A few shots from our week spent enjoying this colorful city!
Every turn in Cartagena offers a surprise, whether it is lively plaza, another block of rainbow colored homes, or the flowers pouring over the balconies of colonial mansions. This year Christmas looked a lot different for us, but it was an adventure!
Several people have asked me, “Why Cartagena?”. We knew we wanted to travel to somewhere new (we both had not traveled to South America), we wanted warmth, and somewhere unique with a lot to offer. After looking at flight prices and researching a few cities we stumbled upon this gem and I am so glad we did. After picking our destination we noticed Cartagena popping up on several 2017 travels lists making us even more excited to see what Colombia had to offer.
We caught a very (very) early flight on Thursday morning and gladly left our coats in the car ;) Cartagena gave us a warm sunny welcome. Before traveling, we did a little research into things we wanted to see and do, but our main agenda was just to relax and enjoy the city. After our ride into the Old Town, I knew we wouldn’t grow tired of wandering.
Every road is just as colorful as the last. I absolutely adore Christmas time. I love cozying up, sitting by a fire, hot chocolate in hand with a Christmas movie one. The whole nine yards. I was pleasantly surprised at just how festive the city was. The roads were lined with lights and Christmas trees were in every hotel and home.
I told Ben that Cartagena may be the liveliest city I have ever experienced. Now, I don’t mean busy, although it is. I mean full of authentic life. After the sun starts to go down, and the temperatures are cooler, music seeps out of every home and into every plaza. There is dancing and groups of people sitting in circles just enjoying life. It was so eye-opening to walk through the streets. You would pass a hotel directly beside a family’s home both with the windows open and community happening within. I don’t know how to describe it other than authentic. Of course there were hints of tourism, and several men trying to sell me a hat that I had to say “no gracias” to a million times. But, it truly was a gift to be a part of this city for a week.
We called the Old Town home for the first half of our trip. Old Town, or the Walled City, is surrounded by a wall built in the 1700s and is home to some of the most beautiful neighborhoods. The hotel we stayed at for our first half seemed to follow the pattern of several other hotels and homes. Within the hotel would be an opening, similar to a mini courtyard, and several balconies above. The hammock by the pool offered a perfect morning reading spot.
Our first couple of days we navigated in and out of the streets passing by the fruit stands, street art, and restaurants. We also made our way over to Getsemani. This part of town hasn’t always held the best reputations but over the years the old stereotypes died. What was once the lesser visited and known side of town is now a backpackers dream and authentically charming. The colors are just as vibrant and the streets just as lively.
The colors were out of this world. I kept turning to Ben in amazement. Also, man did it feel good to get back to traveling together.
The food was delicious. A lot of coconut rice, fresh seafood, ceviches, fruit, and soups.
^What a stud.
Each morning we walked downstairs to a buffet of empanadas, arepas, fresh fruit, coffee, eggs, and rice and beans. I mean they do say breakfast is the most important meal of the day.
On Christmas Eve we intended to go to one island to the beach, but due to our high school level Spanish failing us, we hopped on a boat heading elsewhere. All was well though because a few of the girls on our boat were Colombian and knew English and there was a family from England. We were pleased with the turn of events.
The boat took us out to the Rosario Islands, a group of islands about an hour boat ride away, off the coast of Cartagena. The water is crystal clear and the islands are beautiful. Some islands simply have one house and others have much larger beaches.
Our lunch was very fresh fish, coconut rice, and salad. I’ll take it.
On our way back to shore the captain warned us it would be a “bumpy” ride. It was as if we were on a roller coaster the entire way back. We caught serious air, but alas we made it to land just in time to watch the sunset with drinks on the wall.
Here is just about the only picture I have of the two of us from this trip. Usually I am a master at finding another couple and doing the whole “I’ll take your picture if you take ours”. After my poor Spanish encounter with this one, I stuck to self timer on a wall for the rest of the trip.
The wall is covered with people each night watching the sun go down over the water. It is beautiful. Several mornings were spent at Café San Alberto sipping loads of different types of coffee. There is absolutely a science to their work and it was delicious.
The street art here was my favorite. Fernando Botero’s work was everywhere. His signature style depicts people in exaggerated volume and the Mona Lisa made me giggle every time.
