Well, I started this post last night but couldn't keep my eyes open. It had been a full, rich day of adventure.
My husband and I are lucky to have some would call a 'babymoon' this weekend, with family graciously keeping our cute kids at home. We headed toward the Grove Park Inn, but on the way yesterday we spur-of-the-moment stopped at the NC Arboretum. My husband is an avid gardener, who quite enjoys citrus and vegetable gardening, but also fiddles with making cuttings and multiplying hydrangea and azalea, as well as air-layering camellia. So the stop was a perfect one to make. There were beautiful gardens to stroll through, full of blooms and butterflies and trees that we don't see in our area. My favorite spot was probably the quilting garden, which had an overlook down toward a stunning tree in the middle of a pool, surrounded by a courtyard with a border hedge of trimmed trees, beyond it a stunning view of the mountains. I couldn't help but think of Narnia –the part in the Magician's Nephew where they finally got to the tree that held those life-giving apples. The photo below in no way does it justice.
There was also a gorgeous bonsai garden. I eventually want to tend my own bonsai, but I've got to decide what variety and such and have a little more time on my hands than I do now to prune it and such. I'm considering Japanese maple.
After a nice lunch, complete with a delicious bulgar salad and Avocado BLT, we investigated a trail that led to the Arboretum's larger Greenhouse. The trail was labeled “easy to moderate” and was supposedly 0.6 miles from where we were to the greenhouse, so despite the fact we were both wearing flipflops, and I am very pregnant and am beginning to suspect I have a stress fracture in one foot, we decided to hike there. It was a beautiful trail with more descents than uphills initially, and curved back and forth around a rushing creek in the gully below. Though a morning rain had heralded us as we'd left SC that morning, the afternoon sky in the mountains was clear and the temperatures were high 60's so we enjoyed the trees and the fern and being out in the woods.
Now, I have to say that after running quite a bit the last few years and using GPS most of the time, I've become pretty adept at mental awareness of distances I've walked or run. And this trail was no 0.6 miles as stated. Rather–it was at least twice that, maybe even 2 miles. This would have been fine had I been at least wearing proper shoes or didn't have foot pain, but as it turned out, the last 0.5 mile was mostly uphill and when you're very pregnant in flip-flops it doesn't go easily!
We finally arrived at the Greenhouse, where I was eager to make a pit stop at the ladies room. Unfortunately as we approached, I noticed that the hour listed as closing had just passed! The doors were locked. I tried not to contemplate hiking back across the trail without using the ladies room, and came to terms with the fact that nature might actually call…But then we decided to do a lap around the greenhouse so my husband could at least look in the windows at all the gorgeous plants. Toward the back of the building a lady inside was misting some little baby cuttings. I knocked on the window and she had pity when she saw my big baby bump, and let us come in to relieve ourselves. We even got to walk through the Greenhouse and see it after all! Eventually I want to build my husband a greenhouse of his own, to house his citrus and grow things through the winter.
The walk back was much shorter, as we took the road, and it actually was about 0.6 miles. They must have based their distance on the drive and not the winding course of the trail and its switchbacks!
In addition to that little hike I'm doing a lot of swimming this weekend, the perfect exercise for sore hips and aches in pregnancy. Making vacation more about action and less about food has been a good transition. I did have a freshly juiced concoction by the pool– carrot, celery, beet, apple and other such good stuff. I'd never tried a veggie juice like this. I've considered getting a juicer before, but always prefer getting all the fiber associated with eating the veggies whole. Maybe I'll reconsider in the future, as I can see how there could be some tasty combinations and a lot of phytochemicals pressed into these concoctions.
I'd love to hear if anyone else has been able to transition to focusing on activity and adventure-ish stuff while on vacation, rather than rich food and overindulgence? I'm still enjoying a little dessert this weekend, but it's sooooooo scaled back from the way I used to eat when celebrating a holiday. Most of the time in the past I've treated a weekend or week away as one long buffet meal, eating at every opportunity and not even feeling hunger the whole time. When it comes to food and travel now, I'm trying to be selective and picky in what I chose, measuring what's really worth the calories, and eating lots of fresh fruits and veggies.