Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Chats on the Farmhouse Porch #2

I hope you're having a blessed Tuesday.  It feels like one of those days that goes by before you can blink, but has been a nice one.  Some crafting and baking has made for a relaxing, joyful day.
 
Today I am doing my second "Chat on the Farmhouse Porch" on Patrice's refreshing porch at Everyday Ruralty!  To read Patrice's chat and everyone else joining, or write one yourself, click here :) 
I love her warm blog and the idea of having a lovely summer chat like this.  It is so neat and inviting and I am excited to be doing another one.
 
Here are the questions for today!...
 
 
QUESTIONS:
 
1.  Are you looking forward to Fall?
YES!!  Fall is one of my most favorite seasons.  These Southern summers are full of joy and fun times, but they are also killer when it comes to heat.  When Fall comes, it brings those crisp breezes and cool air with it and is such a relief!  Not to mention, the joys of decorating for fall.
At Hobby Lobby, they have their Fall aisles set up and I have already been browsing and dreaming of Fall.  I am dreaming of leaves and pumpkin patches and the feeling of coziness that begins with the season.
 
 
2.  What are your three best colors to wear, and what are your three worst?
This is an interesting question to think about.  I think my top best color would be blue.  Wearing your eye color seems to look lovely on everyone because it compliments it so.  The ones I have been told most are blue, red, and greens.  I also love coral; I think I look okay in that.  My three worst would probably be light yellow, light peach, or light purple like lilac (which is also what Patrice said!).  I think being really fair, I need some brighter and darker colors for some contrast.
 
3.  What is your favorite kind of juice? 
I can't get enough of apple juice.  Right now, though, I'm a little addicted to peach juice!  It is a peach juice mixed with tea actually.  It is so refreshing, especially now.
 
4.  Have you ever been in the hospital (at least an overnight)? 
I haven't been in the hospital before for any ailment.  I've had times when I was in pain or something and felt pretty awful, but I will do anything to not go if I don't absolutely have to.  I usually just try to start feeling better or let whatever it is pass and then I'm fine.
I do know a couple of people in the hospital right now though, so I am praying for them!
 
5. Do jingles, songs from ads, and TV or movie themes stick in your head?  Do you find yourself singing them? 
Oh yes!  I have had this problem for as long as I can remember, sometimes to the point of them being in my head and I can't fall asleep because I keep singing them in my head at night!  As far as shows, the ones I get most often stuck in my head are theme songs of shows I watch most.  I tend to like older shows, namely Little House on the Prairie, I Love Lucy, Murder She Wrote, and others I'm sure I'm forgetting.  A few summer's ago, I remember Who's the Boss started showing all day and being off of school, I watched that quite a bit.  So that song was in my head for about three months!  My head always seems to pick the cheesy ones to get stuck in it, haha.  Then lately, even though it has been forever since I've seen a re-run, I have had the Gilligan's Island song in my head for some reason.  It's pretty catchy.
 
 
 
I so enjoyed another chat!  I had missed doing the last couple, so it is nice to join another one and get to read other chats!
 
 
I hope you are having a blessed day and a wonderful week so far♥
 
 
 

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Adventures in Arkansas

I hope everyone is having a great Wednesday! 

I thought today that I would share some photos of the trip we just took!  By some, I mean a lot, haha.  Taking photographs on vacations is something I love so much and I probably get a little carried away sometimes wanting to capture everything.  So I ended up taking over 500 photos.  But I picked what I thought were the best in sort of telling the story of the trip to share.

First of all, the place our family went was to Arkansas!  Mainly Hot Springs, Arkansas and the surrounding areas and lakes.  And boy, was it beautiful. 
It was a trip I am feel very blessed to have taken, not only for the scenery God painted that we got to take in, but for the memories and wonderful times we had along the way.  I am so thankful we got to go.
And it was so nice to get to see a different and new part of the South as well!


This first photo is one I wanted to include because it is one we took while on the road there.  We were pretty far into Arkansas already, I believe, and I remember the one thing we all kept saying was how beautiful and tall and different the trees were compared to where we are from.  They
were all types of trees, including pines, and they lined the highways and made for such a scenic drive.


This was the view from our hotel room.  I took this the evening we got in.
It was so beautiful to look out on the mountains far in the distance, especially with the storm
rolling in over them.

