Salty Heirs

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Ava Fisher Breaststroke 2015

We were at Collegiate in Richmond this weekend for Ava's swim meet. Breaststroke is her favorite stroke. With a NT (not time) we didn't really know what to expect but she came in 2nd... yes 2nd overall. We are super happy. She came in 7th overall in backstroke and 11th in freestyle.

Such fun to go to and what an amazing facility. We are proud parents today! Tired though... swimmer parents and kids get used to getting up at 5 a.m. It was an early morning but we did get to eat lunch at Steak N Shake on the way home.

I'm not a videographer and the music might get on your nerves.. Turn it off. So exciting though!

Leigh Ann

Friday, January 23, 2015

Visit Ocracoke: Riding the Ferry

We normally don't visit Ocracoke in the summer because even with three ferry's tirelessly shuffling people back and forth from Hatteras to Ocracoke Island, the wait is forever. We once went in the summer after getting up early on vacation, driving the hour from Kill Devil Hill down to Hatteras and were told it would be a three hour wait to get on the ferry on this side. We couldn't imagine the wait on the opposite side so we turned around defeated and went home. Well, being the dead of winter we decided on our recent trip visiting my mother and father in law, because it is winter, couldn't be that many people heading to an island in the Atlantic. Let's go! 

We packed up early Saturday morning with a couple of bags of chips left in the car from the drive down to the beach and that large box of Gobstoppers we won from the Wilderness Lodge and drove down to catch the ferry. When we got there, we noticed a ferry just departed so that kind of stank but we all did have to use the restroom so we headed inside the small station to use it and find something to drink. Chips and no drink can make for a dry mouth.

We walked around inside and check out some nautical charts, ferry times and bought a couple of items from the vending machines. After becoming bored of doing that we walked around outside noticing the one car in front of us and felt pretty good about getting on the next ferry. Soon the ferry did arrive from Ocracoke but it must have been lunch break because all of the workers got off and went missing for about twenty minutes. Soon we were told to board. I drove my car on the ferry and we were finally off.

Usually the ferry ride is about thirty minutes but because of the nor'easterns that have come through the OBX, it has pushed sand into the inlet in between Hatteras and Ocracoke. Instead of turning south towards the island, we headed west for about twenty minutes before turning back south and then east towards the island. After we reached the island and drove off the ferry, it's about a twenty minute ride into town. We were starved by this point. We were thinking we would be on the island around noon but now it was pushing two. 

We had already had a place in mind to eat but when we reached it, it was closed for the winter season. At this point we were all thinking we were going to be stopping at a convenience store for some pre-made, plastic wrapped sandwiches but we finally came across a Restaurant. Don't you love pulling up and seeing the restaurant is named Restaurant? I was thrilled, let me tell you. The food wasn't that bad and the restaurant was really named The Topless Oyster.

After eating, Douglas showed us around the island because she comes here every year with girlfriends she goes to school with. We visited the lighthouse, the canal homes and saw all of the unopened shops. It was getting around four and I realized at four-thirty the ferry would be leaving. Knowing we weren't going to make it home before dark, we still were ready to go. We popped on the ferry and enjoyed the hour ride back.

It was a nice visit but nothing compares Ocracoke in the summer to Ocracoke in the winter. 

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Thought of the Day

I saw my buddy Rachel from Pickles and Chapstick pin this today and because she is a momma like me, I know where she is coming from. Hell Yes for Mommas. We wouldn't be here without ours. 

Monday, January 19, 2015

Ski: The Homestead

I was not raised on a ski slope. My hubby more so than I. Never getting to experience the sport as a child, I knew when we moved to Virginia the opportunity would show. We've hit the slopes a couple of times mostly at Wintergreen and Gatlinburg but couple of weeks ago, Joe's buddy invited us up to take a trial run before our ski trip to Wintergreen in two weeks. 

