Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Post-Christmas Trip to Chattanooga

Just as we did last year, we went up to Chattanooga this year for brief post-Christmas vacation. We were only there for two days (Tuesday and Wednesday, yesterday and today), but it was still a nice trip, since going to Chattanooga gives us easy access to two of our favorite places: Rock City Gardens and the Tennessee Aquarium. (It also allows us to stop for lunch at the Fazoli's in Ft. Oglethorpe on the way up, but that's only a small part of the attraction.)

We went to Rock City first thing Tuesday afternoon--we pretty much had to, since we couldn't check in at our hotel until 4:00--and then went back at night for the "Enchanted Garden of Lights" We spent much of today (Wednesday) at the Aquarium, then headed back home.

Here are a dozen and a half pictures from our brief trip:

Elyse decorated a cookie at the North Pole Lodge (or the Pavilion, as it's known the rest of the year):

Butch Ross played Christmas songs on the mountain dulcimer:

Along the trail headed to Mother Goose Village:

A couple from the Aquarium:

Monday, December 21, 2015

Snow Mountain!

Today, after years of them begging for us to do it, we took the girls to Snow Mountain at Stone Mountain. Overall it was a good experience; the girls both loved the SnowZone area, with its small tube ride ("Penguin Run") and snowman-making equipment and snowball targets

The big snow rides were a different story, though. At our appointed time of 12:00 we got in line and did an Avalanche Alley trip--that's the one where the whole family rides down an impossibly steep and forbiddingly tall hill on a giant inner tube--and Elyse and her daddy were both traumatized. That was enough of Snow Mountain for us. ("Are you okay?" I asked Elyse after the ride as we walked towards the Crossroads area. "No," she said. We sat at a table and I held her and we talked about it for a while, and eventually she was okay, but she said she doesn't want to do that ever again. I don't either.) Jessica, however, wanted to do it again, so she and her mommy did.

After that, we went back to SnowZone for a while, then we rode the train, and we ended the day with a red velvet funnel cake (which, sadly, I did not take a picture of).

Here are some pictures from the day:

This is the Christmased-up Pebble Ridge Courthouse, as seen from the train:

Monday, November 23, 2015

Parrots at the Feeder

surprise visitors:
our neighbors' parrots escaped!
frosty November morning

(There were actually three of them, but one of them flew away when the sunflower seeds started to run out.)

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Awards Day

Today I went to J.C. Magill--twice!--to see the girls get their awards for the first nine weeks of school:

From her place at a lunchroom table with her class, Elyse spots me among the other parents.

Elyse's teacher, Ms. Redd

Ms. Redd getting ready to call up her students

Elyse shakes hands with the principal

Elyse holds up her award

Jessica's teacher, Mrs. Banks, calls Jessica's name

Jessica shakes hands with the principal

Jessica with her classmates

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Weekend Getaway

This weekend, Elyse spent Saturday and Sunday with Granny and Pa, while Jessica and Mommy and Daddy (or Anna and Chris, as everyone besides our children call us, or Anna and I, as I refer to us) went on a drive up into the mountains.

We drove up US 441 (my favorite route) through north Georgia, stopping at the Tallulah Point Overlook in Tallulah Falls to look at the gorge and various rustic knickknacks, and buy snacks:

and then we went up into North Carolina, our drive slowing to a crawl as we went through Franklin's downtown Halloween festival, and then stopped for lunch at the Haywood Smokehouse in Dillsboro (it was the Dillsboro Smokehouse when I stopped there two years ago on a similar drive). The barbecue was fantastic. Unfortunately, none of us took any pictures of the building or the food or us eating it.

After that, we drove through Cherokee, NC, and into the Great Smoky Mountains National Park (or GSMNP for short), where we walked around the Oconaluftee Visitor Center and the Mountain Farm Museum for about an hour:

(Jessica took this picture of me taking a picture of her.)

We then drove up into GSMNP, stopping a couple of times at scenic overlooks:

and then we stopped at Newfound Gap at the North Carolina/Tennessee border, where we walked around and explored the Rockefeller Memorial for a while:

Jessica and Anna walked about a tenth of a mile on the Appalachian Trail:

Jessica found a rock with a hole in it that was just right for her arm:

(I suspect the hole wasn't actually made for that purpose, however.)

From here, we drove a bit north with the intention of going out the north end of the park, through Gatlinburg, and into Pigeon Forge for supper. However, the traffic came to a virtual standstill--in the space of twenty minutes, we only went one mile, which meant it would take us three hours to make it out of the park at that point. So, we turned around and drove many, many miles to our hotel in Cornelia, Georgia; it was pretty far away, but the closest place I could find a decently-priced room at this time of year (what with all the fall leaf-watchers and all).

The next morning we spent some time walking around the (basically deserted) downtown area of Cornelia. I was very happy to learn that Jessica shares my love of exploring small towns:

(All the pictures of Anna and me were taken by Jessica with her own camera. Thanks, Jessica!)

After that, we headed for home, stopped for lunch (and a bit of looking around) at the Mall of Georgia, and picked up Elyse around 3:00.

It was a wonderful trip, even if a little too short. I can't wait to go on our next one!