Friday, March 7, 2014

The Adventure Principle

It's Springtime in Charlotte! 

I'd never been to Charlotte, NC, until I picked P up from the airport in December. The day before he left, we had a night out there, and it was wonderful. This weekend I returned with the boy for a much needed mini-break, and to enjoy a bit of the adventure principle.

Just a pop of color is sometimes just enough...
We headed up right after work on Friday afternoon, thrilled at the prospect of checking into the hotel and finding a place to have dinner.  A main purpose for the trip was to nurture my son's curiosity about the Revolutionary war with a visit to Cowpens Battlefield, so we stayed in Gaffney, just a short drive from Charlotte and a hop, skip, and jump from the battlefield. We spent all of Saturday in Charlotte, taking in the sights of spring. And visiting Amelies French Bakery. And Yarn House Knits, which to my delight, are pretty much side by side in Charlotte's  wonderfully eclectic and historic NoDa district. 

Along the streets towards NoDa...
But first, Amelies. I have to thank a friend for turning me onto this place, and I find it very well worth mentioning to my readers, as it was a primary motivation for choosing Charlotte as our getaway destination. 

Have I mention before, in previous blogs, my love of coffee? And desserts? Nothing makes me happier on a Saturday afternoon than to have a cup of coffee brewing and some delectable delight baking in the oven. I consider the Southern Caramel cake I made for Thanksgiving to be one of my greatest creative accomplishments, if only for the icing, which was far more complicated than making the cake itself. But these are the things life is made of. These simple, little things are our happiness...and sometimes, our greatest accomplishments, depending on our goals. 

Now back to Amelies.... I'll let the pictures speak for themselves...

Places like this, you can have a great chat with friends over coffee...or you can read and write and dream and learn that solitude is an entirely different thing from loneliness.
As if choosing the coffee wasn't hard enough...
We finally decided on a berry torte for me, and a cinnamon stick for the boy! We brought a box of assorted goodies to take to the family, to share the goodness! 
Next stop Yarn House knits, just a couple of doors down. I have to tell you, there is nothing so grand to a knitter as an independent yarn shop. And since there are no such yarn shops within an hour's drive of where I live, this is a rare treat. My second reason for visiting Charlotte...

This is just the back wall...
This is for The Hoyhenenkevyt (light as a feather) sweater!
And for the $5 in Paris Sweater, a soft grey and purple...
Then it was the boy's turn, which was well deserved, considering he's spent more than an hour patiently waiting for me to peruse the goods, then have seven skeins of yarn swifted! So we headed across town to The Discovery Place, a delightful science center and museum for children and adults alike, our third reason for the trip.

I'd made sure to pack my walking shoes, which was a good move. The place is huge!
There was so much to do, I could barely list it all. There were animals, science experiment stations, all kinds of physical activities and opportunities for children to enjoy technology. The boy's absolute favorite was the animation station, where he arranged little characters and took still pictures, which the computer strung together into a short animated film!

The boy at the animation station!
It's not about the souvenirs, it's about the time together, the adventure. We rarely return from a trip with more baggage than we took with us; we like to keep it simple. However, I had one of these as a kid, and absolutely loved it! I was secretly delighted that he wanted it!

Old School DS :-)
What a busy day!
Dusk is falling and an hour drive ahead...Goodbye, Queen City...for now.
Sunday, Cowpens Battlefield awaited. A picnic lunch,  exploring the grounds, hearing tales from volunteer rangers as passionate about Colonial history as the boy was wonderful. And we could not have asked for a sunnier March day.

Standing in the footprints of a Patriot. The boy was thrilled!
And spring, blossoming through, in unexpected can miss so much if you hurry. We had no agenda but our own. We didn't hurry.

Then, home. The boy playing with friends while the sun set. Me putting away clothes, preparing for the week of work and school ahead. Both of us excited. Happy. Smiling. Even the briefest of trips can serve to renew the soul.Nothing needs to be grand to be valid.

I find my soul tends to need renewing as the seasons renew. I'd never considered the Charlotte area as a vacation destination until P and I spent an evening there. Joy, bursting through, in unexpected places. We've decided that adventures are our extracurricular activities for now. And we pursue them, big and small, with a vengeance.We call this The Adventure Principle. Packing the car and heading out on the road always feels like a big adventure, but a nature walk or reading a good book can also renew the spirit.

This weekend's adventure? Making Karelian Pies, a Finnish salty bread with rice, from scratch for my knitting group. I can't wait. Adventures do not only make life more fun and interesting, they are also like a little infusion of joy into a day. I plan to master these, which should be easy now that I've finally cracked the code of how many cups constitute a dl (desiliter). And now I've got to get up and get going, because P informs me Karelian Pies can sometimes be an all day process.

Look for kitchen tales and a link to the recipe soon! Until then....

My latest sweater adventure,  The Hoyhenenkevyt, (pattern by Milja Laine). I'm in knitting heaven with these Berrocco yarns from Yarn House Knits! Check me out on under Zenmamaknits 
for current projects and patterns. 

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Debby said...

I just read your blog and checked out the new layout and focus. It's friendly, lad-back and inviting!

Amy Alley said...

Thanks Debby!!