north carolina

10 Tips for a River Float Trip

It getting hot out there and that means finding different ways to beat the heat. Since I live in North Carolina my husband has banned the beach this year. If you haven’t heard North Carolina beaches have had a small shark problem this year, like only 8 or so shark attacks in the last few weeks. Then there is that whole man of war thing. We like our kids. We would rather they didn’t become shark snacks. Since the beach is out for now that then leaves good ole swimming pools and various bodies of freshwater. So far this summer my family has been exploring local bodies of freshwater. We went camping at Jordan Lake which only made my husband want a boat. I’m not sure that trip to the lake was a good idea. A couple weeks later we finally had an adventure and my husband and I had the opportunity to float the Cape Fear River. Floating a river is something we had talked about doing since we lived in El Paso. There you could go and float a section of the Rio Grande that was in New Mexico. Then I have classmates from high school that are always floating at Rainbow River in Florida. There must be something to this floating thing and my husband and I were going to find out.

We floated the Cape Fear River, had a good time and as usual a bit of an adventure also! We definitely learned a few things that will help make trips in the future even better. Check out my 10 tips for a river float trip!

10 Tips for a River Float Trip

1. Check the weather. You not only want to make sure you are going to have good weather for your trip but if your area has had rain, especially a lot you will want to check that river levels are safe for your float trip. This is where the adventure in our trip came into play. Our trip was suppose to last about 5 hours and it lasted just under 2! Why? We had heavy rains the day before and the river was rising and the current was very strong. The group I was with was the only group that went down the day I went because conditions turned dangerous. We had several floaters that missed the take out spot. Heck, my husband and I missed the first take out spot despite his swimming and my paddling.

2. Wear Sunscreen. I think this one is simple, wear sunscreen and reapply. Sunburn sucks.

3. Protect your feet Wear water shoes, sandals or a pair of five fingers. There is no telling what is on the river bottom. Plus you will need something to wear to walk down to the river and then once you are done. I chose an old pair of my minimal running shoes. They are my go to shoes for mud runs and things like this.

4.Leave valuables at home. Don’t bring anything you are not afraid to lose. If something falls into the river it is typically gone for good. It doesn’t care if it is your favorite sunglasses. My oldest son has a pair of eyeglasses at the bottom of Elephant Butte Lake in New Mexico… That was a lesson he and my husband learned fast.

5. Ziploc Bags. Ziplock bags are your friend. They are perfect for storing your phone and valuables such as car keys and copies of your ID and some cash.

10 Tips for a River Float Trip

6. Nalgene Wide Mouth Bottle. One thing that is better than using a Ziploc Bag is a Nalgene Wide Mouth Bottle. Not only are they perfect for water and other drinks but they are a great way to have watertight storage for your keys and smaller valuables.

7. Bring Beverages and not just the alcoholic kind. You need to stay hydrated during your float trip so be sure to bring some water and other drinks. If you choose to bring alcohol, first and foremost drink responsibly. Bring cans over bottles as glass is just dangerous in this situation.

8. Bring snacks. You are going to be out on the water for a bit and your bound to get hungry so bring some snacks. Just be mindful of what you bring. Things can easily get wet and you will be left with soggy food. You also want to be mindful of the trash you are bringing. Fruit, nuts and beef jerky are all great options.

9. Bring a cooler.  If you are bringing food and drinks you are going to need somewhere to put everything. Just stay away from Styrofoam coolers as they have a tendency to fall apart and are banned in many areas.. Most places offer a float with a bottom for a small fee.

10. Carabiners and Rope. Some places offer rope or have rope around their floats but not all do. Having rope around your float and adding a carabiner allows you to hang things off of your float. The rope is also useful to attach your cooler float and other floats together.

10 Tips for a River Float Trip

There you go my 10 Tips for a River Float Trip! So listen to your river guide for instructions, wear your life vest (because safety first!) and have fun!


Bloom Where You are Planted: Fourth Friday

When my husband and I lived in the Fayetteville area during our first round at Fort Bragg we never went to downtown Fayetteville outside of the day we were married and to pick up our boy’s birth certificates. Back then we were always told to avoid the area. I can remember hearing about how they were trying to revitalize the area and every now and then I would hear about something that was going on. After being away eight years things have changed and I can safely say that staying away from downtown is NOT advice anyone should take. Downtown Fayetteville is full of places to explore, eat and shop! It is an area of Fayetteville I am still exploring so I was disappointed I missed part of the adventure my fellow bloggers went on during the Fayetteville Familiarization Tour. Luckily though I was able to check out the Dogwood Festival and Fourth Friday with them and check out some areas I really need to go back and explore!

