Monday, October 11, 2021

July 11-12, 2021 Grandfather Mt Highland games at MacRae Meadows, NC

 This was the 66th annual Grandfather Mountain Highland games.  It claims to be the one of the most highly acclaimed and largest Highland games in the US.  To spend the day at the Highland games, you have to take a shuttle bus from the nearby towns.  We packed up our folding chairs and a backpack each and headed to Linville to catch the bus for $10 each, round trip.
We settled in to watch the Grandfather Mountain Highland Games opening ceremony.  It was fantastic with bagpipe bands and each clan walking the track in groups for the Parade of Tartans (their family colors and crest).  I tried to get pictures of each one.  There were quite a few, so I’ll include pictures of the best ones.  

view from the main gate of the tents surrounding the field



                                                                        Dancing competion

                                                                    Opening ceremony



        End of opening ceremony with flags of each Clan

We watched several sporting events-kilted running events, sheep dog demonstrations, highland dancing, children’s tug-of-war and other events.


The heavy athletic events included the hammer throw, weight toss for height, the sheaf toss, the cabor toss.  They were all based on actions that were necessary for survival.
There were tents outside of the field that had different musical performances or workshops and demonstrations and competitions.

 bagpipe competition on the hillside

There were tents for shopping and food trucks.  We sampled almost everything at the British food truck-fish and chips, meat pie, Bridie, and sausage roll.  And of course we had to have Irish stew before leaving.  There wasn’t any alcohol for sale, but somewhere I read that if was allowed to bring in and consume “discreetly”.  

example try, but I think we had one of everything
we found the Zeller crest at one of the tents

It really was a fun event.  We would consider returning.  You can get a pass for parking at the event instead of the shuttle bus.  And there was an area for camping.  Those people looked like they had a lot of fun. 
We headed back to Brunswick, GA on Monday.  It was about an 8 hour drive, so made it in one day.

Jyly 10, 2021 Grandfather Vineyard and Winery and GR MT highland games

On Saturday, we went to Grandfather Vineyard and Winery.  It was landscaped beautifully near a stream.  There were tables set up along side the winery and the vineyards with a stage for the entrainment.  We found a table, bought a bottle of their French Colombard white wine, cheese and crackers and enjoyed great bluegrass music by the Typical Mountain Boys.  It was a perfect, beautiful afternoon.




seating along the water



That evening, we went to the highland games grounds, MacRae Meadows, on Grandfather mountain for their Celtic Jam concert.  We had dinner at a food truck of haggis and shepherds pie.  After waiting for a rain shower to pass, we took our folding chairs and headed to the grounds for the music.  
There were about 5 bands that performed.  Then at the end, they all jammed together.  It was fun, but more “rock Celtic” than traditional.  We did learn a new dance and I can’t wait to try it sometime.  

People from about 5 different bands joined together at the end of the night.

July 9, 2021 Grandfather Mountain, NC

We decided to take a mini vacation on our return trip, since the storm was no longer a threat.  On our way to the mountains of North Carolina, we found a beautiful spot by a stream for a picnic lunch.  We were able to use the new folding chairs we bought in Ohio.  There were several people inter tubing down the river.  And we walked across a swing bridge before packing up to hit the road.

new chairs with our rental car

suspended bridge

looking back at our car and picnic spot

We headed to Grandfather Mountain in North Carolina.  We drove to the top to walk across the swing bridge there.  The bridge has been in place since 1952 and rebuilt in 1999.  The Mile High Swinging Bridge is America’s highest suspension footbridge.  The 228 foot bridge spans an 80 foot chasm at more than one mile in elevation above sea level.  It was very windy, but the views were spectacular.  That made 2 swinging bridges in one day.


if you zoom in, you can see a sailboat on the water and ugly condos at the ski resort on top of the mt

We checked in to the Best Western  in Banner Elk, NC and had dinner at a Mexican restaurant recommended by the hotel.  I had researched the area for live bluegrass music and also found Scottish highland games in the area.  So our weekend was set.

