I’ve been thinking about some of my favorite trips since we have been in lockdown, and so many of them have been our trips to National Parks. We have not yet had the opportunity to take Wyatt, but I am hoping that maybe next year we will be able to start visiting with him, although I am not sure which to start at. An old favorite? One that is new to both Billy and I? We will see!
For now, I can look back with smiles on the memories I have made visiting the parks before he was with us and it was just Billy and I off adventuring, many times with my brother Devin and his wife Chrissy, before my niece was born as well.
I think my favorite of all that I have been to (which is not very many sadly!) is Shenandoah. To me there is just something so beautiful about the Blue Ridge Mountains, and Shenandoah in particular was so peaceful and lovely. We have stayed there more than once, and we always stayed in Big Meadows Lodge. Big Meadows Lodge was built by the CCC and is rustic and sturdy, with its stone and log walls. We stayed in a room that did not have television or phones, and I loved the quiet of it. The deer are so plentiful and numerous there that they are as common as the squirrels here, just frittering about in front of your room or on the trails. And so are other animals, including bears! We never saw one on the trail, but I am sure they knew we were there… we did see a mom and her cubs from our room though, all the way across a field. I was a bit nervous being from an area that does not have bears! But the best part was the horse back riding on the trail – I have always loved horses and never had the opportunity to ride them until Shenandoah and it was such a great experience. One of my favorite lifetime memories was here at this National Park too – and my brother told me the other day it was one of his as well. There is a little pub bar in the lodge where you can go and get drinks and snacks, and at night they have a sing-a-long. We all sat there drinking our wine and beer, singing along to songs like Country Roads by John Denver and then when we headed back to the room we stepped outside and saw the bright stars just blanketing the dark skies overhead, the mountains stretched out in front of us, the cool air and felt so alive and happy and in the moment. Just perfection, one of those moments you never forget.
Our trip to Sequoia was equally memorable – it was my first (and only so far) time in California and wow, so beautiful!! We stayed on Coronado Island to start, at the Hotel Del Coronado then ventured north to Sequoia, which was like something out of a movie set. If I ever move to California, that is where I want to go. I am a forests and lakes and mountains kinda girl, and I am not one for beaches, although they have their own beauty and charm. It is impossible to walk in the shade of the giant Sequoias and not feel in awe of nature’s wonder. We stayed in the lodge here too, because I am not a tent camper. I like bathrooms that are in my room and a bed and walls. Especially in bear country! Plus there is something to be said for hiking all day then going back to your room at night, at least in my opinion. The best of both worlds!
Unfortunately, my photos from our other trips have been lost when my old computer died. Our trips to Gettysburg (a place I have visited at least five times!), and to Mammoth Cave National Park, so different but both so amazing to visit. Then there is our trips to Chincoteague National Seashore when I was a kid, one of my favorite places ever and is on the top of my list to take Wyatt when we can travel safely again, and of course Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore! I do have photos from that trip though! And of course, I saw that pancakes picture and had to include it since I have a pancake problem… lol.
I have some parks that are on top of my list to visit one day! Acadia is definitely one, and of course the big ones like Yellowstone and Yosemite. Smoky Mountain too, because I can’t believe I have never been there, with my love of the mountains. Billy can’t wait to head west, although I’m not sure how I will feel about the desert but Carlsbad Caverns looks pretty cool. And of course we both want to go to Isle Royale in our own home state!
Have you been? What is your favorite?