thank you for your support in 2013. we jumped head first into full circle fotography last december and haven't looked back. as we compiled the best of 2013, we were amazed at the opportunities that fell into our laps, and even more amazed at the extraordinary people that were ready and willing to make these connections a reality.
thank you for coming to our site, reading the posts of our travels and adventures and then sharing them with your family and friends. we appreciate you more than you'll ever know.
so, as 2014 rolls around, and we transform into high gear once more, we would love to hear from you as we dream up new destinations (far and near) and discover new narratives. our goal, as always, is to provide a home for the journeys we take, a memoir of the people we meet, and 'bucket list' for all your dreams yet to be experienced.
here's the top 5 places and people that changed our lives this year. each interview or visit was the sum of more than simply its face-to-face time. it was research, editing, writing, and consuming each story, and enabling it to be reborn for you. these are our favorites.
definitely pushing the envelope into maximum over-drive. combining my fear of water and len's fear of heights, we do believe this ranks as one of our best adventures of the year. not to mention, duval street and louie's backyard added just the right amount of za-za-zoo when we came up for air. january is the perfect time to visit the keys, and taking a road trip from athens, ga., is a must. it's about the time you reach port st. lucie that you pull over for gas and realize you're on the precipice of something great. in the blink of eye, the rag top pops back, sweatshirts fly off, and heaven is a mere four hours away. it's the sun, but it's also the key west literary seminar during the second/third week of january that provides me the perfect excuse to combine r / r and professional enrichment. it's also a chance to enjoy some great conch chowder and be inspired by the brilliance of southern author lee smith and pulitzer prize winning journalist madeline blais.
nothing could have prepared us for the natural wonder we were about to experience. growing up in georgia, i heard stories of the island off the coast where wild horses roamed. the stories forgot to mention the massive estates, the live oaks framing the coastline, the lavish hotel once perched on the island's north, the solitary african american church. our tour with the national park service ranger not only gave us tremendous back-story for articles but also a personal reverence for the unspoiled. revisit with us.
the first african american church on the northern end of cumberland island
3. the battlefields of resaca, tunnel hill and chickamauga - georgia
it was 150 years later, and emotions still ran deep. we were not ready for our first reenactment, the battle of resaca. it was cold, rainy, and miserable. we felt ashamed complaining for we were only spectators. suddenly, it was yesterday, 149 years ago, soldiers rode into battle, cannons exploded and men fell where they fought. tunnel hill was identical, and so was chickamauga. each seemed a little more intense than the one before. historians portrayed accurate details for those bloody days with little hesitation or protesting, solely completing the job as it was laid out to them. after three reenactments, we understood that we didn't understand - the broad casualties of war. revisit resaca, tunnel hill and chickamauga.
the battle of resaca
4. beaufort, south carolina
live oaks were never dressed so lovely. i'm southern through-and-through but this was my first visit to beaufort. as much as i adore savannah, i believe beaufort stole my heart with its streets clothed in majesty, its rich gullah heritage, and charismatic culture that lured me in and held on tightly. revisit the lowcountry of south carolina.
a downtown tour of beaufort, s.c.
5. national d-day memorial - bedford, virginia
it's a history lesson that everyone must hear. it's a tour that everyone must take. it was a time when america's greatest generation took a stand. the national d-day memorial in bedford, virginia, will, in fact, take your breath away, drive you to tears, and make you proud of men you never knew. the world changed in june of 1944, and this memorial stands as a reminder. 2014 marks the 70th anniversary of the normandy invasion, and as americans, we should plan to be there once again. here's our tour plus how to be a part of the anniversary.
overlord monument at the memorial
top 5 people
1. florida georgia line
i guess you could say, they were my first. i interviewed tyler and brian in key west (i was in key west - i have no clue where they were), and immediately knew they were good southern boys. the 'yes m'ams' were sprinkled in-between the polite answers to posing questions, and thirty minutes later, i was hooked on florida georgia line, the boys and their music. we photographed them at the georgia theatre and then on the streets of monroe during the making of the 'round here' music video. still captivated, i felt like the luckiest girl in the world. i was a groupie. heck, len was a groupie. and while i watched them accept their cma award, i smiled a little bigger knowing they were my first. revisit our time with tyler and brian.
brian kelley and tyler hubbard
2. carlos and fred lovell
you have to watch out for the strong, silent type, especially when he's 85 years old and makes moonshine. my daddy always told me about the lovells running moonshine in batesville, about 15 miles from where i grew up. i thought they were a myth until this year when i met carlos lovell (far right) and his brother fred and got 'educated' on all the 'goings-on' in north georgia in the 40s and 50s. some assignments delight me; this one made me euphoric. i learned how to make moonshine the right way and in between proofing the shine, 3 gallons at a time, carlos told me about my daddy. rapture! some assignments teach you something; if you're lucky, some take you home.
at ivy mountain distillery - (l to r) carlene holder, mike yearwood, fred lovell, carlos lovell.
3. sal and helen lentine
i guess if there's ever a lifestyle to aspire to, it has to be that of sal and helen lentine. sure, my bank account or real estate holdings will ever be as lofty as theirs, but it's their life - their attitude - their humility - together - that's inspirational. on this day, he took us out on his small boat in the keys, and pulled up alongside a jaw-dropping yacht. we asked him when he was getting his. he just laughed and said, "i have the same water and the same sky as they have. why would i want anything more?" later that evening, he showed us his new shirt, a purchase at the local store for a mere $.79. for people who have seen the world, done everything imaginable, and known kings and politicians, they found more joy in spending an afternoon sharing a glass of white wine with family than riding on the backs of camels in egypt. the wine may be gallo, but the stories, dom perignon.
captain sal lentine and wife helen
4. julia grant
she was probably one of the more interesting people i got to know that i will never get to meet - julia grant - the wife of president ulysses s. grant. a tough woman who took absolutely nothing from society, men or her husband for that matter; she was resolute and her husband counted on that. i think it was the love story that drew me in, her devotion to her husband that never wavered through days of personal failure to victories on battlefields to struggles in the oval office. although her life was interrupted by the civil war, she didn't complain; she simply did what she had to do. as a mother. as a wife. as a woman. and in those dresses . . .
at the battle of tunnel hill, julia grant (middle) as portrayed by marti perrin
5. lloyd carter
if i could visit with anyone every single day of my life, it would be lloyd. not because he reminds me of my daddy, but because he reminds me of what is important, what to live for, how to laugh, and what will matter in the end. he would invite me into his living room, but it wouldn't be long before we'd be up, headed toward his garden just behind the house. he'd dote over his hearty tomatoes and skyward corn and even offer me a sample to take home. i was hoping he would. we'd walk back to the house, all the while the stories continued about his great-grandson noah or his daughter kathy or his grandson clayton. and we'd visit and his sister opal would show up as she did every day. at 92, lloyd carter is a rock star. rock on, lloyd.
lloyd carter at his family reunion in hull, georgia