Gatlinburg Skybridge

November 12, 2019

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This past September Betsy and I, along with Betsy’s son Mark and his girlfriend Robin, visited the Gatlinburg Skybridge for he first time. The Skybridge, which opened earlier in the year, is the longest (680 feet) pedestrian suspension bridge in North America.

The Skybridge is located at the top of the Skylift in Gatlinburg. Robin and Mark rode up the mountain in the chair in front of us.

The Skybridge is even more impressive when viewed from the top of the mountain.

There were quite a few people on the Skybridge, but we were still able to enjoy the views of the Smokies above Gatlinburg.

We never get tired of seeing the Smoky Mountains.

The Waterfalls of Fall Creek Falls

October 1, 2019

Cane Creek Falls, Fall Creek Falls State Park, Tennessee. April 21, 2013.

If you have kept up with Betsy and me for any length of time, you know that Fall Creek Falls State Park here in Tennessee is a special place for us. It was the place for our first ‘big’ date, our first kiss, and the beginnings of our fascination with waterfalls.

I know I have posted pictures of the individual waterfalls in the park, but I don’t think I’ve done a single post that shows all the waterfalls The pictures in this post were taken over several years — we’ve visited Fall Creek Falls at least once a year since 2001. I’m showing the waterfalls in the order we usually visit them while at the park.

The waterfall above is Cane Creek Falls. The overlook for this waterfall is the first we come to after entering the park.

Rockhouse Falls, Fall Creek Falls State Park, Tennessee. April 22, 2019

Rockhouse Falls shares the same basin with Cane Creek Falls. Rockhouse Falls is much taller, but it is on a smaller creek and has a lower flow of water.

Cane Creek Cascades, Fall Creek Falls State Park, Tennessee. April 21, 2013.

Cane Creek Cascade is a short distance upstream from Cane Creek Falls. In many ways the cascade is more impressive than the falls since it’s possible to get closer to it. Cane Creek Cascade is a great place to sit, relax and enjoy the beauty and the sound of water.

TributaryFalls, Fall Creek Falls State Park, Tennessee. April 21, 2018.

We discovered this little waterfall last year when the park was undergoing some renovations and a new, temporary, trail to Cane Creek Cascade was cut through the woods. I have not been able to find an official name for this waterfall nor have I found the name of the little creek that feeds it. So we refer to it as Tributary Falls.

George Hole Falls, Fall Creek Falls State Park, Tennessee. April 21, 2013.

I’ll admit that we’re cheating a little here. George Hole Falls is created by a small dam on Cane Creek. But we always visit this waterfall because George Hole is the site of our first kiss. We always try each year to recreate that kiss as well!

Fall Creek Falls, Fall Creek Falls State Park, Tennessee. September 6, 2015.

The park gets its name from Fall Creek Falls, which is the biggest waterfall in the park. This picture was taken from the overlook, and although we have hiked to the base of the falls, the hike back up seems to get a little longer and a little steeper each year. So we are mostly content to admire the waterfall from the overlook.

Coon Creek Falls, Fall Creek Falls State Park, Tennessee. April 21, 2013

Coon Creek Falls is a smaller waterfall on a stream that shares the same basin as Fall Creek Falls. Both waterfalls can be seen from the same overlook.

Piney Falls, Fall Creek Falls State Park, Tennessee. April 21, 2011.

The last waterfall we see on our visits to the park is Piney Falls. We have to admire this waterfall from an overlook some distance away, as it would involve a hike and overnight campouts to reach the falls. So we make do with telephoto lenses for our cameras and the view from the overlook.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this quick tour of Fall Creek Falls State Park. If you have the opportunity to visit the park in person, we’re sure you will enjoy it.

Biltmore’s Walled Garden

August 27, 2019

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My Beautiful Bride and I have season passes to the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, North Carolina, and we try to visit the estate several times a year. Although we have gone into the house several times, we usually go to visit the conservatory and the gardens.

The Walled Garden is the centerpiece of the gardens at Biltmore. It was designed by Frederick Law Olmsted, as were all the gardens at Biltmore. Frederick Law Olmsted is often considered America’s foremost landscape architect.

The Walled Garden is usually the second area we visit (after the Conservatory) on each trip to Biltmore. This post show a typical Spring visit to the Walled Garden. All these photos were taken in April, 2013.

The Walled Garden features a seasonal rotation of blossoms. A long arbor covered with grape vines runs down the center of the garden.

Openings in the arbor provide a pretty frame for the tulips.

Over 50,000 tulips (and 14,000) daffodils are planted in the garden each Spring, making a beautiful display.

I was fortunate to find another type of beauty in a different section of the garden.

To see these and other images from our visit, click HERE.

Cane Creek

July 16, 2019

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Fall Creek Falls State Park in Tennessee contains many beautiful places, but My Beautiful Bride and I think Cane Creek, especially near the cascade and the waterfall, has to rank as one of our favorites.

The picture above shows can creek above the cascade.

The creek thunders over Cane Creek Cascade. We enjoy sitting near the base and enjoying the sight and sound of water.

The creek is not very deep below the cascade, but it is still beautiful.

Soon the creek reaches the brim of Cane Creek Falls and disappears from sight.

