Caney Fork River Valley Grill…

While visiting Nashville this weekend we dined at Caney Fork River Valley Grill. Here is the link if you’d like to have a look…

The food is amazing. The service was great from the moment we walked in and continued until we left. The complimentary corn fritters, dusted with powdered sugar were soooo delicious!

We chose fried green tomatoes as our appetizer. I make mine with flour instead of cornmeal so they weren’t what I was expecting, but they were still good. I think next time I’d ask for ranch as the dipping sauce though.

For my main course I chose the burger with a fried egg, cheese, and bacon…I think cholesterol burger was mentioned to describe it on the menu. It came with fries and was very tasty! My 2 companions had the fried catfish dinner and chicken finger dinner. They both enjoyed their meals as well.

None of us saved room for dessert, but I believe there was a fire pit inside the restaurant where you could make your own s’mores.

We enjoyed our visit and I would definitely recommend eating here. Since it was Christmas the restaurant was decorated for the occasion. Here are a few photos…


Tennessee’s Winter Wonderland….

Merry Christmas everyone!

This past weekend we took a road trip to Nashville, Tennessee to visit the Gaylord Opryland Resort…specifically to stroll thru the indoor and outdoor gardens and enjoy their Christmas decorations.

It really has to be seen so I’m not even going to try and describe it. It’s a beautiful sight to behold and will be one of my favorite Christmas memories for years to come. I took many photos and would now like to share some of my favorites with you!

A Spectacular Spectacle…

Took a little daytrip/roadtrip this weekend to the Jack o’ Lantern Spectacular in Louisville, Kentucky. It truly is spectacular!

It was a nice, chilly Fall evening. As you walk along the trail you feel as though you’re walking through an art gallery and the artists used pumpkins as their canvas. The theme this year was A to Z.

Their website describes it like this…

The Jack-O-Lantern Spectacular is from October 12– November 5, will be held in Iroquois Park with 5,000 carved pumpkins lining a ¼-mile walking trail, illuminated at night as an “art show” daily from dusk to 11 p.m. during the week (Sunday-Thursday) and midnight on Friday & Saturday.

Here is the link:


Sometimes there is a wait to walk the trail, but I feel the later you go the less time you’ll wait. Expect to wait on the weekends…but I promise, it’s worth it. You can also buy coffee, hot chocolate, hot apple cider, and beer before entering the “art gallery”.

I’m going to keep it short and let the photos do the talking. I took them all with my iPhone. No flash. Unfortunately I did not get photos from each section. Without further ado…

A ~ Alice In Wonderland 

C ~ Clocks

D ~ Dinosaurs 

E ~ Elephant

F ~ Fairytale 

K ~ Kingdom (Westeros/Game Of Thrones)

L ~ Literature

M ~ Music

R ~ Remembrance 

S ~ Seashore 

T ~ Thinkers

V ~ Vampire

W ~ Whimsical 

…..that’s just a sampling. If you’re in the area, go see for yourself. You won’t be disappointed!!


Beach Vacation…

I just returned from a fabulous vacation on Florida’s Emerald Coast in Destin. I was a little concerned about the weather due to the fact that Tropical Storm Cindy had just blown thru the area a few days before we arrived…my worries were in vain. We had a few rainy days, but overall the weather was great!
We spent every day at the beach. Even on the days it rained, it didn’t last all day and we were able to go after it stopped. We spent our days floating in the Gulf, soaking up the sun, boogie boarding, and jumping waves!

I got pretty good at jumping waves by the end of the trip. We’d go out just past where the waves broke, wait for the next one to come in, and jump into it and “ride” it just before it broke. Sometimes they fizzled out, other times we judged it wrong and got smacked in the face by the wave, but the times we got it right were awesome!

We even saw a sea turtle swim past us while we were playing in the Gulf! That was exciting! We found out later from the lifeguard that the turtle was probably waiting for it to get dark so she could come ashore and lay her eggs. Fun sea turtle fact…the female sea turtle always returns to the beach where she hatched to lay her own eggs. Conservation officers keep watch at night during the months of June thru October and mark off the nests to be sure they aren’t disturbed by beach goers. It would be so exciting to watch those little turtles make the journey from their nest to the Gulf once they’ve hatched. A new bucket list entry perhaps?!?

