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North Carolina Detour on Our New York Summer Vacation~ Road Trip Fun

Updated: Jan 14

Our usual road trip to NY took a wonderful 5 day detour into the mountains!

If you've seen any of my other travel itineraries/ blogs you know we perfected the art of driving from Florida to New York, with a well planned quality lay over in Virginia. We made Washington DC and Virginia regular places we loved to visit. Then, something changed! Our friends who lived in Chester VA (which by the way is the perfect half way point when road tripping from Fl to Long Island) moved. Sadly, we were forced to return to our previous mentality and "drive straight through". After one of those attempts miserably failing (once you get used to half the ride it's really hard to drive straight through) we decided to rewrite our map. ** For those who know our family, yes this trip is minus one - the oldest Wes stayed in Florida to work and watch the dogs. Our old pit bull was not aging well at this point and Wes took care of him and worked **

Flexibility is the key to having a good time!

North Carolina...

Was never on my list of things to do. I had no idea how the mountains would speak to me and how much my family would love this little out of the way place.

My son Josh has friends that live in Lake Lure half of the year, that had invited us to visit. Meanwhile, My cousin Chrissy, who lives in Mooresville also invited us. Actually, she insisted we come through on our next drive North. Seeing as both our invitations were about 2 hours apart I knew there was a rhyme and reason! Actually, it came together magically. Once it works in your head, it can work in real life too. This made for a 5 day North Carolina adventure before our annual NY family trip.

The boys in their boat taken by us girls in the pontoon

Our goals this year were:

*Explore and enjoy North Carolina, make new memories with friends and family

*Be in NYC for the 4th of July

*Have a “NYC free to explore” day. Usually I plan a bunch of stops this time my kids wanted to go to Central Park and just wander without an itinerary and see where we ended up

*Sagamore Hill/ Teddy Roosevelt History (after hurricane Sandy this area had some damage and was closed for a while to be repaired- this made me realize we hadn't been there for many years)

*Family/ Friend times. Barbecues and parties already scheduled :-) Now that we were visiting more regularly, people were hitting us up to spend time together!

*Visit and help our Uncle in Massapequa Long Island who has been recovering from some health issues

That was the outline, all of the extras are the icing on the cake. There is a lot of icing. And we do eat it!

DJ, Port Washington Private Beach

A word about friends/ family: Good people really do make the world a richer place to be. Not a financial wealth by any means, but a place that we can have life in abundance. I believe when we share our joy it multiplies that much more, until it's over flowing.

Friends will often open us to places and things we'd never imagined. This trip is really about that, allowing the influence of your friends/ family to bless you. Of course the opposite is always possible = peer pressure. My point is peer pressure can be positive or negative. When the people around you encourage abundance and love and good times then that magnifies. When people around you encourage negativity, that will also magnify. Choosing friends wisely will only increase your life quality! This trip is an example of the love that helps: in the way of reminding us why life is beautiful and how beautiful this world we live in really is.....

The Friends: First I have to say our teenagers have incredible friendships. As moms/ parents - it has REALLY worked really well for us. We met through our kids :-) Our kids picked great friends who are all high achieving, motivated, creative, athletic, and good people. Oddly enough, us parents are all pretty awesome too. It really works for making moments like this. Families can participate in ways single parents can not. And this trip was an introduction to a beautiful place but also a real "family" bonding. Three sets of parents were together in Lake Lure. The first family who lives there with their son and daughter. Then another mom and I both, with our kids. She has two sons, I have two sons (our boys are best buds) and I had my daughter along. Another "best bud" was along with them for the ride. Meaning when we all went places it was quite a large gathering. We did all go to dinner and get Mexican food one night. The majority of the time we stayed close to the home base!

If all your friends jumped off the deck... would you?