Fourth Friday has been held in some way or form for the last about 15 years. Every Fourth Friday of the month part of downtown is closed where you can walk on the streets. There are exhibits, all sorts of free entertainment as well as food and drinks that come to together in historic downtown Fayetteville. It is a very  relaxed and fun atmosphere.

On the Friday that we went we first came across a set up by the Climbing Place, where you could climb and race to the top of the rock wall. It was busy and we watched as father’s raced their children up the rock wall to see who would be first.

Next we came across the Fayettevillains. Check out the great video that Angela from Mommy PR took of them HERE


and finally we reached the Market House where Air Born Aerials was set up. Here is some video that I took:

They were amazing! Aerial silks have always amazed me.
Bloom Where you are Planted- Fourth FridaySimply the upper body  and core strength that is needed to do this amazes me! 

Bloom Where you are Planted- Fourth Friday

I learned afterwards that there was even an exhibit inside of Market House. Honestly there is so much to do it is very easy to miss things with everything going on.
Bloom Where you are Planted- Fourth FridayJust exploring I was making a mental list of all the places that I needed to come back to and visit. Fourth Friday was definitely a good way to get out and explore downtown Fayetteville!

In addition to Fourth Friday the Dogwood Festival was going on. The Dogwood Festival has been around since the early 80’s. Much like Raleigh is the city of oaks Fayetteville is the city of dogwood’s, giving the festival it’s name. The festival which is held every 4th weekend in April, hosts local and national music artists, arts and crafts,plenty of food and of course fun! Friday night’s featured artist was country singer,Craig Campbell.

Bloom Where you are Planted- Fourth Friday

As part of the blogger familiarization tour we were given the VIP treatment and hung out at the VIP tent but not without first walking the red carpet.

Bloom Where you are Planted- Fourth Friday

I have to say that red carpet sure can make a girl feel special.


We were able to sit back and relax while waiting on the night’s headliner.


While remaining close but somewhat far away from the stage

There are concert’s at Festival Park several times throughout the year and  having been in the VIP section before I can say  the set up varies. I was happy to find this up close video of the flash mob the Fayetteville Police did. Their video is much better than the one I posted on instagram so here it is:

While in the VIP area they served a buffet dinner from Hilltop House, another great local restaurant that serves contemporary southern food. One of the best buffets I have had since I became gluten free. The tiny potatoes I had were my favorites!

Bloom Where you are planted- Fourth FridayHere is what everyone else ate:

The food was great!

All that was left was to wait on Craig Campbell’s  who eventually came out after 9:30. He started off his set with Brooks and Dunn’s, Play Something Country and the crowd loved it! His concert closed out an eventful day.

Check out Fourth Friday in Downtown Fayetteville North Carolina!

Are you interested in Fourth Friday and want to check it out?

Check out their Facebook page HERE

Want to learn more about Downtown Fayetteville?

Check out their page HERE


Airborne and Special Operations Museum

It’s that time of the year again, it is time for Memorial Day. Memorial Day for many is the long awaited weekend that welcomes summer. A time to head to the beach, pool or fire up the grill for a BBQ. There are those who confuse Memorial and Veteran’s Day and for this I kindly ask please do not Thank a Veteran on Memorial Day. That’s not what Memorial Day is all about. Memorial day is the day to remember all of our soldiers that have fallen while in the line of duty. My husband has lost several brother’s at arms, I know those who lost their spouses, children who have lost their father. I don’t know many in the military community that do not know someone who gave all.

With Memorial Day on us I want to urge people to do something a little different this year. Find a way to remember those who gave their all so you do not have to. An easy way is to look and see if you have any military history museums in your area. Living in the Fort Bragg area we are blessed with several great museums but if I could only pick one it would be the  Airborne and Special Operations Museum.

Bloom Where You Are Planted- Airborne and Special Operations Museum

The Airborne and Special Operation’s Museum has been in Fayetteville since August of 2000 and tells the story of the Airborne and Special Operations Soldier from the 1940’s until present time. Since it opened in 2000 I have gone several times but it wasn’t until I went on the blogger familiarization tour with the Fayetteville Area Convention and Visitors Bureau that I was really able to get a deeper look into the museum. We have gone on our own and taken family in the past but I have always had a little one or two so while I was able to walk through the museum I never was able to really give it the full attention it deserves. Even with the blogger tour I would have loved more time. There is just so much to see and learn.

