Day 17 – Atlanta to Heathrow and Home

Well, we have arrived back at our abode and are now enjoying a good old cup of tea for Si and a cappuccino for moi. I only had one the whole time we were away!

Atlanta Airport is very nice but it’s huge and was extremely busy. Our flight was, once again, completely full. We arrived back at Heathrow an hour ahead of schedule but they wouldn’t let us land and so had to circle for about 45 minutes, eventually arriving on the stand one minute before our original scheduled time!

At least we were very quickly through Immigration, because we have the bio-metric passports so we can use the e-passport gates. You just put the passport on the glass and hey presto you’re through. Even our cases arrived quickly. We met our driver and where home within about an hour.

I am pleased to report that for the first time in like ages, our suitcases had not been opened and checked by U.S. Security! Hooray!

The one bad thing about holidays is having to unpack the suitcases and get all the washing on the go. A good lesson there not to take too much in the first place!

We’ve had another great time in the good ol’ U.S. of A, met some wonderful new people and connected again with some old friends, namely Denise and Desiree. We saw some memorable things, suffered in extreme heat and humidity but it was all worthwhile. We  drove 1416 miles this year, so not many compared with previous holidays.

It’s time to say ‘farewell’ once again, to sign off the blog for another year and to thank you all for travelling with us and for the comments you posted. It’s always good to know that it’s not just us reading it!

So, until we all meet again, we would just like to say, as always, ………………..

arrivederci, adeus, hejdå, 再见, zoi geen, zai jian, tot ziens, au revoir, tschüss, shalom, ciao, じゃね, anyeonghi gasyeo, poka/Пока, adios, hejdå, tạm biệt, vΘleft, farvel, ya sas, tókša akhé

and see you all next time. Bye!


(I do not own the video or its contents)


Day 16 – Savannah to Atlanta

Surprise, surprise, I didn’t think I’d get to write the blog today but as we arrived at the airport in plenty of time and there’s free wifi I thought I would make use of the time and get it done.

We checked out of our hotel this morning at the latest time we could 12.00, because our flight tonight isn’t until 10.10 p.m.

It was another glorious day and the drive was very pleasant. We decided that we would stop for lunch once we found a Cracker Barrel (CB). We had to drive a couple of hours before we found one but I saw the CB sign from way, way down the road and shouted at the top of my voice ‘Cracker Barrel’. I shouted so loud that Margaret (sat nav) asked me to speak my instructions. It was so funny!

Cracker Barrel!!

Sadly, this one was not ‘up to scratch’. The service was awful! With CB you can be in eat and out in a jiffy but today it took well over an hour.

The food was good though. Si had his shrimp and I decided that as it was the final day of our holiday that I could ‘let myself go’ a little and I had a burger with cheese and fries! It was just fabulous. We ordered an apple dessert but the poor young waitress who was under great stress got all flustered and delivered us a cobbler with cream and ice-cream. It was huge and we didn’t manage to eat it all.

Si with his shrimp

Sand with her naughty burger!

On the table they have a little game that customers can play while they wait for their food. It’s a form of solitaire!! We both had a go but of course after a few tries Si managed to win the game. Well he would, wouldn’t he!! Bless!!

Si’s success

It was more or less a straight drive here to Atlanta Airport but at the last moment dear Margaret (sat nav), rather let herself down and started giving us instructions in all the wrong direction. Luckily, the signage was very good so we were able to follow that instead.

Road to Atlanta

Saw this interesting water tower along the way!

Town of Effingham!

When we arrived at the Avis Car Rental Returns we were met by a very pleasant young man who found great delight in telling us that his first foster Mum was English and how he loved our trifle, roast beef and yorkshire pudding and what fantastic cooks the British are! Crumbs, that’s a first, most Americans think our food is just awful.

It was a quick trip on the bus to the airport terminal and we waited anxiously whilst they weighed the cases!! I’m very proud to say that both cases weighed in just under our allowance!! Hooray!

