I had been looking forward to this road trip along the renowned Blue Ridge Parkway just outside of Asheville, NC for a long time. I was so excited to finally see the infamous show of color from the trees in the Smoky Mountains. We stopped for a quick breakfast at a diner down the street from our Airbnb and headed towards our first stop, the North Carolina Arboretum. I had seen pictures of the park online and thought it would be a nice way to start the day. In essence, a preview of what we were about to experience.
A few years back I was talking to a friend about the places we loved to visit when she mentioned Asheville, North Carolina. Home to the renowned Biltmore estate, hundreds of artists and quintessential farm to table, before farm to table became a thing, Southern cuisine and more hiking trails than you could ever imagine exploring. She grew up in North Carolina about 4 hours from the artsy town nestled in the Smoky Mountains and raved about how beautiful it is especially in the fall. I grew up in Rhode Island and am familiar with fall. Yet while living there, I never quite understood people’s admiration of fall foliage. Yes, it’s pretty but it signals the impending approach of winter, the dreariest, coldest part of the year. I recall wondering in the midst of winter when exactly the last time I saw sun was and couldn’t remember. The endless dreary days got to me even more than the cold and snow. I just couldn’t get on board with the celebration of fall. Now that I’ve been living in South Florida for 12 years my heart is singing a different tune.
By the time we arrived in Lima we were ready for some city comforts, a cozy bed, warm shower, you know the simple things you find when not camping in the mountains. After a quick flight from Cusco, we hopped in a taxi and told the driver our destination, Second Home Peru, a hotel I found in the Fodor’s Peru guidebook. Once we got to the general vicinity, the Barranco neighborhood, our driver wasn’t exactly sure where the hotel was. We drove down a dead end street and found the address of our destination, a Tudor style home surrounded by a wall and heavy-duty bronze gate.
Having spent the past 3 days trekking in the Sacred Valley, we were ready to visit the grand finale, Machu Picchu. We awoke at 4:30 am, quickly dressed and made our way to meet the group. At that early hour most of the world remains in the realm of REM sleep, but the streets of Aguas Calientes were humming and alive with people rushing to get to the buses for Machu Picchu. People eagerly climbed aboard the buses, and settled in for the 30-minute ride up the mountain. The line already snaked down the street a mile, so Fabio jumped in line and I ran to get coffee. Because even at Machu Picchu, first coffee.
Fabio is the kind of guy who does not want much. Birthday and Christmas gifts are always a struggle, I never know what to buy him. One thing he did want was to visit Machu Picchu and if we could, get there on foot. After reading a number of traveler reviews and trip reports that said the Machu Picchu trail was crowded and the bathrooms nonexistent we opted to do the Lares Trek in the Sacred Valley as opposed to the Machu Picchu trek. The plan was to hike in the Sacred Valley (near Machu Picchu) from Huaran to Lares where we would then be transported to Ollantaytambo, and take the train to Aguas Clientes, the base town for Machu Picchu.
Fabio and visited Peru in May of 2015. I kept notes, but never wrote about our trip and am just going through the loads of pictures I took while we were there. I know, I know, but it’s better late than never. We had an amazing time and I wanted to share our experience. Hopefully you’ll enjoy the story of our trip and maybe you’ll be inspired to visit the beautiful country yourself.
Charlotte's baby boy T was turning one and she contacted me to photograph their family to document this special time in their life. We scheduled the session for the 4th of July weekend so I advised a waterfront park in Fort Lauderdale vs the beach to guarantee a more private session. Charlotte and I discussed clothing options, I gave her a few tips and she absolutely nailed the family's wardrobe. Everyone looked amazing! Most importantly, baby T was a rock star. He warmed up to me right away and when he got tired we all knew but he didn't shed one tear. Such a sweet, happy little guy. I am thrilled to have captured such a special time for their family!