This post is sponsored by Radisson RED but the content and opinions expressed here are my own.  If you have a pet and are looking for new bedding, click here and read below:  Caroline and I went to Edisto Beach, South Carolina two weeks ago and camped with our dog for the very first time. Luckily it was a four person tent and the weather for the most part cooperated. But if you’ve done this before you probably know that no one really sleeps that well with a pup in the tent. By the third night we had a pretty good routine but still … dog breath and hair in a tiny little nylon cell can make for a long night.  Next time we’re going to stay at a pet friendly hotel like the Radisson RED. They have a super-friendly pet policy so you don’t have to sacrifice style and comfort in order for the whole family to travel. Because if you’re like us, your pets are family and will go wherever you go.  Do you travel with pets? If so, what are your best tips for making it a successful trip? We would love to hear from you!  #BAXTERTRAVELS #CONTEST

This post is sponsored by Radisson RED but the content and opinions expressed here are my own.

If you have a pet and are looking for new bedding, click here and read below:

Caroline and I went to Edisto Beach, South Carolina two weeks ago and camped with our dog for the very first time. Luckily it was a four person tent and the weather for the most part cooperated. But if you’ve done this before you probably know that no one really sleeps that well with a pup in the tent. By the third night we had a pretty good routine but still … dog breath and hair in a tiny little nylon cell can make for a long night.

Next time we’re going to stay at a pet friendly hotel like the Radisson RED. They have a super-friendly pet policy so you don’t have to sacrifice style and comfort in order for the whole family to travel. Because if you’re like us, your pets are family and will go wherever you go.

Do you travel with pets? If so, what are your best tips for making it a successful trip? We would love to hear from you!

#BAXTERTRAVELS #CONTEST

      Caroline and I were recently in Beijing and wow, what an experience! We were there on assignment for Local Adventurer to take photographs and report back on Traditional Chinese Medicine. It was an amazing experience; one I think we're both still processing. To see more of our photographs, check out our instagram accounts @e.mcgrady @carolineperdue and @authenticasheville      

On assignment for Local Adventurer in Beijing, China!

      You guys! We're so pleased to announce that we have begun doing work for one of the top travel blogs around, Local Adventurer! So far we've had the chance to contribute two pieces for them,  9 Unique Things to Do at Urban National Parks  and  101 Things to Do in Asheville  and we have a few more in the works!  Lately we've been hunting down photos of food to report back on the Ultimate Food Bucket List for Asheville. Curious to see who made the list? We'll give you a hint about one of the places: it's represented here in this photo and has been visited by President Obama and the First Lady.   Oh! And last but not least, we're headed to China on Tuesday, also for Local Adventurer, this time reporting back on Traditional Chinese Medicine as it is practiced in Beijing. It's not an understatement to say we are over the moon about this trip - it will be the first time for both of us to China!  Want to come along for the ride? Be sure to follow  Local Adventurer  on  Facebook ,  Twitter  and  Instagram !

You guys! We're so pleased to announce that we have begun doing work for one of the top travel blogs around, Local Adventurer! So far we've had the chance to contribute two pieces for them, 9 Unique Things to Do at Urban National Parks and 101 Things to Do in Asheville and we have a few more in the works!

Lately we've been hunting down photos of food to report back on the Ultimate Food Bucket List for Asheville. Curious to see who made the list? We'll give you a hint about one of the places: it's represented here in this photo and has been visited by President Obama and the First Lady. 

Oh! And last but not least, we're headed to China on Tuesday, also for Local Adventurer, this time reporting back on Traditional Chinese Medicine as it is practiced in Beijing. It's not an understatement to say we are over the moon about this trip - it will be the first time for both of us to China!

Want to come along for the ride? Be sure to follow Local Adventurer on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram!

#FindYourPark

#FindYourPark

I think that people give up on their dreams because the reality of living them out and working to see them come true involves staying the course and being brave during times of doubt. When the steady paycheck you'd come to rely on stops coming in, will you turn back or keep pushing forward? It's not enough to just hold on. You've got to dig down deep to that hard place within yourself that says I will not give up. Yet without a very strong sense of purpose or solid belief in yourself then there's a good chance you'll never even get out of the gate. Because it's scary. Sometimes it can be downright terrifying. But I think that if you surround yourself with people who believe both in what you're doing and who you are, then you can make it. No one else can carry you to the oasis, you have to do that yourself. But they sure can help you rise to your feet after a setback. Or wipe the tears off your face after a disappointment. I am so thankful for the many invisible hands that have held my own as I walk that tightrope of self - discovery while chasing down my dream. I hope to someday be able to return the favor. 

