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

 

PICTURE THIS

blue heron

“Peace is always beautiful.” —Walt Whitman

A September to Remember, A September to Forget

Vacation!

Destination:  Utah

Nothing crazy.  Visit family.  Hiking.  A little sight-seeing.  A lot of relaxing…

I’d waited all summer.

We were about 20 minutes into the flight to Atlanta when the pilot announced that a sensor on our plane had activated and we’d have to return to the airport.  Mind you, we had to fly around for another 20 minutes or so to burn up some fuel as our plane was too heavy to land.  (Side note:   Our pilot made sure to fly over areas that were very rural.  I’m assuming that was done to minimize potential ground casualties if something would have gone wrong.)  Long story short – a missed flight and luggage delay, we made it to Utah.

Before going to Utah, I’d researched some places that I wanted to hike in Cache Valley.  The Wind Caves were at the top of my list.   One of my sons offered to carry me on a short evening hike in Dry Canyon – kind of a warm up if you will.  All I can say is when you’re live at sea level, the air in the mountains gets really, really thin.  At about 6500 feet above see level, I thought my lungs were going to collapse.  Suffocation seemed like a possibility.  I seriously drank water hoping my body could pull some oxygen from it.  Not sure how mountain folks manage to breathe “nothing” and survive.   I’m convinced they have something evolutionary happening in their bodies in real-time.

View from Dry Canyon:

IMG_5104
Dry Canyon, Cache Valley, Logan Utah

Rode the train out of Heber City.  Saw some sights:

IMG_5062

Discovered Tiger Blood flavored slushies – which is kinda like what would happen if a strawberry daiquiri and a pina colada  had a baby – alcohol free of course.

And got hooked on Stranger Things – seriously hooked.

Back to North Carolina – where the air is so heavy with humidity, it feels as though you’re being hugged.  It was the best welcome home ever – the weight of the air – breathing never felt so good!

All in all – my vacation was pretty close to perfect – marked some things off my bucket list, hung out with my family and relaxed.

Hurricane Florence:

I was back at work on Monday the 10th.  On the 12th, I was evacuating for Florence.  My husband and son stayed behind to work the storm (LEOs) and for the first time, I packed my things and left them – not knowing what I’d be coming back to.

Evacuation became a semi-vacation to the mountains of North Carolina.

 

Bat Cave, North Carolina

IMG_20180912_184640290.jpg

 

 

 

We (my mom and me) stayed in Bat Cave until Hurricane Florence decided that she wanted to visit the same area.  Potential mudslides had us heading to Mt. Airy.

I got home without a problem – before all the serious flooding set in.  My home was fine.  It was like God placed His hand over it – not a shingle missing.  I’m blessed.  I have friends who weren’t so fortunate.

Back to Work:  Receptionist at a busy insurance agency

Work has been stressful to say the least – long days, weekends, and the calls don’t stop.  Finished week 3 post Florence – and my brain is mush.  A visit to the chiropractor and to the massage therapist and the horrible headaches have eased.  Life is better when you’re head isn’t exploding.  For that I’m grateful.   And – strange as it may seem -I’m  grateful for Stranger Things.  That little bit of time away from all the worries and stress, where I just get sucked into the story, that’s what is keeping me sane.

During all this – my debit card was declined… At Taco Bell no less.   Why?  Because some jerk stole my card number.  Not sure where, when or how they did it but they were shopping on my dime.  (Thank goodness my credit union froze it because of suspicious activity.)   And Taco Bell – the cashier insisted I take the drink and breakfast quesadilla – because she’d been there and knew how it felt to have her account information/money stolen.   On the bright side – I got my money back.  More importantly, I was reminded that even though some people choose to be #@%%$, there are people who are just genuinely nice – like the cashier at Taco Bell.

Apologies for the long and rambling post but carrying all this inside me – it was – well, I needed to let it out and let it go.

Here’s wishing you a great October.

-Deb

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.  

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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.