July 5-8, 2021 Road trip from SD to NC with Brueggemans and Zellers

7-5 We left Pierre today undecided on whether to drive to Rapid City, SD before returning to Georgia.  As we drove 30 miles south to interstate 90, we made the decision to turn east and not west.  Hurricane Elsa was heading towards our boat in GA, so it made more sense to head back.  We drove to Ames, Iowa.  We forgot that it would be a Monday holiday.  So lots of traffic and busy restaurants.

7-6 Tuesday.  We were close to Pam and Terry Brueggemen in Marshalltown, Iowa, so they met us for a late breakfast in Ames, Iowa.  Pam is my first cousin that grew up in Faulkton, SD.  It is always fun to catch up with them and hear about their family.  Our mothers were sisters.  Her mother, Julia Bower, is living in a nursing home in Faulkton and over 90 years old.  
We drove as far as Champaign, Indiana.

Dave, Mary, Pam, Terry Brueggeman
First cousins Mary and Pan

7-7 Wednesday.  We visited with Pete awhile before hitting the road today.  He was at our boat securing it for hurricane Elsa.  We then drove to Cincinnati, Ohio to meet other relatives for dinner.  We met between Cincinnati and Dayton to meet with James and Christa Zeller, John, Melanie, Zohn, and new born Hayden Zeller.  Their parents, Jim and Jane Zeller, were visiting their daughter Katherine in Arizona and her newborn daughter.  It was great seeing them again.  We stayed in Fairfield, Ohio at a Holiday Inn Express.  They are not all the same quality across the country, sadly.  Tonight, Hurricane Elsa looked like it wasn’t going to hit our boat, so we were able to relax and enjoy the trip home.

phone weather app  our boat is at the pin
John, Melanie, Hayden and Zohn, James and Christa Zeller, Mary and Dave

7-8 Before hitting the road on Thursday, we went to Jungle Jim’s, an international market that James and John told us about.  They boast that they have over 180,00 products form up to 75 countries.  This place was huge and amazing.  We had to just focus on a few countries we were interested in, like Germany, France, Denmark, some oriental sections.  We picked up a few non perishable items.  Our main focus was on the pâté and cheese section.  We wanted items for picnicking on our road trip home,  which we did at a city park.  We made it to Pikeville, Kentucky that evening.

Saturday, October 2, 2021

July 3-4, 2-21 Pierre, SD Independence Day celebration

Saturday was a lazy day.  Dave took Pete to the airport bright and early.  We hung out at Griffen Park in town, but on the Missouri River.  After church, we had a chicken dinner at Don’s and all went to Zesto’s for ice cream, a must do in Pierre, SD.

Don has been telling us for years that we should spend July 4 in Pierre, so we decided to stay longer.  We started the day, Friday, with the parade in Ft Pierre.  Don had his favorite spot, so we met him there. 

Sherri and Bobby Hansen, Mr America

back-Bobby and Sherri, Garrett, Bev Glen, Claire and Heidi Crawford, Mary and Don, front-Memphis and Katie Murphy

Mary, Bobby, Bev and Don

We spent the afternoon at the state park on the Missouri River near Oahe Dam.  All of Don’s daughter’s and spouses were there with Memphis, Garrett and Claire, along with Beverly.  

Claire, Sherri and Katie
Sherri sharing a cigar

Heidi's turn

Dave and Memphis

Don, Garrett, Heidi and Glen

That evening, we all met in Ft Pierre to watch the fireworks.  The rodeo had fireworks after their last event.  But there were several private displays that were amazing all along the river.  We were on a hillside taking it all in.  Katie had picked up some fireworks to enjoy with her daughter, Memphis.  But I thing we had more fun with them.

Memphis wasn't too sure about those fireworks

We said our sad good-byes that evening, as everyone was heading their separate ways in the morning.  Katie planned to stay longer with Don for a few days.  It will be such a change for their family without Linda's presence.  I just hope we can help ease that burden in some way.