It’s hard to get a good vantage point from which to see Cane Creek Falls, but I did manage to get a faint rainbow from the viewpoint.

Down Memory Lane: Barong and Rangda

June 11, 2019

Barong, the symbol of virtue and good in Balinese mythology.

(Note:  All pictures may be enlarged by clicking on them once or twice. These images are scanned from slides taken in 1987)

On one of the first days we were in Bali, our group was taken to an outdoor theater to see a traditional Balinese dance drama that depicted the struggle between Barong and Rangda. The dance represents the eternal battle between good and evil.

Rangda, the symbol of evil.

Barong is a symbol of health and good fortune, while Rangda is a child-eating witch who leads an army of evil witches against the forces of good — Barong.

Queen Dewi Kunti and her stepson, who will be sacrificed to placate the anger of Rangda.

In the version of the story we saw, the stepson of the queen was to be sacrificed to placate the anger of Rangda.

Unti, a minister of Dewi Kunti

The king sent his prime minister to deal with Rangda, although he was unsuccessful.  His failure set the stage for the battle between Barong and Rangda.

The dance/drama was definitely interesting and provided a glimpse into traditional Balinese culture.

To see larger versions of these pictures, as well as others from the performance, click HERE.

A (Late) Homage to Spring

May 21, 2019

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I realize that I’m a little late in paying homage to the beauty of Spring around our house since the Cumberland Plateau is now experiencing summer-like temperatures. But Spring is a beautiful season and we love seeing the yard come alive with color.

Crocus are the first Spring blossoms to make an appearance. Since crocus are also a favorite menu item for the critters around here we don’t have many left, but the ones we do have are always welcome.

Daffodils come next, and since the critters don’t like them very much we have quite a few different varieties showing off in our flower beds.

The white Mount Hood daffodil is a favorite, and is always beautiful.

We’re never quite sure what to expect with tulips. Every critter in the area seems to love to snack on them. But we have had several flowers bloom, some with unusual shapes but beautiful colors.

Others have a more traditional shape, but are just as beautiful.

Sometimes the interior of a tulip blossom is as pretty as the exterior.

A Visit with Great-Granddaughter

April 30, 2019

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Betsy doesn’t get to see her great-granddaughter very often, so it’s a treat when we can visit with Vivi, a 15-month-old bundle of energy.

On this occasion Betsy gave Vivi a book, in which she quickly got interested.

Sometimes Vivi can be lost in thought, . . .

. . . but most of the time she is on the run.

Look out world, here she comes!

Down Memory Lane: Dublin

April 9, 2019

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In May of 2002 I was working as a systems analyst at a plant fairly close to our home in Hendersonville, Tennessee. The plant was run by an Irish company, and I was sent by my boss to work on a software project at company headquarters in Dublin, Ireland.

Although my trip was definitely a business trip, I was put up at a very nice hotel on the outskirts of Dublin, as you can see from the photo above.

The hotel was far enough out of the city that I could get some nice views of the beautiful Irish countryside.

One evening after work an Irish colleague took me to dinner at an Irish pub and then on a quick tour of Dublin. One of the places we saw was Dublin Castle. We were able to get into the courtyard of the castle for a quick look-around. Bedford Hall (above) in the castle caught my attention.

After we left the courtyard we walked around the exterior of the castle for a few minutes.

Later, on a Dublin street, I saw this statue of Molly Malone. Of course, that reminded me of the song, which ran through my head for the rest of the night!

You can see additional pictures of my Dublin visit by clicking HERE.

Spring, Wherefore Art Thou?

March 19, 2019

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I admit it: I’m tired of the cold, I’m tired of gray skies and I’m tired of rain. I want to see blue skies and some color in the ground. I want to see scenes like these.

I wish I could say these beauties were from our yard, but they’re not. One thing My Beautiful Bride and I try to do each Spring is get to Biltmore in Asheville, North Carolina, to enjoy the spring flowers in the Walled Garden.  These pictures are from a visit we made a couple of years ago.

 

 

I love the way they plant their flowers — everything looks just right when they are all in bloom.

And as pretty as the blossoms are up close, the entire garden is a thing of beauty when seen at a distance from an overlook on the grounds.

All I can say is . . . COME ON SPRING!!!

Shooting in the Dark

February 19, 2019

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I realize that the holiday season is long gone, but I was so happy with these photos that I just had to share them with you.

Betsy and I went to the Candlelight Christmas event at Biltmore last December. We didn’t take our big cameras, but I used my iPhone to take pictures as we approached and then toured the house. I wasn’t sure what to expect from the outdoor night photos, but I think they came out pretty well. The picture above is of the big lighted tree on the lawn in from of the Biltmore house.

We were early for our entrance to the house, so when we got off the bus from the parking area we walked away from the house so we could see both the tree and the house. The lights gave a nice, warm glow to the scene.

There was some snow on the ground, but there had been a couple of days of warm weather so there was not much left. We walked on the lawn to get closer to the tree, but were happy to get back to the walkway as we got closer to the house.

We got a good look at the front of the house as we approached the line to get in. Our candlelight visit to Biltmore had gotten off to a very good start.