Friday, December 1, 2023

Tales of the Traveling Tote #37 and Giveaway

Hello, friends! Welcome to the 37th installment of the Traveling Totes - a quarterly post - where a group of MacKenzie-Childs, Courtly Check tote-loving ladies gather together and share our recent whereabouts. All our posts are linked within each of our posts so you may visit us all, and virtually travel with us. To see all my previous posts, you can click here.

The magic of the holiday season is best seen through the eyes of a child, don't you agree? More on that later, as we go through activities since we last updated on September 1.
The last of August into early September had me and my totes headed to Cincinnati to visit/work some inventory with my Panoply sisters. We had a couple estates to sort through, divide and price. We always enjoy some shopping while together too.

On Labor Day, my oldest and her husband took us out for a boat ride on their newest toy. 
The next weekend was my high school's centennial anniversary. All eight of my siblings and I, as well as our mother, graduated from the same high school, and several nieces and nephews did as well. A local distillery bottled a commemorative bourbon whiskey for the occasion as a purchased takeaway.

In late September I gathered with some girlfriends from high school (two from waaay back in grade school). We try to get together to celebrate birthdays with each other.
Early October really ramps up with lots of fall activities, and spending time doing them with Jaqueline is always fun! We went to the local Pumpkin Festival and enjoyed lots of arts, crafts, food trucks, and fun fall atmosphere. Jacqueline always enjoys interacting with the animals, and got to ride this pony she made friends with.
She wanted her face painted, and was very patient in doing so.
Posing by the winning weighted pumpkin is an obligatory photo op while at the Pumpkin Festival!
The following week, Mr. P. and I went on our first day-trip in West Virginia to go leaf-peeping. My brother and a friend of his went with us, and we enjoyed the day at the Grandview State Park area. It is part of the newest US national park, New River Gorge National Park and Preserve.
This view above will look a lot different next year because there were some significant forest fires within this horseshoe range in this section of the New River Gorge Park and Preserve area later in October.
Another outing right in the heart of town is FestivALL Fall, where several venues become works of art for the community. We enjoyed the Carriage Trail, a more than 100 year old trail which used to be the "road" for horse and buggy travel to the top of the hill residence owned by a prominent Charlestonian who was once Governor. It now houses a prominent law firm. 
From behind the building, there is a fountain with brick path surrounding, and this view below. If you look closely at the buildings in the forefront. the red brick building before the pavement break (parking lot) is the building Mr. P. and I lived in for two and a half years when we first downsized in 2019.
Another West Virginia day trip to close out October had us doing Bridge Walk at the New River Gorge bridge. Mr. P. and I had walked this bridge in 2015, and you can read more about the details in this post. This time we took my brother and his friend for their first experience!
The little town of Fayetteville, WV is where the 876' foot high New River Gorge span bridge is located. First we had lunch, and then onto to the adventure!
The bridge you see pictured below is where we walked the catwalk just beneath that four-lane highway.
The distance from one end to the other is approximately 1.5 miles long. Each 'walker' is tied in to the cables you see running over the catwalk, which is about 24" wide.
Nearly midway through, we all sat on the catwalk (except for my brother, who was scared to death, lol, and Mr. P., who was afraid he wouldn't be able to get back up, lolol). In the river, just above the beam where my right toe is in the photo below is part of the Class V whitewater rafting route. The sandy area to the right of my ankle is where the B.A.S.E. jumpers attempt to land on Bridge Day. Bridge Day is the one day per year where B.A.S.E. (buildings, antennae, spans, and cliffs) jumpers are allowed to propel off of the New River Gorge Bridge to the ground below. It happens each October, on the 3rd Saturday.
Of course, the end of October is Halloween. Little miss J loves makeup, and here she is working on her own face paint for a Halloween party her Auntie held. I think Santa is bringing her a kaboodle for Christmas. 
The first of November was another trip to Cincinnati, this time to celebrate my Panoply sister J's birthday. We enjoyed dinner out, did some estate sale work, and some retail therapy. Fun!
The second weekend of November was the Rosegate Open House. Rosegate is our local venue for MacKenzie-Childs. Needless to say, we're on a first name basis there.
Our city is doing something new this year, called Light Up the Park. They've taken the minor league baseball field and decked it with over a million Christmas lights and fun activities. I went with my daughter M and little miss J on opening night. She is lightning fast and says, "I'm running fast!" as she goes! 
J is more excited about Grinch this year than Santa. It all started with her Daddy buying her a dancing Grinch. Then Mimi bought a stuffed Grinch because J wanted to sleep with the battery-packed one. Her voice over for Grinch is hilarious.
Speaking of fast, you should've seen J in the light maze! Her little sneaky smile below says it all.
This was a really fun night (although J did NOT like the ferris wheel). She did, however, like the train ride around the park, and started hanging out the window, waving to everyone we rode by.
Ahhh, the magic of a child and Christmas.
One last event in November, this time with Auntie B and J. Our town hosts what's called the Holly Jolly Brawley. This is the second year, and we arrived on scene a few days before they opened on Thanksgiving weekend. Volunteers were still decorating the Brawley Walkway (a connecting alley with shops in between) between the city's Slack Plaza park and Capitol Street, but J loved ooh-ing and ahh-ing and dancing her way through. This is a fun place to be throughout the holidays.