When exploring the museum there are two routes to go, explore the outside first or the inside. Outside you have the original Iron Mike statue from Fort Bragg. There are also memorial stones and pavers lining the walkways up to the museum. There is also something outside that you won’t find elsewhere, a memorial to the K-9 Soldier. On Memorial Day (Monday, May 25,2015) at noon they will be holding a special memorial day ceremony to honor the bravery and dedication of the special operations K-9 Soldier.

Since we were visiting on a rainy day we went straight inside. Upon entering you see 2 paratroopers hanging from the ceiling. Here is one of them:

Bloom Where you are Planted : Airborne and Special Operations Museum
Once you have signed in you are set to explore the museum. Inside they have a temporary exhibit, the main exhibit and a simulator ride. The current temporary exhibit is, Task Force Ranger And The Battle of  Mogadishu. This is better known to many from the book and movie, BlackHawk Down.

Bloom Where you are Planted : Airborne and Special Operations Museum

This exhibit just received the John Wesley Powell Prize, an award that is typically given to museums such as the Smithsonian! It really is a great exhibit and thanks to receiving the award we get to keep the exhibit a bit longer than planned. You have until October 2016 to check it out.
Here are a couple highlights from the exhibit:

Bloom Where you are Planted : Airborne and Special Operations Museum

and this:

Bloom Where you are Planted : Airborne and Special Operations MuseumThere are no words to describe this note.

Moving on we go onto enter the Main Exhibit hall.

Bloom Where you are Planted : Airborne and Special Operations MuseumWalking through there is something to look at at every turn.

Bloom Where you are Planted : Airborne and Special Operations Museum

I loved looking at the uniforms and how much they have changed but also have stayed the same. The unit patch for the 508th is exactly the same logo today!

There was honestly too much for me to include in this blog but here are some of the bigger exhibits:

Bloom Where you are Planted : Airborne and Special Operations Museum

Bloom Where you are Planted : Airborne and Special Operations Museum

Bloom Where you are Planted : Airborne and Special Operations Museum

Bloom Where you are Planted : Airborne and Special Operations Museum

Bloom Where you are Planted : Airborne and Special Operations Museum

Bloom Where you are Planted : Airborne and Special Operations Museum
You walk through the 1940’s to present day with close attention to detail in an attempt to not miss a thing. I saw pictures that were similar to those of my grandfathers from World War II, you can read about how the Pathfinders began and why they were important, learn about different weapons and gear that was used. The tour is self guided so you can spend as much time or as little as you would like!

When you finish looking at the exhibit there is one more experience waiting for you. The Airborne and Special Operations Museum also has a simulator ride! They just updated it and it was to debate during Armed Forces Weekend but I have something for you. Here is a sneak peak of the ride:

I’m sorry but if you want to see how it ends you will have to go to the museum!

The museum is located at:

100 Bragg Boulevard
Fayetteville, North Carolina

The museum Hours are:

Tuesday-Saturday 10am-5pm
Sunday 12pm-5pm
Closed Mondays and Federal Holidays.
The museum will be open on Memorial Day, Independence Day, and Veteran’s Day.
We are closed on Federal Holidays, including Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years Day, and Easter.
The Exhibit Gallery closes at 4:45.
They recommend allowing 2-3 hours to tour the museum grounds.

Admission is free to the museum but they accept donations.
You do have to pay  to ride the Motion Simulator, it is $5; half price for those under 36″. Tickets are available in the gift shop.

If you check out the museum from May 16 thru June 27th 2015 you will also have the opportunity to check out the North Carolina Field of Honor. Hundreds of American Flags are flying honoring those who serve, who have served and those that have paid the ultimate sacrifice. The Field of Honor You can read more information about the North Carolina Field of Honor HERE.


1897 Poe House

I don’t know about you but I am a fan of old houses. From their architecture to those that have been made to look like they did in years past. Here in Fayetteville we have several beautiful homes in the historic Haymount area. One of those houses that you can visit is the 1897 Poe House and I was excited to check it out as part of the Fayetteville Blogger Familiarization Tour.

When most people here the name Edgar Allan Poe they think of great literary works such as The Tell Tale Heart, The Raven or one of his other poems or stories. Here in Fayetteville we had our own Edgar Allan Poe although he went by E.A. Poe. He was a prominent businessman and community leader in the area, Poe was a brick maker .

If you have been in Fayetteville you probably have seen his bricks and didn’t even know it. E.A. Poe’s bricks were used in the Hay Street United Methodist Church.

1897 Poe House


Poe and his wife, Josephine had the house built in 1897 and lived there with their children.

