxwoods…

 

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And Queen Elizabeth I.

 

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There were paths with balls…

 

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And paths with statues.

 

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And some extremely large butterflies.

 

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Funky Christmas lights were everywhere.

 

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And I’m sure it would have been quite pretty….

 

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Had we been there at night.

 

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Okaaaay.

Not sure what that was all about, but I don’t like peas either….. so, huzzah!

 

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There was a lonely ruin of something.

 

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And a man shivering in the cold wind.

Oh, wait. That’s the husband…. I didn’t recognize him from the front.

 

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There were fountains.

 

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And ass ends of statues.

 

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Surrounded by tightly trimmed bushes.

Stop snickering…. I know where your mind went.

 

 

There were creepy garden gnomes.

 

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And an indoor butterfly garden…

 

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With no butterflies.

 

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But plenty of fluffy gnomes.

 

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Garden path U turns…

 

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And yay!

Finally something was blooming.

 

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There were also the type of Christmas decorations you only see down south.

 

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Wouldn’t be much point of laying these on the ground up my way.

 

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But there was an impressive old tree.

 

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And yes, I do mean old.

 

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Now that’s a senior citizen!

 

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More paths…

 

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More decorations….

 

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A courtyard….

 

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A gift shop….

 

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And a fellow with a wilder hairdo than me after the windy pier.

 

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By this time we’d looped back around to the beginning.

But not before we learned a few things…

 

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About bees.

 

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In case you’re wondering, Maine’s state insect is also the honeybee. Although we designated it as such in 1975.

Long live the bee!

 

 

And plagiarism apparently.

Colonial Williamsburg…. the blacksmiths, a test drive, an oak, some cows and yes, food.

 

Although I hated to end our day, the time was drawing near and my phone battery was gasping it’s last breath.

 

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Naturally the husband had to see the blacksmith’s shop with all it’s rusty tools.

 

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And we were both surprised to learn that women worked there as well back in the day.

 

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So after test driving a wheel barrow…

 

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A few more natural wreaths…

 

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Some private homes…

 

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More wreaths…

 

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And a massive Live Oak that is supposed to have been here when George Washington walked these streets….

 

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We said goodbye to the cows we saw on the way in….

 

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And went back to the car where we had to charge my cell phone long enough for Trip Advisor to point us to our first dinner in Williamsburg.

 

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I love that app.

 

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And I loved this restaurant.

 

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Come on…. they had blue jellyfish lights over the bar.

How could you not?

 

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Cocktails? Check.

 

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Their Orange Crush was made with fresh squeezed OJ and was fabulous.

 

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Hushpuppies and cornbread let us know we were in the south.

And may I just say? I had no idea how much I missed hushpuppies until I started eating them again.

Yeeha!

 

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Dinner was tough to choose.

 

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Husband started with mussels.

 

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And moved on to perfectly pan seared sea scallops with garlic smashed red potatoes and green beans.

Me?

 

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Me?

I was in the south, baby! Bring me those low country shrimp and cheesy grits.

Lord have mercy….. they were the best thing I’ve eaten in months.

 

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Husband had room for a New York Style berry cheesecake….

And then we called it a day.

Day 1.

You realize that, right?

It took me 8 posts to get through Day 1 of our two week vacation.

 

 

Oh, don’t be so dramatic.

It’ll be fun!

 

Strolling Colonial Williamsburg…. The Liberty Lounge and peacocks.

 

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I’m not sure you could find a more charming place to spend the day than Colonial Williamsburg.

 

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History aside….

 

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It’s just a perfectly lovely town.

 

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Did you know the pineapple is a symbol of hospitality?

Learn why here.

 

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Live Oak trees dominate the landscape, spreading their limbs for decades on end….

 

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And I was seriously enjoying the all natural Christmas decorations.

 

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How clever is that?

And while I was wreath gazing….

 

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The husband spotted the entrance to a lounge reserved for veterans and their families.

 

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To be honest I dreaded going inside.  My husband has the gift of gab every day of the year, but when surrounded by other servicemen and women? I’ve spent half my married life waiting for him to conclude conversations.

 

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But there was free tea, coffee and hot cider…..

 

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And thankfully,  a veteran free room.

 

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Of course he spotted the challenge coin cases which started a 45 minute long convo with the staff of volunteers….. but he added a coin of his own, which admittedly was rather nice.

 

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An hour later? More decorations…

 

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More wreaths…

 

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Some cleverly trimmed shrubbery ….

 

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And the silversmith’s shop…

 

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We oohed and aahed and chatted with the man who ran it.

 

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Did you know the phrase “put your money to work” dates from colonial times before the advent of paper currency? You were normally paid in silver, and instead of having bags of the stuff laying around your home…. you took it to the local silversmith who melted it down and made you a fabulous coffee urn or tea set. Your money was “put to work” and you got to flaunt your wealth to visitors. A win, win situation.

 

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Many of his beautiful pieces were for sale in the shop next door…. but the husband wasn’t thrilled with the idea of me spending his hard earned silver to bring some home.

 

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So we strolled.

 

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And were amazed to learn some of these nice little homes were still privately owned.