For the regular blog followers you’ll know that whenever we come on holiday we usually end up purchasing an extra suitcase to accommodate all the purchases we’ve made during our travels. Well, we didn’t buy a suitcase this time but we did buy a back pack instead to take the extra load. I’ve made a note that the next time we come on holiday to remember to pack a back pack for all those ‘little extras.’ We must have six at home already!!

Thing is, the backpack is quite heavy and poor Si’s ended up carrying two, the new one and his camera bag! Hey ho!

After the bag weighing we made our way to Homeland Security and there was the biggest queue we’ve ever seen at an airport. It must have taken us 30 minutes just to get through. They use the full body scanner here. I made sure to hold my stomach in so as not to give the poor person watching the scanner a shock!

So, we’ve purchased all the nibbles to take on board. Although they give you things to eat and drink there are times when one just needs a few of their favourite things.

The flight coming out from Heathrow was an hour shorter than expected so we are hoping that the 8 hours 10 minutes back will just be 7 hours 10 minutes instead.

The weather forecast for tomorrow looks good so fingers crossed we won’t need the wet gear!

I suddenly remembered a couple of things I forgot to write in the blog yesterday!

First, do you know what they call peanuts in South Carolina? Answer: Goobers!

Secondly, there’s a house in Savannah called the Juliette Gordon Low (JGL) house that is open to the public. The owner was a very interesting lady and I wanted to tell you about her.

JGL was born in Savannah in 1860 and died in 1927.  She was the founder of the Girl Scouts of the USA. After her husband died she travelled to Scotland and met Sir Robert Baden-Powell, the founder of the Scouting Movement. They shared a love of travel and support of the Girl Guides. In August 1911, JGL became involved with the Girl Guides, an offshoot of the Boy Scouts for girls that was headed by Agnes Baden-Powell, Sir Robert Baden Powell’s sister. JGL joined the Girl Guide movement, forming a group of Girl Guides in Scotland in 1911.

In 1912, JGL and Baden-Powell took a trip to the United States to spread the scouting movement. She hoped to spread the movement to her hometown, Savannah, as a way to help girls learn practical skills and build character.  She formed the first American Girl Guide troop in Savannah, Georgia that year. In 1915 the United States’ Girl Guides became known as the Girl Scouts and JGL was the first president. She stayed active until the time of her death.

Thought that was all rather interesting.

Must close now as we are due to board shortly.

Speak to you again from ‘across the pond.’

Day 15 – Savannah

First of all let me just say that some of you may have noticed the blog is missing its sidebar! Why, goodness only knows. I’ll work on that when I get home. I think the humidity has affected it somehow!!

Well, goodness, gracious, I’ve just published this post and the sidebar’s back!! Who knows how long it will stay!?

So, today was our final full day here in Savannah. As the day was forecast to be hot and humid again we decided to spend the day visiting the  Savannah History Museum and then the Georgia State Railroad Museum Historic Site rounding off with a walk back to our hotel to make sure Si had as many photos as possible and then finishing off for dinner again at The Olde Pink House.

We walked to the Museums and along the way we came across this brass statue of Johnny Mercer. In 1961, he wrote the lyrics to “Moon River” for Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany’s.

Sand and Johnny Mercer

The Savannah History Museum allows you to walk through the city’s history from 1733, spanning the American Revolution and Civil War, all the way to today! It was very interesting with one item in particular being of great interest, that was ………………. the bus bench from Forrest Gump.

The Georgia State Railroad was constructed in 1853 by the Central of Georgia Railway before the outbreak of the American Civil War and was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1976.

The complex is considered the most complete antebellum railroad complex in the United States. The historic railroad structures at the site include a partial roundhouse with operating turntable, partial machine shop, Tender Frame Shop, Blacksmith Shop, Boiler House, Storehouse and Print Shop, Lumber and Planning Sheds, Coach and Paint Shops, and a partial Carpentry Shop.

Train Depot

Turntable at the museum. We rode on the train!








Sand on the train at the museum














Si on the train too – looking thoughtful!

After that we stopped for lunch at The Six Pence Pub again and this time I tried their Cottage Pie. It was very good, just needed a little more gravy. Si had crab cakes.