The Traveling Totes Tribe is offering another giveaway and Ricki Jill at The Bookish Dilettante is our giveaway sponsor this time. One lucky reader who leaves a comment on Ricki Jill's  post will have their name thrown into the hat for an opportunity to win this MacKenzie-Childs Scented Disc. 
PLEASE NOTE: If your comment displays as anonymous, be sure to write your name so that you may be identified!

Be sure to check out my other traveling sisters' posts to see how they spent their summer 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, 2024 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 Ricki Jill's blog for a chance to win our token gift. Stay safe, and Happy December (and soon-to-be ❆winter❆ in the Northern Hemisphere).

Rita C. at Panoply


  1. Oh the magic of a child and Christmas, indeed! What fun times and more to come with Jacqueline. Love her Grinch fascination, she looks a like Cindy Lou Who. 😊 Gorgeous scenery in your state, leaf peeping! So sad about all the fires this fall, we’ve had them in NC too. I’m equal parts fascinated and terrified of the bridge walk, even with a tether. I’d be holding my breath the entire time and be like Mr. P, afraid, I could get up once I sat down! What a view. I had to enlarge your photo of your MKC goodies and holiday open house…looking forward to seeing what you purchased. Merry December🎄

  2. Christmas through a child's eyes is the best! Holiday season events are so special with the little ones. I enjoy seeing the scenery in your state, and the I had read about the newest US national park, New River Gorge National Park and Preserve. What a view you had from the bridge walk! I know your tote will be busy holidaying in December :-) I'm going to the Nutcracker tonight at our local college guess I should bring the tote. Have a nice weekend Rita.

  3. this year will be the best with J as she sees all of the magic of the season!! Children make the holidays so special, don't they? I don't think I could take the bridge walk!! I know you were tethered BUT the photo looking down even made me dizzy - you are a brave soul!! You have been so busy and certainly enjoyed fall - wishing you a Happy Holiday season!

  4. Your fall has been packed with fun adventures Rita! J is adorable, life really changes through the eyes of a child~that's hilarious that she is so taken by the Grinch! I'd have to pass on that Bridge Walk, wow, that would be way too scary for me! It's so wonderful that you can see all your siblings, and have a birthday lunch with your sister at Seasons 52. We have a Seasons 52 here and it's my favorite place to lunch! I wish you a December full of merriment!