This street in the San Diego neighborhood may just be my favorite.
On Christmas Day we put on our festive gear and set out on a run along the outside of the wall. The heat is no joke here. Our first run in the beginning of the week was along the water towards Bocagrande at 10am and we quickly regretted our decision. On Christmas we learned from our mistakes and took an evening run to spread Christmas cheer. Like I said, we spent many mornings here buried in our books with coffee in hand.
Me encanta la fruta. Insert several heart eyed emojis.
The second half of our time we stayed over in Getsemani. There is a church located in the middle with a large plaza that is perpetually overflowing with people. In the evenings, people line the streets and just sit, play music, dance, and enjoy each other. On one of our last nights we ended up sitting in this plaza until around 1am talking with a couple we just met. She was from South Africa, he was from Pakistan. They both moved to Toronto almost ten years ago for school and met each other in their current jobs as consultants. They were on the first few weeks of their 5 month hiatus from work. I loved hearing their story. How they met, why they chose to leave their home, and what they wanted to get out of these next five months. This may be one of my favorite aspects of traveling. Meeting new friends and hearing where they are at in their walks of life. I am always surprised and humbled.
A man and his arepa.
This was where we shared breakfast each morning at our new abode. The mornings were absolutely perfect here. We lucked out that Café del Mural was directly next door. Should you find yourself in Cartagena, you MUST visit this place. Café del Mural was the practically the owners personal laboratory of coffee experimentation. Bunsen burners, test tubes, and nitrogen were all used to concoct the perfect cup of joe. What a dream. My final farewell to la fruta de Cartagena. I almost cried tears of joy when they set this plate in front of me.
This trip was just what we needed. The liveliness of the city was refreshing and my creative heart was bursting with joy with every turn on the candy colored streets. In past, when Ben and I travel, we usually only stay in one place for three to four days max before moving on to the next. Constantly on the go and trying to soak up as much as we can. This was different. This trip forced us to slow down, to be present, and be fine with doing nothing but reading a good book or having a long talk. I loved every minute of doing what we love the most together. Rather than a “vacation” or a “trip” we always view traveling as simply living in another country for a bit. There is no one I would rather experience the world with than you, Ben.
I’d say Christmas 2016 was a sunny, colorful, refreshing success.
A Year In Pictures | 2016
Ben and I rang in the New Year in New York City with a few days of bagels, coffee, and freezing walks.
We survived Jonas and even made a few treks.
I celebrated the big 24 with roller blading in the park.
Ben surprised me with tickets to a Caps game!
Sweet Katherine and JD got married and it was the best. Weddings and reunions all in one weekend.
We introduced Rupert into the fam! Even though we didn’t get to keep him for long, he was the absolute best!
I took a trip to Nashville to spend the weekend with Hope and even got to catch up with Meriwether and Steph!
The gang enjoyed the croquet match with dresses, wine, and friends.
Charlie, our dear neighbor from London, came to visit!
I spent a few days in the Bahamas with my company!
Katerz got married and celebrated the Powell Couple!
Ben graduated from TBS! Oh happy day!
We celebrated our second anniversary.
I took a day trip to Philadelphia with new friends.
To celebrate our second anniversary we each chose an activity. Mine- skydiving. Bens- Dave Matthews Band concert.
We soaked up the sun in Hatteras for a few days.
I flew out to Seattle and spent time with Jamie and Hannah!
Anna and Eric got married in Oregon and we got the band back together!
And Ben’s flight got switched so we spent the afternoon back in Seattle.
We soaked up our final weekends calling DC home.
We found our new home and made plans to move to New Bern.
I tried something new- a yoga retreat in Costa Rica!
I even made a video about it. SEPTEMBER
Labor Day was spent eno-ing and enjoying DC.
We made the move to New Bern and took advantage of exploring around our new state. First trip- Wilmington.
Afternoons on Sundays were spent at the beach.
The hurricane gave us an excuse to catch up with Kat and JD and make a stop home. Our home started to feel like home.
I had the joy of watching my dearest friend marry her dearest friend.
A Clemson White House reunion! (or 50% reunion!)
We took a quick weekend trip to Asheville. This little mountain town holds a dear place in my heart, and it was so fun to share it with Ben!
