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Calm Reflections Photography shares beautiful photographs that can be placed on mugs, mouse pads, canvas, puzzles, T-shirts, coasters and prints. Joanna Macaulay makes souvenirs of St. Mary’s County for tourists and local residents. Information about St. Mary’s County attractions, travel, events and photography can be found at her site. She now does pet photography as well.

To buy my photos, photo cards, and photo crafts of wildlife, pets, holidays and more, visit my Zazzle Photo store at

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Featured Post

River Concert Series “Prayer For Our Planet” on Youtube from July 10th.

Watch the River Concert Series “Prayer For Our Planet” on Youtube from July 10th.  Jim had 2 videos Henrik Naimark-Meyers and Ballet Calient...

Sunday, December 31, 2017

Bryson City to Blue Ridge Parkway Oct 24, 2017

The next morning, we headed to Asheville after breakfast in the cabin.  We returned to Bryson City and stopped at the “Loose Moose” gift shop, where I bought a funny T shirt showing a moose trophy on the wall, while his appalled moose friends said “Hey wait a minute, isn’t that Jim???”.  

I took some photos of the red caboose and the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad getting ready to leave. 

    Caboose in Bryson City

    Great Smoky Mountains Railroad

We drove to Fontana Lake to see an overlook and the recreation area.  Unfortunately, the lake was man made and looked it, but it was still a pleasant stop.  

      Fontana Lake

      Near Fontana Lake

We returned to Cherokee to see a little of what we missed.  Jim went to the Museum of the Cherokee Indian to learn about the “Trail of Tears” and the Cherokee who managed to escape that horror.  Since the dog couldn't enter the museum, I visited the Qualla Arts and Crafts Mutual with our dog, Sarita in my jacket, to admire the 3 striped handmade baskets made by using black walnut and bloodroot dyes.  I bought some small earrings for a friend since it was all I could afford there.  The crafts were beautiful and very expensive.  

      Museum of the Cherokee Indian

      Trail of Tears sculpture

      Blue Ridge Parkway tunnel

We headed towards Asheville from the bottom of the Blue Ridge Parkway at mile marker 469, stopping at Cowee Mountain,

     Cowee Mountains Overlook is known for beautiful light and shadow.  Next we viewed Graveyard Fields, Yellowstone Falls, and Looking Glass rock, a large half bald mountain peak. 

      Looking Glass Rock at sunset

We stopped for dinner at The Pisgah Inn, but a man told us the wait was 90 minutes and it would be better to go elsewhere. I took some quick photos of the view and we continued, only to find the Parkway was blocked!

      Pisgah Inn rockers

      Sunset at Pisgah Inn

So we went to the little store just down the road to ask why.  The road was partly washed out because of the Monday storm.  We picked up some snacks and sandwiches for dinner and drove back 3 miles to exit at Brevard Road, then another hour to Asheville in the dark, arriving a little after 9 pm at Andy’s Mountain Home.  The last left turn was a humdinger.  It looked like we were driving over a cliff, so Jim got out to check for a road beyond the turn.  It was there, but a little nerve wracking.  Andy had texted me earlier, saying that the River was flooding, but it receded right before we got there.

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Bryson City NC Sunday October 22 2017

After arriving in Bryson City NC, we spent the day in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park again.  I spent some time at the Farm museum at Oconaluftee Visitor Center and visited the roosters.

     Farm house

     Inside the farm house

              Busy rooster

Then we both explored the Mingus Mill in the late afternoon.

           Inside the mill was quite dark


     Old windows

           Water off the flume

     Then we drove up to see the sunset view at Clingman's Dome, even though we knew the observation tower was being renovated.

     A cap of clouds and fog made the sunset interesting.

     I decided to hike up to the observation tower before dark and brought a little flashlight. When I decided to turn around on the steep path, since I was alone, a young woman caught up to me and we decided to continue up together.  Safety in numbers!

I huffed and puffed my way up, but we got to the top before it was too dark to see.  We were met on the way down by her father and a helpful man with a flash light.  Jim and her father got concerned and they came looking for us, even though the path was wide and paved.  The parking lot was dark and foggy when we returned, but it was nice to have extra company.

After driving down from the mountain to have dinner, Jim told me the brakes were grinding.  This was frustrating, since we had a full safety inspection before our trip at Jiffy Lube.  Later, we found that they had not checked the brakes!!!  I called the police for suggestions, since it was a Sunday night.  The officer suggested we park off the road and he called a towing service for us.  They showed up with a tow truck and a 2nd car to take us back to our mountain cabin on the top of a twisty turning cliffside road.  No thanks to Jiffy Lube!!!!  At least we were safe, but stranded with enough food for 2 meals.

Bryson City Sunset View October 23, 2017

We were stranded at the Sunset View Cabin in Bryson City NC all day while our brakes were repaired.  It rained hard all day, washing out trees and roads even days later. 

 I washed our laundry.

Finally the skies cleared toward evening, so I took a few photos.

  Why the cabin was called sunset view.


Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Great Smoky Mountains, Townsend to Bryson City

Continuing our Great Smoky Mountains trip:

The next day, October 20th, Jim was feeling better, so we dropped our dog Sarita off to spend a day in the park doing activities that dogs weren't allowed to do.  The drive to the dog sitter in Maryville was crazy, full of turns, but we eventually got there.  The sitter was nice and we continued on our way to Sugarlands Visitor Center. 

After driving up a huge twisty hill, Jim asked me to take him to the hospital, since his vision was bad and he was getting a 3rd migraine!  The hospital was a 45 minute drive back to Maryville, where we spent several hours.  The doctor said one should never quit one of the drugs he left at home suddenly, and that he had treated a patient who was seeing lightning bolts as a result!  So the hospital pharmacy straightened it out with insurance, and gave us a two week supply, and Jim was discharged.  If we hadn’t dropped off Sarita that day, I wouldn’t have been able to stay with Jim in the hospital, since it was quite hot and I would have been dog-sitting outside.

Jim felt much better, so with the doctor's blessing and a recommendation for a dinner restaurant, I drove us to Foothills Parkway to see the view.  We arrived too late to go up to the observation tower, but I took a few lovely photos of the view before going to the nice restaurant, the Dancing Bear.

       Foothills Parkway

The Dancing Bear Restaurant, Townsend, TN

The next morning, October 21st, we headed towards Bryson City and stopped at The Sinks Falls and Sugarlands Visitor Center, where I walked to Cataract Falls alone, while Jim stayed with Sarita.  The Falls were tiny, just a thin thread of water, but I photographed it anyway, since I had gone to so much trouble to see it. 
 Great Smoky Mountain Creeks

                The Sinks Falls

Cataract Falls, near Sugarlands Visitor Center, 25 feet high

We continued on the Newfound Gap Road across the Great Smoky Mountain Park, north to south.  By sunset, we just happened to arrive at Newfound Gap, a photographically recommended sunset or sunrise location.  The sunset was different, but at least it wasn’t non-existent.  

                                      Newfound Gap Sunset

Memorial to Laura Spelman Rockefeller and the dedication of the Great Smoky National Park at Newfound Gap.

We continued in the dark to Bryson City, NC, through Cherokee.