On the way back and as it was rather hot, we jumped on the tour bus again to take us to Forsyth Park so that Si could photograph the famous fountain. The fountain was added to the park in 1858 and is reminiscent of fountains in the Place de la Concorde in Paris and in Cuzco, Peru.

Sand in Forsyth Park

We arrived at our stop to get off and who was getting on the bus but Forrest himself!! Well, obviously not the real one but a guy just like him. He was so funny.

Forrest Gump on our tour bus!

Sand with Forrest

For those who have seen the film, right at the start it shows a feather falling from a steeple. This is the steeple it is supposed to have fallen from.

Steeple from Forrest Gump

One of the carriages showing people around Savannah

Around Savannah we’ve seen a lot of these fish downpipes on many mansions, they are supposed to be considered good luck!

Fish downpipes

So, we had dinner at The Old Pink House again! They sat us in the ballroom but it was packed and so noisy we couldn’t hear each other so they moved us to a much smaller, quieter room. The meal was lovely. Si had fillet mignon and I had pecan-crusted chicken breast followed by blueberry pie and ice-cream.

Si with his fillet mignon


Sand with her pecan-crusted chicken

Si with his blueberry pie

And Sand with her’s!

Tomorrow we drive back to Atlanta and then fly home to Heathrow so there will be no post tomorrow. The next time you’ll hear from us will be ‘across the pond.’ See you on Friday!

Day 14 – Savannah

Well, we thought it would never stop raining but it did! The day started grey and overcast but in no time at all the sun came out and it was hot and humid again.

Brief history of Savannah coming up!

The city of Savannah, Georgia, was established in 1733. It is known as America’s first planned city and attracts millions of visitors, who enjoy the city’s architecture and historic structures. Savannah’s downtown area is one of the largest National Historic Landmark Districts in the United States (designated in 1966).

The Yamacraws, a Native American tribe, were the first known people to settle in and around Savannah. In the 18th century, under their leader Tomochichi, they met the newly arriving European settlers.

In November 1732 the ship, Anne, sailed from Britain carrying 114 colonists, including General James Oglethorpe. On February 12, 1733, after a brief stay at Charles Town, South Carolina, Oglethorpe and his settlers landed at Yamacraw Bluff and, in an example of some of the earliest “Southern hospitality”, were greeted by Tomochici, the Yamacraws, and John and Mary Musgrave, Indian traders. The city of Savannah was founded on that date, along with the Province of Georgia. Because of the friendship between Oglethorpe and Tomochici, Savannah was able to flourish unhindered by the warfare that marked the beginnings of many early American colonies.

The city was laid out in 1733 around four open squares, each surrounded by four residential  blocks and four civic blocks. The layout of a square and eight surrounding blocks was known as a “ward.” The original plan (now known as the Oglethorpe Plan) allowed for growth of the city and thus expansion of the grid; additional squares were added during the 18th and 19th centuries, and by 1851 there were 24 squares in the city. In the 20th century, three of the squares were demolished or altered beyond recognition, leaving 21. In 2010, one of the three “lost” squares, Ellis, was reclaimed. Most of Savannah’s squares are named in honor or in memory of a person, persons or historical event, and many contain monuments, markers, memorials, statues, plaques, and other tributes.

Here ends the history lesson!

So, this morning after a quick visit to the Post Office we visited some of the squares and one of which was Chippewa square. The square was named for the Battle of Chippewa and is famous for Forrest Gump’s bus bench. The bench was actually a Hollywood prop and has since been moved to the Savannah Visitor Centre. Also, this diner is where Jenny was working when she heard about Forrest’s run across America.

Forrest Gump at Chippewa Square

Jenny’s restaurant

Live Oak








River Walk

Brown Thrasher (thanks to Desiree and Denise)







Denise and Desiree, can you name the bird?

The Owens-Thomas House is a historic home and museum is on the northeast corner of Oglethorpe Square and was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1976, as one of the nation’s finest examples of English Regency architecture.

Owens-Thomas House

We also walked down to the water front and saw this huge container ship. At one point we feared for the bridge of the ship as we felt there was no way he was going to make it under the bridge, but of course he did!

