Once upon a time, I lived in Colorado where skiing and other outdoor activities are the predominant lifestyle rather than the anomaly. I’ve always missed the mountain life, so when we moved from flatlands to Nashville, I felt like I was getting a wee tiny bit of that lifestyle back. While not in the mountains, Nashville has some beautiful undulation in its landscape. Tall wooded hills to hike and get your blood pumping, great parks within the metropolitan area, all make me want to be outside more than in and it feels soooo good. But the best perk is we’re now only a few hours away from the Smoky Mountains, and we camp and explore the mountains at least once a year during the warmer months.

I wanted my kids to learn to ski fairly early, so when Thing 2 was about 5, we packed up and headed to Colorado and did the whole thing.  At this point, I hadn’t skiied in about 15 years and OH, I had forgotten how much I loved it… and to my relief and delight, the rest of the family loved it too. Problem is, we don’t live out there, and it’s EXPENSIVE to get us all out there and skiing. We needed to find a way to get our winter sports on in between the big trips out West. We were overdue for a winter Smokies trip.

We headed East to Maggie Valley, North Carolina so we could ski Cataloochee over the Thanksgiving weekend. I’d always read very mixed (leaning toward negative) reviews about North Carolina skiing, and I did my best to prepare everyone that their expectations needed to drop considerably from the skiing we had done out West.


Modfrugal Maggie Valley/Cataloochee

Modfrugal Maggie Valley/Cataloochee

Modfrugal Maggie Valley/Cataloochee


Much to our delight – it all worked. Was the snow light and fluffy? No, but it was skiing! Only 4 hours from where we live, for a fraction of the cost. The whole place is a little rustic, and could use a bit of love and attention, but they make their snow every night and we were A-OK with it. This changes EVERYTHING.


Modfrugal Maggie Valley/Cataloochee

Modfrugal Maggie Valley/Cataloochee

The town is a little odd. It looks like it was in its heyday in the 60’s, Lots of motels with motor courts, and my best guess is the boom of neighboring Waynesville has caused Maggie Valley to suffer. I saw so many shuttered up businesses right on the main road that leads straight into Cherokee. I couldn’t figure out why they couldn’t make a business work there? With skiing in the winter and fishing and hiking in the summer, (and gambling all year) it would seem ideal for setting up shop. But we saw a LOT of this.

Modfrugal Maggie Valley/Cataloochee
I became a little fixated on this building above. We drove past it every day on the way to and from our cabin.

Formerly “The Viewpoint” this place just made me so sad and I feel like it could be so great again…just someone with the cash and ambition to save it.
Modfrugal Maggie Valley/Cataloochee

Starvin’ Marvin got tired of starvin’ I guess and closed it all down…..

But there was the cutest little A-Frame development we drove through, some for rent and some for sale, so maybe next time we come we can try and rent one.

Modfrugal Maggie Valley/Cataloochee

Modfrugal Maggie Valley/Cataloochee

Modfrugal Maggie Valley/Cataloochee

We rented a tiny cabin and I tried to make Thanksgiving festive. Not knowing if the cabin would be equipped with spices or anything, (it had nothing) I precooked most everything so all we had to do was roast our chicken and warm up the rest. I was grateful for minimal effort after a long day on the mountain.

Modfrugal Modfrugal Maggie Valley/Cataloochee

At the weekend, we decided to ski half day and we drove into Cherokee for a little exploring. I kept seeing signs for Santa’s Land, so we thought the kids might get into the holiday spirit if we went to check it out. Apparently NOT. How silly of us to assume Santa’s Land would be open in the Christmas Holidays!!

Modfrugal Maggie Valley/Cataloochee

Despite all the quirks, this trip was a great revelation of what was available under our noses for the past 5 years we’ve lived here. We’ll be back to enjoy that mountain again, and would love to make it an annual Thanksgiving tradition. There were no lift lines on Thanksgiving day, and we were able to get Thing 2 snowboard lessons for a song compared to other places. We’ll be back, sooner rather than later, that’s for sure.

Summer Recap

I know it has been ages since I’ve been here, but better late than never I say. I humbly submit a photo recap of our summer.

As always, I tend to be on Instagram when I’m too busy to be here, so a few of these were posted in real time. I will do a detailed post on camping, and a new DIY around here later this week.

The kitchen pantry has been untouched all summer, so don’t hold your breath for a reveal yet, but I will continue to push for that to get finished once and for all. When we got back from our last trip, I declared this fall to be the season of “tying up loose ends”. That would be nice, no? Gal’s gotta have goals.

