Attending the Waynesville Christmas Parade

Local businesses and organizations gather together each year to celebrate Christmas during the annual Christmas Parade in Waynesville, NC. This year all the available spaces were filled, and the parade lasted well into the night. What a great way to start the holiday season.

Waynesville, NC Christmas Parade

Building LEGO's Disney Castle

Okay, this is going to take some time to build. The LEGO Disney Castle has 4837 pieces and is 32" high! The instructions are easy to follow and, if you take your time, you should have no problems. We built ours over several days and absolutely love the results. There are lots of details, some of which you will never see after building the entire castle. 

LEGO's Disney Castle

NC Arboretum's Winter Lights

A trip to the North Carolina Arboretum is becoming one of our yearly holiday destinations. While the lights are not a large display, they are pretty and the event makes for a relaxing walk.  Joining us this year were my sister and her friend. Pile everyone in the car since the entry fee is based on vehicle not how many individual people go with you. 

NC Arboretum's Winter Lights

Dollywood's Smoky Mountain Christmas Photos

Gather up your family, friends, and loved ones to enjoy a Smoky Mountain Christmas as only Dollywood can deliver. Peg, my sister Terry, our friend Lisa, and myself spent a day enjoying all the festivities that Dollywood had to offer. Good food, good entertainment, and great company made for a perfect day. 

Dollywood's Smoky Mountain Christmas

Disney World Resorts Gingerbread Crawl

Did you know with a bit of planning you can explore all Disney World resorts for free? We decided to do just that on a recent trip. Even though it was still early November, we figured we would see if we could visit the major resorts' gingerbread displays and see if their Christmas decorations were up. Our starting point was the Drury Plaza Hotel. After a decent complementary breakfast, we used the free shuttle bus to first go to Hollywood Studios. 

Mickey Waffle from Drury Plaza Hotel

Photos from the Christmas Tree Stroll at Disney Springs

We got an early start to the Christmas holiday at Disney Springs by participating in the Christmas Tree Stroll.  The stroll is scavenger hunt of sorts. Get your sticker sheet and stroll Disney Springs to find the locations of all the Christmas trees. Match the sticker to the proper location and get a collectible button. It's a fun way to kill some time.

Disney Springs at Christmas

Riding the Amphicars at Disney Springs

We like cars. We like boats. So when we had the opportunity to combine the two, we took it! We strolled over to the Boathouse Boutique in Disney Springs to reserve a ride in one of their 1960's Amphicars. The 20-minute Vintage Amphicar Tour takes you around the sites of Disney Springs. Our captain, Captain Larry, pointed out different locations along our tour and was quite knowledgeable with regards to the waterfowl we encountered. The Vintage Amphicar Tours are a wonderful and unique experience that you should try while visiting Disney World.

Amphicar Ride at Disney Springs

What is Amorette's Patisserie Cake Decorating Experience

We decided to do a couple's event and bake Peg a birthday cake at Amorette's Patisserie Cake Decorating Experience in Disney Springs. The space for the class is very limited so you must get reservations early through the Disney Experience App or online.  The morning class teaches you how to make a Mickey or Minnie dome cake. All the decorating items are provided for you and the cakes are pre-baked.

Amorette's Patisserie Cake Decorating Experience

Visiting Disney Springs

We decided to do a short notice trip to Disney Springs to celebrate Peg's birthday. The Drury Plaza Hotel Orlando in the Disney Springs area was the perfect stay for our basecamp. 

Disney Springs

Kia in the House

Time for a new car. This time we went for a hybrid as our grocery getter. This 2023 Kia Sportage Hybrid AWD, getting 38MPG, will make these road trips cheaper, safer, and more comfortable. Peg has named her, "Kimchi." 

2023 Kia Sportage Hybrid

We rode in the Big Banana Car

When we learned that Steve Braithwaite was bringing his Big Banana Car to Pigeon Forge, Tennessee we headed across the state line to see if we could catch a ride.  Guess what? We road in the Big Banana Car! We took a short trip along the Pigeon Forge strip with Steve and we couldn't stop smiling. If you ever have a chance to ride in the Big Banana, DO IT! This was the highlight of my year.

The Big Banana Car

Ride the Rails with Tri-State Model Railroaders

We headed back to the Mineral Bluff Depot for the Ride the Rails event with the Tri -State Model Railroaders. Fall is a perfect time to join this friendly group as they take a couple of railroad speeders on a five mile round trip on the former L&N trackage to Murphy Junction. The highlight of the trip is crossing the Toccoa River on an old iron bridge.

Ride the Rails - Tri-State Model Railroaders

Visiting the Savoy Automobile Museum

We hit the road to visit the Savoy Automobile Museum in Cartersville, Georgia. The museum is beautiful and all the automotive collections are impressively displayed.  What the museum may lack in quantity it more than makes up for in quality. The Savoy Automotive Museum is constantly rotating out exhibitions so there is always something new to see.

Savoy Automobile Museum

Photos from Dollywood Harvest Festival

Pumpkins, Jack-o'-lantern, and all things Fall were on display during our trip to Dollywood for the Harvest Festival. Shades of orange was the dominant color as we enjoyed a beautiful Fall morning. Dollywood is such a fantastic place to visit this time of the year.

Dollywood Harvest Festival

A Trip to the Carolinas Dahlia Society Show

The Carolinas Dahlia Society's annual show was held at the Haywood County Extension office in Waynesville, North Carolina. The free show was open to the public Saturday afternoon and we went to see all the different dahlia flowers that were being judged. It was a beautiful with various colors, sizes, and varieties of dahlias on hand.

