Road trip 2021, arrived on Memorial Day hours early for my Wears Valley cabin check-in. Already in nearby Townsend it was time to let my vacation begin, starting with an impromptu wine tasting at Cades Cove Cellars, stocking up on wine…. since I was there anyway. Next on to drive Cades Cove Loop, 11 miles, one lane/one way road. The 11 miles is leisurely and slow-moving easily 2-3 hours which lined up with my check-in and a perfect choice as this place is everything I love about Tennessee. My #1 Tennessee trip goal is to see a black bear every trip – hopefully more than one. Photos never truly capture the majestic mountains, abundant meadows and that sky above… what I’d imagine heaven looks like.
And on this first vacay day, I had my first bear sighting, check!
Since retiring I’ve found myself busier than I could have imagined. My mission when I began blogging was to document what life is like after a frequently stressful career, track new experiences and accomplishments as I check items off my bucket list and other goals.
By blogging, I can share my passion for writing, cooking, travel, cats, gardening and photography as well as reflecting upon my life from childhood to present with humor and poignancy. I choose to keep my blog upbeat. My blogging mantra, “no rules, just write”.
My expectations at the onset were that my audience would be those who know and love me. The reality is that only some of my family and friends are reading what I write – and that’s okay.
What I didn’t expect it is that I’ve reached an audience spanning 38 countries, from teens to seniors, crossing genders, sexual orientation and whose blogs are similar but often wildly different than mine. I’ve engaged with authors, photographers, students, comedians, professional chefs, doctors, fashionistas and world travelers. That’s been thrilling for me – and validating. After all, blogging puts your authentic voice and point of view out there for the world. And that world has been kind and encouraging.
My lifelong BFF and I attended a day long blogging class at Interlochen last weekend. We came away with insights that can’t help but make us better. Over the weekend, we brainstormed how to implement what we learned, generating numerous ideas for content and “best practices”. All while enjoying her fabulous log home on a lake, a sunset cruise on the pontoon, wine tasting at area vineyards, delicious meals and reflecting on nearly 57 years of friendship. This post was inspired by the class and events from last weekend.
Just before I headed to visit my stepmom in Florida, she’d left a voicemail on my home phone.
“Are you interested in a gourmet food and wine tasting dinner on the day after you arrive? Let me know”
I called back, “I’m in!”
Here was our menu:
My stepmom and I were joined by four of her friends and started with a pre-dinner cocktail. Moving into the dining room, seated overlooking a lake I observed all the attentions to detail including this snazzy “butter rose”:
Here were our courses:
Somehow, to my dismay, I missed taking a picture of the next course which was beautifully presented and delicious. Sorry about that!
And last, we were offered a lovely ruby Port to cap off the evening.
I was in a wine and foodie state of bliss and went to sleep recounting each course as I drifted into dreamland. Every bite was delightful, artistically plated and the wines were superb. The Rose and Pinot Noir were my absolute faves!