The July 4th holiday usually means a family trip to Montreat, NC for a week of relaxation, eating, hiking, and a great parade. This year was the exception. Actually, when I sit down and think about it, this year was only the third time in as long as I can remember that my family was not in Montreat for the 4th. I grew up and it’s become a tradition that’s been very hard to break. My brother Matthew and I were each allowed to take one friend with us every year and we always ended up taking the same friends. Pretty much to this day, Matthew’s friends travel from various states to make it down to Montreat even if only for a day or two. My annual friend changed from my childhood friend Amy to my then boyfriend, fiance, and now husband a few years ago. Either way, it’s a week that’s always anticipated and very much enjoyed.
This year for many reasons, health of family members not being the least, we decided to take a year off. As sad as we all were initially when we made the decision, it turned out to be a blessing in disguise for all of us. So, as the weekend approached and we had no plans and were starting to get a bit more and more bummed, we realized the small blessings that accompanied this not-so-welcomed change in tradition. Normally our time in Montreat starts with our first meal at Tong Sing for a yummy family Chinese dinner. One night we go to the Red Rocker Inn and eat until we can’t possibly consider another bite – until we drag Nana down to the Huckleberry for ice cream later that night. We always take a hike of some sort, and the “kids” always fix one of the dinners. Every Friday night and every 4th of July night we head down to the Barn or the tennis courts for the Montreat barn dance. And every 4th there is at least one family member who wants to run in the Montreat Gait Gate Run at the crack of dawn before we all head down to Lookout Road for the parade and flag raising which includes the Montreat Scottish Society bagpipers.
Nana, Katie, Matthew, Patrick, Daddy, Heather, Mason & Mama @ Red Rocker Inn 2007
Well, this year we had a bit of a different 4th of July. As I mentioned, we were all a bit sad – some of us even searching for an open hotel room to head up for the parade – but we all ended up having a good and relaxing weekend. Mason got off work early on Thursday, so we headed over to the USC pool for a workout and a bit of fun, then to dinner with Mason’s dad, Bill, and then off to the USC Alumni v. Columbia Blowfish baseball game and fireworks. It hit us in the middle of the fireworks that one thing we miss every year while at Montreat is fireworks. It’s such a regular 4th event for everyone, but since they are illegal in Montreat, we miss seeing them every year. We had so much fun watching them on Thursday night that we decided to head back to baseball and fireworks again on Friday night.
Friday we slept in – yippee! – and then watched a movie in the middle of the morning. The family then headed over to Doc’s barbecue with basically eveyone else in Columbia and got our fill of traditional American 4th food. That afternoon was more relaxing and movies, then off to baseball, hotdogs and fireworks that night. The game ended up getting rained out, but the stadium still shot off the fireworks for the crowd that hung around for about 2 hours waiting for that very event. Then, after the fireworks, wet and cold, headed over to Krispie Kreme just in time to catch the Hot Now sign! We gave in to temptation and bought the dozen. YUMMY!!! Saturday was a pool day and more relaxing. All in all, it was a great weekend – even if we didn’t get to see the Montreat parade and stuff ourselves silly at the Red Rocker.
We hope you enjoy a few pictures from our weekend. We discovered a new feature on our camera and really enjoyed using the new setting to capture some of the beautiful fireworks this weekend. Happy 4th of July!