Archives for June 2015

Cool Day Trips from Mooresville NC

How to Beat the Heat

Has the heat gotten to you in the last week or so?  On my deck here in Mooresville on June 21 at 8:40 AM, it’s already 77 degrees with a predicted high of 91 degrees for the day.  According to Accucast the humidity is now 95%.  I don’t want to think about how it will feel this afternoon. The heat is about to beat us so we looked around for some cool place for day trips from Mooresville to escape for a day. Take a look at the places we found.

Cool Day Trips from Mooresville, NC

Grandfather Mountain

As I write this on Saturday morning at 8:40 I checked the weather at Grandfather Mountain. It’s a pleasant 63 degrees there. The predicted high for today is only 79 degrees.  It’s a pleasant two hour drive so let’s gas up the car and go!

The highest temperature ever recorded there is 83 degrees. Average high temps in June are 66 degrees, in July 69 degrees and in August 68 degrees. If you are new to the area and don’t have a clue what there is to do at Grandfather Mountain, here is the scoop.

Walk across the Mile High Swinging Bridge. I remember my first walk there as a child.  Scary but exhilarating. Here’s a photo from a more recent trip.

Take a hike on one of the 11 trails. You can find wildflowers in bloom from March until September. Visit one of the wildlife habitats.  This is nothing like a man made zoo in the middle of the city. The viewing areas have been built around the natural habitats of black bears, river otters, cougars AKA panthers, eagles and white-tailed deer.

English: A white-tailed deer

English: A white-tailed deer (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

When you are ready to go indoors, visit the Nature Museum. Enjoy lunch in Mildred’s Grill. You can finish your day with a tasty treat from the Fudge Shop. My two memories of my first visit to Grandfather Mountain included the mile high swinging bridge and a view of Mildred the Bear. They’ve come a long way with preservation of this God given land. The late Hugh Morton made a lasting gift with his dedication to conservation.  Trips to “Grandpappy” as the mountaineers call it could be a series of units for home schoolers and a great summer educational trip for children of all ages.

Banner Elk

If whitewater rafting doesn’t cool you off, nothing will. Although we have never been to the Edge of the World we have rafted with Nantahala Outdoor Center in Bryson City lots of times. We love NOC but it’s too far for a day trip from Mooresville. I drove up and back from Conover in the same day one time and this rafting driver was exhausted. So it looks like we need to check out the Edge of the World. They’re in Banner Elk, just a hop, skip and jump from Beech Mountain.whitewaterdoedeo-1024x683 If you just want to be cool, but don’t want high adventure, Banner Elk offers concerts too.  Check out the schedule here. There’s a museum to visit too. The local winery and brewery offer unique tastes. Elk River Falls Trail  is one of my favorite short hikes.  The view is great and I always get a kick out of watching crazy folks jump from the top of the falls.


There is no Mayberry, NC, but there is Mount Airy and that is the town Mayberry was based on. Take a trip back in time and visit Andy Griffith’s home town. You can visit Snappy Lunch, take a squad car tour and visit Floyd’s Barber Shop. Pilot Mountain State Park is nearby and you can enjoy hiking, fishing and all the activities common to a state park. Hanging Rock State Park is nearby too and swimming is available during the warm season.


Anyone who ever watched the Andy Griffith Show knows that it was a big deal to go to Raleigh. Well, it still is. Maybe you prefer to visit indoor attractions when you go on a day trip.  If so, the NC Museum of Art is a must see and do.  In addition to the permanent collection, there are rotating exhibits.  One of the more unusual exhibits is the Park Exhibit.  Three billboards in the museum park are on display throough October.  The billboards feature a statewide college outreach project.

An interesting tidbit is that the permanent collection was establshed in 1947 when the NC Legislature appropriated $1 million dollars to begin the collection. NC was the first state in the nation to use public funds to purchase works of art.

The museum has a sweet restaurant with good food and equally wonderful views.  If you are going during a busy time be sure to make a reservation for the Iris Restaurant so you will not be disappointed.




Where Can You Take Your Dog on the Outer Banks?

Dog Friendly Duck

Recently we took a week off and and visited the Outer Banks with Luke, Daisy Mae and Trooper. We highly recommend the town of Duck, NC for being “dog friendly.”   Luke, Trooper and Daisy Mae all enjoyed chasing after OBX Trooper & Daisy on beachPSX_20150603_200449seagulls on the beach.  Duck allows dogs to be unleashed on the beach so this was a highlight of the trip for the dogs and the reason we chose Duck as our destination.

Daisy Mae and I enjoyed a morning stroll along the Duck Trail and the Boardwalk on the Sound side.  The Duck Trail is tree shaded and offers a nice bench for weary humans along with a three tiered water fountain: one fountain for adults, one fountain for children and one fountain for dogs!

The boardwalk along the sound is wide and offers astounding views.  Most of the shops located along the boardwalk allow well behaved and properly leashed dogs to come in the stores.  Many of them had water bowls outside their premises for those thirsty canines.  There are multiple doggy waste stations located along the boardwalk so no one has to step in the “business” of any dogs.

