Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Up in the Mountains.

The last weeks of school activities, gymnastics awards and dance recital kept us very busy, and after a few days off, all of us (minus Joe, someone has to work) headed to the mountains of North Carolina for a week. One of my cousins had suggested to my Mom some time ago that the kids would love it, and they could find gems, that's all it took to peak the girls' interest. My Dad wanted to hit the road bright & early, so the girls traveled in comfort in their pj's. I have to admit we did get a couple of odd looks when we stopped for lunch at Cracker Barrel, but hey they don't know us, we don't know them, and I doubt we'll ever see them again.
We spent the first day at Rosecreek Mine. The girls checking out the stones that they could find in their buckets.
Dad & Laura off to the "mine" to dig up their treasures.
Mom digging with Ava.
Leah showing us the finest in Mountain Summer Style.
Love this one of Dad & Laura, doesn't she just look like an old miner. A very cute one!
Hard at work, panning for gems.
The whole gang, Dad, Laura, Mom, Leah, Ava & Rachel.

It was a muddy, wet process sorting through the dirt, and the girls loved it!

Laura wearing just a little evidence of our muddy activity.
The girls with their treasures.
Some of the gems you could find at this mine.
What better way to cool off after a hard day at the mines, but with a big chocolate chip, carmel, fudge sundae?

Chilling in the Rocking Chair on the deck.
A mountain sunset
One night, we took the advice of a local and went to Caffe' Rel, quite a unique restaurant. Sharing the building with a gas station, you would never guess such delicious food could come from there.
One side...
The other.
Back at the house.


On our drive up to Dry Falls, we stopped to take in some of the beautiful scenery. The girls captured the pictures with their Nintendos.

Rachel & Ava

Headed down the walkway to Dry Falls.
The Falls were really breathtaking. I had never had the chance to be so close to such a powerful Falls, and to even be able to walk behind them, we all were thrilled.
Brother & Sister, Earl & Mom
Mary (Pete) & Rachel
Mary, Earl & Amanda Lynn

Mom with cousin Mary (Pete).
Earl & Amanda Lynn

Amanda Lynn, such a sweet girl, and it's so hard to believe she was our tiny flower girl less than 10 years ago, and now she's such a mature young lady.
The world moves just a little too slow for Laura, and walking through the Falls was no exception. Here she is in front of me, and as I'm telling her to wait, she's yelling back "Come on!"
Being the good Mom (and Blogger) I am, I asked her what she was saying so I could get better pictures.


Rachel & Dad walking from behind the Falls.
Uncle Earl bought the girls bubbles, a big hit!

And as soon as the sun went down, the fireflies came out, and the girls were ready with their nets & bug jars.
We don't see any fireflies in Florida, so my girls were fascinated.

The second mine we tried was Jackson Hole. Everyone had a good time panning for some more gems, and everyone left with some pretty pieces.
Mary with her daughter, Amanda Lynn. Mary was our resident gem expert, and we were glad to be able to ask her lots of questions.
Ava panning for treasures.
Mom helping Laura.

Rachel & Mom
We grabbed lunch on the mountain at this little place.
The girls were worn out so they headed back to the house with Mom & Dad, and the rest of us went out scouting for a kid safe river to play in later in the week. This was the first stop, barely Mom friendly, definitley not for kids. We did have a good time, even if it was kind of like doing river yoga, trying to jump from rock to rock.


Rachel, Me & Amanda Lynn
We did find a nice quiet section of the river, and we returned the next day with the girls.

Ready to go play in the River.

Even though it was very shallow, it was still a little hard to balance your way through the rocks. Laura needed a hand every once in a while.

Dad showing the girls how to skip stones.
Dad was feeling a little under the weather, courtesy of Leah's cold that she started as we began the trip, so Laura was keeping him company on the picnic blanket.

After a busy week of mountain activities, the girls & Mom were happy to just hang out at the house.
In the afternoon on the last day we headed to The Fun Factory, a giant building filled with all kinds of kid friendly things. We spent a few hours with the kids as they had fun riding bumper cars, the carousel, playing on the bouncy slide and ladder maze, goofy golf, and playing the numerous video games.

Every night Rachel was reading chapters of Pippi Longstockings to the girls, and they managed to finish the entire book. Here they are listening as Rachel finishes the last couple of chapters the morning of our departure.
Sweet, Loving
And a little goofy! What a fun time they had.

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