Unlike prior trips, we were not heading to New York at Thanksgiving, Glacier National Park, Acadia, or the Grand Canyon.  Rather, we were heading to the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains to the South Carolina home of my brother and sister-in-law on Lake Keowee.  Having been involved in creating this beautiful lakeside, mountain home I was eager to share it with our family, knowing that they would enjoy all that the property had to offer, including a pristine lake and every conceivable water sport.  

The week was unusual in that everything we would be doing was located at the house with only one planned family outing to the Biltmore Mansion in Asheville where we would create new and lasting memories exploring this grand house and its magnificent gardens and hot house. Grands #3 and #4 would be participating in the Dabo Swinney Football Camp two days of our trip.  And, thanks to my nephew playing the tight end position (JC Chalk #25) at Clemson we would be able to tour the Clemson practice facility.

But other than that, there was absolutely no schedule for the week.  Mornings were sleepy times with everyone rising late, enjoying their morning coffee on the large screened in porch overlooking Lake Keowee.  Mid morning was spent preparing breakfast for Grands who had awakened after a night of weightless, deep sleep.  Sleepy eyes, hair askew.  It was the tender time of awakening to a new day.

With the energy levels picking up and the breakfast dishes placed into the dishwasher the fragrance of sunscreen became the morning potpourri.  Just as horses straining at a lead, the Grands could hardly wait to get down to the glistening lake to begin their day of play.

Before noon, everyone was in the water – either at the dock or onboard the ski boat with snacks for hungry Grands pre-prepared and at the ready.  Diving competitions were held, stories were created about the imaginary man who lived in the abandoned house boat, king of the mountain was played on a floating piece of styrofoam, and the older Grands were attempting to load the paddle board two and three at a time, consistently failing in getting the balancing correct between their multiple bodies.  The melodic sounds of joy-filled laughter filled the long days of summer.  

By mid afternoon, with sun kissed skin, everyone returned to the house to nap, watch a movie, or read.  After the symphony of joy our lakeside home became still and quiet until the sun began its descent in the sky.  Once again, sunscreen was applied and little legs and arms enthusiastically ran to play in the water or paddle out to explore the beauty of the lake until sundown and dinner.

Several months later, Grand #2 was talking about how the time at Lake Keowee was our best family trip.  Surprised, I asked her why.  To which she answered, “Because there was no schedule and we were all together.” 

Mary Beth I have a passion for creating and experiencing unforgettable moments and sharing those with others. I hope that this story has helped you experience one of those moments.

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