Monday, March 28, 2016

NEW YORK: Sullivan County

As Florida lacks anything resembling a season (outside of severe summer and mild summer), we wanted to take a trip up north and see some fall colors. As we're both from New York, and have some friends and family up there, it seemed like an ideal destination. We spent a week in late October exploring Upstate NY, NYC, and Long Island.

Our first venture was to visit friends in Sullivan County, located about 120 miles from NYC, north west of the Hudson River. There is not much to do in the area but there are plenty of rivers and beautiful country landscapes. On the way up from the city we stopped at a viewpoint on the palisades to see NYC as the sun was setting.

While we arrived late that night, we spent our first (very cold) full day in NY visiting some local viewpoints.

The Neversink Reservoir ironically washed away several small towns (including Neversink) upon it's founding. While the citizens were moved out, and many of the homes demolished, whatever was left behind still lies at the bottom of the reservoir.

Hawks Nest road runs along the Delaware river, and offers a gorgeous view from it's winding heights.

Finally, we made a stop at a couple of cemeteries. The first was Laurel Grove Cemetery, which has within it the tri-state monument, marking the location of three state borders: New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. 

Finally, we stopped at Liberty Cemetery before going out for some food and heading home. This was a gorgeous spot full of fall foliage, and a view of the town below. 

There is a photo post of Liberty Cemetery here, as there are way too many to post. 

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Saturday, March 19, 2016

TENNESSEE: Gatlinburg

In the Smoky Mountains there are two entrances into the park: one in the East on the North Carolina side (which is where we were staying during our visit), and one on the West in Gatlinburg, Tennessee. For our time in the area we wanted to be in a more secluded area without crowds and typical tourist attractions. However, if tourist attractions and casual franchise dining are more your "thing" then Gatlinburg is the place for you to stay.

If you have ever been to Orlando and ventured down the heart of International Drive, then you kind of already have a feel for what Gatlinburg is. Full of bars, Chilis, Fridays and Ripley's Believe it or Not museums, it is like tourism gone wild. There are hotels and shops lining the blocks and all sorts of festivities going on.

Enjoying our peaceful cabin in Cherokee

After hiking in the Smokey's and spending time secluded for awhile, we ventured into this tourism paradise for an afternoon. Driving through the Smoky Mountains is beautiful. Winding turns and lush vegetation surround you as you traverse the hills and mountains through the park. The drive through is about an hour and you can't miss Gatlinburg. We looked up a few places to eat and decided on the Smoky Mountain Brewery.


Located in the basic tourism center of town the Smoky Mountain Brewery is your typical bar food and local beer restaurant. The food was nothing special and their locally brewed beers were alright.

As we didn't spend too much time in Gatlinburg, we don't have a whole lot more to say about it. To be honest, what it had to offer just wasn't our cup of tea.

You can read our other entries about Tennessee here.

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Saturday, March 12, 2016

GEORGIA: Savannah

After a beautiful few days of hiking and relaxing in our cabin in the Smoky Mountains we had to depart back home for Florida. We left North Carolina early to spend one afternoon in Savannah, Georgia before ending our trip. Savannah was the first colony and capital of Georgia, founded in 1733. There is a lot of history in the city and many locations made famous through Hollywood movies and novels (most notably perhaps is Forrest Gump).

One of our first stops was Bonaventure Cemetery. This is a huge site which contains gravestones from the Civil War up until today. It's a short drive from the historic district, and you can easily spend a few hours here. This cemetery was made famous by Midnight in the Garden of Good & Evil, which features one of the gravestones on the book cover. In fact, that gravestone ("the Bird Girl") became so popular that it had to be removed in order to preserve the property.

The cemetery is impressive not only due to the historical significance, but also because of the beauty. There are many incredible statues, gorgeous trees, and sometimes wildlife. In 1867 John Muir spent several nights sleeping among the graves and wrote the following about his experience: "I gazed awe-stricken as one new-arrived from another world. Bonaventure is called a graveyard, a town of the dead, but the few graves are powerless in such a depth of life. The rippling of living waters, the song of birds, the joyous confidence of flowers, the calm, undisturbable grandeur of the oaks, mark this place of graves as one of the Lord’s most favored abodes of life and light."

Historic District
One of the best things to do in Savannah is just get out of the car and walk around the historic district. It is a very well preserved and protected area full of lush Spanish moss and beautiful Colonial homes. There's also plenty of shopping and great restaurants. The area is full of students studying at SCAD, which is the Savannah College of Art & Design. We browsed a lot of book stores and antique shops throughout our wandering.

The city is full of "squares" which are parks every few blocks - so there is no shortage of gorgeous scenery and benches to relax on under the shade. One of the most notable parks is Forsyth Park, which contains a famous fountain built in 1858.

While we didn't' spend a whole lot of time in Savannah, we were able to grab lunch at Kayak Kafe, which had some great vegetarian options and a lot of fresh ingredients. This was nearby the world famous Leopold's Ice Cream, which has been featured in the Top 5 Best ice creams in the world. While we would have loved to try some, the line was down the street and we didn't have the extra time. If you've ever been - please comment and let us know what we missed out on.

You can read our other entries about Georgia here.

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Sunday, March 6, 2016

Great Smoky Mountains National Park III

small butterfly near Laurel Falls

This post contains photos which were from our adventures hiking in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. You can read Part I here and you can read Part II here

Tom Branch Falls in Deep Creek
Indian Creek Falls

Juney Whank Falls
From the Alum Cave hike
Alum Cave hike
View from Inspiration Point, along the Alum Cave hike
Great Smoky Mountains National Park is located on the border of North Carolina and Tennessee. You can read our entries about hiking in the park here.

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