Things to know:

Lake Lure- it’s such an unpopulated area I almost feel guilty to mention it because if it were very crowded the whole vibe would change. The people there are so friendly and it’s such a quaint little lake town. My kids strongly recommend families visit this area whether you camp, or rent an Airbnb. Amazing hiking, very scenic mountain and trails, yummy places to eat, not far from Pisgah National Forest, and Asheville, this is paradise. Their favorite thing is of course being out on the lake! Tubing, water skiing, paddle boats, kayaking, even pontooning is just perfect. Good company make the journey meaningful. It's hard not to be happy here. There are little alcoves to climb ropes and jump in the water, and there’s always swimming spots. The lake itself is magical family time. The colors change so drastically though out the day from misty mornings to dramatic sunsets. A real "vacation" place. Since this first trip, the kids have been back (with out me) once, and we all have one big family trip planned coming shortly. Same group of parents and kids, plus a few extra!

Seriously, our favorite thing to do is just be out on the water all day, but mostly at sunset.

The colors of the sky are impressive no matter how old you are of what you like to do!

Other things to see and do in the area: Click the link to go to the site.

Lake Lure Adventure - is the place you can rent any kind of water sports or boats. The people there are especially helpful.

Lake Lure Beach and water park - more geared towards younger kids, A sectioned off cove with water slides, and splash pad. Entry is $9.00/ day each entry. It is a fun place to spend an afternoon and rent canoes or paddle boards.

Lake Lure Flowering Bridge- this is a free historic bridge that has been re-purposed as a garden. A maze of flower gardens line the path way and great views of Chimney Rock and the Broad River. Native plants and abundance of butterflies for this photogenic place!

Chimney Rock - this State Park has hiking trails in the Blue ridge mountains. There is a 400 foot waterfall, and 198 foot tunnel and elevator inside of a mountain, rock climbing and of course the chimney itself at the top of the rock! It is $17 per adult to enter.

Hickory Nut Falls Trail- round-trip you will walk 1.4 miles from the parking lot to see the waterfall. Getting there is mostly uphill. Worth it when you enjoy the view!

Also in the area:

Pisgah National Forest - there are so many waterfalls here and so many great trails to hike! Our favorites (so far) are Skinny Dip Falls and Sliding Rock. The trail to skinny-dip is located right across from looking glass Overlook Parkway area along the Blue Ridge Parkway. The hike is short and there are stairs leading down to the swimming area. Our kids greatly enjoyed the rock climbing and exploring all around the waterfall. The water was so cold! Of course everyone still jumped in several times and we took picture after picture and tons of videos.

I also found out on this trip the power of the iPhone X. The teenage girl with us was standing on the bridge looking at her pictures when one of the boys bumped the phone out of her hands, After hitting some rocks it splashed into the current of the brook running through. The boys dove down heroically trying to find it for her. We tried to call it, and had no luck locating to where if had fallen. She was just commenting how her dad was going to kill her when one of the boys took a last dive to try and find it, and came up with the perfectly working iphone, showing all of our missed calls and totally working. Amazing picture quality and water resistant. No case either. Shortly after I purchased my own iphone Xs !

We'd made some great family/ friend memories in our 2 night, 3 day visit but it was time to drive east to see our cousins! Before leaving us moms went for an early morning paddle looking at the houses on the lake and enjoying the morning quiet. There is something to be said for just taking in the beauty, smelling the roses, and not rushing the drive!

Moorseville NC- My cousin Chrissy was happy to show us around all the while trying to convince us to move to the area. Admittedly it looks like a great place to live. Some of the farming history and the NASCAR attractions are noteworthy! Lake Norman is a hot spot for families and there is the suburban shopping experience we’d all like to have access to. Our main goal while we were there was to catch up with family. And while it was super hot outside, the kids were enjoying the AC, quiet time and napping while I was enjoying the adult time. My cousin fed us every time we turned around.

*God bless her, such a perfect host, I hope to be like her when my loved ones visit *

We went out for some amazing NY pizza - Tony's Pizza, and dined later on while talking nonstop! More cousins came over to visit, we told stories, looked at photos, and laughed about our moms and grand moms. My kids heard some old family history stories and when they had enough, snuck off to beds, happy to stretch out and have a little space. At the Lake we were happily sharing space, and at Chrissy's we were happily spread out.

Again, flexibility.

Family time becomes more precious as you get older. Chrissy is actually my mom's cousin, and they were much like sister's growing up. I love hearing the stories of our Great Aunt Tess who lived to be 100 and all of the stories that came along with surviving the depression and years of struggle.

