North Carolina, 2013 Recap

Since I don’t travel full-time, I figured that instead of doing a monthly recap, I would recap each of my (lengthier) trips following the full posts. These recaps will contain highs, lows, logistics, funny anecdotes, pictures, etc. that I likely didn’t include in the full posts.

Without further ado, my North Carolina family reunion trip!

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Countries: 1 – United States
Year: 2013
Number of Days: 7, including travel
Cities Visited: 4
Favorite experience: Blowing Rock
Type of trip: Family reunion
Money Spent: I bought my plane ticket through Flight Network in May and paid $445. I’ve since learned that even if you find good deals through Flight Network, you often save money if you book directly through the airline. Lucky for me, I don’t recall having to pay for anything else (my mom covered my Blowing Rock entrance fee… a whopping $7!), as we stayed at my aunt and uncle’s house and I was given rides to and from the airport. At most I had to pay for my movie ticket on a family outing and anything I purchased while in an airport.

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Highs:

  • Linville Falls was fabulous and very scenic, but one of the most exciting moments actually happened when my uncle leaned over the rock wall at one of the lookouts and noticed a sleeping snake (the picture is in my Linville Falls post). My snake knowledge is not up to par, so I can’t tell you what kind it was, but I can tell you I was close enough that I didn’t have to zoom to snap that picture. In retrospect, I should have likely just kept my distance, but it is what it is.
  • Blowing Rock. The stunning scenery and the tranquil peace I felt gazing out at the mountains could not be beat. It’s actually my favorite spot I’ve been to in North Carolina (with the exception of the stunning and peaceful golf course).
  • Nightly walks. In the early evening, several people would usually go out for a walk, be it up and down the hilly street, or around the golf course.

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Lows:

  • On the way back, one of my flights was severely delayed and I arrived back in Ottawa late at night and hours after I should have. This normally wouldn’t be a problem, but the next day I was attending my friends’ wedding. Even being tired from the trip and travel, we partied at their wedding until after midnight and finished the night on the rooftop patio at Edge.
  • About two weeks before this trip, I sprained both my ankles – in really idiotic ways, to add insult to injury. This made hiking at Linville Falls slightly more painful, but I still managed it. Based on how swollen my ankles were afterwards and that I had to elevate them and put ice on them, I’m sure I shouldn’t have pushed myself, but there was no way I was going to let that stop me from a new and fun experience.
  • On one of the last days, we all trooped out to the edge of the scenic golf course to take family photos in our t-shirts. This was great, and we have some lovely shots from it, but the reason it’s in the lows is because it was hot (particularly in our thick black shirts), we didn’t bring water (apparently we didn’t retain this lesson from our experience at Linville Falls), and we were out there for so long one of my cousins ended up with heat exhaustion.

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Funny Moments:

  • My family happens to be made up of people who tend to swear – sometimes very frequently. We brought out a swear jar for this trip, and laughed together as the money racked up. I tend to swear quite often as well, but I did really well – I only made one slip up right near the end of the trip. In a conversation with my mom (I should add that she was the only one in the room with me at the time), I let one slip out without thinking. My mom turned me in.
  • One day, 10 of us went to the movies – 5 to see The Heat, 5 to see World War Z. Even though I had already seen it, I went to World War Z again. At the very first major jump scare (stairwell), my cousin jumped so violently that half her popcorn flew up in the air in a very comedic fashion. We had a good chuckle about it afterwards.
  • When I arrived at the airport on my way there, my mom and aunt weren’t there to pick me up. I was confused, since they knew what time I landed and had all my flight information. I ended up waiting about an hour for them, because they had incorrectly entered the name of the airport in the GPS, so the GPS directed them to some weird, small, “shack-like” (mom’s words, not mine) airport.
  • As mentioned in the lows, my flight had a crazy delay on the way back. First, it was to remove two passengers who were clearly drunk, and were being disrespectful and downright creepy towards the poor flight attendant. Then we spent over an hour waiting at the gate, followed by thirty-five minutes of taxiing to the appropriate take off spot. The reason I’m including this in funny moments and not lows (because it was a fairly crappy day all around), is because of a stowaway guest on the plane – a cricket. He began chirping loudly about three minutes after the drunk men were removed, and our flight attendant was driving herself mad trying to find him.

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Overall Experience:

I’ve raved about North Carolina quite a bit now, but I promise it’s worth it. I’ll continue to sing its praises wherever I go. The other aspect of this trip was a family reunion, so obviously I loved that as well. Even though many of them couldn’t be there (my sister included), we still had an unforgettable time.

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