Tag Archives: Appalachian Trail

Summer is Almost Over

8 Jul

On the Porch

Onisha Ellis

Being a life long (almost) Florida resident statements like summer is almost over once the 4th of July passes always evoked an eye roll from me. Florida summer tends to end in December.

Now that we spend summers in the wonderful North Carolina mountains, I can identify with the summer is almost over sentiment. In fact, I will go as far as to say, the year is almost over and it is not just flying, it is racing!

In June our daughter flew up for a short visit just before Father’s day. We picked her up at the Asheville airport and decided to maximize her visit time by abandoning the boring Interstate-40 and exploring The Blue Ridge Parkway. We would drive from Asheville all the way to Cherokee, NC. But first we stopped at Publix supermarket to get a box of their fried chicken. My husband loves it.

We had loaded some bag chairs into the truck in anticipation of an adventure.

While we were eating and relaxing, we watched a van arrive and a family spilled out, eager to explore. The children and teens headed for a small rock face and scrambled up, Oh the memories of our children’s excitement to escape the car and climb. I did experience a very small twinge of worry for the climbers but brushed it aside.

The drive from the airport usually take around an hour and a half. This day, with all of our lollygagging the trip took 5 hours and it was worth every minute.

One morning after her return to Florida, our daughter texted me that our security camera captured a bear on our back porch. The image was fuzzy but when we checked my husband’s game camera there he was. We marveled at his balance as he stole seeds from the bird feeder. He visited two more times until we got smart and began bringing in our feeders at night.

Last week the daughter of a cousin stopped by to spend a couple of nights with us. Last year she set out on her dream of traveling across America, living in her car and supporting her adventure as a delivery person for Door Dash. She was very happy to have a whole bedroom to herself as well as a shower anytime she wanted. She did work the supper hours while she was with us.

One morning the three of us drove up to our favorite place, Wayah Bald. She loves the outdoors and we hoped she would enjoy it as much as we do. The elevation is around a mile high and the air there is fresh and usually cooler. The famous Appalachian Trail runs through the bald and we were excited to see a truck parked near the path with a sign reading, Trail Magic. We spent several enjoyable minutes talking with the generous family.

The Hungry Hiker explains Trail Magic:

What is Trail Magic? Trail Magic is when someone does something really nice for you, unexpectedly, out on the trail, usually without expecting anything in return. Trail Magic can come from someone you know or most of the time, a complete stranger. We call people who provide Trail Magic, Trail Angels.

Trail Magic can come in many forms: a ride into town or back to the trail, food, cold soda, snacks, water caches, a place to stay in town, care packages sent to a town stop on trail, a cooler full of chopped fruit, lawn chairs in the shade, etc.

A few days later, the daughter of another cousin came to visit. She is a lovely person to spend time with chatting on the porch. On the final day of her stay we had lunch together at the Clayton Cafe, Clayton Georgia. It was my first time there and I will be going back! If you are ever driving up into the North Carolina mountains on highway 441, consider stopping there. It has everything including a wine tasting area! I love small towns.

Yes, the summer is moving quickly by. Next week we have more cousins arriving! I think this will call for another visit to The Clayton Cafe.

I'm a winner

After my retirement, I decided to re-learn the canning and preserving skills I learned from my mother but hadn’t practiced for twenty years. I titled the blog Old Things R New to chronicle my experience.  Since then I have been blessed to have six other bloggers join me, DiVoran Lites, Bill Lites,  Judy Wills, Louise Gibson, Janet Perez Eckles and Melody Hendrix

In addition to blogging, I work as the publicist/marketer/ amateur editor and general  “mom Friday” for my author daughter, Rebekah Lyn. I also manage her website, Rebekah Lyn Books  

My 2021 goal is continue touse my love of photographs and words to be an encourager on social media. You can visit Real Life Books and Media You Tube Channel if you would like to view some of the mini-videos I have created for our church, Gateway Community in Titusville, Fl.

Busy Days With Family

24 Aug

On the Porch

Onisha Ellis


This sure has been a busy and fun week. Our daughter, Rebekah, flew up from Florida to spend the week with us and she was joined by my aunt and cousin from the Raleigh area.  Our friends from South Carolina joined us and we all had tickets to attend a performance by comedienne Jeanne Robertson at the Smoky Mountain Center for the Performing Arts on Friday. The show was wonderful, we laughed a LOT and was followed by cake and ice cream at home. Low carb for the husband and I. We had a regular house party going on.  If you have never viewed any of Jeanne’s videos, take a look at my favorite on You Tube. Don’t Send a Man to the Grocery Store. 


My South Carolina friend won the prize pack!