Before long we were heading north east from North Carolina to New York. It’s a 9 1/2 hour drive and we were stocked up! Drinks and snacks galore! Family can really make your trip more delicious.


I was warned to really pay attention to the traffic and stick to the speed limit. And I thought I was doing a good job. I did however get pulled over while going up hill behind a 16 wheeler and the speed I was told I was going was in no way possible. So this ended up being a very costly ticket. Resulting in a court case and I had to get a lawyer to fight it. The cost of the lawyer was basically the same cost as it would have been to pay the ticket and go to court. But I was so adamantly against having this on my record for insurance and wanted it dropped and removed. I told the police officer very calmly and respectfully that there must be an error because I was behind a truck and waiting for traffic on the left to pass so that I could get around the slow moving vehicle I really do believe he picked up someone else in the radar. But anyway.... note: go under the speed limit in North Carolina and Virginia. Even if you are going the speed limit you may attract unwanted attention! They are WAITING!!


We arrived the night of July 2nd with enough time to catch our favorite pizza place before they closed, and had July 3rd to get settled in before our big holiday event.

I’m sure I have mentioned in previous blogs how much I love the Fourth of July in New York! There is nowhere I’ve been that compares. News12 gives the best fireworks views break down. We mapped our course and were happy to head out that afternoon... it had been a year since our last visit, but seemed like yesterday!

This years “best view point” which made the most sense coming and going from Massapequa was Domino Park, Brooklyn.

We got there early to find parking and have time to get situated.

This 5 acre park in the Williamsburg neighborhood of Brooklyn used to be the Domino Sugar Refinery. This is a great discovery for us having never been there. In fact it only opened in June 2018, a month before this occasion. So everything was clean and fresh! We found this park with a beautiful walkway and so much to do. Running along the river it provides scenic views of the city, the most fun playground ever for smaller kids fountains, beach volleyball, bocce court, and fields for sporting. Whereas the last time we watched fireworks we were under the Brooklyn Bridge, this time we were under the Williamsburg Bridge. We could see the Brooklyn Bridge behind it creating a beautiful back drop. I was happy.

Before settling in and finding our spot we walked around and explored the area. Of course we got some street hot dogs, we walked through some really pretty gardens, and just wandered around a little. Passing rows of shops we went into a bookstore to check it out along with a few other little boutiques. We also got some Italian ice on the side of the road. We had to wait in line to get into the park so once we got in we were staying! The police were there checking bags of those coming in and so the line moved slowly. They didn't even let people enter until 6:00. The line was long when we got in it, and extended for blocks.

I had high expectations. I was waiting for the water boats to go by but we did not get those. Instead we got a series of yachts full of partiers taking their places along the Hudson. I was hoping this would be good - and I was not disappointed! The huge fireworks and synchronized barges exploding overhead lit up the sky full of colors and beautiful patterns being so close you can feel it in your body! We stood up on a bench for a better view, I am a little short to be in the masses and actually don't like feeling boxed in, but the bright fireworks are an amazing site to see! Such a great sight to take in and a larger than life moment!

While everyone makes a mad dash to get out of the park I tried to linger a little. The crowds are just a wave of people and I either need to be in the front or in the back not stuck in the middle! There was definitely a lot of traffic to get out of the neighborhood and onto the Belt Parkway but once we got there it was a straight shot home and uncle Bill was up waiting for us. We showed him videos of the fireworks and told him about this awesome new park that was just built. He loves all the commotion we bring.

Off to the City!

I always make an itinerary for the day...

This year’s NYC exploration was guided by the fact that my son Josh asked if we could just go walk around Central Park and not have anywhere specific to be. So I did map out a few places in the park like Bethesda fountain and Terrace that we did not want to miss. But I showed tremendous restraint. (Total flexibility again)

We took the Long Island Rail Road in to Penn Station and then walked up 7th Ave through Times Square. I love this particular walk. I went to school at the Fashion Institute of Technology for 2 1/2 years. For a year and a half I commuted, after one year I dormed there. I have lots of fond memories riding on the train and just enjoying the city. I always want to instill a love of the culture in my kids and appreciation for the museums, history, art and diversity. NY has melting pot perfection like no one else.

This particular day the weather was good. The people were unusually friendly. I was in a great mood. We were living our best life.