Carolinas Dahlia Society Show

A Trip Across Lake Lure Flowering Bridge

What do you do with an old decommissioned bridge that is scheduled to be demolished? Well if you are the people of Lake Lure you make a garden out of it. The Lake Lure Flowering Bridge was dedicated on October 13, 2013 and has been enchanting visitors ever since.  The 155-foot span is open 24 hours a day and every day of the year.

Lake Lure Flowering Bridge

Southeastern Narrow Gauge and Shortline Museum

We took a detour to visit the Southeastern Narrow Gauge and Shortline Museum in Newton, North Carolina. It is housed partially in a former restored Southern Railway Passenger Depot. There isn't much there, but the people are friendly and it's a good place to take a break and stretch your legs. 

Newton Depot

Gnome Pottery Class with Laurey-Faye Dean

We are always looking for something different to do. So, when we saw our friend Laurey-Faye of Hazelwood Pottery was hosting a gnome pottery class we signed up. Laurey-Faye is an excellent instructor. She gave us the basics and encouraged everyone to be creative and just have a good time. When we were finished with our creations, she gathered up all the gnomes to be fired in her kiln at her home studio. A few weeks later, we had the end results of a wonderful class.

Making Gnomes with Laurey-Faye Dean

Hugging Trees in Joyce Kilmer Memorial Forest

 When I was a kid in the 5th grade, I had to memorize a poem entitled "Trees" by Joyce Kilmer. Forty+ years later I find myself in a wonderful forest dedicated to the man and his poem. The Joyce Kilmer Memorial Forest near Robbinsville, North Carolina is a magical place. There are over 100 species of trees here with some over 400 years old and 20-feet in circumference. A two-mile, figure 8 trail makes hiking this 3,800-acre forest very enjoyable.

Joyce Kilmer Memorial Forest

We took a dam trip to Fontana Dam

 Fontana Dam in North Carolina is one of those places you go to say, "Been there, done that." At 480 feet tall, it is the tallest dam in the Eastern United States. When it was constructed between 1942-1944, it was the 4th tallest dam in the world. It is a pretty area but unless they are releasing water from the dam, it's not very exciting. A nice but small visitor center explains the operation and history of the dam. Worth a visit if you are in the area. Now, where can I get some dam bait? 

Fontana Dam

Road Trip Photos: Bloom with a View

 We really don't need an excuse for a road trip but the Bloom with a View event at the North Carolina Arboretum sounded interesting to us. After a short drive to Asheville, we were greeted by thousands of beautiful blooms in various planters.  Color was everywhere! It truly was an enjoyable trip. This will probably be a yearly trip for us as it is that impressive. 

NC Arboretum - Bloom with a View

Visiting Dollywood for the Flower and Food Festival

 We used our newly acquired Gold Season Passes to check out the Flower and Food Festival at Dollywood in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. We love all the staff and the grounds of this amusement park. It's clean and everyone is so friendly.

Dollywood Flower and Food Festival

A Visit to the Lane Motor Museum

 There is no denying that the crew at Bubba's Garage likes wacky cars. One of the best museums to get your little car fix at is the Lane Motor Museum in Nashville, Tennessee. The museum boasts that they have "the largest European automotive collection in the U.S." This collection includes many one-of-a-kind odd balls that you will find no place else. 

Lane Motor Museum

We went to See Rock City

 Have you ever seen one of those barns that has "See Rock City" painted on the roof? Or maybe one of those many birdhouses, painted in red and black, with the same words? Well, we decided to take a road trip to Lookout Mountain just outside Chattanooga, Tennessee to "see" for ourselves what all the advertising was about.

Rock City

Riding the Rails with Andrews Valley Rail Tours

 Once again, we found ourselves on the old Southern Railway's Murphy branch near Andrews, North Carolina. This time it was for opening day with Andrews Valley Rail Tours and the first official ride with their new railbikes. We were the only ones for our trip which departed from the Historic Andrews Depot. 

Andrews Valley Rail Tours

22nd Annual Asheville Orchid Festival

 We stopped by the North Carolina Arboretum for the Western North Carolina Orchid Society's 22nd Annual Orchid Festival. There were all kinds of shapes and colors of orchids to be seen. Various orchid related items and plants were also available for purchase. It was a very nice show and one we will attend again in the future.

Asheville Orchid Festival

We visit The American Museum Of The House Cat

The American Museum Of The House Cat was re-opening in their new location so we thought we would go check out the museum.  Like its subject matter, the museum is rather small. It's a fun little stop if you like cats. Be aware there are a few displays on the morbid side like a mummified cat as well as a petrified feline. If you are in the area, it's worth a stop but not really a destination. 

The American Museum Of The House Cat

Say Cheese, Sweetwater Valley Farm

 Who doesn't love a good cheese? Last year we found a cheese brand that we loved so we decided to take a road trip to the farm that produces it. Sweetwater Valley Farm is located in Philadelphia, Tennessee (Southwest of Knoxville). The little cafe sells awesome grilled cheese sandwiches and makes the best milkshakes. You can also stock-up on the many varieties of cheeses that they produce. Bring your cooler!

Sweetwater Valley Farm

Commissioning a Disney inspired sign by Raymond Kinman

 It's here! And it is beautiful. We discovered a woodcarving artist who has done pieces for Disney. Being Disney freaks, we loved his style. So, way back on August 3, 2021 we decided to commission Raymond Kinman to do a carved sign for our living room. The 18-month wait was well worth it!

Bubba and Peg Harmon

Trip to the Hub City Railroad Museum

 We took a little road trip to check out the Hub City Railroad Museum in Spartanburg, SC. While small, the museum is well taken care of and has some educational value. It is housed in the former Southeastern Express building that was erected in 1915. 

Hub City Railroad Museum