We ate at a few restaurants while we were there. The Donut Hole has some of the best donuts for a quick and easy breakfast to take back to your condo or hotel. If you’re ever in Destin, try the peanut butter filled donut or the vanilla or chocolate filled powdered sugar angels.

The Back Porch is a big tourist favorite with seating overlooking the beach and the Gulf. I had the steak and crab legs and it was very good. A bit pricey, but hey, I’m on vacation so I made an exception…plus the view and atmosphere were awesome!

Merlin’s Pizza is a great place if you want something quick and easy. Some of the best pizza I’ve had in a while and their cheese bread is amazing….a meal in itself! We had the chicken bacon ranch pizza.

Now for my favorite place…Bric a Brac restaurant. It’s a quirky, fun place. The decorations are a sight to behold, they have a dance floor and live music on certain nights of the week, the atmosphere is amazing and the food is out of this world! I had the manicotti which comes with a salad and roll and for dessert I had their bread pudding. Best. Manicotti. Ever!

If you ever have the opportunity to visit Destin or the surrounding area, I hope you will. Get a little sand in your soul and have fun!!


Travel To Tennessee…

Hey y’all! It’s been a while since I’ve written, but I’m back!

Things are going well. It’s summer and the ol’ wanderlust has kicked in. I recently returned from a trip to Gatlinburg, Tennessee….in particular, the Great Smoky Mountains and had an amazing time. 

As crazy as this will sound, I think the most exciting part of the trip was the night a bear ran across the highway in front of my car. We were heading to the ice cream parlor and as it turns out, so was he…in particular the dumpster behind the shop. Both the bear and the customers at the ice cream parlor are all ok and the folks that were there have a great story to tell!

Our first day there we took a drive through the park and just enjoyed the scenery. It’s absolutely beautiful! I’ve been there several times over the years and never tire of it!

On day two, we took another drive…this time to Cade’s Cove where we enjoyed the beautiful scenery, took in the history of the area, and enjoyed a picnic in the the picnic area by a mountain stream. We were fortunate enough to see two bears playing in a field as we drove through. They frolicked in the field for about ten minutes before running off. I got photos but they are of poor quality because we were so far away. Here are a few from Cades Cove for your viewing pleasure.

After spending several hours in Cades Cove, we decided to drive over the mountain to Cherokee, North Carolina. It’s about an hours drive. The Cherokee Indian Reservation is located there and the scenery is beautiful in this area as well! We were able to get some delicious Indian fry bread while we were there, browse souvenir shops, hike to a waterfall, and we even saw an elk on the side of the road. I had no idea how huge they are!

In the summer they have an outdoor drama…Unto These Hills and the performance is acted out in an amphitheater built into the side of a mountain. It’s depicts the life of the Cherokee in the region and their forced removal…the Trail of Tears. We missed opening day by one week, but I’ve seen it before and highly recommend it!

On site is The Eternal Flame. The Eternal Flame burns at the entrance to the Mountainside Theater. It was carried on the Trail Of Tears to Oklahoma and brought back to Cherokee from Oklahoma in 1951…it still burns.

Day three we attended the Dixie Stampede in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. It’s a Dolly Parton venture and there are many. She grew up in the area and has a very big presence there. We love Dolly and we loved the show! Included with the show is a four course meal and it was absolutely perfect…tasted great and the service is excellent! However, utensils not included. You eat everything with your hands. The show is a way to look back over the area for the last three hundred years or so and is very patriotic. Again, we loved it and highly recommend it. Definitely worth the money!

Since we were leaving the next morning, we decided to take one last drive through the mountains on a driveable trail called the Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail. It can be reached by turning at traffic light six in Gatlinburg and follow the signs. In my opinion it has some of the best scenery in the National Park. There are some old, mountain homes to visit that were lived in by the early settlers to the area and there’s even a nice waterfall by the side of the road. No hiking required. Just park in the pull off area and walk right up to it. Again, some of the best scenery the park has to offer AND some of the best hiking trails…many with spectacular waterfalls at the end.

The ending of this post brings us back to the beginning…after exiting the Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail, which brings you out on to the highway in Gatlinburg, we encountered the bear about five minutes later. He was leaving the same area we had just left…and had ice cream on his mind, too!