** I don't usually do the touristy stuff. But the kids were totally sucked in!

Central Park: The trails in Central Park are vast! If you don’t have a specific destination that’s fine, but you could wander all day. We were enjoying our wandering and exploring the park. We walked to Bethsaida Terrace and Belvedere Park. My cousin Rochelle called to see if we wanted to meet up with her at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in a couple of hours. I confirmed with the kids and was secretly overjoyed because that is my favorite museum of all time. We had not been there since winter break of 2013, five years earlier! It was time to revisit. We stopped and got some chicken parm sandwiches, chips and drinks and had a picnic outside of the MET. This building is easy to enjoy even from the outside. It's not the most popular museum in NY for nothing. We sat on a wall by the play ground eating and taking in the moment. I was trying to kill time and wait for Rochelle but we decided to go in and get started.

The MET - 5000 years of history under one roof. Several wings will take you to eras that are long past, and bring them alive. Once I would come here and just take in each section with out a schedule or other people. Now as a family I always feel compelled to show and teach and lead. I was able to go through all of Egypt before we met Rochelle. In fact, Egypt is my favorite thing about the MET. Where else can you see so many of the ancient Egyptian relics, walk into the Temple of Dendur that was disassembled, relocated and rebuilt right here in the atrium? The sphinx is great to see. Not life sized, but still appreciated. Mummies, sarcophagi, and all kinds of jewelry. My favorite historical figure, Queen Hatshepsut has a room all to herself. I also happen to love the history of the Hebrews in Egypt. While we were in the Hapshetsut room admiring the many sculptures and I was trying to give a lesson - an actual tour came through talking about just exactly that - the relics the Hebrews left behind during the exodus, and discussing the artifacts in the case behind us. I was literally moved to tears. I actually followed the tour to the next room and my kids forbid me from crashing the tour otherwise I would have just kept following LOL. Well my little history lesson was interrupted with next level history, something I would have missed. I was just as full as a person can be, overflowing!

We met Rochelle and Jay in the Japanese gardens. Rochelle and Jay are pass holders! Because they frequent the museum they were extra fun to roam around with. They were really excited to take us to some of their favorite exhibits, and then up to the rooftop bar. This is a newer addition which was never there when I was coming regularly. It was nice that us adults could have a little drink overlooking the city and the kids could find a spot to chill while we caught up! Total satisfaction moment. Our conversation revealed that Josh really wanted some macaroons and we googled a gourmet cookie shop which was down on 2nd Ave. I was secretly hoping we would have time to do the Roosevelt tram which was right by there. So off we went, walking that way.

I knew this was going to be a long walk but it was in the right direction, and the cooler part of the day turning to night made it enjoyable. Of course I was secretly hoping to ride the tram to Roosevelt Island which really does have the best view of the city. We ended up spending a lot of time in a candy shop on the way and got totally caught up in the magical sugar zone! We arrived at Woops, the gourmet macaroon shop and ended up talking to the owner extensively. He gave us free samples. We lingered over what to buy. We enjoyed this so much and hung around much longer that it got late and the kids were ready to go. I was whining and fussing that I really wanted to do the tram ride but they were insisting we walk back to Penn Station. It's always hard for me to leave. Funny that now the kids have to put their foot down and insist. Isn't it supposed to be the other way around?

Kids 1 mom 0

I'd like to tally however that I managed to squeeze in my favorite museum in to Josh's wander aimlessly day. So I digress.

Kids 1 Mom 1.

The train ride home I realized they were tired out! We did a lot of walking that day. They were all falling asleep! Meanwhile, I was totally completely energized. The city makes me come alive. I could have stayed out all night at that point.

The Seaford train station is a couple blocks from my uncle's house and before we knew it we were home. The next days were a mix of fixing faucets and things around the house and adding in some fun breaks! We pressure washed the whole house, which falls into both categories!

Planting Field Arboretum- growing up we passed this place on a daily basis and seldom went in. My mom had worked there as a young girl. I attended a couple of events there but other than that I never took the time to go in and explore. Silly me! Sometimes you have to move away to appreciate the beauty of home!

$8.00 parking fee

Open 9-5

National Register of Historic Plac