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.

 

 

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:

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Dry Canyon, Cache Valley, Logan Utah

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

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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

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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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s been a while…

And I don’t know where the time went.

It started with me needing a little break from social media.  I thought a week or two might give me a reprieve.  But those couple of weeks turned into a couple of months and then some.  I never imagined my little break would last quite so long.

In that time, I traveled to New York City – tried some street food (not too shabby), visited Chinatown and made my way around on the subway.  A nice visit but not in any hurry to go back. (Mark one off the bucket list.)

arches-national-park-1I also made a trip to Utah – visited Arches National Park (Wow!) and realized that Utah may be the most random place I’ve ever been.  As we drove down an interstate – in the middle of nowhere – we watched someone parachute onto a field along side of the highway.  And the terrain – seriously, it was like driving into an old movie.  I half expected to see cowboys and wagon trains.

Then there’s school.  I started taking some night classes at the community college. Nothing crazy – just some photography and Photoshop classes.  It’s been challenging. As Albert Einstein said, “The more I learn, the more I realize how much I don’t know.”

I took a hiatus from writing.  It’s been months since I’ve done more than jot down a potential scene or two.  Instead of being an escape, writing became work – and that sapped all the joy from the process.

I’ve got two grandsons now – Bodie (Bo) and Jaxon (Jax).   It doesn’t seem that long ago that I was sitting in my high school English class discussing the Canterbury Tales. It’s crazy how time flies.

Maybe it’s the age thing – knowing that 50 is only a couple months away – but time is becoming a much more precious commodity.  Spending that time in the real world has held much more appeal than hanging out in the twitter-sphere.

So – that’s an abridged version of what’s been going on in my life.  It’s been busy but good.

I’ve missed reading your posts and I’ll try to stop by a little more frequently.

Y’all take care.

 

 

NYC – Here I Come

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Image from Microsoft Word Clipart 

It’s official!  I’m headed to New York City!

For a visit anyway…

Having never been to NYC, I’m reaching out to those of you who have.  I’ll admit it, I’m a little excited.  My trip is in November but I want to have a game plan for conquering the city in one day.  Yep.  I’ve got 12 hours to experience the Big Apple.

There are things I have to do – like buying a hotdog from a street vendor.  And seeing  as how I’ll be there the weekend before Thanksgiving, I’m assuming I can find roasted chestnuts…  Not that I’ve ever had them but with it being the Holiday season,  it seems like the seasonal thing to do.

And then there’s sightseeing…  So much to see, so little time…

If you’ve visited/lived in the city, what is your favorite “go to spot”?  Where do you find the best hotdogs, pizza and chestnuts?  What event/attraction do you suggest top my list of things to do?

Wishing you a most wonderful day!

-Deb