MAXINE BILLINGS, Photographer & Author

Fine Art Photography Inspired By Natural Creation & Wholesome Reading For Your Family's Entertainment



CADES COVE 24My husband Tony and I may have to relocate to the mountains!  Just kidding–sort of.  I’ll explain later in this post.  Tony has been on vacation from work this week, and since having cut back on our expenses, we have found some very clever ways to vacation on a budget.

Monday after dropping off his car to have it serviced, we just drove around locally through areas we had not been to in a while or not at all.  We stopped at a lake where I got out and took several pictures of some geese who were enjoying themselves nearby.

GEESE 5GEESE 2Early Wednesday morning, we drove to Cherokee, NC, to the area of the Indian reservation for a day trip.  After we passed over the North Carolina line, we stopped by this extremely nice rest area!  Believe me when I tell you the restrooms looked like spa bathrooms!  There was really ornate-looking tile on the walls outside and inside the restrooms which were equipped with shiny, stainless steel sinks and stall doors!  I came real close to snapping some photos to share with you but held back because I didn’t want people wondering what neck of the woods I had come from.  However, I did get some shots of these bushes adorned with beautiful, dainty, red berries outside the building.

REST AREA NCOnce we reached Cherokee, I took the pictures below.

CHEROKEE NC 2CHEROKEE NCThen we decided since we were so close to our favorite place to visit in the Great Smoky Mountains, Cades Cove (near Townsend, TN), that we might as well go there.  Along the way, we caught sight of these six little cuties letting the current of the water glide them along.

GEESE 7I’ve been suffering for a couple of weeks with what feels like another sinus infection.  As we rode through the mountains, I suddenly realized that I had started to feel better and was no longer congested.  Now, back to what I said in the beginning of this post about Tony and I moving to the mountains–the reason for my sudden health improvement obviously was the mountain air!

Anyway, along the way to Cades Cove, we came across this dazzling, miniature waterfall.

WATERFALLOnce we got to Cades Cove, we felt like we had stepped back in time to an era where life, even though it was hard, was simple and peaceful.

CADES COVE 22CADES COVE 23CADES COVE 26DEER 8There were several people outside of their vehicles taking pictures of this handsome guy above.  He was inside a partially enclosed fence with wire, so he could have gotten out if he’d wanted to.  I got as close as I could and zoomed in on him with my digital camera.  Behind me, I heard Tony telling me repeatedly, “That’s close enough.  That’s close enough.”

CADES COVE 25Whenever we drive through Cades Cove, I always look for natural art (which isn’t hard to find because it’s literally everywhere) to take pictures of.  And on this trip, not only did I have my cell phone camera, but I also brought along my Kodak digital camera, and my new Kindle Fire which also has a camera.  I tell you, I was in a picture-taking frenzy!  The picture below I took with my Kindle Fire.  When I asked Tony to pull over so I could capture it, I forgot briefly that whenever people see a car pulled off to the side and people standing around with their cameras, it’s a sure sign that some extraordinary type of wildlife like deer (but especially bears) are close by.

CADES COVE 27A really nice lady approached me and whispered, “Do you see a buck?”  I answered, “Oh, no, I’m just taking a picture of these trees with the moss on them.  It’s art to me.”  She replied that it was good that I saw it as art.  Then she mentioned that in the past, she had seen a buck in the area and thought I had seen it.  By the way, the photo of the buck above is probably the one she was looking for, which Tony, I, and several more people did see a little further down the loop.  That’s when I got several pictures of him.  I don’t know whether or not she got to see him though.  I sure hope so!

WATER 3All in all, we had one of the best vacations we’ve ever experienced, and we did not even have to spend a lot of money!  And now that gasoline is so cheap, this is an excellent time to go on a road trip.  We left home Wednesday morning about 7:15, arrived in Cherokee, NC around 11:30 a.m., spent some time there, and then drove approximately the hour and a half to two hours it takes to get from there to Cades Cove.  After spending the remainder of the day there, we headed back home around 5:00 p.m. and arrived home before 9:30 p.m. the same day!

Most all of these pictures plus lots more have been added to my Nature’s Finest website.  Also, I have some awesome news about my photo prints which are available for sale there.  You can now order your prints wall- or frame-ready if you like.  This is a great option for those of you who don’t want the hassle of having to do them yourself.  Isn’t that great!!!  I also hope to soon have some pictures of samples to show you of the various types of prints you can get.  However, in the meantime, below are some pictures I just got in the mail today.  These are my first prints for sale.  The tree and leaf patterns belong to a very dear friend of mine.  The hydrangea, I  got as a sample to frame and show off to potential customers.  Don’t they look awesome!!!  Now, just imagine them or any of my other photos in your own or customized frames and various prints such as metal, canvas, and acrylic!




Have an awesome day!  As always, this is from my heart ❤ to yours <3!

Maxine 🙂


6 thoughts on “VACATION ON A BUDGET

  1. Had fun traveling with you, Miss Maxine, through your photos. I loved the one of the deer, and Miss JoAnn loved the stream. She said it reminded her of her childhood home in Upstate New York. You have a good day, Miss Maxine. Glad you and Mr. Tony had fun driving through the mountains.

    Your friend, Joseph. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hello, Joseph! I’m so glad you enjoyed traveling with my husband and me. We had so much fun! Deer are also one of my favorite animals, and I also love the beauty of water. Take care. I look forward to talking with you again real soon. 🙂 ❤


  2. These photos are both lovely and interesting, Maxine. Well done. And I think that mountain air is a good thing, overall.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Thank you very much, Cynthia! I’m glad you like my photos. Yes, that mountain air was so nice, and I sure do miss it. I went back to coughing and hacking as soon as we got back home. I just love being in the mountains! Thank you again for your uplifting comments! I always look forward to them. 🙂 ❤


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