Spring LEAF 2010

Another spring, another LEAF!  This was the second LEAF with our pop-up and what a difference that makes especially on those cold Black Mt. nights.  We’ve been able to hook up to power both times and it is fabulous.  We have heat, a refrigerator, stove, a soft bed, and a bathroom because good grief, using a port-a-potty sure gets old after 4 days.  The weather was really fantastic most of the weekend except for some serious wind.  The kid’s village was moved this time to a much larger, but a bit less accessible location.  So, Graham sold record bowls again, but not quite as much since it was much farther away.  Secret Agent 23 Skidoo rocked the kid’s stage and was a weekend highlight for me as well as the kids!

This year we also decided to watch the parade instead of participate and that was a great choice.  It’s hard to see everything when you are in it, so we just got to see all the fun and craziness come by.  The masks this year were by far some of the most creative and unusual of any LEAF we have been to.  Some of them were actually quite scary, but the kids didn’t seem to think so as much as I did.

It was really a pretty laid back weekend over all with some much needed family time.  LEAF is always a great time to reconnect with the family and make some fun memories!

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Breaking in the Camper

Sorry for the total lack of posts lately.  We really were in winter hibernation for what felt like forever.  Now, in the past few weeks we have been so busy enjoying spring, I have forgotten to post.  Well, weekend before last we got a chance to take the camper out of hibernation for an Easter trip to Oconee State Park.  I really do like the holiday camping trips.  Easter egg hunting around the campsite was so cool although we did have to wait for the last minute to hide the eggs because otherwise those park raccoons would have had some super fat bellies and probably a tummy ache in the morning!  It was also a little tricky picking out candy because we had to stick to non melting candy.  Besides that, it was super fun and the weekend weather was beautiful.  We took off on Friday and Michael’s parents met us there as well with their new camper which was great.

Friday, we set up camp and went on a little hike and nature hunt around the lake.  We found toads, turtles, fish, and lots of birds and bugs with Graham as our lead explorer.

On Saturday, we visited the Walhalla Fish Hatchery.  It was our first time there and a very cool place to visit.  This is the only trout hatchery in South Carolina.

After we got back, the campground held a 2,000 egg Easter hunt.  How cool!  The kids were split up by age groups and there were more eggs than their baskets could hold.

Sunday, we dragged ourselves out of the camper still in pjs for a sunrise service at the lake.  It was a great weekend with gorgeous weather and fantastic QT with the family.  So glad to be back in the camper and ready for the next trip already.

Jekyll Island, GA

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Michael’s cousin Tish recently got married in St. Simon’s Island which gave us a wonderful opportunity to visit Jekyll Island.  Jekyll is a barrier island off the coast of Georgia and is only about 7 miles long and 1 1/2 miles wide.  There are biking trails all around the island, so we spent a lot of time biking which was great.  You can bike along the ocean, marsh, and in the historic district.  We got there Thursday afternoon after about a 6 hour drive from Greenville.  The campground is fairly packed in and nothing too great, but nice enough for being able to stay right across from the beach.  There are live oaks throughout the campground and the bathrooms were some of the cleanest I have ever seen at a campground, so that’s always a bonus!

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We spent Friday on the beach and biking around town.  The biking really was fantastic.  It would be great if every town had so many biking trails that get you everywhere you need to go without ever having to get in a car.  The beaches were really beautiful too.  We went to some sections that were covered in some of the biggest pieces of driftwood that I had ever seen. The kids loved climbing on them.

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At night, we went to eat at Crabdaddy’s Seafood Grill with Michael’s parents.  It was absolutely delicious!

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On Saturday, we biked again back into the historic district.  The historic district houses the Jekyll Island Club Hotel which was built in 1886.  It seriously feels like one has entered lifestyles of the rich and famous when you step foot in this area with old men and women dressed in white playing croquet on the manicured lawn.  Ridiculous!  It’s a gorgeous area though and you do get the sense that you have stepped back in time.

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The historic district also houses the new Sea Turtle Center where they were having a Halloween Party.  It was lots of fun and we got to see all of the sea turtles that were being rehabilitated.

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Saturday night, we went to the wedding in St. Simon’s Island.  The ceremony was held overlooking the ocean and it was really breathtaking- beautiful weather, gorgeous bride, so fun!  Graham and Surae had a blast at their first real wedding.  It was a great night.

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We headed back home on Sunday with everyone exhausted from a busy few days.  We definitely plan on returning and experiencing even more of the region next time.

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LEAF Fall Festival

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The Lewis family has been having a really, really busy month of October.   We’ve been squeezing in quite a bit of fall camping which has been so fun.  In mid October, we made our annual pilgrimage to the LEAF Festival in Black Mt, NC.  Boy, were we happy to have that pop-up!  It was a cold, cold weekend, but luckily fairly rain free.  We arrived on Thursday and were actually able to get electricity in the camping lot, so we had lights and heat all weekend.  The Weiser’s camped right next to us in their pop-up, so we had a great set up with both of our pop-ups and Halloween lights and decorations strung about the site.

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Musical highlights of the weekend were the Secret B Sides in the barn.  They are out of Asheville and super funky.  They played Friday night and the barn tuned into a huge dance party.  It was so fun.  The Cowboy Junkies played Saturday night and that was incredible.  I spent many a night in college listening to the Cowboy Junkies, so this was a serious treat for me.  The lead singer’s voice was perfectly heart wrenching.  Great show!  And then on Sunday, Arrested Development played again.  They played at the last Fall LEAF and it was certainly my favorite at that fest and they did not disappoint.  Their energy is amazing and that was another huge dance party.  So fun!