A trip to Charleston to photograph the most beautiful wedding also allowed us to spend time with Kat and JD!
Home sweet home for Thanksgiving! It has been such a long time since all of us were back together.
New Bern was overflowing with Christmas cheer and we soaked up every event and light.
We shared our own little Christmas by our little tree.
For Christmas we adventured in Cartagena, Colombia!
2016 was a year of moving, learning, and transitions. I’m so thankful to have Ben by my side to navigate this crazy adventure we are on! We are excited to see what 2017 has to offer!
In case you want to see what we were up to in 2015 and 2014, you can do that too!
Christmas in New Bern
Two years ago we Christmased all over London and took a tour de Christmas markets throughout Europe. Last year we celebrated a bit in DC, Roanoke, and even New York City. This year we went for the small town feel, and boy does this small town know how to celebrate. It’s been a Beary Merry Christmas.
The whole town is decked out with lights, trees, parades, and even a “weather forecast” for “snow” every Friday. A few weekends ago we grabbed hot cocoa and lined up with just about every other New Berner to watch the floats, pee-wee football teams, mayor, and random bands parade by.
We can see this town tree right outside our kitchen window! Ben tried to opt for this to be “our” tree and we could just place our presents beneath it. I said absolutely not. It was off to find our own little Christmas tree.
We found the perfect little one, with the emphasis on the word perfect. It’s just the right size to hold our minimal amount of ornaments, and I even got Ben on board to string the tree with the old-timey big bulb lights. It’s a beauty.
After decorating the tree we heard music and commotion it the park beside our house. We walked over and to our surprise it was a boat parade!
Above and below is me basking the all the fake snow glory. There was music, Santa, a fireplace, and Christmas carols so all was well in my heart.
This past week, we gained some roommates! Our dear friends, Anna and Eric, came to stay with us for the week. Time with them is always a breath of fresh air filled with long conversations over a drink of choice (tea, coffee, mulled wine). We fell right into rhythm while they were here. The boys woke up and shared breakfast long before Anna and I opened our eyes. While I worked, Anna studied, and we all reconvened over dinner and drinks. We are so thankful for their friendship and I have no idea how we would navigate this crazy season of life without them.
This past Friday night was our Christmas Eve. With Christmas socks and pajamas on we sipped hot cocoa and watched a marathon of Christmas films. It truly felt like Christmas Eve.
CHRISTMAS MORNING! Our celebratory peanut butter banana french toast made another grand appearance with Christmas carols in the background. After breakfast, we took turns opening gifts before spending the day outside (it decided to be in the 70s) walking around downtown and grabbing a cup of coffee.
It’s been fun each year to celebrate our own little Christmas Eve and Christmas Day with the two of us. It’s looked wildly different these past few years from big cities, living abroad, and small towns, but each year brings new traditions and sweet memories.
Ben deserves husband of the year award for his Christmas spirit. I’ll Christmas any day with him.
Thanksgiving and November Travels
That’s a wrap on our November marathon travel month. We’ve been to Nashville, Clemson, Asheville, Charleston, and home for Thanksgiving. This month has been full of car rides and visits with sweet friends and family and I would not have it any other way.
Last weekend we packed our bags and hit the road for yet another five hour road trip to Charleston. I was shooting a wedding there, providing the perfect opportunity to hang out with some of our favorites, Kat and JD.
Saturday morning we shared breakfast and coffee before Ben and I ventured to the venue. The day was perfect for a fall wedding. The flowers were absolutely gorgeous and the bride was a vision. It was such a fun day to have Ben by my side while I photographed such a beautiful wedding.
After a long day of gathering eight flower girls, watching the miniature horse eat the bride’s bouquet, the sharing of “I dos”, and smores by the fire, we called it a wrap. It was such a joy to be part of such a beautiful day.
Sunday morning Charleston Nasty biscuits from Hominy Grill blessed our tastebuds. I mean they know what brunch is all about.
I love every minute with these dear friends. There is always a whole lot of laughter and Ben and I cherish their friendship.
^^ What a dream team.
He’s my favorite road trip pal, assistant photographer, and best friend.
Thank goodness we’ve been able to hang out as much as we have this fall. You’re a treasure, Kat.
