Thursday, December 1, 2022

Tales of the Traveling Tote #33 and Giveaway

Happy December, y'all! It's time, once again, for a quarterly recap of the Tales of the Traveling Tote. This is #33, wow! My personal tales began here, but it all started even earlier, here

I'll quickly take you through some of the fun things I did with family & friends over the past few months. Afterward, you'll find the direct links to all my traveling tote sisters' posts near the end of this update, and you can travel virtually with each one. Enjoy!
It's been a fabulous fall, especially with the weather we've enjoyed. Our Capitol Market in the center of the city holds a lot of special functions, both indoors and out. I attended the FestivALL Fall event with my oldest daughter there. She was formerly the Executive Director of this annual summer and fall city event, which has seen much success in melding all the city's works of art, music and dance under one umbrella. We enjoyed the art fair this day.

The following day, all my girls - my two daughters and granddaughter - enjoyed the Milton Pumpkin Festival in the next county west of us. Food, crafts, music and perfect weather made the day a lot of fun.
West Virginia puts on a colorful fall foliage display, so a couple of day trips were in order. On these trips, I have found that carrying my tote is a bit cumbersome (other than hauling things in the car such as water and snacks), so I carry a super cute and vintage folding wallet I found at an estate sale a couple years ago. It looks like Courtly Check, but is not MacKenzie-Childs. Our first day trip was to Grandview State Park, near Beckley, WV.
Our second day trip was to the New River Gorge National Park and Preserve near Fayetteville, WV. Lunch at Pies and Pints, and a hike to one of the famed lookout points was in order. On the way home, we stopped at Hawks Nest State Park for the view.
I've tried to encourage my daughter (Baby J's mama) to keep her healthy routine of running by offering to keep J after mama's work (we're in close proximity). It's usually dinner time, so I try to feed J and then play. With the nice, long fall days, I often took her for walks too. This day pictured below, we had a picnic on the University campus right down the street. The view of the capitol across the river is a neighborhood favorite. Note the shameless plug for hometown girl Jennifer Garner's Once Upon a Farm fruit pouches. 😉
Open houses are numerous once the calendar turns to November. Our MacKenzie-Childs specialty store in town - Rosegate Design and Women's Boutique - holds a grand holiday open house. They rent adjacent space to their permanent location three months in advance to transform it into a holiday bonanza, full of beautiful trees, decor, and floral designs. MacKenzie-Childs products are featured. I managed to curb my enthusiasm, but did make a small purchase.
Next, I attended a Hope Village shopping event hosted by one of our local churches. One of my antique dealer friends is co-chair of this event, which affords fair wages to domestic and international organizations mostly geared toward helping sustain women and their families. I did some holiday shopping there and was happy to support the various causes of the groups represented.
Small business Saturday was November 26th, and I took my Panoply sister M for a day out. She's been focusing on caregiving for my brother-in-law over the past few months, and it did her good to have a a few hours out. We traveled to several different small business happenings west of Charleston.
We eventually headed back to city center and the Capitol Market once again. Inside the former train station are several shops and restaurants. We had lunch inside at Soho's (inset of photo below), a nice restaurant which also has an outdoor section with heaters for cooler months.
The little building below is a favorite floral company that has pop ups all through the growing season in the outdoor section of the market. I bought a small version of the tree you see pictured behind me in the collage photo below.
After the market, we headed to the city center business district, where more than 100 live trees have been decorated for the holiday season by various businesses. Though we went in the daytime, it is beautifully lit at night. I'll likely go back with my girls soon. 
It's such a busy time of year with so many things to attend, so much to do. I hope you're able to get out and enjoy some of the holiday festivities.


The Traveling Totes Tribe is offering another giveaway and Linda at Life and Linda is our giveaway sponsor this time. One lucky reader who leaves a comment on Linda's post today will have their name thrown into the hat for an opportunity to win this MacKenzie-Childs key chain.  

Be sure to check out my other traveling sisters' posts to see what how they spent their autumn months.

Debbie with Miss Aurora @ Mountain Breaths
Emily with Miss Courtney Childs@ The French Hutch
Patti with Miss Kenzie and Miss Taylor @ Pandora's Box
Jenna with Miss Coquille @ The Painted Apron
Linda P with Miss Lola @ Life and Linda
Rita with Miss Luna C @ Panoply (you are here!)
Sarah with Miss Merri Mac @ Hyacinths for the Soul
Jackie with Miss Madi K @ Purple Chocolat Home
Ricki Jill and Countess de Monet @The Bookish Dilettante

Join us again on March 1, 2023 for another edition of Tales of the Traveling Tote.
Thanks so much for your visit. I love reading your comments, and be sure to leave one on Linda's blog for a chance to win our token gift. Stay safe, and Happy December (and soon-to-be Winter in the Northern Hemisphere).


  1. Really enjoyed your adventures, Rita. It's been awhile since I've been to West Virginia but it is a beautiful state especially in the Fall. It was nice to visit the festivals via your Blog. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Your Fall adventures look like great fun! The Capitol Market looks like a wonderful destination. Baby J is really growing. She is so cute! I know you enjoy your time with that sweetie! WV had a beautiful Fall from the pics. When a caregiver gets a few hours off, it's a blessing! Those times help renew the spirit. Thanks for sharing your travels. We are traveling today for a long weekend in Nashville with my lifelong friend. It's a delayed trip from 2020. It's our third overnight outing since Covid. We're trying to get back into the swing of things! Enjoy your day! Clara❤️

  3. Oh Rita, you have been such a busy woman with fun travels and GREAT shopping! It's all beautiful. I'm so glad you get to see Little J regularly and I'll bet your daughter is thrilled to have that me time too. It's terrific, Rita. All of it!

