Zack turned 20 this year. Its hard to believe but he is growing up to be quite a young man! One night we went with the Fradenburg's (Because Dina has always been Zack's "Backup Mom") to Craft Ax Throwing and then to Grill Marks to eat dinner in Columbia to celebrate. Then another night we had a little party for him at our house. Me, Amber, George, Sandra and my Dad (who some how we managed not to get a picture of) were all there. It was a great time hanging out and Zack is a really good sport taking funny pictures for his mom!
January 2021  Slide Show

Zack at Craft Ax Throwing

January 2021  Slide Show

Me, Amber, Jeff and Ann went to Greenville for MLK weekend this year. We got their early Saturday morning and ate at Nose Dive where they had a grits bar where you could order any kind of grit combination you can think of. Amber and Ann did that but I decided on a Burger for breakfast. After that we walked around to explore the downtown area where we did a scavenger hunt throughout the weekend searching for the "Mice on Main using clues, which started as part of Jim Ryan's high school senior project (back in 2000) and inspired by the children's book Goodnight Moon. We also checked out Reedy Park where there is a waterfall right in the middle of town. That afternoon we stopped by the FIREFORGE BREWERY AND TAP ROOM for a local craft beer and then dinner at Tupelo Honey. The nest day we went on a hike to see Raven Cliff Falls the tallest Waterfall in South Caroline from the viewing platform across the valley and then on our way back to town we stopped by Victoria Valley Vineyards to taste some of the local wine. That night it was dinner at Smokehouse on the Water. On our way home the next day Amber and I went to see two old bridges, Poinsett Bridge, the oldest bridge in South Carolina and possibly in the entire southeastern and was built in 1820 as part of a road from Columbia, South Carolina to Saluda Mountain. The other was Campbell's Covered Bridge, built in 1909 it is the only remaining covered bridge in the State of South Carolina. It was a great time getting to hang out with my sister and her husband Jeff, we are definitely going to have to do it more often!

February 2021  Slide Show

Amber and I went to see Zackary because he couldn't come home for Spring Break this year. To make it a little easier we split the trip up. We stopped in Fayetteville, WV the first night. When we were there, we walked around town, stopped by the Southside Junction Tap House for a craft beer and later that night ate at Pies and Pints for dinner. I got a traditional pizza, but they had the best Chicken Gouda pizza which Amber got I would definitely recommend. We got up early the next morning and hiked the endless wall trail before we made the rest of the drive up to Morgantown. It is a beautiful hike that Amber and Zackary have already done but Amber wanted me to see it too. It was gorgeous!! In Morgantown, we met up with Zack and decided to drive to Pittsburg to spend the day. There we went to the Heinz History Museum, went to lunch at Primanti Brothers and took a quick drive through tour of the University of Pittsburgh because Zack is interested in maybe going there for Grad School. Once back in Morgantown, we went out to eat with Zack and friends. We ate at Gibbie's Pub and Eatery. The waitress was fantastic and made sure we all got to sit together even though it was the COVID year.

Marh 2021  Slide Show

Amber and I went camping with Trey and Donna at Unicoi State Park in northeast GA close to the town of Helen. We loved the area! There was a threat of severe thunderstorms for out trip there but the only significant rain we saw was when we stopped for lunch about half way there, what luck. When we got back on the road, the sun came back out and it was smooth sailing the rest of the way. That evening after we got settled into camp, we took a walk on the lake trail before dinner, it was really nice! The next day after breakfast, we went to Anna Ruby Falls. It is a beautiful twin falls in Chattahoochee National Forest. It was a short hike but totally worth going to see. After that we went into the town of Helen to explore and its German style architecture was super cool. The shops were nice and we had the best lunch at Hofbrauhaus Restaurant & Pub (German pretzel, beer cheese and Schnitzel) oh and I had a Erdinger Hefeweizen... it's 5'Oclock somewhere ;-). That night we ate filet at camp and stayed up late watching WVU beat Moorehead in the first round of March Madness… GO 'NEERS!! Our last full day, Amber and I did a six-mile hike to Raven Cliff Falls which was absolutely stunning!!! The entire hike was along a creek with multiple waterfalls and then a grand finale with a big waterfall that fell between two huge granite rocks about 50 feet tall. That afternoon, we went to Habersham Winery and Amber and Donna did a wine tasting while Trey and I hung out and looked through the shop. Dinner for Amber and I that night was at a local pizza place at The Nacoochee Village Tavern & Pizzeria. Another great trip! Until next time…