Charleston treated us so well. Also, new lens means return of the selfies.
After a few short days of work it was time for Thanksgiving in Roanoke. After yet another five hour drive and a few Christmas sing alongs we were home sweet home. We always love coming home to those mountains. Thanksgiving means yet another year of the Drumstick Dash. Ben informed me he would not be running with me, so thankfully I was able to find a new partner (thanks Tim!).
After finishing up the Drumstick Dash, which essentially serves a Roanoke reunion, we stopped for coffee and a quick hello at my brother’s place before freshening up for the big meal.
Behold, the well earned Thanksgiving meal! Bring on the turkey, salad, corn pudding, stuffing, and pie.
It was a full day of family, turkey, football, and pie. Just the way I like it.
Friday we spent running a few shopping errands, helping my dad at the food truck, hanging out at Soaring Ridge, and brinner with my favorite little man. I’d say we nailed the post Thanksgiving day meal with french toast, hash browns, and eggs. We finished it off with teaching Braven and Julius how to play monkey in the middle and a little fishing game.
I can not handle the one above or below. Be still my soul.
Saturday was full of naps, errands, Christmas tree decorating, and most importantly Clemson football by the fire.
Sunday morning was a beauty. After church we packed the car up before lunch with my family. We always seem to come back from Roanoke with a car packed full. I am particularly excited that the kayak is coming back with us!
My favorite boys, even if Brave didn’t want anything to do with this picture.
Home always treats us so well. Ben and I are so thankful for our families and friends, and for sweet time back home in the mountains.
What a way to end our month of weekend getaways.
Long weekends are a favorite of mine. This past one went so, so well. We rested, we painted, we danced, we explored.
Thursday night was my first go at a Marine Corps Birthday Ball and we had such a good time. Here you’ll find just about the only picture we took from my phone, but I promise you we put on our finest and danced to a song or two.
Friday morning was crisp and beautiful. We slept in a bit and enjoyed breakfast together. Even though we now live together (hooray!!), breakfast together and slow mornings are usually just a weekend thing. Ben is up and off to work most days before I wake up. I can assure you this is not due to my inability to wake up early, I’m actually quite the morning person, but rather because he goes to work before most humans. I’ll take any extra mornings in the week together. Later on we walked around town, grabbed a cup of coffee, and hit up a lunch spot down town.
We even did a few home projects in the afternoon! More to come once everything is hung up. I’m the kind of person to want everything done immediately when we move. I’m talking boxes unpacked, pictures up, closets filled, everything cleaned on the same day. Some may call it impatient, I call it determined. I’m learning to be patient with our progress to make this place a home. Also, it is now noted that it is far easier to decorate a studio as opposed to a home with more than one multipurpose, all encompassing room.
We hit the road (very) early on Saturday for one of my favorite mountain towns! Asheville is not too far from Clemson so I have had my fair share of weekend trips here. Ben, on the other hand, had never been. Thanks to Katie Boysen, we had the best brunch complete with a breakfast bowl and a Huevos Rancheros Chimichanga. Divine I tell ya.
We spent the afternoon walking in and out of coffee shops, bookstores, and little boutiques. It always feels good to travel together. There is something to be said about wandering throughout new places, people watching, and only truly worrying about whether to turn left or right at the next street corner or where to eat next.
We lucked out with the coziest place to stay that shared my love of plants.
We hit up a few of the breweries including Wicked Weed and had the luxury of outdoor space heaters.
Not pictured are burgers for dinner and Ben and I watching the Clemson game on our phones whilst shedding a tear.
The next morning Ben convinced me to go on a run, that I easily turned into a jog. During said jog my eyes watered the entire time due to the 30 degree weather, and my legs forgot what running on hills looked like. But alas, we completed the run and I was glad I joined him. Per another one of Katie’s recommendations we cozied up in High Five coffee for the best cup of joe and a bagel. There was sea salt involved in the coffee, so there’s that.
Our initial plan was to go hiking, but due to timing, and a blocked road we decided to enjoy the views while driving on the Blue Ridge Parkway to enjoy the views. Shout out to some of the leaves still hanging on! They sure did make the most beautiful backdrop. Ben laughed at me when I told him I felt like the mountains were giving me a hug, but I meant it. After growing up in Roanoke, you learn to love and appreciate the site of those beauties all around you. Especially now, more than ever, that we are living in the land of the flat ground. My approach to staying warm, after neglecting to believe it would actually drop to 30 degrees, was put on every layer I packed.