We stayed at his family's vacation home which was beyond beautiful. The front yard has remains of an old hunting cabin. We ate dinner at Cucci's one night and I cooked the other. We hit the slopes at the Omni Homestead Saturday and I still stop by hitting the ground or skiing right onto the lift. Here's to helmet wearing up in West Virginia and taking another class.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Visit Sevierville: Eat Holston' Kitchen

We visited the Gatlinburg Area of Tennessee over the girls' Christmas Holiday. We stayed at The Wilderness Lodge of the Smokies and after swimming, sliding down slides, soaking it up in the hot tub and playing games in the arcade during the day, we were ready to check out some places to eat at night. 

The dinner we enjoyed the last night out was the best. We accidently stumbled upon Holston's while using a back road into Pigeon Forge. Getting lost can be the thing to happen to us every now and then. We were already headed to another spot for dinner to meet my girlfriend when we passed the place. The following night the family decided it was time to check out this local favorite. 

Holston's opened in March of 2013 and was named after the Holston River which is a major river in southwestern Virginia and east Tennessee. While debating a name for the restaurant, the owner wanted to keep local heritage in mind and gave this restaurant one those of the area could be proud to frequent.

When you enter the two double doors, you are surrounded by brick walls and shiny hardwood floors with a smoky mountain feel inviting you in. The atmosphere was very welcoming and warm. The interior is decorated in blacks and browns with copper accessories. We chose to eat at a large table in the bar. A large photo of a Tennessee Volunteer tackling a Florida Gator was our backdrop.

Our server was the bartender and though she was heavily overworked, her service never faltered. I had a glass of Sauvignon Blanc while we waited on our meals and Joe a Tito and Ginger. 

What We Ate:

Joe: Hawaiian Ribeye: 
2 oz. prime USDA-AGED Certified Angus, marinated in pineapple juice, soy sauce and ginger. He chose the Spinach Maria and the Julienne Crispy Fries for his sides.

Me: Holston's Thai Noodle Salad with Grilled Chicken: Noodles and Chicken in a Thai sauce with cilantro, peanuts, spinach, mango and sesame seeds.

Douglas: Little Italy: 
Chicken Breast layered with roasted red peppers and mozzarella cheese, finished with sauteed spinach, mushrooms, and a demi glaze. Served with fettuccini alfredo. 

Sage and Ava: Mexican Monday: Taco Burrito
Ground Beef, refried beans, shredded cheddar jack, shredded lettuce, Pico de Gallo, and a red enchilada sauce. Served with rice and beans. 

Mom: Fish and Chips:
Beer Battered cod served with french fries and coleslaw. 

Stay Sevierville, Tennessee: Wilderness at the Smokies

For months we planned on getting together with my grandparents along with my aunt and her two children for Christmas at the Wilderness at the Smokies in Sevierville, TN. For years, we always meet around here because it is a halfway point between Memphis and Williamsburg.Then my grandfather was in a wreck and long story short, because of his injuries they were unable to come. Because this was our Christmas presents from them, they told us they wanted us to still go. So, we did.

We have driven by this place for years wondering what it was like inside and finally were getting to see. My mom checked us in and we were booked in the One Bedroom Deluxe Suite with two queen beds, two pull out couches, a murphy bed and one bunk. We didn't need that many beds but it was nice to have the extra space. The suite included a fireplace, sitting area, full kitchen and two full baths. All of the beds had access to televisions to which we love since we all fall asleep to it. The suite was very nice but the place had its quirks.

The Wilderness at the Smokies reminds me of a place I would stay when I would go on church trips when I was younger. The lodge itself is one long building in which all the rooms must be entered from the hallway. Be prepared to hear kids and adults running and screaming down the hall at all hours. When we first arrived we located a luggage cart and started piling all of our items on it. When we rolled the cart into the hall on the first floor in search of an elevator we came to one lonely elevator surrounded by fifty people. While I waited with mom for it, Joe parked the car and the kids ran up the two flights of stairs to the third floor and found our room.