Anna Ruby and Raven Cliff Falls, Georgia

April 2021  Slide Show

May 2021  Slide Show

For my 50th birthday Amber and I went to Edisto Beach with the Fladungs, Penders, Fricks, and Jeffcoats. It was Leslie's 50th birthday too. When we got to the beach no one else was there yet so Amber and I spent the day by ourselves. We went fishing on the beach for most of the day then had dinner at Pressley's that night. There was a solo act playing outside while we waited for our table who was very entertaining but really couldn't sing a lick :-). That night we met up with Ted and Laura. Ted bought me a bottle of whiskey from the Charleston Distillery which was fantastic. The next morning (my actual birthday) Amber gave me my present first thing in the morning. It was two really, really great bourbons; one was Four Roses Single Barrell - Barrell Strength and the other was Bib and Tucker 10 year. They were both amazing!! That night the rest of the crew arrived. We didn't get to see everyone but the Penders and the Fladungs were staying with us so we had a B Day Celebration that night with Bundt Cake for desert compliments of Rebecca. Our last day the entire crew hung out on the beach then that night we had the big birthday celebration for both Leslie and me. It was a great time and with GREAT FRIENDS like this it wasn't so bad turning 50!!!

May 2021  Slide Show

Me, Amber, Katie, Zack, Bella, my dad, Amber's Parents and Oliver and Monte all went to Edisto Beach this year for our family vacation. This is the first time we took the dogs and the first time we have stayed at a house with a swimming pool. It was great! It was such a good time having everyone there. We did the usual; hung out at the beach, lounged around the pool, went for walks and rode bikes and ate together. For our days on the beach we just soaked up the sun and fished, Zack and Bella literally fished all week and for the first time ever I think, didn't catch a thing :-(. Spending time together at the pool after a day at the beach was one of my favorite things. It was just so nice spending time with everyone! One day Me, Amber, Zack and Bella went to Botany Bay which is amazing no matter how many times you have seen it. It was a special week with the whole family there and having Bella along too was a bonus!!

June 2021  Slide Show

At the last minute on a Thursday Amber and I decided to go to Greenville for a night and to hike Raven Cliff Fall here in South Carolins the next day. When we got there Friday night, we went to the Mast General Store to look around then to the Neat Bourbon Bar for a beverage while waiting for our reservation at Sassafras southern bistro. I got to try a Weller Antique 107 which was amazing!!! Dinner at the bistro was fantastic as well and after that we went to the “sweets” store and I got a half pound peanut butter cup. When I finished that it was lights out for me. The next morning we got up early and went to hike the Raven Cliff Falls trail to the suspension bridge. The trail looked a lot different than when we hiked it in January. Everything was so green and there was no snow. This time, since we hiked to the bridge, we got an up-close view of the falls and this is a truly amazing waterfall (The tallest in South Carolina) and of course I had a swig of bourbon to celebrate the achievement :-). After our hike we decided to stop by Victoria Valley Vinyards for a glass of wine and a cheese board snack, then the short trek back home.

Raven Cliff Falls, SC

July 2021  Slide Show

We had our 6th annual Independence Day party this year with the Milford Park crew and company. It is the first time it has been photo documented. This is my favorite event to host each year. It was really nice having my nephew Will and my niece Reilly here for the day too! For the occasion, I break out the frozen drink maker and blend up whatever new concoction I have come up with and it seems to be quite the hit with the ladies. The guys helped out at the bar, and we all ran drinks out so the ladies could stay cool in the water. This truly is one of the things I look most forward to each year! GOD BLESS AMERICA and the men and women of the military who defend this nation and provide the very freedom and security that allows us these opportunities!!!