Container Ship

Sand on the river walk

On our travels this morning we came across two lovely children with their Mum selling homemade lemonade in aid of a cat charity. We purchased two glasses and told them we would include them in today’s blog. The lemonade was just what we needed, cold and very refreshing. So, Rafi, Lila and Mum Michelle, here you are!

Michelle, Lila and Rafi selling their homemade lemonade!

Today, I think for the first time on our trip we had lunch!! We happened across The Six Pence pub, together with the red British phone box outside, so decided that was the place to eat. The food was delicious. Listed on the menu was ‘Shepherd’s Pie (Cottage Pie) made from beef! We felt it our duty to point out that actually ‘Shepherd’s Pie’ is made from lamb and Cottage Pie from beef. I think they had probably been told that a few hundred times from visiting Brits! To make up for a lack of food photos recently Si took this pic.

Sand at The Six Pence Pub (do you like my crown?)

After lunch we decided to do a bus tour and spent a couple of hours being driven around the historic squares by our tour guide, Anna. She’s only been doing the job for a couple of weeks but she was very good and had us all in stitches.

Anna our tour guide

This evening for dinner we went to The Olde Pink House, Savannah’s only 18th Century Mansion which just happens to be situated next door to our hotel. It’s one of Savannah’s most popular restaurants, offering new southern cuisine in a sophisticated, yet casual setting. The food was excellent and we enjoyed it so much we are going back again tomorrow night for dinner!

The Olde Pink House restaurant

Si with his soft shell crabs

Sand and her flounder!










Si and Sand with their puds!

Tomorrow is our last day in Savannah before we head back to Atlanta on Thursday for our flight home. The weather is set fair so please join us again for our last day’s adventures.

Day 12 – Charleston

Another hot, humid day ……………….. this morning it was about 95º with humidity supposed to be at 99%. I can certainly confirm about the humidity, we were all drenched during our walk around Charleston.

We met Denise and Desiree for breakfast and then headed into Charleston. It’s such a beautiful city and the historic houses/buildings are magnificent.

Charleston, the South Carolina city founded in 1670, is defined by its cobblestone streets, horse-drawn carriages and pastel pre-Civil-War-era houses, particularly in the bustling French Quarter and Battery areas. The Battery promenade and Waterfront Park both overlook Charleston Harbor, while Fort Sumter, a Federal stronghold where the first shots of the Civil War rang out, lies across the water.

We’ve had another lovely day full of laughter, fun and lots of photo-taking. We were so pleased to be able to soak our feet in this lovely fountain, it was very cooling.

Charleston Fountain

Sand and Desiree cooling their feet!

Here are some of today’s photos:

Si and the Gals

Charleston Market







Weavers at the Market






Historic homes in Charleston

King Street, Charleston







Kids cooling off










When we first visited Charleston some 20-odd years ago we stayed at a hotel called The Omni, it was lovely. The hotel is still there but under a different name now but we re-visited it just to take another look at its magnificent staircase and chandelier.

The gals are on their way home now to North Carolina. Safe trip ladies and we hope to see you in good ‘ol blighty very soon.

At last some food pics! We decided to eat early today so had Sunday brunch at the hotel.

Si with his roast beef! Makes a change from shrimp and pork belly!

Nothing quite like a good Sunday roast!

Tomorrow we move on to Savannah, another very historic city. See you there!

Day 11 – Charleston

Well, we were told today was going to be hotter than yesterday and boy, were they right!! It’s been a scorcher  and very humid. It felt as though we’d done a three-hour spin class, the humidity was so bad. But hey, we are British, we can cope with just about anything!

Si had us up and out early to visit Charleston for him to take photos and me to ‘do a little shopping.’



Sand at the U.S. Custom House

Si managed a few photos, including accidentally wondering into a fashion photo-shoot for a magazine that was taking place at the U.S. Custom House. The lady in charge wasn’t happy about Si taking pics and actually put her hand over his camera! What! I don’t think so. Si pointed out to her that we were in a public place and he could take whatever photos he liked and he did. This is one of them ……….. very nice too!









After our photo and spending expedition we headed back to the hotel to meet up with Denise and Desiree. We’ve had a fantastic day together.