I wish these colors stayed year round.
We even caught a glimpse of mega moon on our drive home!
We are becoming masters of the 5 hour road trip weekends (seriously, we are on like week three of this and there is no end in sight). I’m noticing a pattern in our drives: hour one we talk about anything from goals, ideas, and new destinations on our travel bucket list, hour two we jam, hour three we switch drivers and start listening to podcasts, hour four we talk about how the drive is dragging and I continue to become obsessed with whatever unsolved mystery the podcast is on, and hour five we pick back up with the tunes. Our little system seems to be working so far.
It was the perfect dose of exploring, relaxing, and cuddling up with this guy. So thankful these Blue Ridge Mountains are only a drive away and I get to spend weekends with my favorite guy.
White House Reunion: East Coast Edition
Any form of a White House reunion is good for the soul.
This past weekend Ben and I drove down to Clemson to meet up with Liz, Ashton, Kat, JD, Liz and Ed and it was such a full weekend. The only way it could have been better is if the rest of the gang was there. After a long drive featuring Spotify’s 2008 and 2007 Top Hit playlist (can’t recommend it enough) we made it to the lake house and spent the evening catching up with Liz and Ashton. Rather, Liz and I chatted and the guys talked politics, or something of the sort. Saturday morning was slow and picturesque with coffee in hand and a crisp fall lake scene out the windows. For breakfast the four of us ventured to Barnwood Grill for a good ole southern breakfast. Our order went something to the tune of, “two coffees, one wrap… and one… ‘Trashbowl'”, a local delicacy. Ben was a happy camper.
Back at the lake house, Liz and I worked out and then laid out every purple and orange thing we owned to piece together our game day attire. We practically recreated what every game day looked like living in the 114 or the White House.
Driving on to campus brought back all the feels, and even more feels when sweet Liz and Ed arrived.
Throughout college Ben was only able to come to a few Clemson games, so having him here now is the absolute best. We’ve spent many Saturdays over the past few years yelling at the TV screen and cheering on the Tigers but nothing beats being back in Death Valley.
Top notch duos coming at ya!
After the game, we checked out a few of the new spots downtown before heading back to the lake house for an evening of s’mores with Halloween candy, football, a lot of laughter, and great chats around the fire. Goodness how I’ve missed these dear friends.
Sunday morning we all woke up pretty early (thanks Daylight Savings), read a bit, and sipped on coffee.
We shared breakfast around the table while we reminisced and shared a lot of laughter.
After a long breakfast, we soaked up the crisp fall weather. I can’t begin to express how much I’ve missed little moments like these. Walks down the street, mornings spent just chatting, refills on coffee, and individual aspects of everyone’s personalities.
These humans are a true gift. I am thankful for friends who care so deeply and love so well.
What a group, I tell ya. I’d say the White House really struck gold in the husband department. Being back in Clemson brings a rush of memories filled with game days, Sundays spent at the lake, and walks through campus. As wonderful as those memories are, I am cherishing these new ones with this top notch group. I can’t wait for the future trips, reunions, and plans made with these friends (including the non-East Coasters ;) ) who truly make my heart the happiest.
Go White House. Go Tigers.
Nashville weddings, celebrations, and reunions
Gosh, what a weekend celebrating one of my dearest friends. If you would have told me a year ago that Hope would get married on October 30 I’m not sure I would believe you. But of course she did. Of course it was Clayton. Of course it was the most beautiful thing I have ever seen. Of course we all wept. Of course she did.
Because of Hope, I am who I am. Because of her friendship I’ve always had someone to dream big with me. She is truly a gift and blesses every single person she meets. If you know Hope, you know exactly what I mean. A weekend dedicated to celebrating her is a grand weekend indeed.
I flew in Friday night for the most divine dinner at Butcher and Bee where we had the pleasure of saying, “we’ll take one of everything!”
We went around the table and one by one said how we met Hope and our first memory. I finally got to put faces with names and stories that Hope has told me through the years. What a group.
