While walking around good ole downtown Raleigh recently, Leo came up with a brilliant idea: Wouldn’t it be cool to visit all 50 capitals?
Sign me up. So here is the plan: As we take road trips together during the next 50 years, we will visit every state’s Capitol. Raleigh, of course, is easy.
We just checked off the first two during our weekend jaunt to a wedding: Charleston, West Virginia and Columbus, Ohio.
As you can see, the weather wasn’t great for either of those stops. And although each was shot on a different day, I’m wearing the same outfit. (Hey, comfy traveling clothes are hard to find!)
We’re going to get a map of the United States and use pins to mark the ones we’ve done. It’s a fun goal. What will be more fun is the stories we gather along the way. These first two were just simple and quick stops. At others, we will take a tour or try to get a night photo.
For Raleigh’s, we’ll have to do something special. We walk by the Capitol nearly every day, so we might try to take multiple pictures there.
Cold wind gushed along the sand, making a sieve out of my jacket. I smiled.
Leo’s parents have a house at Carolina Beach, so we go fairly often. But I almost prefer the beach in the winter, when the sand and sea have a desolate, lonely look. No one is there as you walk along the wet, packed sand, watching angry waves create foam that blows on ahead of your path. It is cold, but the ocean has a different appearance during this time. It’s like She puts on winter clothes.
There is also something appealing about a beach town during the off-season, when no one but the locals are in residence.
For me, the beach is an escape from my home in Raleigh, an easy getaway to something different. In winter, that retreat is more complete because of the ambiance emptiness and gray skies lend to a normally cheerful and bright location.
Six a.m. is not my best hour. But for Key West, it might be worth it.
Still, I was sleepy on the drive down from Miami. We’d just been stuffed full of Cuban food, courtesy of my boyfriend Leo’s grandparents. All I wanted to do was take the longest, strongest nap of my life.
But then I saw it. The vast water, a shade of aqua that I’d only seen on TV. I sat up in my seat in our rented car and just stared. My eyes couldn’t drink enough of the view.
Until August, I’d never been to South Florida or the keys. It was a sauna, but that didn’t deter my friends and I, who snorkeled, partied on Duval Street and enjoyed a free house for three full days.
As Leo and I sat in the car, we joked that maybe this cabin retreat would have a hot tub.
“Nah,” I told him. “I don’t think so.”
We pulled up to the Sugar Hollow Sequoia cabin at 10:30 p.m. I was struck by how homey it appeared from the outside and how conveniently it was set up inside. As we explored, I wandered to the rear of the living room to scope out the back deck. I wanted to know if I could see any stars.
But eyes were not drawn to the skies. “What IS that?” I asked Leo.
We both started laughing. It’s a HOT TUB!
We turned and gave each other a high five.
Sugar Hollow is a cabin/woods retreat just across the Tennessee border, not far from where I used to live in Bristol. I’ve just been hired to help do some writing for them and get the word out about the place, hence the reason for my visit. You can look for my writings on the Sugar Hollow Web site soon.