First of all we visited Middleton Place, which is a plantation built in several phases during  the 18th and 19th centuries. The plantation was the primary residence of several generations of the Middleton family, many of whom played prominent roles in the colonial and antebellum history of South Carolina. The plantation is home to the oldest landscaped gardens in the United States.

Middleton Place

In 1865, toward the end of the U.S. Civil War, Union soldiers burned most of the house, leaving only the south wing and gutted walls of the north wing and main house. An earthquake in 1886 toppled the walls of the main house and north wing. The restoration of Middleton Place began in 1916 when Middleton descendant John Julius Pringle Smith (1887–1969) and his wife Heningham began several decades of meticulously rebuilding the plantation’s gardens.

Middleton Place

Denise at Middleton Place

Desiree at Middleton Place taking that perfect shot!

The plantation is home to various animals including horses, goats, pigs, sheep and lambs, water buffalo (newly discovered records show that Middleton Place imported water buffalo  from Constantinople in the late 18th century, the first in the United States), beautiful peacocks and a guinea fowl. We also saw a small alligator in a pond and a gecko. Animals in abundance today!

Alligator at Middleton Place

Gecko at Middleton Place

Goat at Middleton Place

Water Buffalo

Peacock at Middleton Place

Peacock’s rear!

The peacock display was amazing. It occurs to me that I have never seen a peacock, feathers extended, from behind! Well that was a wrong put right today and I have to say what a magnificent view it is too. Also, when feeling threatened he did a magnificent job of vibrating his feathers!

This evening on the recommendation of one of Desiree’s friends we went for dinner at The Glass Onion just down the road from our hotel. The restaurant describes itself as ‘Upbeat spot serving refined, locally sourced soul-food favorites in charming environs.’ Well, it was lovely and the food was great. For some reason and for the third day running, I forgot to take photos of our food! What on earth is going on? I think I’ve become a little too laid back. I send my apologies to some of our blog readers who consider this an important part of the blog.

Desiree, Denise and us two at The Glass Onion

Luckily, Desiree was ‘on the ball’ and brought this oversight to my attention. She saved the day by taking a photo of Si and I eating our bread  pudding dessert. Thank you Desiree. I will endeavour to get ‘back on track’ tomorrow.

Me and Si with our bread pudding …. delicious!

For the record, this evening Si and I had fried green tomatoes to start, whilst Denise and Desiree had the water melon salad (we tried that too and it was delicious), Si then partook of ribeye steak and I had Spanish mackerel, followed by us sharing the bread pudding. Denise had shrimp and grits, well she’s a southern gal, whilst Desiree had a ribeye too and both then shared key lime pie.

Some of you will remember that earlier in the blog I was asking what all the fuss was about grits! Well, Denise was telling us that we should be ordering shrimp and grits as they are a totally different ‘kettle of fish.’ We are still not convinced but she’s going to send me the recipe so that we can give them a try.

It’s a miracle that this blog is being written today because after wine with dinner and then Disaronno with my coffee I’m feeling a trifle fatigued!

It’s been a lovely day and tomorrow after breakfast we are all heading into Charleston for some site-seeing and photography. Fingers crossed it will be a little cooler than today! See you all tomorrow!


Day 10 – Charleston

Boy, was it hot and humid today! I felt sure we would expire in the heat. The day started well but didn’t finish as we had expected!

For our first full day in Charleston we decided to visit Boone Hall Plantation and Gardens. It is one of America’s oldest working, living plantations and has been continually growing crops for over 320 years.

More history coming up!

The earliest known reference to the site is of 1681. It originated from a land grant given to Major John Boone. The land grant of 470 acres was given by Theophilus Patey as a wedding present to his daughter, Elizabeth, and Boone. The original wooden house was constructed in 1790. The house was a two-story, wooden house with a one-story front porch.

This photograph was taken in about 1900 and shows the former house on the grounds.

The house that stands now was built in 1936 by Thomas Stone, a Canadian who purchased the land in the early 20th century. He wanted a “grander style” home than what was there, so he built the Colonial Revival-style house.