Pushing the cart down this long hallway, we see housekeeping littering the way with cart after cart full of towels, coffee and linens. Once we were able to maneuver between all of these workers (it was after six) and wheel the heavy cart down the half mile hallway, we made it. Unpacked, jumped on the beds and got ready to go check out the facilities. 

We walked again down the long hallway to the end where the water park entrance was and noticed the big signs: No Outside Food or Drinks. I didn't really pay much attention to it because what hotel in which you are paying to stay enforces you bringing an outside beverage while walking in their facilities? No one said anything and I would have been a bit perturbed if someone had.

As we approached the entrance to where the fun was, we turned the corner to see flashing lights of the arcade area. People were everywhere and I for one was a bit overwhelmed. We checked out the games, the crane machines, the bowling area, the laser tag and the miniature golf  before heading out into the indoor waterpark. We were not dressed for it and got overheated pretty quickly but everything was very exciting so we dealt with it. Water was everywhere along with half dressed bodies. We checked out the scene and afterwards decided it was time for dinner.

When we came back  to take the same elevator back up in which we had just ridden down, we were graced with a laminated note taped on the door telling us it was out of order not realizing this would be how the elevator remained until we left four days later. I suppose we should have realized something seeing the note was laminated.

We trekked up the two long flights of stairs back to the third floor and got dressed for dinner. We wound up eating at a family favorite located inside the vicinity of the outlet mall, The Chop House. It was very nice how they serve the wine they sell. You can either buy a 6 oz. or a 9 oz. glass. The food was excellent and I plan on blogging about our experience later.

The following days were filled with fun at the water park. We enjoyed The Runaway Canyon more than we thought we would. Being so close to Water Country USA, we have ridden a ride sort of like this and felt it was going to be a slow, family ride. Were we wrong. Once we had all five of us on that float, we FLEW down the tube. The Storm Chaser was exciting but very short and the line was always long for it. When you get in line for these two rides, know the left lane is for The Runaway Canyon and the right is for The Storm Chaser. 

The girls and I got in the wave pool once but it was kind of chilly. The Indoor Tube Slides were fun especially the purple one. Once when riding in the front, I was completely thrown from the tube. A lifeguard even asked if I was alright. The yellow slide was pitch black when in it. The Smokies Surf Rider was ridden by Sage and Ava but the line was so long they rode once and were done. We hung out a lot in the Magnolia Grove Hot Spa getting warm and soaking our bodies.

We had a couple of guest visits including my best friend and roomie in college, Caryn and her fiance Joe. Joe is such a good name. His two boys also came for a day at the waterpark and it makes my heart melt seeing my friend who has wanted a family for years have one. She is already such a great Step-Mom. 

The only way you can enjoy the waterpark if you are not staying is to know someone staying there. If this is the case when you visit, get the person staying at the resort to take you down to the front desk and get your wristband. I believe they are around $40 a person.

We also had a visit from my cousin Keith and his partner Scott. We ate at The Thirsty Miner or as hubby Joe likes to call it the The Rusty Coal Miners Thirsty Daughter. I wouldn't suggest it to my worst enemy. 

My cousin Jerry Thomas and his husband also visited us from Wisconsin. His father and girlfriend came and hung at the bar in the water park. The drink specials were amazing. Jerry Thomas also has a foreign exchange student staying with him for the year whom they brought to visit our family farm near here and to see some of the sights in Tennessee.

For the most part though, Joe became addicted to The Wizard of Oz arcade game. He sat here for most of the time and then got the rest of us addicted. In the last picture you can see what all we won from this game. 

The Wilderness at the Smokies was a fun experience with a couple of glitches.

Pros: Large Rooms, Hot Water in the Showers, Lots of TV's, Value for the Money Was Good

Cons: Lack of Elevators, Food Quality is Terrible: Go Elsewhere, Bring Your Own Coffee, Enjoy Listening to the Person in the Shower Next to You, Parking is Hectic

We stayed for four nights and if we decide to go here again, two is plenty.