My paradise...

(A deer at Cade's Cove in the Smokey Mountain National Park.)

Since I was three years old I have gone at least once a year, sometimes more, to the place that is my total escape: Murphy, North Carolina.

I started out going for just one week, but as I got older I stayed longer. It became my home away from home, and a place that I longed for during the school year.

I'm not sure if it's the overwhelming beauty, the sounds that seem to envelop me or the serene atmosphere, but something about being there puts me at ease with myself and whatever is going on in my life.

Spending entire summers reading, eating Main Street cheese dogs and taking daily trips to Wal-Mart with my grandparents has given me an appreciation and bond with them that not many other people have with their grandparents. I am forever grateful for those long summer days in Murphy.

(Shoal Creek running in front of the old house.)

If my pictures have enticed you to take a trip try