Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Hagan Stone

Just a quick post about our most recent stay at Hagan Stone Campground in Pleasant Garden, NC.  This came recommended to us by Bob and Judi whom we had met at Cedar Point back in September.   Other than the BBQ and Balloon Festivals, we stayed put at the campground enjoying all of the trails that it had to offer.  One of the trails that we enjoyed particularly had a one-room schoolhouse that was in use from the mid-1800s to the early 1900s.  There was a very nice informative board on the outside of the school that told of it's history.  Sadly, because of constant vandalism, the school is no longer open to the public unless a park ranger lets you in.  My DIL Amanda would surely have loved seeing this schoolhouse!

Sunday afternoon we were outside doing a few chores when we saw a very familiar vehicle pull up.  Judi from Cedar Point and her husband Bob (following in their Class A) had arrived!  We had a fun time getting caught up and enjoyed a community campfire with them and two other couples.  We hope to see Bob and Judi again in January!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Balloons and BBQ!

Saturday we left the campground early (8:30!) and headed to Lexington for the BBQ Festival.  We meandered from booth to booth looking at all of the arts and crafts.  We made two purchases, one for my daughter Ashleigh and one for my DIL Amanda and tucked them away for Christmas.  :-)   We saw two gentlemen making a gigantic sand sculpture and stopped to watch them for a few minutes.

After taking in some more of the sights, we decided to share a BBQ sandwhich.  We were surprised that there were not more BBQ vendors - we only saw 3 or 4 and the menu was the same.....BBQ sandwhich, BBQ plate and Pig Fries (curly cue potatos).  Regardless, the sammy was yummy and hit the spot!  There were other booths selling the tradional fair/festival food  and we stopped by a booth that was operated by a local church and split a homemade fried apple pie.  After that, the crowds starting multiplying so we decided it was time to head to Statesville for the Balloon Festival.     

Going to a Balloon Festival was on my "bucket list" and I always thought we would have to go to New Mexico to see one.  But alas - while watching PBS a few weeks ago, we saw the Statesville Festival advertised and put it on our list. 

We got parked and went to the shuttle line.  After a bit of a wait, we decided to "hoof it" since the shuttle was taking awhile and surely we could use the exercise.  The walk that was supposed to be only  15 minutes turned into a 50 minute hike!!  We finally made it to the entrance and hunkered down on a ledge of a hill with a couple we had met on the walk to the festival.  After about 15-20 minutes, there was a flurry of activity.  I was like a kid in a candy store and took over 100 pictures! Here are some of my favorites.....

First ones airborne!

Look at those balloons!

One of my favorites....

....flying right over top of us!!

Up, up and away....

Bumper balloons! 

Three more going up!


I loved the Balloon Festival!!

Balloon shadowing

Our view as we were leaving....

Dan has always wanted to go up in a balloon so I may have to see if we can cross this off of his "wish list" sometime down the road.  They were having rides the next day but you had to be there at 7am and we both figured we would like to see different scenery than Statesville (like the Grand Canyon!).    It was also a bit pricey for our budget - $225 per person.

We had a great day and the weather was perfect.  Today we are doing a few repairs/maintenance (Dan aka McGyver is fixing the dresser in the bedroom as I type!) and then relaxing the rest of the day.   The campground we are at has quite a few hiking/biking trails so am quite sure we will venture out on these again today as well! 

Have a good week!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Reidsville, NC Oct 6-18, 2011

Lake Reidsville was a campground recommended to us by a couple we met at Cedar Point back in September.  The campground is a relatively small one (about 40 sites) and sits right on Lake Reidsville.  The price is right up our alley ($15 for w/e and $17 for full hook-ups)!  We decided on just water/electric so that we could be near the lake and got settled into site #36.

View from our campsite! 

View from lake looking towards our site!
During our time here, Dan (aka McGyver) fabricated a tripod to hold our grate from our gas grill for campfire cooking.  We really enjoy cooking over wood and this would allow us a handy way of doing that!

Steaks on the grill and taters in the coals!

We had a few days of rain so I went into fall baking/cooking mode!  I made chocolate chip cookie dough and put the majority of it in the freezer for fresh baked cookies down the road!  I kept enough dough out to make us a few cookies and also sent some to my daughter in a care package!   I got a great big "'thank you" a few days later!  I also made a yummy apple/raisin bar recipe and two batches of homemade soup.  Needless to say, our freezer is full now!

After the rain cleared, we decided to check out Hanging Rock State Park.  It was about an hour's ride from the campground in a quaint town called Danbury.  We loved this park!  The leaves were almost "peak" and it was gorgeous!  After a picnic lunch of peanut butter and apricot jam sammies, we checked out a few of the trails with the waterfalls.  

Hidden Falls

Window Falls

Upper Cascades Waterfall

I loved the color of these leaves and it looks like a leaf hat!

Near a lookout point before the climb up Hanging Rock!

We ended up hiking 4 trails saving the "moderate" Hanging Rock trail for the end.  We both think that they should change the rating to "strenuous" as you are climbing up the mountain and have 300+ stone stairs to get there!  This is in addition to some pretty decent inclines along the way.  I whined a bit but was going to make it come heck or high water!  :-)   

Taking a rest!

Ahhh!  The hike was so worth it!

Dan on top Hanging Rock 

Amazing scenery!

Colorful leaves!  

Nature is wonderful!

Beautiful views everywhere!

No pictures of the two of us!  I am scared of heights and didn't go on the ridges!
We had a great time at Hanging Rock and would definitely recommend it to our hiking friends out there. 

