Picture This

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If today you are a little better

than you were yesterday,

that’s enough.

David A. Bednar

Day Trip to Sylvan Heights Bird Park

I think of myself as a weekend tourist, visiting places in North Carolina with occasional jaunts to Virginia and South Carolina.  The object is to not only reward myself for making it through another work week but to find hidden treasures within a four hour drive or so from home.   This weekend’s destination was about 2 1/2 hours.

Sylvan Heights Bird Park is located in Scotland Neck, North Carolina.  It brings over 2,000 different birds up close and personal.  Species include parrots, flamingos, whooping cranes and water fowl.  This 18-acre park has several walk through aviaries that feature birds from Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe and North and South America.  (Adjacent to the park is the Avian Breeding Center which isn’t open to the public.  Together they form the world’s largest water fowl collection.)

The park also offers an area to dig for fossils, a playground, plenty of picnic tables,  short nature trails and a beaver blind.  While we didn’t see a beaver while using the blind, we were fortunate enough to see one on the nearest trail.

The parakeet aviary was one of the most popular.  Obviously comfortable with people, the parakeets were free to fly around and would eat off of hand-held seed sticks and occasionally land on visitors’ arms/shoulders.

The park is perfect for young and old alike.   Nature and photography enthusiasts will appreciate the experience.  Pack a lunch.  Slow down.  Take time to enjoy the wonderful place.  There’s a bit of walking so I’d suggest comfortable shoes.

Scotland Neck is pretty remote.  It doesn’t have a large variety of restaurants or stores but it does have character.  In a way, it’s like time has somehow skipped over it.  I loved the parking spaces – located literally between the north and south bound lanes.  There’s some interesting architecture.  One home in particular made me think of a castle with it’s turret-like roof.

Who knew there would be a world-class facility – open to the public – in Eastern North Carolina?  If you haven’t visited, I recommend you make plans to go.


Sylvan Heights Bird Park is located at:

500 Sylvan Heights Park Way,  Scotland Neck, North Carolina 27874

 

West Virginia – the Perfect Getaway

Can’t believe that it’s already 2020.  Crazy how fast time is moving!

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Exhibition Coal Mine, Beckley, WV

Back in October, hubs and I went on a small vacation.  We were looking for something a little different, something slower paced – where we could relax.  We found it in West Virginia.  One of the first places we visited was an exhibition coal mine.  Not being from a coal mining area, I never gave too much thought to how difficult mining could be.  After visiting the mine, I came away with a new respect for the miners.

 

 

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Cass Scenic Railroad – Bald Knob Trip

We ventured north to Cass where we took a train ride. We chose the trip up to Bald Knob.  The scenery was beautiful and the smell of Red Spruce was spectacular.  Our trip included a hobo lunch (sack lunch of a sandwich, chips, pasta salad and a cookie).  The engineer was very entertaining.  (click here for link to Cass Scenic Railroad)

♥♥♥

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The Glade Creek Grist Mill at Babcock State Park, Fayette County, West Virginia

About twenty miles from the New River Gorge, you’ll find Babcock State Park.  This was one of my favorite stops.  While at the park, we took time to check out the Grist Mill before we went hiking. We chose to hike around the lake.  I think the trail was classified as easy to moderate.

This little vacation comes highly recommended.  It’s perfect for those who want to unplug from daily stresses and recharge.  Totally felt like a new person when the vacation was over.  

A little peak at our hike.

 

 

Hiking – As Good As It Gets

It’s Friday and all I can say is – FINALLY!  I’m one of those folks who lives for the weekend.  And when the weekend comes, I try to make the most of it.

Last weekend, my brother and I went hiking.  Hiking has become one of my favorite activities.  After being cooped up in an office all week, being out on the trails is quite restorative.  

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Being 51 years old, I can remember the time before cellphones and the internet.  I gotta say – those were some good days.  We didn’t have crap being shoved in our faces 24/7.   Living in a rural area, we had an antenna for our television.  We could count on ABC, CBS and NBC and when the weather was good, we might get PBS.  We knew our neighbors and we looked out for each other.  

I spent my childhood playing in the woods, floating on inner-tubes in the river and hanging out at the fish house where I got my first “job” heading shrimp.  I was in second grade.  That job gave me spending money and later helped buy my school clothes.  It taught me the value of honest work.

I look at the world now and realize that we (my generation) were the lucky ones.  Our parents weren’t hovering over us every moment.  Seriously, it never occurred to my folks that it might not be safe for my sister and I to be floating on inner-tubes in a river by ourselves.  They told us where we could float and they expected us to listen.  And we did.

I see kids now – still in elementary school carrying cellphones.  Their little faces glued to the screens.  I can’t help but wish that I could wave a magic wand and drop them in the middle of 1976.  No cellphones or video games to occupy their time/mind. Instead, they’d have the opportunity to explore the world around them, to build forts, walk the woods, catch clams and chew on sour weed.  

The world wasn’t perfect then.  It’s not perfect now.  But for a kid – growing up “unplugged” was about as perfect as we could get. 

Maybe that’s why I like hiking so much.  For a few hours, I’m on an adventure, exploring new paths with no unwanted interruptions.  I’m unplugged and I’m lucky.