On Monday, we took a drive up to one of our favorite places, Wayah Bald.  The mountain was severely burned during the 2016 wildfires and we wanted to see how the forest was recovering. Although most of the woods along the road leading to the top seemed to be flourishing, the trees at the top are simply blackened branches and on this cloudy day, they were a harsh reminder of the damage fire does to a forest.  The walkway, once lined with wild Flame azaleas, is now lined with wild flowers and grasses.



At the fire tower, we were pleased to see that the burned roof of the structure had been replaced.  The forest service added a clever structure for visitors to carve their name or a message. Wayah is a part of the Appalachian Trail and hikers from across the globe can leave their mark there.



Rebekah and I walked about 50 steps on the Appalachian Trail to take a picture of her soon to be released new novel, Destiny’s Call.



We met two hikers coming up the trail to the tower. I don’t think they were through hikers, as their pack looked more like a day hiker’s gear. I took their picture from the top of the tower as well as the picture of my husband.




On Wednesday we weren’t sure what we wanted to do so we loaded up in the truck and went “exploring”. We drove down to Georgia to another favorite place, WarWoman Dell near Clayton, Georgia. On warm sunny days, it is a cool haven. On a cloudy day, like Wednesday, shadows and light made for some interesting pictures. Since it is quite shaded, moss abounds.

Rebekah loves photography


The sun peeking down reminded me to remember where my help comes from.



Moving on, we drove 9 miles on an unpaved Forest service road in search of a waterfall. We made it to the parking area, but the short trail was too steep for my husband, We had to content ourselves with photos online.  It was a beautiful, if bumpy drive through thick forest. To our amazement we came upon an outdoor church with a cemetery that is still in use.



By the time we made it back to paved roads, it was getting late. It was a good day to put in our memory books.



I'm a winnerAfter my retirement, I decided to re-learn the canning and preserving skills I learned from my mother but hadn’t practiced for twenty years. I titled the blog Old Things R New to chronicle my experience.  Since then I have been blessed to have six other bloggers join me, DiVoran Lites, Bill Lites,  Judy Wills, Louise Gibson, Janet Perez Eckles and Melody Hendrix

In addition to blogging, I work as the publicist/marketer/ amateur editor and general  “mom Friday” for my author daughter, Rebekah Lyn. I also manage her website, Rebekah Lyn Books  where we frequently host the best in up and coming authors.

My Thanksgiving Letter

24 Nov

On the Porch

Onisha Ellis

 I am writing this as a letter because, I think of our readers as friends. You come and let us share our lives with you and share yours in return. That is what friends do. I am beyond thankful for the friends who faithfully blog here each week, DiVoran, Bill, Louise, Judy, Melody and Janet. They inspire me with their commitment and wisdom. I love you guys!

Dear friends,

It is funny how circumstances change our thankful list. Usually on Thanksgiving our  list is for family, health ,friends, and of course, our Savior.  This year, we woke up to wet grass and the wonderful rain is at the top of our list.

Our beautiful North Carolina, Georgia and Tennessee mountains that are part of the forest service lands, have been viciously attacked by arsonist and thousands of acres  are affected.  I pray it was enough to give our firefighters and those from across the country who came to help, a rest this Thanksgiving day.

This morning, I pulled out old favorites as well as new cookbooks to get our meal started. One of my “must have” books is an old one from Ebenezer United Methodist Church in Raleigh, NC. It has been a part of our Thanksgiving meal for years. They have put out newer ones, but I love the old version. This year, I have added a new favorite, Janet’s Appalachian Cookbooks. Rebekah mixed up the School House Rolls recipe and I can’t wait to sink my teeth in their yeasty goodness. Of course, I had to go to the internet to find a recipe so we have a beautiful blending of old with new. Our turkey is in the roaster and the oven is almost ready for the side dishes. It has been a joy working side by side in the kitchen with my daughter. We each have our quirks when it comes to cooking and how we do things, but we can laugh about them and it adds to the fun.

I won’t pretend that my heart does not have a tender spot, missing the large family meals with my parents, brothers and their families. We don’t have any children’s voices laughing and arguing or the camaraderie of a bunch of women in the kitchen. I miss it but I am so blessed to have had that time. I hope wherever you gathered today, that you treasured the moments and you loved richly.

Talk to you later, the oven is ready!




UPDATE: One of our favorite places in Macon county is Wayah Bald, with it’s rustic fire tower and breathtaking views. It is also a favorite rest stop for hikers on the   Appalachian Trail. I read on Facebook tonight that one of the forest fires burned the tower. I can’t conceive of the anger a heart must hold to destroy so much beauty. I fear the damage to the stone structure might be too damaged to repair. I am thankful for the memories we made there and hopeful it will be restored.

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