Weekly Photo Challenge – Life Imitates Art

Chances are if you have visited this blog in the past you know that one of my favorite places to photograph is Brookgreen Gardens, a fantastic sculpture garden located in coastal South Carolina.  You can find tons of pictures of the gorgeous gardens here and here.

For this week’s theme I dug through my archives to find these photos from a  trip to the gardens in March of 2012.  It was the early days of spring, the weather was getting warmer, the flowers were beginning to bloom, and I was a bit giddy with spring fever.  The end result was a wonderful day full of sightseeing and silliness, and of course, a dose of life imitating art.

Look dear, do you see that foolish woman posing like the huntress?

Look dear, do you see that foolish woman posing like the huntress?

Happily minding their own business...

Happily minding their own business…

...until this silly lady crashes the party...

…until this silly lady crashes the party…

(I think I need a do-over on this one as my form could be better.)

For all of this week’s interpretations follow the link: Life Imitates Art
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All photographs copyright @Karen B. Pearce and Fill Your Own Glass

Weekly Photo Challenge- Optimistic

Aruba

From this angle it’s hard to imagine things could be anything but right with the world.  If only for a little while, you can forget your worries and visualize the endless opportunities that await you…

See all of the interpretations for this week’s challenge here:  Optimistic

Come by and join Fill Your Own Glass on Facebook here!

WPC- Circle

This week’s photo challenges asks for our interpretation on the Circle theme.  I have chosen to share these photos of a gorgeous sunset that I captured during a visit to Aruba last month.  I love the pure circle of the sun descending, as well as the idea that the same sun will ascend again tomorrow and the next tomorrow in an unending circle.

You can find all of this week’s entries here:
Circle

One Happy Island

We returned home late last night after spending a blissful five days relaxing in Aruba with two of our closest friends.  Aruba, a tiny Dutch island that is a part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, is billed as one happy island, and it lives up to the name.  From the moment we stepped off of the plane upon arrival until the moment we stepped on a different plane to depart we were welcomed and met with friendly, smiling faces.

We  stayed at the Divi Aruba All Inclusive Resort in Oranjestad which is a short trip from the airport.  We enjoyed the intimate feel of the property, and our beachside rooms were steps from the beach.  Our wristbands also afforded us access to the neighboring Tamarijn resort and its bars and restaurants.

Within minutes of settling in we met on the beach, anxious to relax with drinks in hand and our toes in the sand.  The white sand beach stays cool and does not burn the bottom of your feet even at midday.  We were rewarded with the trade winds offering a cooling breeze and a stunning sunset over the ocean.

While there was free wifi available in the lobby area, we chose to heed the advice offered at a local restaurant, The Paddock, and remain unplugged.  The reward was great face-to-face conversation and much laughter.  We were glad to have opted to tuned out and simply chill for a few days.

 

The days went by quicker than we wished, but they were relaxing and rejuvenating.  We spent time swimming in the gorgeous clear ocean, sipping cocktails, and sampling plentiful food at the two resorts’ restaurants.  We went offsite for a fun sailing and snorkeling excursion where even I stepped out of my comfort zone and snorkeled.  We explored the downtown area and its colorful shops.  We have already started a list of things to do and see upon our return.

We made new friends and strengthened relationships with old friends.  We celebrated our 18th wedding anniversary a few days early.  We hated to leave, but we returned home with memories that will last a lifetime.

Aruba has cemented its place as my favorite island getaway spot.  It is a destination we will revisit in the near future.  There is a native phrase, biba dushi, that roughly translates to living the sweet life, and that is a perfect description of the past five days.  In our eyes Aruba more than lives up to its “one happy island” moniker.

 

 

 

 

Finding Fall (Holiday Road Tripping)

Each fall I find myself longing to be in the mountains.  Here in coastal South Carolina we do not have the change in colors, or in temperatures, that I was accustomed to growing up in New Jersey.  Sensing my need for cooler air and higher elevations, my husband suggested a long weekend in Asheville, NC, and we decided Thanksgiving was the perfect time for a road trip.

We drove up on Thanksgiving and enjoyed a holiday feast of chicken nachos and smoked gouda mac ‘n cheese accompanied by a few local craft beers at The Bier Garden in Asheville.  If you are a craft beer lover I suggest you put this city on your must-visit list as there are several quality breweries in the area.  Our favorite find this trip was the Catawba Valley White Zombie Ale with a fresh orange slice.

On Friday we hit the Blue Ridge Parkway for a scenic trip to Graveyard Fields Falls for our first hike.  We were a few weeks late for the fall foliage, but the air was blissfully humidity-free.   The upside was less traffic and less crowds.  We did not find this area to be the most picturesque, but we did enjoy an active four-plus mile hike that helped us burn off (some) of our meal from the night before.

On Saturday we ventured off to Catawba Falls in Old Fort, NC at the recommendation of a friend.  It was a gorgeous day, and the scenery here did not disappoint.  The trail is basically a three-mile roundtrip up to the falls and back.  You do have to cross the river at the start/ end point, so be prepared with waterproof boots (or wade across sans socks and shoes as some hikers do).

Upon leaving Catawba Falls we decided to drive to Mount Mitchell State Park in Burnsville, NC.  The drive up the Blue Ridge Parkway is breathtaking in its own right.  Upon reaching the park you can climb to the summit and look out from the highest elevation point east of the Mississippi River.  There are different trails to choose from, and due to limited daylight hours left we picked a short three-quarters of a mile Balsam Trail.

We made our way back to the coast this afternoon tired, happy, and with great memories of a wonderful weekend getaway.  It was the perfect opportunity to unplug and tune in to the wonders that nature offers.  If there is one thing I have learned it is that when the mountains are calling I must put down the phone and answer them.

Daily Prompt:  Bloggers, Unplugged

All Photos Copyright @Karen B. Pearce 2015

The Joy of Outside

After the recent flooding event in South Carolina we are happy to have been graced with dry, sunny days for the past week.  Here along the coast we do not see much of the autumnal change of colors, but we do enjoy some refreshingly cool days in October.  It brings a welcome change from the sticky heat and humidity of summer.  These are the days that make you want to be outdoors, and when the sun came out last Sunday that is just where we headed.  We opted to spend the day at Brookgreen Gardens.

I introduced you to Brookgreen Gardens last spring in this post.  While the colors are not as vibrant in the fall as they are in the spring when the gardens are in full bloom there are still pops of color to be found.

There was lingering evidence of the floods as one side of the property is bordered by the Waccamaw River.  The nature trail that runs along the river was covered in water.  The steps leading down to the trail appeared to lead straight into the water.  (I would not recommend taking those steps unless you fancy a close encounter with a snake or an alligator.)

We did venture down near the nature trail to capture this gorgeous guy:

We were able to get close to some more inviting critters…

Oh, and I wasn’t kidding about the alligators…

Overall it was a wonderful day to be enveloped by the joy of being outside, breathing in the cooler air, feeling the hint of a crisp breeze, and seeing blue skies free of ominous rain clouds!


I hope you enjoy the photos, and I hope you are outside finding your own joy this fall!  Cheers!  Karen

All photos copyright @Karen B. Pearce 2015