Bad Weather and Good Friends at Tremont

great smoky mountains institute at tremont - val in real life

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 trip to Georgia. Part of the time was dedicated to hanging out with Fred and George. The rest was mostly allocated to attending the spring photography workshop at my beloved Great Smoky …

Turning Misfortune into Opportunity: A Photographic Journey

Val in Real Life

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 and I love spending time with people who constantly inspire me, I also look forward to honing my photography skills when I’m there. At the Tremont workshops (both spring and …

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 and inspired by my friends and mentors. There’s an undertone of melancholy to this one, though. While it’s only my fourth fall workshop at the Great Smoky Mountains Institute at …

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 in photography, the Smokies, and my Tremont friends for the next several days. I’ve written much about my time in the Smokies and this workshop in particular is a sweet …

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 learned a lot from some inspiring people. But today I get to return to my beloved Tremont to expand my Great Smoky Mountains knowledge through immersive, experiential education. (It’s not …

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 written about their fabulous photography workshops (Exhibit A, Exhibit B, Exhibit C) and even highlighted why Tremont is so awesome for kids, but I’ve never taken you through the nuts …

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 places in the world. I’ve spent the last couple of years delving deeper into her secrets and earning my Southern Appalachian Naturalist Certification. So I’m sharing a little of that …

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 Smoky Mountains Institute at Tremont for the Autumn Brilliance workshop, my oasis of friendship and inspiration… that almost didn’t happen. It came down to the wire but the workshop is …

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 expedition this summer, we were due for a low-key pure camping trip. That’s why I let the boys drive our time-frame and activities this weekend… to decompress from our more …

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 in June. This is a short trip, only five days, and we’re returning to our favorite Smokies front-country campground at Elkmont for some much needed R&R from urban life. But …