Spring, finally.

spring 442When we left here a week ago Sunday, it was snowing. We drove south, seeing more snow, in the snow, for a few hours.  Honestly, we were at the Tennessee state line before I stopped seeing little snow piles here & there – especially on the northern facing slopes of roofs.  By the time we stopped to gas up & stretch outside of Gatlinburg, the sun was out, the temps were warmer and we were starting to see those little hints of green that signify the arrival of spring.

In deciding to go visit Pat’s folks for spring break instead of the holidays, we thought that warmer temps might mean getting to take advantage of some outdoor activities the weather never seems to cooperate with in the winter months.  I was also holding out hope that like that seminal drive I took south 25 years ago last month, I’d leave the snow covered mountains of Virginia (then it was Pennsylvania) and find myself in full on spring once I got out of the car in Alabama.  That was how this Pennsylvania girl ended up going to school at Auburn – because Auburn has spring in March.  And that was in March, this is April people!  Turns out, spring is late getting there too, but at least the northern mountains had some signs of spring, the weather was warm and best of all, there was no snow in the forecast.

spring 543We ventured out one day with the Little River Waterkeeper Billy and two of his lovely daughters for a late afternoon paddle up the Little River.

spring 531We did a stretch just above DeSoto Falls.  It is flat and easily kayakable.  It is also this amazingly quiet stretch of river that on this quiet, sunny day in early April left us feeling like the river was all ours.  I didn’t bring my camera on that paddle, which I sort of regretted, although kayaking with a nonwaterproof camera, even if you are on a flat stretch of water is probably not a good idea.

spring 525We met up at Nippersink Lodge.

spring 568That is a scale model replica of the rear elevation of the lodge that hangs among the numerous bird houses on the rear screened in porch. The sort of porch that has ceiling fans, lamps and multiple seating areas.  The lodge itself is so incredibly picturesque.

spring 510That’s the main room.  The one with two pianos tucked into corners.  The downstairs bathroom sports a claw foot tub.   It’s totally the sort of place to go stay for a week with a good group of friends (Mollie, Rieman, Abigal, Brooke, roadtrip?)

spring 560It was a lovely afternoon & definitely a highlight of the trip. Thank you again Billy.

spring 671Wednesday found us hitting the road south to Birmingham, where signs of spring were even more apparent as we drove down the highway.

spring 938With an hour or so to kill before meeting up with friends for dinner, we stopped in at one of my favorite places in the entire world – the Birmingham Botanical Gardens.

spring 689When we lived in Birmingham, this was my favorite place to go on days I didn’t work.  It was my Sunday afternoon go-to hang out spot.  I miss those gardens.

spring 701Making the gardens even more glorious on this warm, sunny afternoon was all the things in bloom.  Like these early blooming magnolias, the ‘Daybreak’ Magnolia above.

spring 710And the camillas.

spring 712spring 716It’s sort of hard to tell from this shot, but understory plantings in that area were camillas.  There were at least a dozen and they were all in full bloom.  The smell was amazing.  There really is nothing like the smell of springtime in the Deep South.

spring 709spring 694I took a lot of photos of things in bloom. Pretty much everything in bloom actually.

spring 719And then we got to the Japanese Garden, with the blooming cherry trees.

spring 722 spring 737 spring 742 spring 748 spring 750 I took more than a few shots.

spring 751Around every corner was something else fragrantly blooming.

spring 795spring 815spring 817 spring 825Best of all was seeing this, in Julie & JR’s front yard.

spring 1004Nothing says spring like dogwoods in full bloom.

Absolutely worth the 10 hour drive home, upon which we were greeted by this.

spring 1040Our tulip magnolia tree in full, glorious bloom.

spring 1104spring 1110Turns out, some edges of some of the blooms got slightly pinched by the winter that overstayed its welcome, but somehow, the tree made it through relatively unscathed.  It commands your eye for blocks around. And the scent?  How I wish you could somehow capture the scent in a picture.

spring 1056Glorious really is the only word to describe it.

9 thoughts on “Spring, finally.

  1. WRD says:

    I will have to remember the name of the lodge. It looks like a nice getaway, and it has been many years since my camping trips in Little River Canyon.

    • Becky says:

      It is quite lovely, but keep in mind they are not open during the winter months.

      On Tue, Apr 8, 2014 at 2:36 PM, Chicken Wire & Paper Flowers wrote:


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