  5. West Virginia is such a gorgeous state. You are brave, My Friend, taking that walk. Little Princess J would LOVE Frankenmuth, Michigan, because they LOVE The Grinch there, too! She is so precious, Rita, and it brings me joy seeing her excitement as y'all celebrate all the lovely fall things in your area. You are truly blessed! I hope Princess J gets a Kaboodle because clearly she needs one. I'm happy they're a thing again...Anthropologie was even selling them last year! Happy Advent, Dear Friend! XO, RJ

  6. The New River Gorge Park is where we held our Rush reunion one year. We road OVER the high bridge, and you will never catch me UNDER it!!! We didn't realize there was a walkway UNDER the bridge!!! I'm sad to hear that there had been a fire that wiped out a lot of the trees in that area below.

  7. Rita, once I became a grandmother it was almost as if I became a child again at Christmas! I see the joy in your face and the love in your heart for little J! She is a doll! You had a busy fall with some gorgeous scenery. There is absolutely no way I would have been on the bridge walk, I would have been terrified! I don’t like heights!! But, the scenery must have been magnificent. I always enjoy your Tales of the Traveling Tote…Merry December!!

  8. Your traveling tote really made some fun trips. Love little J and how much fun she had on all the trips. It is so much more fun when we get to do these things with our grands. Love that pic of you and little J on the train so adorable. I think these littles let us revisit fun through their eyes for sure. I love too that you keep in touch with classmates. How fun to stay in touch. I always tell my two daughters there are people that will come into our lives just for a short while and then the ones that will come into our lives and stay with us until we take our last breath. Those relationships are such a blessing. Happy Weekend. Hugs. Kris

  9. Rita, such a fun filled fall and Christmas time. J is such a sweetie, so sweet to see her smiles. The Grinch sounds o fun. I bet it was precious to hear the voice over. How fun to see the fall colors. I know they can be quite dramatic. You are so lucky to spend time with your sisters. The bridge walk looks interesting. We have a great bridge here in Auburn called the Foresthill bridge. It is the highest bridge y deck height in California and the 4th in the US. Merry merry.

  10. Oh I do love seeing fun filled times up your way Rita. I know little Jacqueline was a delight to spend time with for Halloween and Grinch time! Your sister time sounds lovely, always fun times especially shopping. The boat will be fun and you'll be making memories with Jacqueline for years to come. Oh how I love fall foliage. I'm sure it must have been a beautiful site to see there. Your reunion sounds extra special Rita and I'm sure you enjoyed seeing friends from times past. That bridge walk!!! You are brave, I could never do that. Wishing you a very merry December.........

  11. Rita, I swear you have had absolutely more fun than anyone! I think we all would have loved to be with you for ever single activity. Isn't it fun, seeing the world with a child -- and a little girl would be extra fun. (I adore my boys but there's something about a little girl!) So many fun festivities, fall and otherwise, in your world and they all look so well done. I love that you continue to see your friends from long ago and that you could celebrate your school's anniversary together. And no way I would have been on that bridge! Nope. Mr. P and your brother in law and I would be happy to meet you back at the warming station!

  12. Rita, love seeing your leaf peeping adventures, but have to say, I'd be right beside your brother sitting out the walking the cat walk for 1.5 miles. You are a brave lady even strapped in! Just looking over would have made me a bit dizzy!
    Miss Jacqueline is so adorable. I'm so happy you live close by and can be an important part of her life. She is a lucky little girl. Thanks for taking us along. Happy Holidays!

  13. Oh Rita, what fun to enjoy a lot of these activities through Miss J’s eyes! I loved that mischievous grin in the one picture. How fun to get a souvenir bottle of whiskey from your reunion. As for that catwalk…no way Jose for me! I wouldn’t care if I was tethered in or not! It was a fun post to see all your Fall happenings!

  14. So many magical places to go in West Virginia! What spectacular views and add the fall colors - just breathtaking! I would have been scared on the catwalk too. Looks like you have lots of magical Christmas events too. I love that they are using the stadium for that. What a great idea. Have a lovely December.

  15. What fun, but there is NO way I would walk on that catwalk. I have vertigo and that would be my nightmare!

  16. I always love seeing all your wonderful adventures, Rita. Little J is just so adorable and you can see her fun personality in everything you all do. I know you'll really enjoy this Christmas Season. Love that white stocking cap and plaid top!