August 2021  Slide Show

Me, Amber, Bob and Alison went on an amazing trip to Montana this year. While there we went to Glacier National Park and then to the Bar W Dude Ranch near Whitefish. The first day we flew into Kalispell Glacier Park National Airport. We rented a car at the airport and the first place we went was the Backslope Brewery in Columbia Falls where we ate lunch and had some locally brewed craft beer. After checking into Glacier Guides Lodge, we went to explore Lake McDonald and McDonald Creek Falls then it was dinner at Eddie's Café. The next day we hiked the Trail of Cedars to Avalanche Lake. It was a beautiful trail and the lake was amazing! That afternoon we took the Going to the Sun Road to Many Glacier and saw a Moose while on the way. That evening Amber and Alison went on a walk and saw another Momma moose and her baby. On day 3 we did a BIG hike to Grinnell Glacier. This was one of the most amazing hikes I have ever done! While on our way up the mountain we saw some really cool critters… a Pika, Marmot and a Long Horn Sheep which I may have gotten a little too close to ??. The glacier was like nothing I have ever seen before. We walked on the ice and Amber and I dipped our feet in the water which was freeeeeeezing to say the least. After the hike, on the drive to St. Mary's where we stayed at St. Mary's Village for the night, we saw some Grizzly Bears. It was truly an amazing sight to see. They look so "cute and friendly" but we made sure to keep a safe distance. Huckleberries are a big thing in these parts of Montana, so we got a Huckleberry milkshake from the Park Café on our way to our motel and throughout the week we tried a Huckleberry Club sandwich, Huckleberry Margarita, Cobbler, pulled pork, beer and I even brought some Huckleberry coffee home which is like the best coffee ever!! Day 4: We hiked once again, this time to the Hidden Lake Overlook. We couldn't do the entire hike because of the presence of Grizzly's in the area while we were there but it was still a beautiful hike and we did see 8 Big Horned Sheep! Next, we drove into Whitefish, ate Pizza at Jersey Boys' where we had Huckleberry Beer and I bought a new Stetson straw hat custom formed for me. After that it was off to the Bar W Ranch for the remainder of the week. We spent the rest of the week at the Ranch hanging out with one of the most amazing groups of people. Even the staff said that this was the best group they had ever had at the ranch. The horse back ridding was awesome too!! We got to trail ride, go on loping rides and there was even an amateur rodeo at the end of the week, which Bob won easily. We made some really good memories and some new friends too. One of my new friends Rob, who was having a daddy daughter trip with his girls even sent me a bottle of Weller 12 year after we made it back home… Thanks Rob!!! It was an incredible trip. A HUGE thanks to Amber for all her hard work getting this planned! If it weren't for her, it never would have happened. Thanks baby I love you!!!

December 2021  Slide Show

Out west again for our family trip this year. We flew into Las Vegas and on day one we went to see the "Seven Magic Mountains art display in the Nevada desert outside of Las Vegas featuring seven painted boulder totems up to 35 feet high by Ugo Rondinone. That night we stayed at the Wine Ridge RV Resort and cottages in Pahrump, Nevada and ate dinner at Pahrump Valley Winery. The next morning Katie made us a fantastic breakfast of Omelets then we set out for Death Valley, California. Once there the first thing we saw was Dante's View at the Basin and Range overlook. After that we hiked the Golden Canyon Trail which had some truly amazing rock formations then on to the Badwater Basin. This salt basin is 282 feet below sea level which is one of the lowest places on land in the world. That night we stayed at the Inn at Death Valley. The next day we went to the Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes then on to hike in the Mosaic Canyon Trail which was incredible! There were some of the most amazing passages you can imagine! Now off for a quick stop at Zabriskie Point for some more amazing views. After a long day we headed back for two nights in Las Vegas where we stayed at the Marriott Grand Chateau. The next day we went to Cesar's Palace, the Venetian and Bellagio. While exploring Amber and I found the "Secret Pizza Place" in the Cosmopolitan then that night we went to see the Cirque du Soleil show "O". Las Vegas was very interesting to say the least :-). Once we left Las Vegas we were off to Nevada to see the Grand Canyon. On our way there we stopped by the Hoover Damn which is a truly amazing display of engineering! We stayed at the Bright Angel Lodge in the Grand Canyon National Park. It was freezing cold while we were there with lots of snow. We did a "rim ride" on mules to get some views of the canyon but there was a "cloud inversion" which made it hard to see much of it while we were there but never the less it was a great time. Lastly, while there me, Amber and Zack walked a short way down the Bright Angel Trail for a few more views of the canyon. As you would expect, there were some beautiful views between the clouds. After that it was the ride back to Phoenix Arizona to hop on a plane for the ride home. Such an incredible trip! It was nice to have all of us together again because that doesn't happen nearly enough these days!!

Golden Canyon, Mosaic Canyon, Artists Palette Road, Zabriskie Point and Grand Canyon