Returning to Tennessee – part four

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.

Returning to Tennessee – part two

I rose every morning before daybreak to watch the sun rise, hear birdsongs in the trees as I sipped tea. Who’d want to sleep through this?
These gliders were my favorite place to sit to enjoy my view any time of day…..a close second – the hot tub.
Sunrise over Wears Valley
In love with this view.
The kitchen had everything I needed to prepare meals (except my cast iron skillet which I brought with me) as well as peppers and herbs from my garden. You may notice 3 bottles of red wine, those would be mine. 🍷
Cozy cabin
Dreamy bed, slept like a baby each night which is rare for me, so restorative.
Jacuzzi tub, perfect for a daily soak. #relaxationisgood

Scenes from Nevada

The beauty of Nevada continues to thrill me. Since my sister and brother-in-law moved here last fall I’ve made several trips and am more in love with it each time.

One of the highlights, the pool at sunset overlooking the iconic Las Vegas strip, surrounded by mountains.

Scenes from Aruba, part four

And of course, I’d have to do an Aruba food post…not every meal but here’s a few faves!

Grilled Grouper – nothing like fresh seafood

Dushi’s Mac Attack Burger – yes that’s right a perfect burger topped with Mac and Cheese – and bacon. I mean seriously, how can you see that and not order it? Yum!

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Superfood is an exceptional grocery store with an amazing bakery

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Dessert for breakfast, it’s a vacation, right?

A tradition from every trip to Aruba, Toasty Cheese at the Old Dutch Bar at the airport with a glass of wine before flying home.  Loaded with creamy, gooey Gouda, grilled Panini style.  It’s an end of vacation treat.  Until my next trip…..

Scenes from Aruba, part three

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!

Scenes from Aruba, part one

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.

Here is the first post of several to follow.