With gratitude,

Erin

#AshevilleInstameet

#AshevilleInstameet

Hey y'all! I'm really excited to announce that I've joined forces with some of the best photographers and social media influencers in Asheville. We've organized a creative walk-about downtown, so mark your calendars for Saturday, November 12. We'll be meeting in Pack Square Park at 9am and exploring some of our city's best spots. The theme is In-Motion so start thinking about ideas. (Some of our personal favorites are jumpstagrams and stride-bys. I will feature some of the best shots from the tour on my own account.) Oh, and you want to know the best part? Everyone is welcome and the event is totally free. Friendly fur babies are invited too but please be aware that animals might not be able to go into some locations. If you have any questions, please reach out to us! 
#ashevilleinstameet #ashevilleigers  #authenticasheville #communityfirst

@e.mcgrady @carolineperdue @_chelsealane_ @ameliafletcherphoto @kimwishcamper @rorris @sarajanecase

      Tomorrow, Saturday, October 8th, we’ll be at the Overland Expo at the Biltmore Estate (1 Lodge Street, Asheville, North Carolina 28803).  Hours: Friday October 7, 9-5 // Saturday October 8, 8-5 // Sunday October 9, 8-3  There are 125+ Exhibitors, 140 classes and programs and 120 Instructors and Presenters from around the world on site.  We’re particularly excited about the evening films that will be showing and plan to be at the theater Saturday night at 8pm to watch the debut of  Operation Moto Dog: The Film  about Mallory Paige and her pooch Baylor.  Well wait, what IS overlanding? It’s a self-reliant overland travel to remote destinations where the journey is the principal goal. It’s the fastest-growing vehicle/adventure travel market out there. It’s about exploring, not conquering. This event is a trade, educational and social event for the rapidly growing overloading market!  For more information go to www.overlandexpo.com

Tomorrow, Saturday, October 8th, we’ll be at the Overland Expo at the Biltmore Estate (1 Lodge Street, Asheville, North Carolina 28803).

Hours: Friday October 7, 9-5 // Saturday October 8, 8-5 // Sunday October 9, 8-3

There are 125+ Exhibitors, 140 classes and programs and 120 Instructors and Presenters from around the world on site.

We’re particularly excited about the evening films that will be showing and plan to be at the theater Saturday night at 8pm to watch the debut of Operation Moto Dog: The Film about Mallory Paige and her pooch Baylor.

Well wait, what IS overlanding? It’s a self-reliant overland travel to remote destinations where the journey is the principal goal. It’s the fastest-growing vehicle/adventure travel market out there. It’s about exploring, not conquering. This event is a trade, educational and social event for the rapidly growing overloading market!

For more information go to www.overlandexpo.com

      I am so honored to be a part of this year's National Park Foundation's #FindYourPark Expedition (#FYPx). In two days I fly to San Francisco! We are to spend a few days days in the bay area touring Alcatraz, Ghirardelli Square, John Muir Historic Site and even the San Francisco Maritime Museum. I'm particularly excited to shoot photos near the Golden Gate Bridge.  Later on in the week we head towards Yosemite! This photos was taken from Tunnel View and is one of my favorite places in the entire world. I visited it first with my family when I was fourteen and then went back last summer on a cross-country road trip. I am so excited to go back!   Thank you to our sponsors Subaru, REI, Aramark and Columbia Sportswear for making this trip possible.

I am so honored to be a part of this year's National Park Foundation's #FindYourPark Expedition (#FYPx). In two days I fly to San Francisco! We are to spend a few days days in the bay area touring Alcatraz, Ghirardelli Square, John Muir Historic Site and even the San Francisco Maritime Museum. I'm particularly excited to shoot photos near the Golden Gate Bridge.

Later on in the week we head towards Yosemite! This photos was taken from Tunnel View and is one of my favorite places in the entire world. I visited it first with my family when I was fourteen and then went back last summer on a cross-country road trip. I am so excited to go back! 

Thank you to our sponsors Subaru, REI, Aramark and Columbia Sportswear for making this trip possible.

      I don't really know where I'm going but I do know where I'm staying and that's right here with you. 

I don't really know where I'm going but I do know where I'm staying and that's right here with you. 