We took two camping trips, one to Land Between the Lakes, and one to an old favorite of ours, Fall Creek Falls, which was cut short by excessive rain and a leaking tent. I KNOW. Brand new tent too! You’ll get a more in depth ranting on that little gem later.

We also spent some time in the mountains of NC (the CC and I went ziplining!) and are settling back into a routine since school started back August 1st. My volunteer work has not lessened, as I had hoped by resigning one position, but has only increased, and necessitated a LOT of work over the summer. It is more or less full time right now, (can you say SUCKER!?) but once the school year settles in, the workload should ease off and I hope I can get back to some sense of normalcy.

otto butterflied

Clarksville TN

williamson county fair

fawn love

sliding rock cashiers, NC

Sculpture garden cashier, NC

NC mountains clouds

lake glenville NC

Whiteside Mountain Trail NC

ziplining Highlands NC

ziplining Highlands, NC

ziplining Highlands, NC

Whiteside Mountain Trail NC


BEFORE the rains…

fall creek falls-before the rain


and AFTER….

fall creek falls-after the rain

camoing guide book

tent that leaked

view from the tent

summer swimming

fawn love

peach bluberry cobbler

spoiled otto

homemade blackberry ice cream


kentucky lake

bison at land between the lakes


nutella s'mores

Sparklers by the fire

otto's pool

Google Reader Alternatives

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I won’t get into the outrage and disgust I feel that Google Reader is being terminated, but when I heard the announcement, I started test driving a couple of alternatives.

First I tried Feedly for a month or two, which I liked OK, then I tried Bloglovin’.

Can I just say that I really wanted to hate Bloglovin’ simply because the name makes me want to do unspeakable things. The word ‘blog’ is bad enough, combined with a cutesy ‘lovin'”…..I was determined that this would NOT work out. I was feeling very judgmental and superficial about it. HOWEVER, I have to give them props that the interface is nice, you can comment directly from the reader, and all sorts of other fun stuff. I kind of dig Bloglovin’ …there. I said it.

Despite the wave of nausea that briefly passes if I must say the name (which I mostly, never do) it’s a good little program.

There are several other alternatives, but I found what I liked, and hope you can too.

To follow me there, go to Modfrugal on Bloglovin’



Looking Both Ways

Wow, it’s that time of year again. The blog will be THREE on Thursday…I can hardly believe that another year has passed and I’m still here! So many times, I think I’ll pack it in since the big renovations and projects have slowed, but then I get an e-mail, comment or tweet that makes me grin or cackle and I realize that I couldn’t give you guys up…not yet anyway!  We have two bathrooms to tackle and we’ll be doing it all by ourselves…it’s gonna be insane.  Who will I cry to when it all goes pear shaped?! Who will enjoy the flea excursions as much as I do?

Thanks for hanging out with me and being so supportive. When we moved here 3 1/2 years ago, I did not know a soul….(turns out I did, but I didn’t know it then!) and sharing the renovations online with my friends and family in different corners of the world made me feel a bit less lonely. Sorry, it’s late and I’m getting sappy on you.

That said, we are starting to feel more settled here and I’m now at a crossroads for how best to proceed. I closed the booth this year for many reasons, but mainly to lower overhead and to open up the ability to sell upholstered pieces. The lack of HVAC at the mall made it impossible to take upholstered furniture down there without it getting covered in railroad soot from the open bay doors. I’ve been teaching myself upholstery beyond the simple stuff I already knew, and I got a pneumatic staple gun for Christmas…whee! So what’s my next creative outlet?

Do I open an E-bay or Etsy store and deal with all the shipping hassles so a broader audience can buy my finds, or do I find another antique mall better suited to sell my wares? Decisions, decisions!

All I know is when I see a beat up piece of junk with good lines, I feel compelled to save it and there’s not enough room for all of my rescues.  Some people run animal rescues, I run a furniture rescue and I think my darlings are breeding in the basement since I can barely get through these days…and I need to clear a bigger area for my upholstery workspace. What advice do my readers have for me?  I’ll keep mulling things over as I start pulling together a round up for Thursday…you be thinking too, so we can discuss. Out with a pup shot.

The CC NEEDS your Help!

Desperate times call for desperate measures my friends.

The CC wouldn’t ask if it wasn’t IMPORTANT.  The first game of the Six Nations Rugby tournament (England v. Wales) is Friday and he can’t find anyone broadcasting it in the US.  The second game will be shown here on BBC America, but in a bizarre battle of broadcast rights etc.. he can’t get live streaming online for the first game.  If you have any clue about how he can watch this game, please put the poor man out of his misery.  He is miserable.  We will make it up to you…trust.

photo via Daily Mail

To be honest, if I get to see him play (although he’s not starting this game) it would be favor to me too.