Claire’s wedding

We attended the wedding of Claire (Mary’s daughter) to Daniel Gray at Maggie Valley NC, a beautiful small town in the mountains of western North Carolina.

They rented a large (and beautiful) home, some small cabins, and a nearby building where the reception was held. Immediate family members enjoyed a stay at the house. We had the opportunity to take one of the cabins, but couldn’t because they don’t allow dogs. Instead, we found a “tiny house” in nearby Canton SC which was about 25 minutes away.

Matt and Cindy stayed the cabin we could have had. Gin and Phil were in the main house, and Doug and Karen stayed in a hotel that was also very close.

We left home Friday morning 9/17/21 and arrived at about 8:15 PM. The trip went well, but we arrived a bit later than we had hoped. The family got together at the house in the evening and Matt was thoughtful enough to call to ask where we were. It was too late to get there on Friday so he invited us to come early Saturday morning for breakfast. I didn’t think we could make that either, which made me sad, but it ended up working out. Instead of going out for breakfast, everyone just met again at the house. They had plenty of food there.

We toured the home and then drove back to our tiny house where Susan got ready for the wedding.

Originally the wedding ceremony was to take place in a nearby church, but they were forced to find another location so they decided to to do it on the lawn in front of the house. It started to rain lightly right before the ceremony, and could have moved it across the drive to the building where the reception was to take place, but decided to press on and hold it outside, hoping it wouldn’t rain much. The rain gradually increased as time went on, but could have been worse. We had an umbrella, but Susan ended up sharing it with another woman who sat with us. Fortunately the temperature was comfortable so I don’t think anyone suffered much.

The reception was nice, but loud, making it very difficult to carry on a conversation. Susan and I left a little early and got some ice cream.

Sunday morning we checked out of the tiny house and decided to return to Maggie Valley one more time to see Soco Falls. The drive took over 30 minutes, and then almost weren’t able to see it because the parking was extremely limited. On the second pass, we found a place to park and walked a short distance down a steep trail to see the falls. We weren’t brave enough to make it all the way to the bottom of the falls, but did get a photo in.

From there we drove a hotel that’s on the way to Blacksburg, VA. I graduated from Virginia Tech haven’t been back since. I thought this was a good opportunity to visit and show Susan.

At Virginia tech we found a parking spot near Burruss Hall, the administration building. The campus was swarming with students as walked across the Drill Field and passed several buildings that I remember well – the War Memorial Chapel at one end of the Drill Fields, the Newman Library nearby, Vawter Hall – the first dormitory I lived in, Owens and Deitrich Dining Halls where I ate and worked as a dishwasher, and Ambler Johnson dormitory where I spent my final quarter. While much of the campus was familiar, I barely recognized much of it. For example, I couldn’t find Lee Hall where I also lived, then discovered later that the building has since been renamed, and another dorm has been built in front of it. Over the years, numerous buildings have been added to fill in former parking lots and open spaces. Student population has increased from 12,000 when I entered to 36,000 now. That, combined with the reduced open areas, has made the campus quite crowded.

From there we travelled to the New River Gorge National Park. The big attraction is the 3,000+ ft. bridge (800+ ft height) that crosses the gorge. It was the world’s longest single-span arch bridge when built in 1977 (currently ranks 5th). We stopped at a visitor center and walked to the edge of the gorge on a boardwalk and stairs. Then we drove to the bottom of the gorge to view the bridge from that angle. We crossed the river on much lower, older, shorter, and narrower bridge and drove up the other side.

We spent Monday night in a large bedroom in the home of a family we found on Airbnb, then returned home on Tuesday. It was a great trip, but it’s always nice to get back home. Susan wasn’t feeling too well. In addition to her usual back and neck issues, she’s had a lot of trouble moving her right arm without pain. Just prior to leaving for NC, she began physical therapy to unfreeze the arm. Plus on the last day or two of our trip, she began having a pain on side of her back – could be a kidney pain.

Me and Susan standing on the porch of our tiny house in Canton, NC.
Susan with Elmo
The tiny house is situated on a large and beautiful property (main house in the background)
View of Smoky Mountains from the front porch of our tiny house.
Kevin and Mary trying to stay dry while watching the happy couple exchange vows in the background.
Selfie while standing on a platform with a few of the Soto Falls in the background.
New River Gorge Bridge in the background
New River Gorge Bridge in the background
Susan walking across a much older and smaller bridge that crosses the New River.

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