Sunday, June 23, 2013

Camping Near Duke

For the past couple of months we have been staying near Duke University in order for our aunt to receive treatment for a brain tumor that was discovered a few months ago.

Misty's aunt is living with us in the RV, which makes our close quarters even closer.  But it has all been good and believe it or not, we have not gotten on each others' nerves at all.

If anything it has been a real pleasure to offer our RV to our aunt so that she would not have to pay for a hotel for her three months of treatment and doctor appointments.  Family takes care of family and we feel God has given us this way of life, so that we could assist in this matter.

The kids with Aunt Lynn.
While attending service at Hope Creek Church, we met a family who invited us over for dinner one Sunday evening.  We had such a great time and before leaving we made plans to get together again.

 We ended up visiting the Sarah P. Duke Gardens on a Wednesday  afternoon which is fifty five acres of beautiful gardens, landscapes, ponds, and woods located in the center of Duke University's campus.  Here is a map of the gardens, if you are interested.

There are over five miles of trails that take you through it all with beautiful views of water fountains, and four distinct types of gardens.  Free admission is a big plus and it never seems to be very crowded even though it receives over 300,000 visitors a year.
Welcome to Duke Gardens.
Entry gate to the gardens.
Walkway down to the Mary Duke Biddle Rose Garden / Roney Fountain.
Courtney, Avery, Tia, Ian, Chloe, Ethan, Don, & Misty posing in front of the fountain.
One of the cute gazebos that bridge one garden section to another.
This one is between the Historic Gardens and the H.L. Blomquist Garden of Native Plants.

Even the rest room's architecture is pleasant to the eye.
The Pergola viewed from the Historic Terraces.
Molly and Avery enjoying the fish in the Historic Terraces and Fish Pool.
Another view of the Pergola from the Historic Terraces.
A nice spot to rest while enjoying the bamboo in the Culberson Asiatic Arboretum.
The garden at the Burpee Learning Center and a reconstructed tobacco barn.
A tub of meat eating plants.
A beautiful pitcher plant.
A Yellow Pitcher Plant with a view of its deadly water.  Deadly to insects, that is.
My favorite meat eating plant, the Venus Flytrap.
Another deserving fly that ended up as a meal.
Cute little piece of citrus fruit named Calamondin which is also known as a miniature orange, but used more like a lime.
Beautiful steps of stone and a grist mill grinding wheel. 
All in all we had a wonderful time with our new friends and really enjoyed our walk through the gardens.  We walked a good two plus miles that day, so not only did we enjoy our company and surroundings, but felt good in the fact that we got some much needed exercise.
It was also nice to let the kids run wild and burn off a lot of their stored up energy.  It is always easier to put them to bed on days like these, when we wear them plum out.  The trick is to let them wear out, without wearing you out in the process.
One of the many frogs at the Blomquist Pavilion pond.

The pond at the Blomquist Pavilion was a perfect backdrop and had just enough stepping stones to get a picture of all the kids, including Allison and Molly, who are two of our friends' kids from church.
Ethan, Allison, Avery, Tia, Courtney, Ian, & Molly at the Blomquist Garden pond.

 Also during our walk the kids had a chance to feed the waterfowl while at the Garden Pond in the Culberson Asiatic Arboretum section of the gardens.
Ethan, Allison, Ian, & Avery feeding the waterfowl at the Garden Pond.
We want to thank God for all of his blessings and the opportunity to help out our family in their time of need.  We also want to thank Him for guiding us to such good friends while on the road and keeping us safe.

Everywhere we have gone, we have always met just the right people to make our stay a better one.

Coincidentally one of the neighbors in the RV lot next door is actually from Fayetteville, West Virginia and knows where the Lively Family land is at, in Fayette County, where my father grew up.

Another coincidence is that an eleven year old girl, that the kids met just down the street, is also from West Virginia and still has family living in Charleston, close to where we used to live.

I've always heard that the North Carolina license plate is an alternate West Virginia license plate due to West Virginians migrating to North Carolina for work, so maybe it is true since everyone we met, seems to have connections to West Virginia.

Until next time may God bless you too!

Don, Misty, and Kids...



  1. Great pictures. Looks like a fantastic place to visit.

    1. It was, you would love it Sis.


  2. Wow, I cant imagine for sure how crowded you may be BUT it is such a noble gesture. I hope your Aunt is felling better from those treatments.
    Im sure you are being watch by the good Lord by your good deed. God bless your heart.

    1. Mona Liza,

      It really is not too bad at all. We have always been used to close quarters. When I was active duty and took the family everywhere I went, when I could, we got used to staying in single bedroom hotel rooms.

      Aunt Lynn stays out under the awning a good bit during the day and is good at putting the sofa bed away as soon as she gets up in the morning.

      Misty and I have the master bedroom to escape to, if need be, and an added bonus is that Mama can watch the kids while we sneak out to the movies for a date.

      I guess it is just what you make of it.


  3. This is great! I finally figured out the was a user equipment problem.....I need to wear my glasses not my contacts...couldn't read the code. Lol I love your blog...get ready to hear more from me.:-)

    1. I'm glad you figured it out.

      Now I expect a comment to every blog I post.

      No, just kidding.


  4. Hi I'm Heather! Please email me when you get a chance, I have a question about your blog! LifesABanquet1(at)