Weekly Photo Challenge: Tiny

A few years ago my family had the pleasure of visiting Eleuthera, one of the islands of the Bahamas.  We stayed in a tiny house that overlooked an endless pink sand beach and the gentle edge of the Atlantic Ocean.  Over the course of a week, we discovered many little treasures: lizards, fish, snails, sea shells.  This itty-bitty guy was my favorite…

dsc_1444

{ Hermit crab found at Preacher’s Cave, Eleuthera, Bahamas }

Find many more tiny things here.

Small Pleasures: August Edition

August threw me from the heights of unstructured leisure to the rude awakening of a tightly scheduled existence with barely enough time to catch my breath.  Now, in the middle of September, I realize I never took the time to review the best small pleasures of last month.  They were delightful and deserve the proper amount of recognition and gratitude so I’m posting them without guilt even though summer vacation is long gone.

  1. Stargazing.  Light pollution makes for a very disappointing stargazing experience in my neighborhood.  When we camped in the Adirondacks in early August, I was thrilled to find a visible swath of Milky Way and a glittering mass of stars filling the clear night sky.  My experience was the same as Switchfoot’s Jon Foreman when he sings, “When I look at the stars, I see Someone else, when I look at the stars, I feel like myself.”
  2. Sitting around a campfire on a cool night in the Adirondacks.  This includes hanging with family and making s’mores.  No other explanation needed.
  3. Listening to The Girl With All the Gifts audiobook with my family.  The Girl With All the Gifts is a great book that generated a bit of communal gagging and several stimulating discussions.  There is nothing like vicariously battling zombies to bring a family together.  (Book review can be found here.)
  4. Vistas.  I’m talking about the view from Mount Defiance looking across Fort Ticonderoga and Lake Champlain and the panorama of wilderness from the fire tower on top of Snowy Mountain.  Nothing was much higher than four thousand feet but the views were spectacular and all the more rewarding if effort was required to get my middle-aged, sadly out-of-shape body to the lookout spot (i.e., the 7 mile Snowy Mountain butt-kicking haul).
  5. Kayaking on a perfect summer evening.  Simply sublime…

dsc_0931

dsc_0942

dsc_0919

The Cherry on Top: Old Hill Cidery

This week’s prompt for The Daily Post’s Weekly Photo Challenge is “Cherry on Top”.  As an explanation, Michelle offers:

“The cherry on top. The icing on the cake. Or, as the straightforward folks at Oxford Dictionaries explain it, “a desirable feature perceived as the finishing touch to something that is already very good.”

My most recent “cherry on top” experience happened on the return leg of a road trip through Virginia Jay and I took for our anniversary a few weeks ago.  From the beginning the vacation was exactly what we hoped it would be: relaxing at a gorgeous resort (Primland) between hikes in the Blue Ridge mountains with a very few touristy destinations (like Thomas Jefferson’s Poplar Forest and Chateau Morrisette Winery) thrown in the mix.

The last stop on our journey home required a short detour off Interstate 81 to the town of Timberville, VA.  Our destination? Old Hill Cidery, which we found nestled among rolling hills in the Shenandoah Valley.  The grounds were adorable, the cider tasting was educational and fun, and because we were the only customers in the shop at the time, we enjoyed a friendly conversation with the young woman who ran the shop.  She then directed us behind the shop, where we found a unique “Virginia is for Lovers” sign with a quintessential rural Virginia view.  It was the perfect ending to our anniversary trip, an unexpected and delightful “cherry on top”!

DSC_0541

{ View from the parking area of Old Hill Cidery }

DSC_0534

{ Cider Tasting }

DSC_0548

{ View of the Shenandoah Valley }

Check out other “cherry on top” offerings at The Daily Post.