Boone Hall

On the grounds today, besides the house, sit nine of the original slave cabins which date back to 1790-1810, a smoke house dating back to 1750, the Cotton Gin house 1853 and the grand Avenue of Oaks that was created in 1743 by Major Boone’s son, Captain Thomas Boone. He planted two evenly spaced rows of trees and it has taken 200 years for the trees to meet overhead to form the present-day scenic corridor. He was a man with great vision as he knew that he would not be alive to see his work come to fruition. In fact he died just three years after planting the trees. The live oak trees run 3/4 of a mile long from the entrance to the front house gates. Boone Hall Plantation today spans 738 acres. The oldest oak on the plantation is 600 years old.

Slave cabins

Cotton gin (under restoration)

There have been many owners over the years including English, German, Georgian, Canadians and Americans. Mr Harris M. McRae and his wife, Nancy Thomas purchased the property in 1955 and opened the plantation to the public in 1957 and have made great efforts to preserve the original structures and gardens.

Boone Hall and gardens

Avenue of live oaks planted in 1743

Si and Sand at Boone Hall

Sand at Boone Hall






There are various tours and presentations on the plantation but one of the favourites of visitors is the one called ‘Exploring the Gullah Culture’ a unique culture adapted by African slaves.

Gullah presentation

“Gullah” is a term that was originally used to designate the variety of English spoken by Gullah and Geechee people, but over time it has been used by its speakers to formally refer to their  language and distinctive ethnic identity as a people.

Singing a Gullah song

Boone Hall has appeared in a number of films and TV programmes, notably the film, The Notebook, TV series North and South and Alex Hayley’s Queen. Also, the avenue of oaks at Boone Hall were used for the oak trees at Twelve Oaks, the Wilkes family in Gone With The Wind.

Boone Hall holds on average three weddings a week and they were preparing for one today. Also, another newly married couple came to have their wedding pictures taken there too.

The bride and groom!

The wedding venue by the river







We left Boone Hall in beautiful sunshine, but just ten minutes down the road drove into another storm the same as yesterday’s. Jet black sky, torrential rain, thunder and lightening. To make things worse, we suddenly had a notification in the car that there was a fault with the engine and service was needed now!!!! Charming, here we go again!!

Luckily there was an Avis facility close by so we drove there to discover it was a Sears Auto and not an actual Avis Rental office. They said the car would have to be changed over. The only problem was they had two cars of similar type but they were of a lower spec to the one we were driving so we turned both of those down. Eventually, they offered us the only other vehicle available which was a Nissan Infinity of a very high spec. I don’t think the guy was particularly happy giving us that one but he agreed to. Fingers crossed we don’t have any further problems or Avis will be receiving a very strong letter from us.

So, a very stressful ending to a lovely day. Tomorrow we meet up with Denise and Desiree and we are told it’s going to be even hotter than today!! Where’s that cool towel to mop my fevered brow!!??




Day 9 – Gatlinburg to Charleston via Hildebran, North Carolina!

So, some days you just don’t know how things are going to pan out and today was just one of those days!

Today was a driving day, from Gatlinburg to Charleston, with the drive scheduled to take about five hours. However, that five hours turned into eight hours due to a slight diversion!

I’ve been meaning to post a pic of the current ‘beast’ and this is it.

The ‘Beast’ – at least I can get in and out of this one without the need for a ladder!!

It all started when we had been driving for about an hour when I happened to pick up Si’s mobile and noticed that he had an email from a lady called Denise. Now who’s Denise you may ask and I will tell you!

Some of you will know that Si’s a member of Flickr (the photography site) and way back in May 2012 one of Si’s friends on Flickr, Denise, won the landscape picture of the year in the Sony World Photographer of the Year Competition (sorry Denise if I haven’t got that 100% correct!) and together with her sister Desiree, they were both coming to London so that Denise could collect her prize and her photograph was to be shown in an exhibition at the same time and Si and I went to London to meet them both.

Now both ladies live in North Carolina and when they knew we would be visiting this part of the world said they would drive down to meet up with us here in Charleston and I’m very excited to say that this will be happening this Saturday.