  4. Love all the colorful collages documenting your fall fun Rita! Fall is my favorite season and I so love your beauty shots captured of the foliage. Baby J is so adorable, I'd be happy to keep her too. Love the Christmas trees too...I love the creativity of the empty recycled cans for tree garland and a topper. 🎄 Merry December ❤️

  5. Fun travel and adventures Rita. Fall is a lovely time of year. I love seeing the leaves change colors. The Capital Market looks like a great place. Sweet little J is so adorable.
    The pumpkin festival must have been a blast. You look so cute in your photos. I love seeing the Christmas trees all decked out. So glad you got out for some great adventures. Enjoy the holidays.

  6. Rita I wish I lived closer to travel with you. You go to some really fun places. Love all the pics of you doing things with Baby J. She is so adorable. Have a great rest of the week. This time of year flies by. xoxo Kris

  7. I enjoyed your trips around your area! It was nice to see the fall colors and the festivals!

  8. How fun you and your daughter could attend the festival together at Capital Market. The description of your daughters work sounds exciting and so interesting.Great photo of the two of you. The pumpkin patch festival sounds like a grand time with all your girls. I am shocked at how much baby J has grown, she's walking!!!! Adorable too I might add. Such a lovely spot to picnic, so open for baby to run and play with the gorgeous capital for a backdrop. I think we would enjoy shopping together, I see so many pretties that might have jumped into Miss Courtney Childs! Great photos, I think you had a wonderful fall Rita..........

  9. I love your post because your photos look like stills from Hallmark movies, especially the Milton Pumpkin Festival. How much fun for you and your sweet family! I love festivals, and the one I wanted to go to here I skipped due to bad weather. I love seeing the photos of precious Baby J. She has grown so much! I know you enjoy taking care of her. I love your vintage wallet: that's a cute way to keep the Courtly Check spirit when you're unable to have your tote with you. I love that! Fun post, Rita!

  10. What an exciting and fun Fall you had, Rita! I especially loved seeing pictures of you and your girls, and baby J, who’s getting so big! I’m so happy your sister had some time to enjoy herself; it’s important to have some self care joy! Happy December! 🎄❤️🎄

  11. Your beautiful town/city is on my bucket list.....every time you post about the surrounding areas, I just know I want to come sometime. Husband has an errand somewhere on the east of you and I need to find out where and include a road trip! Now is such a magical time of much to be thankful for and count our Blessings. I can't believe how big your little granddaughter has gotten. What a doll! Thank you for another interesting visit!

  12. Rita, you have had a lovely fall with so many fun activities. The fall foliage is beautiful in WV and there are so many things to enjoy. The market and festivals look amazing. RM and I need to make a visit to WV. Baby J is beautiful and is really growing. Loved seeing all the photos and exciting activities you have enjoyed. Merry December!

  13. Wow, you have been a busy lady, Rita! I feel as if I've had a few day trips myself. Thanks for the great recaps of your adventures. I'm seriously in awe of all you do. Fun to see your beautiful family. It's special that you all live so close and get to see and do things together. Baby J is so adorable, and look at her already walking. They grow up quickly.
    Happy Holidays!

  14. I always enjoy getting out in December to enjoy as many festivities as time allows, and how wonderful it is that your city center business district decorates the live trees. I could look at decorated trees for hours. You've had a lovely fall like us, and so many fun activites amongst the beautiful fall foliage. Baby J is adorable and getting big, and you have given your daughter wise advice to continue her healthy exercise routine. Happy Holidays!! BTW, love the wallet.

  15. I loved seeing pictures of your beautiful Fall foliage and West Virginia countryside Rita, beautiful! You've been enjoying lots of fun fall shopping, the grand holiday open house at the MKC store I'm sure is fabulous! So nice you can spend time with your daughters and I know your time with precious J is invaluable. So many great photos of you too. Happy December and onto holiday fun!

  16. Rita, Thank you for taking me shopping with you and the girls. I love shopping at smaller stores vs the mall and big box stores. The only place I’ve been is to my favorite store, Kennedy’s Floral and Gifts.. I’m going to share a post on it shortly. BTW, you look great in all the photos of you. I don’t know your age, but you seriously look radiant!

  17. Rita! If I ever make it to your neck of the woods, I want to go shopping with you! Looks like so much fun and wonderful shops! And, Baby J is soooo cute! She's adorable. Happy December!!

  18. I just discovered your blog via a connecting blog post From My Carolina Home. I agree about shopping small business and to support the local artists and economy. On one trip to Charleston SC and Folly Beach SC , we shopped so many different crafters fairs and found many treasures. Handmade and hand crafted items for Christmas and everyday bring back the memories of great stays in one of our favorite places.
    Donna Weeks (aka Momma Llama)

  19. oh you have so much fun! Living close to your daughter and granddaughter is just wonderful. Baby J is adorable and looks like her precious grammy. Love all the outdoor photos!

  20. Looks like a lot of fun was had! The fall foliage photos are gorgeous, and those 100 trees must be fabulous to see at night!