       Have you ever watched someone do something they’re really, really good at? I mean not just proficient, but someone who is really skilled at their craft? It could be anything … playing the piano, painting, cutting hair … it doesn’t really matter what the action is but the elements of excellence are always the same: an efficiency of movement, a command of space, a mastery of tools, a confidence in themselves and always, always a dedication to standards that the untrained eye might miss but that they hold themselves too nonetheless. All of these are earned through countless hours of practice and they cannot be faked.     I had that experience this morning. I rode my bike down Haywood road at first light. It was a little foggy and I still had some sleep in my eyes but I was psyched! My girlfriend had pedaled down the same stretch of pavement about 30 minutes ahead of me to open up Hole, her doughnut shop in West Asheville. When I made the last turn and coasted down the little slope, I could see the string of bulb lights and the warm glow that mirrored the same excitement I felt inside. Bon Appetit was coming today!    Before I pushed open the door to inside, I flashed back to the first time I came to Asheville to visit her. Though I had a really late flight, we got up a few hours later and she let me shadow her at work. (Mostly I sipped coffee, gorged myself on fresh doughnuts and watched her do her thing. And then I ate more doughnuts. You’ve been to Hole before, right? If so, you know what I mean when I say you probably can’t just eat one … ) Anyway, that’s a morning I won’t soon forget. The moment she turned the key in the door it was like watching a dance unfold; coffee, bap-bap, lights on, skiddle-de-bap-bap, water for dishes, bap-a-doo, cooler door, bap-bap, little hip check to shut the door, bap, bap… She had the whole thing down pat. She made it look easy and fun. And she hadn’t even started shaping the doughnuts yet! It was the first time I saw her in her element and I was in awe of her from the get-go; I still am today. Maybe even more so since I’m learning a lot more about what goes on behind the scenes.    Anyway, today was a special day for her and Hole. Bon Appetit had emailed her a few weeks ago and asked if they could do a video in her shop and today was the day! I’ve always loved watching other people work with cameras because there is always something new to learn and this was no different. But it was extra special because of who and what the subjects were. She was as humble as ever and answered the questions posed to her about her process with the thoroughness and patience that I have come to know and love.     It feels important to me to write all of this out because Caroline is extremely humble and she probably won’t even tell anyone that one of the coolest food publications in the world was at her place today. But I am allowed to brag about her all I want. And I will! So, keep checking back on the website at    www.bonappetit.com    to see what the final video looks like. I know I will.    In the meantime, ride your bike on over to Hole. Hit your brakes when you see the baby blue truck out front and make sure you order one of every flavor. Get ‘em while they’re hot, y’all.       Erin     #holedoughnuts #asheville #ashevillenc #avl #avleats #bonappetit #bonappetitmag #westasheville #wavl #eatlocal #eastwestavl #doughnuts #visitasheville #northcarolina #828isgreat #ashevillefolk #authenticasheville #food #instagram #vsco #vscocam #foodblogger #foodie #foodstagram #foodpics #minimal #mnml #liveauthentic #livefolk #folkgood #folklife #ashevillephotographer #ashevilleartist #ashevillefood    

Have you ever watched someone do something they’re really, really good at? I mean not just proficient, but someone who is really skilled at their craft? It could be anything … playing the piano, painting, cutting hair … it doesn’t really matter what the action is but the elements of excellence are always the same: an efficiency of movement, a command of space, a mastery of tools, a confidence in themselves and always, always a dedication to standards that the untrained eye might miss but that they hold themselves too nonetheless. All of these are earned through countless hours of practice and they cannot be faked.

      Happy birthday, USA.

Happy birthday, USA.

      A father's love  Wrapping up the edits from this week's shoot and wanted to share one more. I felt strength, vulnerability, love and wonder when I saw this image appear on my screen.  It feels really, really good to be capturing these kinds of moments again.

A father's love

Wrapping up the edits from this week's shoot and wanted to share one more. I felt strength, vulnerability, love and wonder when I saw this image appear on my screen.

It feels really, really good to be capturing these kinds of moments again.

