The Bright Side: A magical combination

Published 8:21 pm Tuesday, May 2, 2023

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I’ve done quite a bit of traveling this year so far. At the very beginning of April, I was in Savannah, Georgia for the first time and I fell in love with the city. The Spanish moss caressing the squares, the cobblestone streets of downtown, the picturesque eateries and locally-owned shops mixed with delicious food and exceptional hospitability were just a few highlights of my trip.

We strolled just about everywhere in Savannah. Our Airbnb was about a 25-minute walk from downtown and I enjoyed every second of it. Exploration has always suited me well; I crave new sights to seek out and love learning about the history of a new destination. Savannah is full of rich history. It’s known as “a city built upon its own dead,” but honestly, I felt so much life walking through the streets. It was hard to tell if this burst of life was coming more from the people or the landscape itself.

This past weekend I was in Tennessee. If you have never explored the Roan Mountain and Watauga Lake area(s), I would highly recommend booking a trip! The drive itself is worth a stay, with the rolling hills, lush mountain scape and rushing rivers greeting you around every bend. Every time I go back to the area I remember why it’s so hard to leave – not to mention a group of my very close friends (practically family) lives and meets out there a few times a year. But again, it’s hard to tell if I love Tennessee because of how I feel like I’m in a fairytale when I drive around the mountains and across the river bends, or because of the people I spend time with while I’m there.

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I was sitting on the front porch of the place I was staying at, right outside of Roan Mountain, one day this past weekend and caught myself marveling at the sheer number of different bird calls I could recognize, and the way the leaves moved as the breeze swept through the trees, and all of the pink, yellow and purple wildflowers that gathered in different part of the grass that carpeted the front lawn. I thought back to Savannah and how the architecture, shrubbery and bustle of the town melded together to form the core of the city, whereas just the rivers that run through Roan Mountain can take even the most on-edge person and swaddle them in serenity.

But both places left me with the same essence of wonderment.

Once I was settled back in town, I took a bike ride down to Bay Drive in Kill Devil Hills. I parked my bike, hung my feet off of one of the public docks and let the sound cool my toes. I thought about how maybe it’s not just the people or just the places that we encounter on a regular basis, but the combination of the two that make a place magical.

God breathed life into both the earth and us. To think we are not filled with the same beauty of a wildflower, or the strength of a raging river, or the sturdiness of cobblestones, or the peace of a blanketed hillside is just crazy! There is magic in every place we go, even if we’ve walked the premises a million times.

Perhaps it is the eagerness in us to see all that God has created that makes a place so special. I am still finding intricacies in my own backyard, yet alone the details in the places I have yet to walk. And the people? Well, they make the destinations that much more desirable. There is a whole universe inside each and every one we come across; that in and of itself draws us to discovery.

Danielle Puleo is a staff writer for The Coastland Times. Reach her at