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Graham also sold at the Kid’s Village for the first time this year since he is now 5.  Michael came up with the idea for him to make record bowls which was a great idea since they are easy to make and we were able to get the records for free.  He sold them for $5 a piece to start and then marked them down to $3 on Sunday.  They were a big LEAF hit and he ended up making about $150!  He doesn’t really even have any concept of how much money he made, but he was able to buy several ice creams at the fest for he and Surae.

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The kids both had a great time as always.  They both marched in the kid’s parade on Saturday which is always a blast.

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LEAF has become part of our family tradition and one that everyone looks forward to and I am sure we will be back in the Spring!

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Camping Trip To Edisto State Park

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Over Labor Day weekend, the family took a trip to Edisto State Park.  My dad and Michael’s brother’s family joined us, so we had a big group which was so fun!  This was our first time camping at Edisto, but it will not be our last.  We booked kind of late and ended up in the Live Oak area instead of the beach camping area.  I was worried about bugs, but they really weren’t bad at all.  The Live Oak area is really gorgeous and the shading helps so much with the midday heat.  The campsite bordered the marsh area and Graham loved getting in there looking for crabs and covering himself in pluff mud.  The camping area is also connected with all of the biking trails, so that was convenient.  The biking trails are wonderful and easy for kids to ride on.  The peace that overcomes you riding past live oaks and over marsh boardwalks is something to experience.  Even though I had a long week at work and was very stressed when I left town, riding my bike through those trails really helped to alleviate all of my worries!

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When we arrived into town, we had lunch at McConkey’s Jungle Shack and it was delicious!!  Michael and I split a fish tacos and homemade fries and it was more than enough food.

http://www.goedisto.com/restaurants/mcconkeysjungleshack.html

Once at camp, Michael immediately set out fixing up the camp and hanging up our ever growing collection of party lights.  It is a sight to see at night!

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The next day, everyone else arrived and we all hit the beach.  The kids love the beach and they had a great time swimming and building sand castles.  That night, we all feasted on seafood from Flower’s Market in Edisto.   We had lobster tails, scallops, and red snapper.  Yum!

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On Saturday, we all decided to check out Botany Bay, a newly opened nature preserve in Edisto.

“The centuries-old farm is a vista of hardwoods and pine stands, crop fields, salt marshes, hummock islands and a maritime forest beach with its own “boneyard” — a ghost forest of dead trees in the frothy surf. The spread includes a three-mile motor tour trail past 19th-century brick and tabby structures, 20 more miles of trails for hiking, biking, birding and horseback riding, fishing ponds and a “throw” launch into Osceola Creek for paddle-powered boats.” http://www.postandcourier.com/news/2008/jul/18/almost_magical47916/

It is an amazing beach.  I don’t think I have ever seen so many shells in one spot and I love the trees coming out of the water.  So beautiful!

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As always, Edisto was an amazing time.  The kids all had a great time together which was awesome!  I really do love the SC Coast and feel so lucky to be able to drive to such an incredible place  in just a few hours.  Can’t wait to go back.  Luckily, I have one more trip to Edisto and then a trip to the GA coast before winter.

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Camping at Table Rock State Park

A few weeks ago, the family took another camping trip to Table Rock.  The weather was great and the kids had a blast as always.  They love the new pop up and it sure makes camping easier and more comfortable.  Napping is no longer a battle as they can nap in total comfort in an air conditioned bed.  Graham is now riding a 2 wheeled bike and way too over confident on it.  It’s scary!  The boy who was too scared to go down small hills now wants to fly down them.  He met some other kids around the campground and biked around with them quite a bit.

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Surae got a stroller for doing such a great job using the potty lately and she loves it.  She hasn’t replaced her pocket book, but now likes to let the pocket book ride in the stroller.  Too funny!

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My dad and Roni came up on Friday night to camp with us too.  The kids were so excited to see them and Graham immediately asked if he could stay with them instead.  He is spoiled by his Pop Pop!!  Roni had a birthday coming up the next day, so we all celebrated together.  Michael made a super dinner!!

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Surae was my little hiking buddy for the weekend.  We hiked some of the Table Rock trail and she kept up wonderfully.  She loves the outdoors!

It was a great weekend and another super pop up camping experience!

Maiden Voyage in the Pop-Up

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This past weekend, we set off for our first family trip in the pop-up to Oconee State Park.  We wanted to stay fairly close to home in case anything went awry and Oconee has so much to offer in terms of beauty.  The campground was really nice.  We booked late, so didn’t get the best spot, but it was still not bad at all.  There are some great spots overlooking the lake that we want to try for next time though.  The park has a great little swimming lake that the kids really enjoyed.  There are also lots of hiking trails accessed from the park including the Foothills Trail.  We did a hike around the lake that was very easy and really nice for the kids.  They love to hike, but still can’t go too far without getting tired.  Those legs are little!

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As luck would have it, the 50th annual Hillbilly Day was also taking place in Mountain Rest.  What a trip!  I’ll just let the pictures tell that story.

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We also visited Isaqueena Falls and Stumphouse Tunnel which are really close by.  Isaqueena is absolutely beautiful and the kids loved that hike.  Graham felt like a mountain climber.  Stumphouse scared Surae pretty badly.  She’s not a huge fan of dark tunnels I guess.  Plus, everyone in the tunnel was making ghost noises, so that didn’t help.

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This was definitely a great first outing in the pop-up.  I forgot to take pictures of the actual pop-up, but I will next time.  It is surely a step up from tent camping and I am loving it!