      The landlord came over at noon and did a final walk through. We swept the floors one last time, scrubbed down the refrigerator and loaded the last box into my little car. Then I was handing over the keys and shutting the door to my old life.   A few weeks ago I told my principal that I would be stepping down from my teaching position at the end of the school year. I saw her eyes grow wide with surprise but I felt confident about my decision. It was time to move on. I wanted to leave last year but something in my gut made me stick it out for another go-around. It was important to me that I leave on my own terms; that I would not run away from the hard.   So, I stayed. And it was a good decision. Our gym was filled with the sounds of both hard work and laughter. I was also able to see a few new ideas come to life (Adventure Club or Powder Puff anyone?) and that felt really good. Taking a group of kids hiking on the Appalachian Trail was the highlight of my year. I am proud of the work I have done in ten years of teaching and coaching and while I was hoping to find a similar job in my new town, so far nothing has come of it. Sometimes the fear of the unknown takes over and I spiral into worries about finding another job, outside of education, that pays a decent amount, offers a sense of purpose and that overall feels good to me. The prospect of leaving something I have invested so much of myself into has been hard to accept but I am slowly learning to lean into the uncertainty that comes with this sort of life change. I feel very much like a work in progress but I am open to something new and I’m willing to learn. I guess I wasn’t quite ready for how humbling it would all feel, though. With such a huge part of my life and my identity now gone, what makes sense to me in this time of transition is to immerse myself in the things I love to do: take pictures, run, hike, ride my bike, read, make art and explore. It feels important to me to retain some sense of self when so many things are changing. Past experiences have taught me, too, that following my passions has always led to meeting new friends and the opening of new worlds. So, that’s my plan, roughshod and thin as it may be.  Sitting here this morning, though, in my new home with a warm cup coffee and two pups at my feet I feel open and excited about the possibilities. It’s my first bit of writing since leaving my little kitchen table in Frederick and the view is quite different. I’m in West Asheville, y’all! My car is in the yard and it looks like a low-rider with all the stuff piled up in the back. The neighbors next door have a little camper and a few kayaks that I can see from the window. Good daily reminders, I think, to get out and adventure. It’s a drastic change in point of view from the little alley I called home for the last year or so but I like what I see.   Anyway, I just wanted to say thank you to everyone who made my last few weeks in Frederick feel really special. It was a whirlwind of activities, meals and goodbye-for-now’s. I have an incredible support network and I'll probably need to lean on you all in some sort of way in the coming months as things continue to shift and change. But in addition to my family and friends, there is someone else in my life that I would like to introduce you to. Her name is Caroline and she is my person; the one who sees me and knows me and shows up for me every single day, in a way that I have not experienced before in this life. She has not wavered in her love for me (nor I for her) and is as steady and as thoughtful and caring as they come. She flew to Maryland to help me pack, road tripped south along the coast with me AND my emotions, and then held my hand as we stepped across the threshold into my (our) new home. I saw with fresh eyes, the rooms that have slowly become familiar to me and that I would now call my own. I had finally arrived and all that I was leaving behind felt more than worth it because there was no plane to catch, no hard goodbye in an airport, no more long-distance relationship. We are finally doing this life together! This feels important for me to share for several reasons but mostly because this relationship is something worth celebrating.  So that’s what I’m up to these days! I hope you’ll join us on this next adventure. I imagine it will take a little time to settle in but already it's starting to feel like home. Keep me in mind if you're looking for a photographer. My doors are open for business and I'm still willing to travel for special events like weddings and engagements. In the meantime, if you’re heading to or through Asheville, please look us up. As always, you’ll have a place to stay.  Love to you all,   Erin

The landlord came over at noon and did a final walk through. We swept the floors one last time, scrubbed down the refrigerator and loaded the last box into my little car. Then I was handing over the keys and shutting the door to my old life. 

A few weeks ago I told my principal that I would be stepping down from my teaching position at the end of the school year.

       Thank you to everyone that voted for my photo in the National Park's Centennial Photo Contest! I am a second place winner! Check out all the entries at #FindYourPark and then get on out there yourself and ramble 'round!

Thank you to everyone that voted for my photo in the National Park's Centennial Photo Contest! I am a second place winner! Check out all the entries at #FindYourPark and then get on out there yourself and ramble 'round!