After dinner it was back to the Airbnb to consume every Trader Joe treat and pop the champagne.
Saturday morning I met up with dear friends from Clemson. Shoutout to Ellie and Meriwether for the best coffee date and walk. Familiar faces in new places is always a gift.
The rest of Saturday we helped set up the reception venue, I went on another coffee date with Katie, and ended the evening with the Clemson game.
Wedding day morning means wedding day breakfast. It was complete with little H+C coffee cups, mini chicken and waffles, a divine parfait bar, avocado toast, and mimosas. It was all a dream.
It was such a gift to pray over our sweet Hope and there was hugs all around.
You, Hope, are a true beauty and are dearly loved.
The weather was absolutely perfect, the trees showed off their fall colors, and the park looked stunning.
While setting up the benches we met this little MINIATURE PIG. So now are several pictures of Caroline, the pig, and myself.
As Hope walked down the aisle, we all lost it, including this guy. My heart about exploded out of my chest watching his reaction. He loves her so well.
Their love is so evident and tangibly real.
A little laughter at Hope’s journal post back in 2010 explaining she was never going to let go of a friend like Clayton. I’m sure glad you kept to your word, Hope.
The most beautiful Mr. and Mrs.
You mean the world to me Hope and what a honor it was to be a part of your wedding day. You are stunning.
Another highlight of the weekend was spending time with this dear friend. A little over a year ago I knew Hope was moving to Nashville and Meriwether lived there as well. I just knew they were kindred spirits and did the whole “Meriwether meet Hope, Hope meet Meriwether” thing. Praise Him from whom all blessings flow that this friendship worked out! Meriwether, you are a treat, and I love that the adventures of Murry and Curry continue on.
The reception venue, Peter Nappi, was INCREDIBLE. Pictures don’t do it justice.
What a crew.
I’m so beyond grateful that this picture is a thing.
A few weeks ago when Ben and I were in Roanoke I found some old boxes. As I sifted through, I realized an entire box was dedicated to Hope. It had letters, gifts, books, cards, pictures, crafts, and diaries from when we were 12 to now. As I read several letters and pulled out pictures a rush of memories and smiles came over me. That memory box is so dear to my heart. As once written by our 12 year old selves in our first attempted book together, “Our friendship has lasted less than a year so far, but we have still shared a lifetime of joys! As you can see, we didn’t plan to be friends… it just happened and it was obviously meant to be!”
Lets add this to the memory box. Here’s to you, Mrs. Hope Chambers.
So far, so good
So far, October has treated us very kindly. We are continuing to settle in, arrange and rearrange, take on home improvement projects, and then re-do said projects. (Who knew staining a table could go so wrong?) But hey, my plants are all around one of our fireplaces and all is well.
We are continuing to learn how to slow down and figure out a new routine in our new little town. Our evenings are often spent with walks around downtown and sunset views from our evening. Last weekend, with the impending hurricane upon us, we decided to evacuate westward. Ben was a champ and drove through the winds and rains, and even humored my crime podcast obsession almost the entire way.
Our dear friends Kat and JD were also evacuating from Charleston and were back in Greensboro which was conveniently on our way to Roanoke. Even if it was just for an afternoon coffee and dinner, it was the absolute best. Gosh, I would do just about anything for more afternoons like that one. I just love ya, Kat.
After the best coffee (IT HAD PEANUT BUTTER IN IT), we met up with Kat’s parents for tacos. I’m not talking your run of the mill tacos. These bad boys had mac and cheese and bbq in them. Divine I tell you. After dinner we said our goodbyes and hit the road for Roanoke.
Although we’ve only lived on the coast for close to a month, it was sure nice to drive through those mountains again.
Sunday morning I met up with my mom for breakfast and Ben went on a bike ride up the mountain and on his way down met up with us. After breakfast we through on our Baum’s BBQ tshirts and made our way to the Food Truck Rodeo to help out my dad on the truck. Ben and I make one heck of a po boy team. If you find yourself in Roanoke, look out for my dad’s truck and then you can thank me.
Dustin brought my favorite little human and dog to visit and really they just stole the show. Now for several pictures of the two of them stealing my heart.
I am obsessed.