The hotel ceiling was glass, which we enjoyed, especially at breakfast in the mornings
when the sun shone in so nicely.

We also enjoyed sitting by the waterfall in the middle.


Lake Catherine State Park was the first major place we visited.  It was very beautiful and
proved to show even more amazing trees and views of the nature there.

The first thing we did in the park was go horseback riding!!  I was so excited about this,
because I had been dreaming of getting on a horse again.
It was wonderful and we all enjoyed it.  The trail ride was beautiful and the horses were so
beautiful.

My horse's name was Prince.

Prince kept trying to reach under the railing in the corral and the man who ran the riding
stables told me that this horse was kind of an escape artist, haha.  He did seem to have
a mind of his own on the ride.  Wherever I led him, he usually did the opposite which I thought
was pretty funny.  He was a really sweet horse, though.


After riding, we drove a little further into the park and started hiking a trail.  I took this because
I thought it was a neat shot of just how tall the trees were.

It was so beautiful walking through, and being in the middle of a forest made for
a scenic hike.


At the end of the hike, we came to the area where the Falls Creek Falls were supposed to be.
However, we were disappointed to find that because of it being dry, the waterfall was not running.
I was so looking forward to seeing it, but I guess I'll have to wait till we come back someday.
After the area where the waterfall was supposed to be, though, we got this wonderful view
of Lake Catherine.  It was very pretty.  We found a place to sit and stayed there awhile, just
enjoying the sound of the water on the banks below and the noises of nature.

This was a suspension bridge near the end of the trail on the way out.  I thought it was neat.  It felt funny to walk on since it was so wobbly.

Next, we headed to the Garvan Woodland Gardens down the road.  They are a huge botanical garden.
Because of the season, some of the flowers had died already as the lady there told us.  But it was an amazing experience to enjoy the flowers that were still there and also the nature and water all throughout.




I think we all agreed that seeing this was one of our favorite parts of the whole trip... if you have ever visited Anthony Chapel before, you know how unique and beautiful a place this is.  It is made mostly of glass and you can see the forest around it from every angle inside.  Even the ceiling is glass.
I think after seeing it so much in travel brochures and online while we were planning the trip, it was just amazing to see it in person.  It was more amazing than I ever imagined!

I couldn't help but thinking how wonderful it must be for those who get married in this beautiful place.



It was quite an experience standing there in the quiet and taking in all the beauty of the architecture, especially since we were able to see all the beauty outside at the same time.

These were some of the flowers we saw along the way once we reached the gardens.  I thought the color was so lovely, almost an electric periwinkle.

The Koi pond the path in the gardens brought us to.


The beautiful waterfall.  We walked along the rocks and leaned under it.  That felt so good after walking in the heat.


More of the Gardens...



They even had a little place for pets to cool off in.  The cute little "Pet Fountain"!

Wished we could have taken home one of these giant wind-chimes.  Amazing.


Another memorable part of our trip was driving up Hot Springs Mountain and going up in the Hot Springs tower!  Being so high (216 feet in the air) and looking down on the city and upon miles of countryside and the Ouachita mountains in the distance was memorable.









In the elevator on the way back down.  I loved being so high above the land like that and being
able to see so much and so far.


Later that same day, we took a wonderful and scenic drive to Lake Ouachita.  This was such a nice day.  It was beautiful out and we had so much fun that day.  The drive alone was so pretty, but the day was even better.


We stopped to admire the bright flowers in front of the visitor center when we first got there.
I think this is my favorite photo from the whole trip.  It just makes me happy.
I was so happy I caught the butterflies before they flew away.

...which reminds me of the different kinds of butterflies we saw there also.  I love admiring
the species and their beautiful colors.  One at Lake Catherine was black and had an iridescent green stripe on the bottom of it's wings and was just beautiful.


 Once we got to the lake, oh my goodness was it beautiful!  And that was just from our view standing on the docks.  We rented a boat and soon got to actually get out on the water.  This was one of our favorite parts of the trip.  It was so peaceful out there.