By far, Daisy Mae’s favorite shop was Outer Barks aka “the dog store in Duck.”  The shopping is to howl and meow for and their Thursday afternoon “Yappy Hour” was a hit with both of us.  Yappy Hour is free and the dogs get cool frozen treats, OBX yappy hour PSX_20150514_225307pup-cakes and other goodies.  There are agility courses to try out for the dogs and comfy chairs for the humans.  For a $5.00 donation to the shelter that Outer Barks  supports,  your dog can make a paw painting. Daisy Mae, as usual was up for her painting. She keeps wanting to know when I will frame it! While in the store we bought way too much. But my favorite purchase was the Water Rover.  It’s the best designed water bottle for a dog I have ever used.


What About Food?

Restaurants abound, but we particularly enjoyed Aqua Restaurant and Spa. Yes,  you read that right. The restaurant is located downstairs and the spa is located upstairs. If you show your restaurant receipt within a week you can get a discount on your spa services! The inside of the restaurant is nicely appointed and they allow dogs on the deck or in the yard bar.  Billy and I chose to eat there without the dogs along (they enjoyed a quiet rest time in their crates back at the house we rented).  But one morning Daisy Mae and I took a long walk that we had not properly prepared for. We stopped at Aqua Restaurant and Spa before they opened for the day and they kindly put out a bowl of water for Daisy Mae to get a drink.

If you want to cook your own, try out the Dockside ‘N Duck for great fresh seafood.  We enjoyed swordfish and also bought one of their homemade tomato pies.  Think layers of tomato, spinach and cheese in a pie crust.  It was delicious.

Dockside 'N Duck

Dockside ‘N Duck


What Else is There to Do?

For Billy no trip to the Outer Banks would be complete without a drive on the 4-Wheel Beaches.  The dogs went along for the ride but we didn’t let them on the beach there.  We feared for their safety from wayward fishing gear, wild horses and tourists diving recklessly.

OBX Wild Horse

OBX Wild Horse

Although Luke, Trooper and Daisy Mae all enjoyed chasing after seagulls on the beach we do offer one word of caution.  Due to all the storm erosion in recent years there has been a significant beach re-nourishment project to build the dunes and add sand back to the beach. Consequently, one is forced to walk at a difficult angle and even close to the water the sand is more soft packed than hard packed. That made walking on the beach a little difficult for the humans but did not deter the canines. If you choose Duck for your destination consider staying sound side and enjoy the ambiance of the old world south.  We surely had a great time but it’s wonderful to be back home.

On another note, we don’t usually take our dogs on vacation, but wanted Trooper and Daisy Mae to experience the Outer Banks.  Several years ago we took Luke and Beau and it was a blast.  We had forgotten how demanding it is to take our dogs out on leash for potty breaks.  When we are at home we can let them out in our safely e-fenced yard for potty breaks and play time.  We are in and out all through the day as we make pet sitting and dog walking visits for our clients and then return home. We have several places for longer sniffing walks for our three dogs.  If you are planning on vacation you may want to consider using our pet sitting services so you can take a break from the daily tasks that accompany responsible dog ownership.

Are You Ready to Adopt a Shelter Cat?

How Are You Celebrating Adopt a Shelter Cat  Month?

It’s Adopt a Shelter Cat Month so what better time to consider the necessary steps. If you have been thinking about adopting a cat, prepare and dive in.  You will be richly rewarded.

Many of the steps for adopting a cat are the same as those for adopting a dog. The common considerations are the needs of the pet, proper nutrition, choosing a vet, groomer and pet sitter and over all considering the true financial costs of pet ownership.

Curious Cat

Curious Cat

Too often new cat owners think that because cats are less social than dogs that they require very little attention. But we need to pay special attention to the needs of cats and have a basic understanding of why they do certain behaviors.

What Do Cats Need?

Cats need items to scratch. It’s best to provide both horizontal and vertical scratching posts to see which style your cat prefers. They dislike soiled litter boxes and need sufficient litter to cover their pee and poop. That’s why it’s so important to follow the general rule of thumb for having one more litter box than cat, and a litter box on every level of your home. It’s important to scoop the litter box at least daily to assure they don’t go outside the box.

Cats need to sleep in a quiet area where they can feel safe and secure. This may be on a cat hammock, under your bed or on a cat bed all curled up. They need elevated perches where they can see the world around them. Their version of “cat tv” is a perch in front of a window with a view of a birdhouse.

Toys they can interact with are important. Cats love to pounce on moving objects like balls or moving wands because this brings out their instinct for hunting prey. Cats prefer to approach us rather than let us approach them. They like play time to be short, but frequent. Keep that in mind to avoid being scratched or bitten.  When kitty is through playing, he is through!!

P4P cat itemsPSX_20141015_164343_edited


The cat may benefit from cat calming spray to help him feel more comfortable around the humans.  And the humans may appreciate an enzymatic cleaner for those inevitable kitty “oops.”

Where Can I Find a Cat to Adopt?
We are blessed with great adoption agencies throughout our region. Check out Catering to Cats and Dogs, Iredell County Animal Services, Lake Norman Animal Rescue, Cornelius Animal Shelter and the Humane Society of Iredell for your next cat adoption. There is no better way to celebrate Adopt a Shelter Cat Month!