I hope you enjoyed reading about our little adventure and if you ever have the opportunity to visit the Pigeon Forge/Gatlinburg/Great Smoky Mountains area, you won’t be disappointed! 

Stay tuned for our next adventure later this month and hope y’all have a great summer and safe travels!



My Reverse Bucket List…

I got this idea from a new blogging friend from their blog. It’s called a reverse bucket list. 

With a traditional bucket list, you write down all the things you’d like to do before you die. A reverse bucket list is different. You write down all the things you’ve already accomplished. 

For me, some of them wouldn’t have been on my bucket list at all, but I’m still glad they made it on the reverse list. 

Most of my reverse list will probably involve places I’ve already traveled to because that’s a big part of my bucket list. However, a few things will make it on the list that don’t involve travel. I’m gonna give it a try so here goes…

I’m providing the link to my fellow blogger’s original post. I challenge y’all to make your own reverse bucket list.

My reverse bucket list:

1. Climbed the Staue of Liberty to the crown. 

2. I have a photo of myself on Liberty Island with the Twin Towers of The World Trade Center in the background. I don’t have to tell you why it’s now one of my favorite photos.

3. Visited The Liberty Bell and Independence Hall In Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Independence Hall is where the Declaration of Independence and The Constitution were debated and adopted.

4. I’ve swam in both the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans.

5. I’ve drank a margarita in Tijuana, Mexico and saw one of the famous Tijuana Zebras walking down the street.

6. I’ve been to the tops of the Sears Tower in Chicago, Illinois and the Gateway Arch in St. Louis, Missouri.

7. I’ve roamed the streets of Times Square and Greenwich Village In NYC.

8. I’ve gambled in Atlantic City and Las Vegas. 

9. I am a mother to a beautiful daughter.

10. I was an extra in the movie A League Of Their Own and was chosen to walk in the background through the stands. My “scene” must have ended up on the cutting room floor because I never saw myself in the movie.

11. I did see Madonna and she waved to all the extras as she walked to the set.

12. My friends and I hung out with the bands Warrant and Trixter in a bar after one of their concerts. They stopped on their way out of town and sat in the same section as us. The area was secured once they got there and we weren’t asked to move. We got to chat with them for awhile and take some pics.

13. I’ve climbed to the top of Clingman’s Dome…the highest point in The Great Smoky Mountains National Park. I’ve also hiked to numerous waterfalls, walked behind a waterfall, and crossed paths with a black bear while hiking.

14. I’ve jumped off a high dive into a pool. May not sound like a big deal, but it was for me!

15. I’ve mentioned this before, but I wrote a poem in the fourth grade. My teacher loved it so much that she had it published in the town newspaper.

16. While driving, I had to wait for a herd of long horned cattle to cross the road in rural Oklahoma and was able to see several buffalo in the same trip.

17. I’ve visited the gravesites of Geronimo  and Commanche chief Quanah Parker (who is a distant relative of mine)

18. I’ve had two of the best pets anyone could ever want. A cat…for 16 years who passed away 7 years ago and a dog for the past six years. He is the sweetest dog ever!

19. I had always wanted a Firebird so it was the first car I bought when I started working as an adult. 

20. While visiting Washington DC and walking to the White House, the Secret Service directed us away from the main road because we would have been too close to the President’s motorcade on its way back to the White House. Needless to say, visiting the White House is still on my bucket list…

That was harder than I thought, but I guess I’ve accomplished a few interesting things after all!


My Happy Place…

The beach and the mountains have always been my “happy place”. My wanderlust kicked in this weekend and not having either of these places close by, I took a little drive just to relax and get away while the weather is still nice. I wasn’t disappointed.

Sometimes you just need to relax a little and get away from all the “busy” in the world. Nothing but the sound of the wind blowing thru the trees and the birds singing. A quiet place to reflect. I’m realizing that once you figure out who you are and what you like about yourself…everything else starts to fall into place.

This was my new happy place for a short time and it gave me a sense of peace and happiness this weekend. I thought I’d share my photos with you and a few thoughts I had while I was there. 

If you know one place well, you look at all others differently. If you love one place you can also learn to love others and they all hold special memories that are unique and one of a kind.

The maps we make for our own private worlds are precious.