I am becoming more and more thankful to call Roanoke home. Although only there for a few days, it was a breath of fresh air and a treat to see our families.
On our way home we hit the jackpot. We passed a random store on the side of the road and decided to made a quick u-turn. We scored this clock, a lantern, and coffee table and successfully crammed them in the already full car.
I’d say our office is coming along quite nicely.
I am in love with this weather and the hints of fall outside our window and downtown.
Yesterday, we decided to eat lunch outside in the park beside our house before spending the afternoon at the beach.
I’m not quite use to the whole practically “living at the beach” thing we’ve got going on. I will say, if Sundays continue to look like this past one, I will be just fine.
So far, so good with this fall season. Excited for the weekend trips we have coming up and praying this weather stays.
moving in and weekend trips
Well it has officially been a week in little old New Bern. A week of adjustments, sleeping on an air mattress, unpacking boxes, visiting the downtown shops, and frequenting Cookout for the perfect milkshake.
Ben arrived in New Bern mid afternoon last Friday after graduating from Air Intelligence Officer Course (proud of you, Ben!) and I pulled up shortly after. When Ben arrived at our new abode the sun was shining, birds were chirping, and all was well. As soon as my tires hit the bridge towards New Bern a cloud of death came over the city and the heavens opened up. It rained just long enough for us to unpack my car and then the sun came right back out. How nice of you New Bern, quite the welcome you gave me.
We spent the evening unpacking what little we had and blew up the air mattress for our fist night in our new little abode. Ben and I passed the ole “put together furniture with obscure instructions and 100 pieces at midnight” test with flying colors. So what if we had to take the dresser apart at the end and start over because we missed a crucial part, we still ended with a new dresser, two chairs, bed, and desk so I will mark it as a win in our book.
Below is what we get to wake up to. New Bern might be very small and it may not have a lot to offer but the sunrise over the river is breathtaking and the sun set over the town paints the sky all sorts of colors.
Saturday morning was more unpacking more trips to Walmart and a trip to one of the two local coffee shops.
I am certain the sweet older lady in the right hand corner, along with her pups, are regulars. This is certainly the type of town you become a “regular” in. Just like how the kind lady at Cookout noticed that we are “that couple again” who ordered the peanut butter fudge/Reese/banana/Oreo milkshake and yes we want that all mixed in together and sure we will let you know if it tastes good. (Spoiler alert: it’s the best combination, don’t knock it till you try it)
Behold, my new office! It’s only partially set up and the rest of the room is empty, but I mean look at the view!
Ben has been a champ this week. He doesn’t start work until Friday so he’s checked off our to do list left and right. While I was working, he came up the spiral staircase with HOMEMADE SWEET POTATO CHIPS. I picked a good one.
Each evening we have wandered around downtown and down to the water front. It is quite lovely, but also quite sleepy.
Here is a little history lesson for you. Sweet little New Bern was founded in 1710 and was apparently named in honor of the founders’ home, Bern, Switzerland, which was named for the first animal they came upon whilst hunting, a bear. Bern=old Germanic word for Bear=New Bern’s proud symbol. That bear is every where you look. Every store name, every corner, every flag.
This past Saturday we hit the road early for a day trip to Wilmington. We hit up Flaming Amy’s on the way in for the best burrito and salsa bar. We headed downtown to stop in and out of the shops and treat ourselves to an ice cream cone at Kilwins Ice Cream before strolling along the River Walk.
It felt so good to be traveling together again. Even if it was just a quick trip to Wilmington it felt like we were back to our old selves again.
Before heading back home we figured we might as well hit up the beach.
This next month will be prime time for weekend beach visits. The sun is still shinning, the tourists are gone, and the temperature is just right.
We hit the road back home just in time to watch the Tigers play. We plugged in our TV quickly and set it on the coffee table to make it work. I would have done just about anything to be in Death Valley, but jumping up in down on the couch while screaming at the TV with Ben in little ole New Bern was a nice second option.
Sunday was home improvement day. We stained our dining room table and bench, hung up paintings, reorganized, and planned more projects. Making this place a home will take time, but I am enjoying the process of doing it together with Ben.
Coming up this week? The pumpkin patch, Mumfest, and swing dancing at the local ballroom. Here’s to small town living.