Sunday, April 24, 2011

Happy Easter, we are home!

Well, Dillon and I have returned from our whirlwind drive to and back from Florida to go check out his college, Full Sail University. We did a tour, checked out the campus, the surroundings area and then went to see his apartment complex. I can't speak for Dillon, but I enjoyed every second of this quality time spent with him. It reaffirmed what I knew all along, that Dillon is an amazing young man and he will do just fine when he goes off to school. (course i'll be popping in occasionally to visit and we are getting a 2 bedroom apartment (no roommates) so that jeff and i can come and go as we please. I'm working on getting some classes set up while i am in the area as well; so that will be fun.


the first day we left, we had a little bit of excitement. Occasionally I was updating my status on facebook by "checking in", which will put your current location of where you are at on your wall. Then i got a message on my wall from an old high school buddy, Sherri, who told me that I might want to keep an ear out on weather updates, as tornado warnings had been issued in North Carolina, the direction we were heading. She promised to keep updating my wall, so we sort of knew what was going on as we drove through the rain. Finally the rain got pretty bad and we pulled over at a rest stop. We noticed many travelers inside gathered around the tv, so i figured, uh-oh; we'd better find out what's going on. A phone call to my husband told us that it was time to get off the road and that tornados were touching down on I-95. So we pulled over at the first hotel we could find. The lobby was packed with weary travels, crying babies, whiney children, scared pets and young kids running around with their camera phones. As we were walking into the hotel, the wind got really "swirly" and roof bits starting coming off. We got soaked in a matter of seconds. We checked into our room, but had zero communication as satellites were down.

pouring rain at our hotel and a pretty rainbow peeks out as the storm begins to pass


We lost a lot of time by pulling over early (plus a 3 hour delay around the DC area)- that we decided to leave around 5am to make up our time. Stopping for coffee, we learned that I-95 south had been closed down last night when a tracker trailer rig was knocked over and that a tornado had touched down not 30 miles from us in Fayetteville, North Carolina. We drove thru the town and were speechless and the debris and damage we were seeing. One house out in a large field was surrounded by about 30 trees. every one of those trees had been sheared in half. it was very sad to see.

we took a potty break at this huge tourist trap in Dillon, SC. We were grateful for a sunny driving day!


2 hours from Orlando, we made a pit stop at this art store in Jacksonville, Florida called Reddi-Arts.


the next morning we are up and ready to see the school, check out the area and look at his apartment complex. Full Sail University is a media school (art, music and film). Dillon is getting into the video gaming aspect of the school. It is an accelerated program, meaning he will go there full time and leave in 3 years with his Masters.

the school has its own back lot movie backdrop. The school also bought up an aging strip mall next to their campus and are utilizing those buildings as well. Many restaurants for the kids to eat at surround the campus. the kids tend to be on campus 40 hours a week, so they are busy busy!


next we headed over to tour the apartment complex that we are going with. We really liked it. It was very established with trees (not stripped to the bare bones like some housing areas are). there is a pretty lake surrounding the apartments. Dillon got a really good feeling there.

the lake is stocked with fish for fishing and we saw lots of turtles and ducks. the shot i took below is fun - it's a duck's hiney with a gold colored dragon fly sitting on the duck's feathers.


the next day we hit Cocoa Beach and lounged about for a few hours. it felt good to soak up the sun.

i thought these 2 little ballerinas on the beach were adorable!


back at the hotel, I dropped Dillon off and I headed out to make a run to Hobby Lobby. We don't have them in NJ, so I was excited to find one. on the way back to the hotel, a sudden rainstorm came in hard. As i inched my way back to the hotel, I saw a double rainbow and snapped this pic from my car window. Not 3 miles away and Dillon didn't get any of that same storm.


our last day in town, we decided to go on an airboat road. I am so glad we did, as it was a blast! we got to see lots of gators (ewww) and many herons (yay!)


after the boat ride, we decided to stop at the Orlando Wetlands Park. Not knowing what to expect, we started walking around. then i saw this sign..........

he blends into the water, but not 15 feet away, dillon is staring at a gator (yuck)


Later in the evening, we meet up with new friend, Cami and her husband in downtown, Winter Park for some drinks. We went to a cool place called The Wine Room. Downtown Winter Park is really pretty. We enjoyed walking around, seeing the gardens, the stores, there are museums and Cami says there are 2 big street art shows that are a lot of fun.


Time to head back home. I decided last minute to reroute us to go by my old alma mater, Elon College (now a university) in Elon, NC. In my opinion, Elon has one of the most beautiful campuses and still 15 years later after last seeing it in 1995 when we moved to NJ, it has gotten even prettier. It was fun to walk around the campus and point things out to dillon about the 4 years i spent there.

my first dorm

love this fountain! spent many a moment sitting there waiting for friends or my boyfriend, Ken. many wishes were made here!

so thanks for tagging along! i've got much to do now that i am back and then head out the door in a few weeks to go to Nags Head with friends, Tom and Lesley! I'm teaching a class at Tinsel Trading June 25th, so need to get my project online and also prepare to submit next year's classes to Artfest (2012).


  1. Time with a child, who is now an adult, is a wonderful experience. I had that with my son 2 years ago and still think fondly over how much we enjoyed ourselves.

    This sounds like a wonderful time (minus the tornado!!!) and your photographs are, as always, amazing!!

    Wishing Dillon much joy and success as he gets ready to start the next chapter in his life!

  2. Thanks for sharing your trip with us. Enjoyed seeing the pictures.
    Happy Easter!

  3. wow! thats some quick and full trip! looks like Dillion will be happy there! and good thinking about the apartment with the extra bedroom! vacation time!! I need a vacation after the last week here!
    have a great day

  4. It sounds like you and Dillon had a wonderful trip! How special to be able to spend time with your son!


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