Who in the world would want to live in the middle of a tourist attraction?

 

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But more importantly…

Where do I find a peacock for next year’s Christmas wreath?

 

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Merry Christmas Eve interruption…

 

As you’ve probably guessed…  (Or if you hadn’t? You should have.)  we’re currently off on another adventure.

And have been for the last 11 days.

 

 

Yes, our annual Christmas vacation.

No holiday stress. No decorating. No cooking. No family drama. We leave it all behind, and have since December 2015.

Why?

Because I used to be Christmas crazy.

 

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I spent a fortune, I decorated everything that stood still…. (yes, I’m ashamed to say there was even a tree on my toilet.)

 

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I drove myself nuts finding the absolutely perfect gifts for people who didn’t appreciate it and cooked the absolutely perfect meal for family who couldn’t care less and always complained.

Maybe my mother dying was the catalyst. But in 2015 we took a trip to the Poconos…. had a blast, and never looked back.

Do I miss the beautiful live fir tree in the living room?

 

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Yes.

I also miss all the crazy outside lights.

 

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The well house…

 

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The stone wall…

 

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The funky alligator….

 

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And reindeer who were annually buried up to their butts in white stuff.

 

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The lights in the windows…

 

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And on the bushes.

 

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The sparkling balls on the table…

 

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That caught the sun and turned our living room into a Christmas disco.

 

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The running reindeer on the garage.

 

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The ribboned garlands….

Yes, I miss it all.

But do I miss the 2 solid weeks of work it took to get everything set up (in the snow , ice and wind) and the solid week of work it took to take it all down (in sub zero temperatures with ice and wind) ?

No. I most definitely do not.

But rest assured I’m not totally Grinchy this year, I did put up a tree.

 

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This trip?  Williamsburg, Virginia until Dec. 30th. Meeting old friends and getting our geek on in a marvelous area filled with American history.

Colonial settlements? Check.

Revolutionary War? Check.

Civil War? Check.

I just hope 2 weeks is enough time.

And I’m going to go out on a limb here and guess there might be a few pictures to post when we get back.

 

 

Oh, don’t be so dramatic.

I should be done by …. June.

 

 

 

Diana’s Baths Part 5… rocks, foliage and zombie toes.

 

Okay… I lied. When we discovered the cairn garden I thought we were at the top, but it turns out we weren’t.

 

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Yes ladies and gentlemen….

 

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There will be more rocks.

 

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And trees.

 

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And trees that hug rocks.

 

 

 

But I promise you…

 

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This time we had found the top.

 

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But standing there, it really does make you wonder where all the water comes from.

 

 

 

The pools are shallow and yet the water keeps flowing… and flowing… and flowing.

Flowing so much in fact..

 

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You knew that was coming, right?

Add another christened outhouse to the list.

Done with the Baths, we back headed down.

 

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Through some lovely paths…

 

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Where sometimes you just have to look up.

 

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And soak in the splendor of autumn.

Naturally, when you look up…. you’re apt to trip over something you would have seen if you were looking down.

Like I did.

 

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Please tell me I’m not the only one who sees a half buried zombie toe here.

 

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And here.

Overgrown toenails et al.

It’s enough to make a girl shiver…

And crave a fortifying alcoholic beverage.

 

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Which I found here.

 

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At the Black Cap Grille, one of our favorite spots in North Conway.

 

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Happily fortified with cocktails and a yummy grilled Caesar salad (If you’ve never eaten it this way? Start now)

And some succulent crab cakes…

 

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We called it a day.

 

 

 

Diana’s Baths Part 3

 

After a few hours of happily poking around, we were nearing the top.

 

 

 

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A few more rocks.

 

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A little more tip toeing through the tree roots…

 

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And there we were.

 

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The top.

 

 

Quiet pools…

 

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The husband, back on the wrong side…

 

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And some big rocks.

 

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Did that rock just wink at me?

 

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Cheeky things, those rocks…

 

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We enjoyed the view and the feeling of accomplishment.

And then…

 

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We saw something a little farther up…

 

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That made us realize we weren’t quite finished with Diana’s Baths yet.

Cairns!

 

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Sorry.. no.

Not that kind.

 

 

 

White Mountains trip Day 5… Diana’s Baths

 

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Doing our good deed and making a donation, we entered .

 

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Took a leisurely stroll…

 

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Down into the woods…

 

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Past some type of fairy installation….

 

 

And a tree who clearly loves his rock….

 

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Across a bridge…

 

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Alongside a stream…

 

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And found the bottom of the Baths.

 

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Not usually the best part of a bath but…

 

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These are a different type of bath entirely.

 

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Not much is left of the old sawmill.

 

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But if you look carefully…

 

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You can find it.

 

 

 

We happily spent the whole afternoon exploring this place.

 

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Hiking the trails and climbing the rocks …

 

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And there were plenty of rocks to climb.

 

 

 

The water levels in the autumn are quite low…

 

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And it gently cascades down a section here…

 

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And there.

 

 

 

But in the spring it’s dangerously high from the snow melt.

 

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(Required selfie)

 

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In the summer the pools fill, and it’s a favorite spot to beat the heat.