A trip to the Smoky Mountains isn’t complete without driving the Cades Cove Loop. I drove it three times during the trip choosing daybreak, midday and late afternoon to experience the changing light and wildlife sightings. It’s a one-way 11 mile drive that progresses slowly as you savor the scenery, take photos and stop for animals.
I get a thrill seeing the black bears that are a beloved fixture in Tennessee. I’d been following several Facebook groups in the weeks before my trip with numerous posts of mother bears with multiple cubs. I’ve always had multiple bear sightings on past trips – my hopes were high. I saw one bear cub on my late morning drive. He scampered across the road in front of me and was gone before I could get a photo. He was my only bear on this trip but there’s always next time.
Ethel M Chocolates are a Vegas treasure and a visit to their chocolate factory – a delicious treat. Featured at their factory is a botanical cactus garden that you can stroll through for free and see a variety of fascinating cacti. Here’s a few of my favorite photos:
Aruba is vibrant and filled with fun in the evenings with balmy temps, trade winds, great restaurants and happy people.
And yes, one night after a large glass of Pinot Noir (liquid courage) I sang karaoke, belting out my standby – I Love Rock and Roll (thank you Joan Jett). I don’t think a recording contract is in my future but it was a blast!
Immediately after losing Spence I remember thinking of those beloved places we’d vacationed and that I’d never go back; it would be too sad.
It’s been almost two years and the many happy memories have helped me remember our enjoyment of traveling together. I know for sure, he’d be sad if I wasn’t traveling.
Late last August my friends, Jeanne, Frank and I discussed a trip to Aruba. Soon we’d settled on a date, found a gorgeous condo on the northern part of the island and plans were finalized.
Leaving Michigan the day before the polar vortex (a brilliant stroke of luck) we arrived for a week in Aruba, a place that held special memories for me, with new ones to be made. Today as I await my return flight, I feel a sense of calm, a renewed love of this amazing place and a certainty that Spence would applaud my return.