McCaleb Southeastern Summer 2012 Adventure

The title of this blog says it all.  We McCalebs had ourselves a rip-roarin', bona-fide summer adventure.  It was the perfect break for everything.  The heat, the routine, the slow pace that comes along with living in the Mississippi Delta.  It was perfect.  Let me tell you about it... 

We left the delta on a Thursday after a lengthy oil change and a wrap sandwich from What's Cookin'. Birmingham was our destination, excitement was our mood.  We had reservations at Aloft Hotel and dinner plans for Sol y Luna

Aloft hotel was super hip, I felt as though a rave might happen at any time.  I'd recommend it unless you have an aversion to raves.  Kidding, it's real nice.  They had live music and a good spot to get snacks.  Great location, too. 

Sol y Luna is always one of my favorites.  It was even more fun because our friends Katherine and Jason were able to meet us.  The margaritas are outta this world and the food is delicious.  And it's tapas so it's like snack time for hours.  Here is Brandon sipping his perfect margarita.  Please take note of that single wide in the back ground.  

After dinner, we walked around the corner to some local bars.  The NBA playoff game was on, it's always exciting to watch a sporting event in a bar. 

We cabbed it home, got a good night sleep.  The next time I woke up, I was 30. 

Brandon surprised me by bounding up bright and early.  He was talking breakfast, naturally we decided to go to The Original Pancake House.  I ordered blueberry pancakes and homefries as my motto on vacation is usually go big or go home.  After breakfast, it was time to pack up the choche and head to Georgia.  

I took the first leg of driving; unfortunately this meant I accidentally wound up in Atlanta traffic.  Between Brandon's support and the GPS' guidance, we came out unscathed.  The scenery got better and better as we drove, I was getting super geared up for Athens.  Once we got there, we set out on foot to explore the city.  We stopped first at a thrift store called Dynamite. It's owned by a friend of a friend of ours in Greenwood so it was fun to get to chat with her.  I scored a silver shift dress and a coral clutch.  Heck yeah!  Brandon scored a UGA t-shirt.  Heck yeah!  The owner, along with other friends, recommended lunch at The National so we made our way there.    

I loved absolutely everything about it.  The ambiance, the staff, the menu. I give it all two enthusiastic thumbs up.  Pictured below is one of the drinks, A Loving Cup.  It took everything I had not to steal the menu so we could recreate it at  home.  Should have snapped a picture! 

For lunch, I ordered the pimento cheese turkey burger and fries (are you noticing a pattern?) and Brandon ordered the soft shell crab salad.  I kind of felt like a two-ton-tussy with our plates side by side but didn't dwell on that for to long.  It was, after all, my birthday.  I do what I want. 

I awkwardly blurted out "it's my birthday" when I ordered my burger and fries to the waitress.  My thought process was that she wouldn't judge me if she knew it was my special day.  She didn't seem to judge me and instead brought me creme brulee and a glass of champagne.  Girl.  Let's be friends forever and always! 

When we got back in the car, I wished I was wearing a yoga pant instead of my purple skinny jeans. Again guys...go big or go home.  

The drive to Brevard from Athens was long, but not terrible.  It got a little hairy when the GPS started taking us down back roads; maybe it knew we were from the Delta and wanted us to feel at home.  It also got a little hairy when we started driving up the mountain...there were absolutely 90 degree turns with drop offs to one side of you. 

We met one of our hosts, Brandon, in the town of Brevard so we could follow him out to his house / our vacation home.  We met in the parking lot of an Episcopal Church (heck yeah!).  I loved these hydrangeas. 

Brandon and his wife Emily live a few miles outside of Brevard in a great house with a great deck.  There's also a small pond, a garden, lots of dogs, and a potbelly pig named Ruby.  I love her. We got settled, did some deck sitting, played with the dogs, visited, ate steaks and cupcakes, checked out the fly making station and crashed. 

The next morning we woke up bright and early, had some breakfast burritos, and set out to explore the land.  We made our way to Pisgah National Forest to start the adventure. We started off at the trout hatchery...

...hunted some waterfalls...

...hopped over some logs...

....thought about jumping into a waterfall (Brandon, not me.  Heck no.  Do you know how cold that water was?)....

...and generally just hiked around.  You people that live in places where you can regularly hike...I envy you.  But you probably envy the fact that you can see for miles where I live so we're even.

After our hike we took a much needed lunch break in Brevard.  We went to Rocky's, I had a chili cheese dog, it was awesome.  The town is real cute, we spent a few hours just strolling around looking at stuff.  And eating homemade chocolates.  What?  Yeah, seriously guys.  My vacations are go big or go home.... 

We made our way back home and rested / showered / visited / geared up for the evening.    

We look good in front of a mountain, don't we?

Hey, Ruby!

Dinner was at a little hole in the wall Thai place called, simply, Pad-Thai.  I did steal this menu because you know how I said I'm going to start making Indian food at home? Same goes for Thai.  We got:  Tom Kha Soup (with vegetables), Pad kee Mao-Drunken Noodle (with shrimp), Kao Pad Sopparto-Pineapple Fried Rice, and Kang Dang Red Curry (with shrimp and pork.)  Again with the details, you'll have to bare with me.  It was all so very good.  Another way to break out of routine on vacation is trying new food....we did tons of that this trip! 

After dinner, we made our way to the restaurant that Brandon's friend Neal works in.  Did some visiting, met some friends, went home and rested up for white water rafting.  Wahooo!

We booked our trip through Pura Vida Outfitters.  If you are ever in the Brevard area and looking for adventure, check them out.  It's a small operation, very personal and easy to work with.  We traveled towards Ashville and the French Broad River to start our adventure.  It's a beautiful river with amazing scenery.  The rapids got up to a level three but it was still so much fun.  Here's Brandon, finally jumping off of something.       

I'm glad I put my old camera in my dry bag...this picture is a for sure keeper.  Might blow it up.

After we were all adventured out, we made our way to Ashville.  We spent some time at Wedge Brewing Company where the guys played corn hole (our river guides stuck around and hung out...we are that much fun to be around) and I sat atop a perch and watched. 

After a bit of that, we headed to down town Ashville for exploring.  Here are Brandon, Neal, and Brandon ... buddies forever.   

Ashville is all kinds of cool. The architecture is beautiful and there's all kinds of neat things to see.  Here is a place where you can buy super cool books and order a glass of champagne.  I picked up Madame Bovary and Anna Karenina, both of which I hear are kind of racy.  I'll tell about them when I finish.  Or probably not.   

We dined that night at that awesome Indian place that I've already told you about it.  I'm still in love. 

We made the drive back to Brevard, did some more porch sitting and went off to sleep.  It felt so amazing at night there, we were able to sleep with the doors and windows open and not get carried away by mosquitoes.  The screens helped but we all know that Mississippi mosquitoes will get to you screen or no screen. 

The drive home was long but worth it.  We made some stops and I was able to somehow get away with only driving for two of the ten hours.  Thanks, B. 

I'm grateful for the ability to travel.  I'm grateful for good friends that give you a place to stay.  I'm grateful for God's beautiful creation, new adventures, and safe travels. I'm grateful for a husband that doesn't mind being holed up in a car with me for ten hours. 

If you're still reading, hope you enjoyed!  Tell me, what's the next adventure you have planned?  


  1. A delightful Birthday Weekend of Fun!!!

  2. whoa nelly! what a trip!

    make me pad thai one day.

  3. fun, fun, and fun. looks like y'all had a good mix of city life and being one with nature. all the talk of food had me drooling.