Wright Brothers National Memorial

Kitty hawk is one of those places you always want to visit and I believe it has always been on my bucket list.  We went a considerable distance out of our way to visit the Wright Brothers National Memorial near Kill Devil Hills on the Outer banks of North Carolina.

Photo of the First Flight at Kitty Hawk
Photo of the First Flight at Kitty Hawk, December 17th, 1903

This is a fairly minimal historic site with a small museum that includes replicas of both the Wright Glider and the Wright Flyer.   Outside are markers showing the flights made by the Wright Brothers and a replica of their hanger and living quarters.

The site also has the Wright Brothers Monument atop Kill Devil Hill and a spectacular bronze sculpture called First Flight.

We were in the outer banks during off-season, but it was a wonderful drive through the North Carolina countryside and worth this long detour.

Cataloochee Valley: Great Smoky Mountains

Cataloochee Valley is one of those places I could picture myself sitting in a rocking chair on the porch of a log cabin.  It is part of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and is located in the north east corner of the park in North Carolina.  The area and valley is reminiscent of Cades Cove at the other end of the park with it’s many historic buildings and fantastic scenery.

It is however not as easy to access.  The closest town is Maggie Valley and it takes about an hour to get there.  It is not far distance wise but the majority of the road is very steep, winding and narrow.  There is about 5 miles of a one lane gravel winding road with steep drop offs and no guard rails.  This part of the drive is a little nerve racking and exhausting.

Because it is a challenge getting there the number of tourists is minimized.  It is well worth the trip just to see the Elk!!

Kaylyn Test Shots

I wanted to put together a cheap home studio and see what I could do with portraits. The studio was less than $100 and Kaylyn and I did these in about 30 minutes. I am thrilled with the results, but very concerned as a father!!

Amish in Tennessee

When I lived in Nashville in the eighties, work occasionally took me to Lawrenceburg, Tennessee.  Just on the outskirts of Lawrenceburg is a small community of Etheridge mostly occupied by the Amish.  Back then I just saw the horse and buggies and never ventured into their farmland.

I wanted to take my kids through the area and we ended up stopping at an Amish store and found out that each farm sold various goods.  They even had a map for us.  We started following the map and came to our first homestead where their was a hand painted sign that said Jams and Jellies.  We were not sure what to do, so we started slowly up the dirt drive.

Meeting the Amish was interesting.  We were a little nervous as we had no clue as to etiquette and certainly did not want to be rude.  We met several women and a young man and I would not describe their demeanor as friendly, however they were not rude either.  They also had no issues taking our money.  We picked up some scarfs, jams, and even some salsa.  We also bought a hand-made basket that was truly made solid with good craftsmanship.

Their farms were very beautiful and tranquil and it was quite the step back in time.

It was interesting that the local businesses such as Dollar General even had “hitching posts” for their horse-drawn buggies.