To give an idea of what it was like, the lake was like none I had ever seen.  It was so enormous and had countless little islands all throughout that you could stop and walk around on or just float by and look in.  Looking up into the trees above was neat as we drove the boat closer to the banks of the islands. To get an idea of what I mean as far as islands, you can see the travel page for Lake Ouachita here



















It may sound strange, but I thought this was such a nice rock.  It looked so picturesque reflecting in the water.


Something about the scenery that was really pretty was going between the islands and coming to a point where you could see more and more land far in the distance, like you can see in this photo.





Back on land, looking down at the lake...







On one of our days, we took some time to explore the city.  Hot Springs was a fun place to explore and get to see.  More than anything, it seemed very historic.
This was the front of the historic Arlington hotel, built in the 1920's.  I loved this place and the old feel of it.  We weren't staying there, but you can just walk in and take a look at it anyway.


We read this before we walked in and I think every time we went up a staircase,
we were all thinking "Babe Ruth and Joe DiMaggio went up these same stairs."  It was kind of cool.
We're big on baseball, but even if you're not it's pretty neat to know that.
  
It was such a lovely, old hotel- both out front and inside.
The architecture was so beautiful with big archways and elaborate stair cases and marble.




The way this was set up kind of reminded me of an old dinner club.
I liked standing there and imagining what it must have been like in the 30s again
and everyone was sitting there in their evening gowns having dinner.

Beautiful, old chandeliers.

The hotel had one of these doors as it's entrance.  I always think I'm going to get stuck
in these.  I guess you won't really, but I'm always afraid of that.

There had to be some silliness, so I took a photo of my face as I daringly went through the door ;)

One thing I thought was great about this hotel and added to it's beauty and old charm
was that it looked like nothing had been changed or really updated.
Like this wonderful veranda on the front of the hotel where guests could sit and look out on the town.



Across the street a sidewalk under a line of Magnolias led to a park, the next place we visited...
 the namesake of the National Park and the city... the hot springs!








At this point in the park, they streamed down a little hill into these small pools.
And they were so much hotter than I ever expected.  People were around us putting their hands and their feet in and testing it.  Most of them pulled back fast though because of how hot the water was. 

The view from the hot springs, looking out on the hotel and the street.

 A statue across from the hot springs.


Hot Springs downtown was very pretty and historic feeling also.
There were flowers hanging everywhere and the old style lampposts that gave
it such a quaint feel.  And walking along the main street, there were so many historic buildings.




Hot Springs is perhaps most well known for it's bathhouses, utilizing the hot spring water.
This was one I snapped a photo of from across the street as we walked.






Later, we crossed the street and walked along the side of the street where all the bathhouses were.
It is called Bathhouse Row.
The architecture on each one was so unique.



You can kind of get an idea of how long the row of bathhouses was in this photo.

This one reminded me of an old temple or something, with the arches and dome.

This is one of the most well known ones from what we heard.  It is called Fordyce Bathhouse.
I wanted to walk inside to see the old floors and what it looked like, but it was under construction.


Carriage rides seemed to be a popular thing to do around town.  I loved watching
them go by.




We went on a walk on our last evening in Hot Springs.
This was a place you could walk along the side of one of the mountains.
It was called "The Promenade".  The history of the name was kind of neat- according to
a sign at the entrance to the walk, couples courting used to walk up here in the early 1900's
to look out on the city and talk and walk together.  How sweet :)


Walking along "The Promenade", looking down on the hot springs. 
They seemed to be running out from unexpected places all throughout the mountain.
View from a little ways up at the start of our walk.

Walking back to the hotel, we took photos in front of the "Welcome to Hot Springs- Hometown
of Bill Clinton" sign.  It was very touristy, hehe, but it was a neat place for a picture, and there was also a nice fountain behind on the right.
There were a lot of little fountains and combined with the hot springs, it was neat to have so many little places to enjoy the water throughout the city.




That was our trip!  It was so much fun and I am glad to have gotten to take so many pictures and created so many memories.
We had a wonderful time as a family on our vacation to see a new part of the South, beautiful Arkansas.

There is so much nature and beauty there and so much more that we didn't see and hope to on another trip in the future!
Altogether we visited one national park and three state parks.  I only shared two on here, because the last one was so different and special that I thought it should have it's own post.  So hopefully I will get to write about that soon.



Thank you for coming along with me :)

Hope you have a blessed day!


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