What Holds You Back?

There is a good chance that, right now, you have something burning a hole in your mind, all because you read a single question. What holds you back?

Is there a dream you are, at best, half-heartedly pursuing?

Is there a project left unfinished, longing to see the light of day?

Are you too busy helping other people, not out of genuine care, but because it's easier to help others accomplish their goals than to see to the fruition of your own?

Are you waiting for permission from outside sources, when maybe it's you who needs to give yourself a green light?

Are you afraid no one will like it, no one will care, no one will help you?


Perhaps, dear heart, you need to get on your feet, dust yourself off, and try another way.

Perhaps, dear heart, there are a dozen people just waiting to cheer you on.

Perhaps, dear heart, the realization of your dreams will be an incredible blessing to others.

Create. Build up. Nurture. Discover. Connect. Love. Tend. Restore.

You may find that the fear that holds you back, in the end, was hardly more than a phantom.

Photos are of various scenes at Brookside Gardens in Montgomery County, MD.

Ellicott City Prints to Support Flood Recovery #ECSTRONG2018

Work continues in the efforts to restore and rebuild historic Ellicott City as residents and business owners get back on their feet.

I am selling prints of several Ellicott City images to support these efforts.  ALL profits from these sales will be donated to the EC Partnership for distribution to those affected.  You can purchase them here. As of today (June 19th), we've raised about $75!

There are many other ways to help with recovery.  Consider going to one of the many fundraisers at restaurants, breweries, and other businesses.  Consider donating to the EC Partnership directly. Consider volunteering your time as a Recovery Volunteer.

Thank you for giving back and loving our town!

Thomas, WV

It’s the little surprises along the way that often make road trips truly memorable.

Such was the case with a recent trip to Elakala Falls. As we drove through field and mountain, Deep Creek Lake fading in the distance behind us, we happened upon a small town called Thomas.  The rural countryside suddenly opened up to reveal a charming small town: brick storefronts on our left faced a river-fronted forest to the right.  

One of many beautiful buildings

One of many beautiful buildings

We stopped in on the way home from the falls, with only a limited time before the shops began to close.  First on the list was Thomasyard, a unique florist & gift shop with a great variety of pottery and knick-knacks.  From there, we passed a few antique stores and art galleries that had already closed for the day, but included enough enticing objects in their window display to ensure an affirmative decision to return.

Flowers, mugs, and more!

Flowers, mugs, and more!

Next was TipTop, a beautiful coffeehouse and bar.  They had interesting art and edibles for sale, as well as a great selection of beverages and desserts.  Certainly a watering hole worth another visit!  Unfortunately, we had to run, so it was back into the car for us.  As we drove away, it was clear we only had scratched the surface - many more storefronts beckoned!

Some of the items available in Tip Top

Some of the items available in Tip Top

There is much to see in this small town.  Just under an hour from Deep Creek Lake, and only ten minutes from Blackwater Falls, it’s an unquestionably good choice to add Thomas to your adventure itinerary.

Have a seat on this delightful bench!

Have a seat on this delightful bench!

Elakala Falls

Not far from Blackwater Falls, a famous West Virginia destination, hides a series of cascades along Shay’s Run.  These are the Elakala Falls, nestled amongst pine trees and dense mountain laurel.


The falls are easily accessed from Blackwater Lodge; the trailhead is at the edge of the parking lot, on the west side of the Lodge.  From there, it is a short walk to the first cascade.  Take the bridge over the falls and follow the well-worn, but unofficial, trail to the base of the falls.
Experienced hikers can continue along a bushwhacked path to more cascades further down the canyon, each with its own unique ambiance: the second cascade is tranquil, while the third is a much grander experience, as the 40-foot cascade offers impressive views of the Blackwater Canyon.

The first of the cascades at Elakala Falls.

The first of the cascades at Elakala Falls.

Be wary of slippery conditions, whether on muddy ground or mossy rocks.  The terrain is rough and not without dangers.  Nevertheless, it’s an exciting adventure, with stunning views of beautiful waterfalls.

The second cascade.

The second cascade.