      I woke up in a dark and unfamiliar room. I slept well for having spent the night on the floor. The house we were staying in was empty and on the market, but perfect as a base camp for our little Summit Saturday. You could see the mountains from the front door, the sky turning pink and gold as we threw our sleeping bags in the back of my car and started making our way to the trailhead. The air was chilly enough that we ran the heat on our feet but I kept the window cracked because the morning smelled fresh; like dew, like new, like fall. I felt really alive.  Lately I've felt called to the mountains; more so than ever before. I've been spending a lot of time in the woods after school picking my way over rocks and sticks, happy just to be in the woods, not hiking so much as wandering. I can't really explain why other than it feels good.   This morning was different, however, because there was a destination in mind: The Summit of Old Rag Mountain.  I'd read about it and seen pictures but more importantly, this was another one of those places my grandparents loved to go. The Dad says they talked about it all the time so I was stoked to see it with my own two eyes. I kept thinking that maybe my Gran had stepped on THIS stone or maybe she'd sat down on THIS boulder or maybe grabbed onto this same exact tree! It was hard not to imagine her telling me to be careful as I crept toward the edge to get a better view. I wonder if it's normal, sometimes, to hear the constant chatter in my head that I do.  Anyway a couple hours of going up and this is what we saw. I kept saying "Dude! This is the Colorado of Virginia! Duuuude!" It was awesome! And more challenging than I thought it would be. Parts of the rock scrambling sections require you to hoist yourself up, wiggle through tight spots and lower yourself into little places. It took a few pieces of my skin but it was more than worth it. I can't wait to go back.  Time to make a little more coffee but thanks to everyone that's voted for my photo so far in the National Park's Centennial Photo Contest. There's a week left in the voting and you can play once a day. Here's the link in case you have the time. Thank you again.

I woke up in a dark and unfamiliar room. I slept well for having spent the night on the floor. The house we were staying in was empty and on the market, but perfect as a base camp for our little Summit Saturday. You could see the mountains from the front door, the sky turning pink and gold as we threw our sleeping bags in the back of my car and started making our way to the trailhead. The air was chilly enough that we ran the heat on our feet but I kept the window cracked because the morning smelled fresh; like dew, like new, like fall. I felt really alive.

      Somewhere along this trail I shed that ol' dog named anxiety and felt more like myself than I have in a long time. I probably didn't need to drive 3,000 miles for that to happen but ... maybe I did. I had my doubts somewhere along those middle states about what I was doing and nearly turned the car around in Coeur D'Alene but I called my mama and she helped me keep on trucking.   So far I've passed through twelve states. I scared the crap out of myself driving through a Chicago rush-hour but fell in love with Madison, Wisconsin. South Dakota had more to offer than I ever realized with the Badlands and the Black Hills and when I think of Wyoming it will always be pretty sunsets on open fields and scary training runs. The diner in town was shutting down by the time we rolled up but I needed to get a run in after being folded in a car for eight hours. So I laced up my shoes and started heading down the road when I heard these loud bang!! bangs!! I thought the locals were firing at me and nearly dove into the bushes until I realized it was the Fourth of July. Hahaha. Still laughing about that one.   Yellowstone followed the gunshots but we didn't stay long. I'd like to go back and hike a bit; see the Tetons too. But no worry, just gives me something to look forward to. It was a long day of driving leaving Yellowstone but I made it to Missoula, Montana that evening and I'm fairly certain I'll be headed back there at some point to float the river with some new friends I made under the "M" at sunrise.  The guys in Missoula gave me some really good tips about exploring Glacier National Park and everything they said was true. It was two days of some of the rawest, most perfect country I've ever seen. I locked eyes with a coyote and saw a mountain goat and her baby cross the trail I was hiking just before I reached a lake of the prettiest shade of blue I've ever seen. This was one of my grandparents favorite places and now I understand why. I could have stayed there forever but I was eager to get on the road because I had plans to meet up with a friend from college in two days and still had several hundred miles to go before I reached her.  Much as I didn't want to leave Glacier, it was more than worth it. Seattle was the softest of landings. My buddy and I went adventuring just like we have a million times before and crammed a lot of laughs and miles into 72 hours. I was sad to leave this morning but I am really proud of her for making a new life in a brand new city. Takes guts.  Anyway, I'm writing now from a little room in Portland, belly full of ice cream (dinner!) and plotting out tomorrow's route. It's still light outside but I'm already getting sleepy so that's all for now. See ya'll on the road.

Somewhere along this trail I shed that ol' dog named anxiety and felt more like myself than I have in a long time. I probably didn't need to drive 3,000 miles for that to happen but ... maybe I did. I had my doubts somewhere along those middle states about what I was doing and nearly turned the car around in Coeur D'Alene but I called my mama and she helped me keep on trucking. 

      West. Always west.

West. Always west.

       little wooden spoon   an entire family history   in your red sauce stains

little wooden spoon
an entire family history
in your red sauce stains

      Decisions.

Decisions.