This year we brought along Zach's mom and had a great time celebrating the 4th, kid's birthdays, and the gift of life with our family.
One of our favorite sites in the area is the view from Water Rock Knob.
Lake J, our home away from home.
Love this lakeside chapel.
This is our Lake J dream house (if the kitchens and baths were fully renovated :))
One of her faves- Queen Anne's Lace.
Love watching these two grow closer and closer with each passing day.
And there it is… Midnight Hole… the place for swimming and "cliff" diving into the coldest, clearest, mountain water- the kind that literally takes your breath away and sends your nervous system into overdrive.
Allie of course just jumped in and started swimming. Haha
I have always been… how shall I say...cautious about the frigid water, not wanting to get in, but eventually I am coerced by Zach, Allie, Lindsay, etc. This year… Lindsay was my motivation… egging me on in my head to live a little and do what she would have done. I even climbed up that rock (pictured behind my head) and jumped off into the deep in her honor. Here's to you Lindz!
Cataloochee is also a favorite spot we try and visit at sunset for a spectacular view.
One of our favorite things about Cataloochee is the horses. Horses from the ranch roam (relatively) free across grassy, rolling hills.
And sometimes they come to say hi.
Or to stop you in your tracks completely. Ha! Literally just standing in front of the car.
And now for the 4th. The 4th of July was a beautiful day at Lake J.
Like last year, I wore Lindsay's handmade 4th of July necklace.
Waiting for the parade to start!
The Lake J parade is just… the best. Can't get any more small town America than this!
Fire truck with fire.. dogman? I'm not sure what you call that character. Ha!
My cousin Bonnie and her son Aiden (who turned 1 yr old on the 4th!). Happy Birthday buddy!
The community band. Gotta love it.
Back to the parade coverage… random girls riding bikes..
Aaaand THIS. THIS was by far my favorite part of the parade. I mean, how can you beat this?! I just love these old guys. The sign on the front of the golf cart said "It's a grand old flag."
Besides attending the parade, another long standing 4th of July tradition has been oreo ice-cream cake. My grandma use to make it every year. Now that we stopped having a cookout at her house (and she wasn't going to make it), the oreo ice cream cake tradition was in peril, but have no fear! I wasn't about to let that happen so I made it myself. :)
In the afternoon we took a jaunt down to Waynesville for lunch and to window shop.
Cheers Lady Liberty!
including my personal favorite shop - the Dog Bakery. A hot dog and moonshine sounds like the perfect mountain doggie treat! Haha
Our favorite lunch spot in Waynesville is Panacea CoffeeHouse. I've posted pics of it in the past, but I love to find new angles of it's beauty to capture.
And I love this nook. Those windows. Swoon. One day I wanna live in a house with windows like that.
Panacea's outdoor patio abuts a beautiful creek so this is where we had lunch. Can't get much better than this!
And our other favorite local joint is Frog's Leap Public House. It's a bit more foodie than anywhere else around, but we love the rustic interior and fresh, seasonal menu.
And then later on that night we celebrated 3 family birthdays - Aiden who turned 1, his cousin Lauren who turned 6 on the 7th and my Grandma Jean, who was also born on the 7th of July. Lauren's younger sister Adie loves her some cupcakes. I mean BIG TIME. I couldn't resist snapping a pic of the pure delight she was experiencing while eating one.
Happy Independence Day America!
And of course, the 4th wouldn't be the 4th without some stuff exploding in the sky. My pictures don't do this justice (it's nearly impossible to catch fireworks with an iPhone camera), but few things compare to watching fireworks over a lake surrounded by mountains with your family. We are blessed!
Group shot (of my immediate family).