Girl’s Cabin Weekend in Arkansas!

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Sometimes you just need to jump in the car with your best gal pals and drive to the middle of nowhere for some chill time!

Four years ago Heather, Jenna, Lindsey, and I made a trip to Heather’s parent’s cabin located about halfway between Fort Smith and Little Rock. None of us had children and Lindsey had just tied the knot to Lance three months prior.

Now Jenna is walking down the aisle in just a few weeks, Heather has a three year-old daughter, and Lindsey has an 11 month old daughter! We were all in need of a weekend get-a-way!

web_IMG_1060This was our view as we woke up Saturday morning…you guys know I love my perspective views so this was the most calming thing to wake up to!

This was the first weekend Lindsey and Heather had been away from their daughters, which meant this was the first morning in awhile that they leisurely rolled out of bed and didn’t have to listen to cartoons on TV. They both said it was very strange!

We had pancakes and bacon with a heaping of girl talk for breakfast. It was so wonderful.

By 1pm we were ready to get dressed (in yoga pants, of course) and go wandering around the mountain top. On our last trip we had been to a couple picturesque spots so we wanted to revisit those. But before that, Heather got out her dad’s shot gun for some funny pictures…

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Now at first we were just going to hold it and strike a silly pose until I mentioned I had never shot a gun before…Heather couldn’t believe it so she went inside to grab the bullets!

I have always been a scared little pansy when it comes to guns so I took this opportunity in the comfort of my friends to suck it up and just do it.

web_IMG_8091The kickback! Lindsey caught this iPhone shot of me.

Other than it being really loud, it really wasn’t as scary as I thought it would be. Is it weird to say that it kind of felt good? Not is a murderess way, but feeling the power and having the physical control. I don’t see myself “getting into” guns, but at least I can now say that I’ve shot one! Thank you for the life experience, Heather :)

Jenna took her turn as well. She had never shot a shot gun before (a hand gun, yes). She was brilliant and packed ear plugs for sleeping so she put those suckers in before pulling the trigger.

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Once all of our ears were sufficiently ringing, we hopped in the car to get to this awesome cliff face we went to last time. It reminds me of Britney Spears’ “Not A Girl, Not Yet A Woman” music video. Anyone?

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A shot from my Instagram

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web_IMG_1105_1We then wandered over to another picturesque spot with a waterfall, but unfortunately there was not enough water to fall right now! It was still pretty nonetheless.

web_IMG_1113 web_IMG_1115 web_IMG_1119We sat on the waterfall ledge for a bit to soak in the quietness. But then a nasty bee flew over and wouldn’t leave us (me) alone so we squealed and panicked and ran back to the car.

We’re so good at nature.

This was fine though because it meant we could go back to the cabin and do the important things of a get-a-way weekend: drink, eat, and watch movies.

Since it wasn’t quite dinner time, we snacked while watching Pitch Perfect. That movie is one of my absolute faves and I cannot wait until the sequel comes out! “Aca-scue me?!”

As the sun started to set we gathered wood for the fire pit so we could roast hot dogs for dinner and then later (and most importantly) roast marshmallows for s’mores.

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Did I mention we wall went makeup-free this weekend too? It was great!web_IMG_1132web_IMG_1141 web_IMG_1140Almost married! Jenna had won this custom bachelorette party sash after her bachelorette party, so she took this opportunity to wear it!

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Now it was s’mores time…

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Heather and I saw these gigantic marshmallows when we went grocery shopping for the trip. We basically just looked at each other and then threw them in our basket :) They turned out to be maybe too big for our s’mores though! And they were incredibly sticky! But still delicious, of course.

web_IMG_1144As we were enjoying our messy dessert we noticed the sunset getting really good so walked down to the outlook deck for some photos!

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Never waste any amount of time doing anything important when there is a sunset outside that you should be sitting under. – C. JoyBell C.

The rest of our evening was spent drinking by the fire – gin & tonic for me, wine for the J,L, & H.

web_IMG_1157 web_IMG_1169When we did finally come inside, I saw Jenna had something on her neck and she flicked it off. We looked on the ground to see what it was and it was a giant spider! Blecheiobnoaiwne!! We screamed, again, and Lindsey smashed it with her shoe, which only made us squeal more because of the crunch sound it made! Ack!!

We did end up watching two more movies before heading to bed: The Proposal and Clueless. Total chick flick night and it was fantastic :) The entire weekend was fantastic and I’m so thankful to have such great friends to veg with, joke with, and have life talks with. We will try not to wait four years before our next girl’s weekend!!

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More Fall adventures:

Central Park

Great Smoky Mountains

Blue Ridge Parkway

Visiting Central Park in the Fall!

web_IMG_4821The entire island of Manhattan is a favorite of mine in the fall, but for the 3rd post in our Fall Travel Favorites series I am putting the focus on dreamy Central Park!

I have been to New York City in every season except summer (I don’t even want to go in the summer – too hot!) and hands down my favorite time to go is in the fall.