We also hiked the Chinqua-Penn trail which is about 15 minutes from the campground.  There is also a plantation near the trail but we didn't go to that.  It looked beautiful but the admission price ($20 each) seemed a bit steep and we would rather do "outside" activities anyway!  The trail was a mix of farm land and woods.  Here are a few pictures from the trail. 
Heading into the trail

Dam at Lake Betsy

Gorgeous stonework from the 1930s.  Can't imagine the manual labor it took to build this!

Bamboo trees were everywhere!

Dan was telling "5014" he was going to be a t-bone one day soon!
We had a very nice time at Lake Reidsville and met some great people.  We would definitely return if our travels have us in the area again! 

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Happy Birthday Dad!!

Today is my Dad's 79th birthday!  He is celebrating it with my Mom by taking a trip to Myrtle Beach for a few days.  They will go out to eat to one of his favorite italian restaurants and he will get many phone calls from his kids and grandkids.  Happy Birthday to my great Dad!!  I love you!!  Enjoy your day!!
Dad and Mom

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Pilot Mountain Area....Oct 2-6, 2011

I forgot to mention in my post about the wineries weekend that we actually did go back to the Amish store. We picked up some goodies for lunch and I also got a soup mix to make white cheddar asparagus soup. Sounds yummy and we will have to make it on a cold day! Dan picked up a pack of root beer licorice too.

The trek from Harmony, NC was an easy one and we got settled into our new campground just fine. It's a very small campground with mostly permanent sites here. It is not one that we would recommend but it was cheap and we never heard banjo music once! We did try to Redbox the Deliverance movie at Walmart but I guess it's so old they don't carry it anymore.

We spent 2 days exploring Pilot Mountain State Park. Who knew that there are actually two (yes two!) Pilot Mountain State Parks?! One is the mountain area and the other is the river area (as in Yadkin River).
Over the two days we hiked quite a few trails (including crossing over streams - no pathways here!) and admired the scenery. We had a picnic lunch the first day in the river section and had the entire park to ourselves. We spent some time near the summit of Pilot Mountain looking thru the binoculars at the different black hawks, red hawks, turkey buzzards, crows, etc. The highlight was taking the Jemokee Trail around the summit of Pilot Mountain. The trail was marked as "moderate" and had many twists and stone stairs. During the hike, we met up with a 92 year old man that was hiking the trail. We chatted with him for a few minutes. He lived in the area most of his life and had never made it up to Pilot Mountain. He did walk with a hiking stick but we were in awe of how agile he was on the trail. We just hope that we are as spry as he was when we reach his age! It's very hard to show the height of the summit from the trail but we attempted to in a few pictures.

At one of the look-out points at Pilot Mountain


Looks like I am holding this rock up with my hard head!!

The view near the summit - looking straight up from the trail. 
Look carefully and you will see Dan!
Such a nice day for a hike!

We really enjoyed the Jemokee Trail!

Taking a short break!

We also went by Horne Creek Historical Farm. And, again, we had the entire farm to ourselves. We are quickly learning that we have a great advantage in that going to these types of places during the week gives you a much better chance of no (or few) crowds. The farm was brought by the state from the Hauser family (who had 12 children!) and they are refurbishing it to reflect how life was back in the 1800s. You could tour the farm house (in amazingly good shape) as well as the other buildings on the property. They have crops (tobacco, applies, sorgum) and animals as well. They typically have interpretive guides but they were busy getting ready for their Corn Husking Festival. It's a typical fall festival that brings about 10,000 people. Glad that we timed it right!

We had a great time touring the Pilot Mountain area and would definitely recommend the State Park to anyone that is in the area! On to Reidsville, NC next. Stay tuned for updates soon!

Friday, October 7, 2011

Van Hoy Family Campground, Harmony, NC Sept 30-Oct 2

We met Bruce and Laura and Rick and Gail in Harmony, NC for a weekend of wine tasting and fun.  We all arrived at the campground Friday afternoon and got our rigs set up.  We were isolated from the other campers (had they heard about us being rowdy in Cheraw?!!?) and had a nice area to ourselves.  As the cold front moved in, we hunkered down in front of a campfire.  Rick was our grill master and cooked some great brats.  We all shared sides.  I made Nancy's saurkraut with applesauce and judging by the fact that there was little left, I would say everyone enjoyed it.   Dessert was mexican smores!  Yum!!

Let the weekend begin! 
Tricia, Laura, and Gail

Bruce and Dan (is that another "Brandon" grin?!!) 

Bruce, Dan, Laura, Gail and Rick in front of Lucy (Gail and Rick's rig).

It may be cold but I still have my flip flops on!!

Rick and his handy dandy multi-purpose tool! Wonder what he said that made Gail laugh so hard?!!

Bruce tending the fire while the girls enjoyed their mexican smores!
Saturday morning we set out to tour the wineries.  Laura was our driver and did a great job even though she had 5 backseat drivers!  Kudos to her.  We stopped by the Amish store to pick up some goodies for lunch but they were closed until 12:30 due to a funeral.  So on we went to the wineries!  Laura had raved about a wine combination that tasted like strawberry shortcake w/ chocolate and we were not disappointed!
Beautiful (but chilly!) countryside!

The mini Carolina Clan group!
Thar's grapes in them thar fields!! 
The weekend was great fun and we all parted with "see you down the road".  We probably won't see Gail and Rick for some time but will see Bruce and Laura in December at Huntington Beach State Park.  Fun times and good memories!