We’re not traveling as much in our fifth wheel anymore so I thought it would be fun to relive some of our most memorable days from previous RV trips.
Flash back to twelve years ago, October 3, 2007. We were camping in Cherokee, North Carolina, our home base for visiting the Great Smokey Mountain National Park and the southern end of the Blue Ridge Parkway. It was foggy and drizzling for most of our stay but we managed to get in some sightseeing and scenic drives while we were there.
We started the day with a three mile hike along the Oconaluftee River inside Great Smokey Mountains National Park.
Next up was a scenic drive starting at the southern end of the Blue Ridge Parkway. The farther north we got, the thicker the fog. After a while it drizzling. I was able to get a few photos before before the weather got too bad.
It was a wonderful fall getaway with camping in Cherokee, visiting the national park, and taking drives on the Blue Ridge Parkway.
Of the eight large barrier islands off the coast of Georgia, only four can be accessed by a bridge. Sapelo Island is one of the islands can only be reached by water and visiting it has been on my bucket list for years.
Sapelo is the fourth largest Georgia barrier island. Most of the island is owned by the state of Georgia. The state owned portion of Sapelo is home to the RJ Reynolds Wildlife Management area on the north end of the island, the University of Georgia’s Marine Institute, and the Sapelo Island National Estuarine Research Reserve.
The remaining 434 acres is the privately owned community of Hog Hammock. Many of the 70 residents there are descendants of former African-American slaves. Today, some property owners live elsewhere and a few of the houses are managed as vacation rentals.
We spent Friday night in Darien so we wouldn’t have far to go for our early Saturday morning Saturday ferry. We enjoyed a delicious fried shrimp and crab cake dinner Friday night at Skippers Fish Camp on the Darien waterfront. During our after dinner walk beside the water we spied 3 baby alligators on the banks of the river and a manatee behind a shrimp boat.
On Saturday morning, it didn’t take long to get to Sapelo Visitors Center from Darien. After purchasing our tickets for the Sapelo Ferry we learned a little about the history of the island from the interpretive displays and enjoyed the views from the deck.
The ferry departed at 9:00, right on schedule. Pelicans were busy diving for fish as we made our way to the island.
Our guide Yvonne Grovner took us around the island in a small air conditioned van. Yvonne grew up on Sapelo in the Hog Hammock community and told us many interesting facts about the island. We went from paved roads to narrow dirt trails as we traveled around the island.
We climbed the 77 steps to the top of the Sapelo Lighthouse.
Our last stop before returning to the mainland was Nanny Goat Beach. It was a Saturday and there were a few people enjoying the white sandy beach. Our guide told us sometimes on weekdays there is no one else there.
If you are planning a visit to Sapelo Island, you must make reservations for the ferry in advance. Reservations are also needed to take the tour. If you would rather explore on your own, golf carts and bicycles are available for rent. A few homes are available for rent and group camping is available. Reynolds Mansion can also be rented by groups.
The drive from Inverness to our next destination, Aberdeen was not very far. To get there all we had to do was stay on the same road through about 50 round-a-bouts. The drive took us through several pretty villages and beautiful countryside. We were in desperate need of a laundry so when I spotted a self serve launderette at a gas station we pulled over and washed clothes.
The beautiful old trees and gardens surrounding the MacDonald Norwood Hall Hotel in Aberdeen made me feel like I was on a country estate. The hotel was once a private home and later converted to a hotel. Although it is supposedly haunted we didn’t see any ghosts. While we enjoyed a delicious dinner in the dining room there was a wedding going on in another part of the hotel.
The next day was another short driving day. Before we left Aberdeen we were talking to the father of the groom from the wedding the night before. He lived near Aberdeen and gave me some insight about my Scottish ancestors who emigrated to America from the area. He also recommended we stop at Donnottar Castle on our way to Fife.
I’m so glad we took his advice. We ventured off the main road to visit the castle which sits on a cliff high above the North Sea. The fog made it really eerie.
It was early afternoon when we arrived at Fernie Castle in Fife, our home for the night. We enjoyed having time to relax and enjoy the castle and the beautiful grounds. The castle was haunted but alas, we never saw a ghost there, either.
Fernie Castle, Fife, Scotland
Huge Yew tree at Fernie Castle
Fernie Castle, Fife, Scotland
Fernie Castle, Fife, Scotland
The bar at Fernie Castle was once a storage area for castle
There are Highland Cows, a horse and goats on the grounds of Fernie Castle. One of the things on my bucket list for Scotland was to see a Highland Cow up close and personal so I thoroughly enjoyed watching them and taking lots of photos. Hamish was not shy and came over to see what I was doing while the Heather ignored me and kept on eating her grass. I fed Hamish some potatoes and other vegetables but when I tried to pet him he nudged me gently with one of his horns to let me know he didn’t like it.
Hamish the Highland Cow at Fernie Castle, Scotland
Feeding Hamish the Highland Cow at Fernie Castle, Scotland
Horse at Fernie Castle
We said good bye to Hamish, Heather and Fernie Castle and continued on to Edinburgh for our last two nights in Scotland. The city is built on hills with Edinburgh Castle at the end of the Royal Mile on top of one of the hills . The walk to the Royal Mile from our hotel was down steep stone stairs and through an alley. We spent a day and a half wandering along the Royal Mile.
Old Town, Edinburgh, Scotland
Royal Mile, Edinburgh, Scotland
Bagpiper on the Royal Mile, Edinburgh
Yes, there are unicorns in Scotland
In case you need to call someone while strolling the Royal Mile in Edinburgh, Scotland
Our small tour bus with Rabbie’s Tours departed Inverness early on a Saturday morning for a 12 hour tour across the Scottish Highlands. As we rode from place to place our guide Colin filled us in on Scottish history and folklore.
Soon after leaving Inverness we were riding along with views of Loch Ness to our left. I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one on the bus who was searching for Nessie, more commonly known as the Loch Ness Monster. We didn’t stop at Nessieland, a small theme park.
Our only stop on Loch Ness was at historic Urquhart Castle. The castle is undergoing some restoration and we did not tour it. It was our last chance to see Nessie and she wasn’t cooperating.
Most of the day was spent on the spectacular Isle of Skye. There are dramatic mountains and cliffs, charming seaside villages, and gorgeous scenery all around the island.
We stopped in the town of Portree for lunch and a view of the harbor.
A few people on the bus brought back some beer from the Isle of Skye Brewery.
Our last stop on the Isle of Skye was the town of Kyleakin. It was raining as we walked around the waterfront with a nice view of the the Skye Bridge and the Kyleakin Lighthouse.
It rained most of the way back to Inverness. When we arrived in Inverness that Saturday night the restaurants and pubs were hopping with young people out on the town. We found a restaurant with no wait, had a quick supper and called it a night after a long but fantastic day.