Well, back to my story. The email this morning was from Denise and as she knows I’m a movie buff, was telling us that if we didn’t mind a little deviation from our planned route to Charleston, that we would be within driving distance of ………………….. heads up you Hunger Games fans …………… the location that was used as District 12 in The Hunger Games!! Well, what were we to do, of course we deviated from our route and went immediately to Hildebran in North Carolina to check it out. I am pleased to report that I am now the proud owner of a District 12 Tribute t-shirt! Am I a happy bunny or what!!??

Sand at Peeta Mellark’s Family Bakery

Sand at Peeta’s bakery

House in District 12 of The Hunger Games








House in District 12







Thank you Denise.

The drive from Gatlinburg went through the Foothills Parkway, a very lovely area.

Foothills Parkway

We’ve been a little worried about how the weather was going to be as Tropical Storm Bonnie touched down here earlier in the week and caused flash flooding. Fingers crossed, it all seems okay now although on the way here we had a scary ten minutes as we drove through the most horrendous storm. There was thunder, lightening and the rain was so heavy and hard that cars were pulling over until it passed. However, our British bull dog spirit endured and forced us to carry on regardless! Thankfully, the rest of the trip was dry and sunny.

We are now ensconced in our hotel and looking forward to exploring Charleston over the next few days.

Day 8 – Great Smoky Mountains National Park

We were up and out early again today ………………… I’m so looking forward to a lie in tomorrow! Today was our last here in the National Park.

We were saying how we hadn’t seen any wildlife during our stay here, well today that all changed! We’ve seen some wild turkeys, an elk and a groundhog, although we couldn’t get a photo of the groundhog.

Turkey crossing!



Elk enjoying a meal

– Eastern Bluebird









Driving through the Park today we saw this fog bank below us in the valleys.

Fog bank


Our first port of call today was Mingo Falls on the Cherokee Indian Reservation (Qualla Boundary), just outside Great Smoky Mountains National Park. At 120 feet tall, the waterfall is one of the tallest and most spectacular in the southern Appalachians. The hike to the waterfall is a round trip of only 0.4 miles in length, but is considered moderate in difficulty. Unlike the hike to Rainbow Falls we did on Monday, someone had been thoughtful enough to lay 161 concrete steps for most of the way to the Falls so making it a much easier climb. These Falls were magnificent and more than made up for the disappointment with Rainbow Falls.

Some of the steps to Mingo Falls


Mingo Falls

Si and Sand at Mingo Falls (this pic was taken by a very tall man!)







Our next visit was to the Mountain Farm Museum. The Museum is a collection of historic log buildings gathered from throughout the Smoky Mountains and preserved on a single site. Buildings include a house, barn, applehouse, springhouse, and smokehouse.

John E. Davis house at the Mountain Farm Museum – began in 1899 and took two years to build from chestnut trees. A family of nine eventually lived here!

In the late 1920s, the states of North Carolina and Tennessee began buying the land that they would deed to the nation to become Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Although most of the land was owned by timber companies, more than 1,200 families also had to sell their land and homes for the creation of the new national park.

Side view of the John E. Davis house. That’s the kitchen the left

Inside the John E. Davis house

Hinge made from an old horseshoe at the Museum in the Blacksmith’s shop

The Mountain Farm Museum is part of an effort to preserve some of the cultural heritage of the Smokies. The buildings most dating from about 1900, were moved from their original locations throughout the Smokies to this site to create an open-air museum.

Sand at the John E. Davis house









Our final visit today was to Mingus Mill. Built in 1886, this historic grist mill (grinds grain into flour) uses a water-powered turbine instead of a water wheel to power all of the machinery in the building. It still stands at its original site. It was the largest in the Smokies and its wooden flume that carries the water to the Mill is 200 feet long.

Mingus Mill

The wooden flume

Part of the wooden flume

Sand on the bridge at Mingus Mill

I’m afraid to say that we do not have any food photos tonight! I think everything’s catching up with us ………….. we actually forgot to take pics! For those who like to know these things, Si had fillet steak with ribs and I had filet steak. Everything was delicious. We went again to the Texas Roadhouse.

Thanks for travelling with us through the Smokies, see you tomorrow in Charleston.