If you visit early on in the fall – October – you’ll find that the leaves on the trees aren’t quite as vivid as they’ll be in November, but the weather for walking around is per-fec-tion.

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web_IMG_2565 web_IMG_2473 web_IMG_2376 web_IMG_2516 web_IMG_2363 web_IMG_2441 web_IMG_2443 web_IMG_2480 web_IMG_2472 web_IMG_2555So as you can see, there’s still quite a bit of green on the trees in October (these were taken during a mid-October visit), but the fact that you can walk around comfortably in jeans, a light sweater, and booties without sweating or freezing makes it so nice for wandering all day (which you will do when you’re in New York!).

If you want a fall experience coupled with the charm of the holidays: visit during Thanksgiving. It will be chillier, but the color in Central Park will blow your mind, and there’s a buzz in the air with all the preparations for the Macy’s Parade. (uh ehm: there may or may not be a Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade post coming up in this fall favorites series…)

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Quite a color difference from October to November!  These were taken the day before Thanksgiving in 2007. We had comfortable coat weather, meaning it was cold but if you layered up you were fine. Then on Thanksgiving it got really cold, like wind biting your face cold, but luckily we were inside most of that day! But now having been to the city in January, I can say with proper winter layers the biting cold is tolerable for walking around. But anyhow, here I am rambling on about weather!

It really is hard to decide which month is better for strolling around the concrete jungle’s calm haven, but hopefully with my comparisons you can decide which month would satisfy your fall adventure. Either way, Central Park will charm your socks off :)

More from our Fall Travel Favorites series:

The Great Smoky Mountains

Blue Ridge Parkway

 

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The Great Smoky Mountains are…Smoky!

web_blueridgeparkway49This short visit to The Great Smoky Mountains National Park was part of a two week road trip we took in the fall of 2010. We had driven a portion of the Blue Ridge Parkway from Asheville to the North Carolina/Tennessee border to the Clingman’s Dome observation deck. From my research prior to the trip, I learned Clingman’s Dome was the highest point in the park (and the highest point in Tennessee!) and would give a vantage point of The Smokies like you’ve seen in National Geographic. I wanted the National Geographic viewpoint! :)

What happened, though, is that the Smoky Mountains are not called “Smoky” for nothing. At the NC/TN border area called Newfound Gap we were already experiencing light drizzle and fog, but our visibility was still pretty good!

web_blueridgepkwy42 web_blueridgepkwy43web_blueridgepkwy36 web_blueridgepkwy41web_blueridgepkwy39Smokin’ in the Smokies… Iamsofunny.

web_blueridgepkwy40 web_blueridgepkwy38 web_blueridgepkwy37Did you know? A “gap” is a low point in a mountain ridge. We usually refer to them as “passes”. Newfound Gap is the lowest drivable pass in The Smokies!

From Newfound Gap, Clingman’s Dome Road is a 7 mile drive and then a very, I repeat very, steep half mile walk to the observation deck. I was in really bad shape at the time so the steep hike was particularly exhausting for me. At least, that’s what I like to tell myself.

But because I felt exhausted, out of shape, and nervous that the rain and fog would ruin our view from the observation deck, cranky Jana came out. Let’s be honest, not every moment of every trip is going to be rainbows and sunshine, but when I start acting cranky, I’m horrible to be around. How does Trae stand this you ask? Oh, he just makes fun of me the whole time.

Instead of taking pictures to document the treck, he took videos. This is way before we started filming our trips so I was just annoyed at him! Here are some great low quality screen caps to show you the steep trail (if you’d like to see the embarrassing video from this it’s here.):

Picture 10 Picture 12I mean, it’s paved so it’s not difficult, it’s just steep. The entire time.

When we made it to the base of the observation deck I was positive our view would be completely fogged over, which a couple walking down confirmed by telling us “you missed the best views by 10 mintues!” I wanted to strangle them.

Picture 11Picture 13 Picture 15So this was our view from the Clingman’s Dome observation deck when we arrived. I was so sad because I had that National Geographic expectation in my head and that’s what I wanted to see.

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But hey, mother nature has a way of doing nice things for an exhausted, cranky, & picky photographer: the fog cleared as we sat there defeated and we were given a few minutes of a beautiful view!

webIMG_3811 webIMG_3813 webIMG_3808And it seemed just as soon as the fog cleared, it was back again. But man was I thankful for those two minutes of a view. I’m sure Trae was even more thankful.

So it all turned out fine and cranky Jana disappeared. My advice to give from our experience: visit Clingman’s Dome earlier in the day if you can!

P.S. I hesitated sharing that I was in a bad mood during this adventure because a) I’m annoyed at myself that I was that way and b) I want to keep the content on this blog positive. But I also want to keep things honest, and I felt that my mood affected our experience and thus it needed to be mentioned. It is way too easy to make everything online seem perfect and happy all the time, and there is enough of that out there already! 

IMG_4767Next up on our fall favorites series: Central Park!

More from this road trip:

Blue Ridge Parkway

Biltmore Estate in Asheville

Destin, Florida

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