His daughter Lily lived in the home until her death and at that time she gave the house to the state of North Carolina to be used as a museum. The house was refurbished and is open today for free tours that are guided by very knowledgable volunteer tour guides.

1897 Poe House

No two tours are the same so you may learn a new tidbit or two with each visit. I can say we learned a bunch of interesting things!

1897 Poe House

Before even entering the house we were learning tidbits. When you first walk up to the house you can find a small imperfection. I won’t say where exactly other than in the eaves of the porch. This imperfection was based in the Poe’s christian belief of God’s infallibility.

My attention inside the house was drawn to all the little things from things such as books from that time period to the inside architecture.

1897 Poe House

The Encyclopedia of Etiquette was especially interesting. I wanted to pick it up and read it just to see what it said. There is just something about what was once considered proper.

1897 Poe House

While touring the downstairs we went through both the formal living room that would of been used for entertaining guest, the living room the family used to the children’s room where I fell in love with what our tour guide called the first Easy Bake Oven! It was actually a salesman sample cast iron oven. Back then salesman needed a smaller version of their product to show the lady of the house so they could show off it’s features

1897 Poe House


In the dining room our tour guide told us some of the ghost stories of the house. It wasn’t until we were at lunch that we discovered we were not alone in the room.

Krystal from Army Wife 101 captured an image of someone. We don’t know who although we think it may be the nurse or cook. Krystal and I were the last 2 people out of the room and when she took the picture I had just left for the food holding room to take pictures.

Here is the last picture I took of the room just moments before hers of the other side of the room.

1897 Poe House

Pretty spooky stuff! It definitely had us checking our pictures at lunch! Krystal and I both had other images  of different rooms with green orbs. Since I did not use flash it was pretty interesting stuff!

My favorite room of the house was the kitchen but i’m sure some of you could have guessed that.

1897 Poe House

The cast iron stove was not the original but it was still awesome. In fact they use it throughout the year.

1897 Poe House

I loved this old cook book and how simple recipes once were!

1897 Poe House
1897 Poe House

That Pepsi bottle is actually a sprinkler bottle. Did you know that Pepsi is from North Carolina? It was created in a pharmacy in New Bern in 1898!
1897 Poe House


I really enjoyed our time at the Poe House and it is something that I plan to go back and visit again. I have been told the house is simply beautiful at Christmas! I know they also decorate for Halloween. It was raining on the day that we visited so I need to make a return visit just to check out the grounds of the Poe House and Arsenal Park, the remains of an ordinance factory that was used by both federal and confederate governments.

Poe House is located at 206 Bradford Avenue, Fayetteville, NC. There hours are-


Take a step back in time and check it out for yourself and let me know if you have any ghostly adventures! I would love to hear about them.

Bloom Where You are Planted- 1897 Poe House

Bloom Where You are Planted

Being a military spouse one of the biggest lessons I have learned is to bloom where you are planted.  Basically, where you are will only be as good as you make it, it is your choice whether you love or hate a duty station.  When you bloom where you are planted you are making the choice to get out and explore and see what your community offers.

When I moved back to the Fort Bragg area in the summer of 2013 one of the many ideas flying around in my ADHD head is I should really start a bloom where you are planted series and write about all the hidden gems I come across that make Fort Bragg great. Thanks to the Fayetteville Area Convention and Visitors Bureau my idea is going to become a reality almost 2 years later! The Fayetteville Area Convention and Visitors Bureau contacted me and asked me if I would be interested in a blogger familiarization tour of Fayetteville. I said, yes please and I have to say i’m glad I did because it was an awesome adventure!

I joined 3 other Fayetteville area bloggers that I only “knew” online. We had talked a couple times about meeting up with other local bloggers but we just hadn’t done it yet. Life happens and we are all busy ladies. Finally being able to meet some of my fellow local bloggers was  another added perk of this adventure.  I am so glad I got to meet Krystal of Army Wife 101, Angela from Mommy PR and Tiffany from Mrs Tee Love Life Laughter because they are all really wonderful ladies! Our adventure was filled with laughs and I cannot imagine any better ladies to go on this adventure with.

Our adventure started on a Friday at the Fairfield Inn and ended at Zipquest on Saturday afternoon. There was so much stuff packed into the two days that I cannot put it all in one post so I will be adding separate posts about all of our adventures and the oh so wonderful food that we ate! I cannot wait to share with you all of the things we did. I hope you will love them as much as we did and go out and discover Fayetteville!  There are many hidden gems in this area and I cannot wait to share them with you in my Bloom Where you are Planted series!

Bloom Where You are Planted ~ Country Girl Gourmet