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The Smoky Mountains: Part 2

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We hadn't made any firm plans (except for horse riding) for our time in the Smokies so on the second day we headed out to explore with no real destination in mind. 

Taking the scenic (and somewhat slippy) route down the mountain. I'd have been a bit less nervous on this road with a driver who spent a bit less time admiring the view...

...but then again it was pretty spectacular so who can blame him?

When we reached the valley floor we were greeted by this handsome chap. 

Elk don't usually appear during the daytime (we were very lucky!) but they can somtimes be seen on the meadows at sunset/sunrise.

After bidding adieu to the Elk we made our way to the Boogerman trail (thanks to the advice of a friendly mountain ranger we met en route). 


Walking the Boogerman trail is a pretty magical experience - with all the different coloured butterflies dancing on the breeze you could be forgiven for thinking you were in a Disney movie.
Our walk was cut short a few miles in (one of the…

The Smoky Mountains: Part 1

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I've been dreaming of visiting the Smoky Mountains ever since I first heard Dolly sing "In my Tennessee mountain home..." but none of the songs really do justice to their scale or beauty.

We picked up our rental car and wound our way into the mountains.



We headed to the highest point: Clingman's Dome

It felt a little like standing on top of the world.

When I could finally tear myself away from that view, we headed back down the mountain and made our way to the edge of the Smokies - to Maggie Valley and Cataloochee Ranch.

When we arrived at the ranch, our lovely hosts fed us enough to put us into a food coma.  We awoke the next day to this beautiful view.


After another feast for breakfast, we decide to spend the morning exploring Mingo Falls.

I have been lucky enough to visit some of the most spectacular waterfalls in the world on my travels, and while these didn't quite match the scale of others, they were by far the prettiest.






After soaking up the beauty of the…

Sights and Sounds of Nashville

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When I was eleven, I discovered Leanne Rimes (thanks to Coyote Ugly) and Country Music became my guilty pleasure. (Believe me, for a teenager in the UK it was not cool, but I fell in love with it anyway.)
I love almost all genres of music, but Country is the clear favourite.
There isn't much of a country music scene in the UK, so visiting Nashville has been on my bucket list for a very, very long time... and if you can't do something special for your 30th birthday when can you?? 
We rose bright an early on our fist morning in Nashville (very early in fact - thanks jet lag!) and didn't waist any time heading Downtown. I have been following Kelsey Montague's art on Instagram for ages, and literally stumbled into her famous wings not long after we left the hotel. 
I think this picture accurately sums up my feelings about being in Nashville for the first time...


Why can't every city have bike stands in the shape of music notes?




After the obligatory walk down Broadw…

Pembrokeshire

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Last month we took a little time out and headed to Pembrokeshire for a few days R&R.

Driving south we took the scenic route through Snowdonia and along the Pembrokeshire Coast before arriving at our destination: Slebech Park

Slebech really is a haven away from the rest of the world (no mobile signal). The building itself isn't much to look at, but the converted stable-block rooms are a modern twist on country comfort.

The main thing I loved about Pembrokeshire was that virtually everywhere was dog-friendly and Cali was positively encouraged into every restaurant and shop with us. (It's a good job the rest of the world isn't like this or I fear she'd have a terrible shopping habit and I'd have an empty bank account!)

We visited Pembroke Castle on our first day and enjoyed a free guided tour. Followed by a look around the town (and in Cali's case, a chance to scoff all the yummy biscuits people offered her) and an afternoon on Tenby beach. We ate a…