great smoky mountains institute at tremont - val in real life
Photography

Bad Weather and Good Friends at Tremont

Let’s face it, life dishes out the unexpected and undesired. A lot. The only thing we’re in control of is how we respond, right? I just returned from a whirlwind […]

Val in Real Life
Photography

Turning Misfortune into Opportunity: A Photographic Journey

Each April I return to the Great Smoky Mountains Institute at Tremont for the spring photography workshop led by the fabulous Bill Lea.¬†While it’s largely a family reunion for me […]

Photography

Postcards from Real Life: Mentor

Today I’m back in the Great Smoky Mountains for my photographic family reunion. It’s time for the Autumn Brilliance workshop again and this is where I come to get rejuvenated […]

Life

Postcards from Real Life: Sanctuary

Today I’m nestled in one of my favorite places in the world. It’s spring photography workshop time again at The Great Smoky Mountains Institute at Tremont and I’ll be immersed […]

Life

Postcards from Real Life: Contact

I’ve talked a lot lately about how much I appreciate the connections I’ve made during my life as a blogger. I’ve made some great friends in various communities and I’ve […]

Outdoors

Tremont’s Naturalist Certification Program: Discover the Great Smoky Mountains

You all know by now that I love the Great Smoky Mountains and that I’m obsessed with the Great Smoky Mountains Institute at Tremont. In fact, I’m a Junkie. I’ve […]

Outdoors

Great Smoky Mountains: The Spruce-Fir Nature Trail

The Great Smoky Mountains are the most visited National Park in the U.S. and if you follow this blog with any regularity, you know this is one of my favorite […]

Life

Postcards from Real Life: Inspiration and Friendship

I cannot begin to tell you how wonderful it is to be in the Great Smoky mountains again after two anxious weeks of park closures. I’m back at the Great […]

Outdoors

Postcards from Real Life: Moments

So the Camp Granola crew spent a long weekend at Elkmont in the Great Smoky Mountains last weekend. After the blistering pace we set on our Overland Expo to TBEX […]

Life

Postcards from Real Life: Discovery

Today the boys and I set out for familiar territory… The Great Smoky Mountains. It’s our first trip together since the Overland Expo to TBEX expedition came to an end […]

Outdoors

Postcards from Real Life: Cabin Fever

Ok, it’s time to get outside. I’ve been plugging away at the new Val in Real Life HQ and I’m cooked. Painting, shopping, assembling furniture, sorting through boxes… all while […]

Life

Postcards from Real Life: Limits

One of the things we have to recognize in all aspects our lives is our limits… and that includes travel limits even when you’re a traveler. Taking note of that […]

Outdoors

North America’s Best Campgrounds: Elkmont

This week my fellow outdoor enthusiasts and I are highlighting our favorite campgrounds in North America. While I have several favorites across the country, I wanted to bring the love […]

Life

Postcards from Real Life: Why?

Today I head off yet again to my home-away-from-home, the Great Smoky Mountains Institute at Tremont. This trip marks my final class in the Southern Appalachian Naturalist Certification program so […]

Photography

Postcards from Real Life: Delight

My time in Great Smoky Mountains National Park has been sparing of late but today, in spite of the current downpour, I’m glad to be back. This weekend I’m joining […]

Photography

Shameless Self-Promotion…

Two things are upon us my friends… and they’re both about the fabulous Great Smoky Institute at Tremont. This week marks the beginning of their annual photo contest as well […]

Outdoors

Postcards from Real Life: Anticipation

I’ve confessed to not being very snow-savvy before but I’ve definitely acclimated to the cooler winter climate of North Georgia. I’ve also fully embraced a love of winter in terms […]

Outdoors

Postcards from Real Life: Winter

We’re in the thick of winter finally. It was beginning to look like we wouldn’t have to break out the heavy coats here in Georgia this season but it is […]

Life

Postcards from Real Life: Future

As the New Year is building up steam and I read all of the blog posts about what’s in store for folks around the world, I’m pondering what’s in store […]

Outdoors

Postcards from Real Life: Apricity

One of the great things about road-schooling Fred and George is that I get to learn a lot along with them. Our newest guilty pleasure in terms of podcasts here […]

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