Gunderson Experiences

Doing all the things

The 2023 Journey begins in North Carolina

May 25, 2023

On May 18, 2023, Saraya, Soren and Anna embarked on our first of many journeys for the summer. We arrived in Hillsborough, NC greeted by our family - Emily, Brian, Evie, Honey and Pops. 

We spent 10 days exploring the local area. I have decided that Hillsborough is a hidden gem at this point and hopefully it remains the quiet, semi-rural community it is now.

Eno-River Farms

This small farm is comprised of Berries! Berries! Berries! and Giant Trolls! It has become a Gunderson favorite. You can stroll the farm picking fresh, delicious strawberries and blueberries. Eat ice cream and trek through Carolina forest where giant trolls live. The kids made good with the trolls by cleaning out their house and ensuring they had a beautiful space to live. 

What are the Trolls names?

Saraya - "The little trolls name is Juniper. The big troll does not have a name so we named him James. Now he and his daughter are JJ. And James is a giant troll."

How many strawberries did you eat?

Saraya - "A million!"

Soren - "Wait, how many baskets or strawberries? I ate 40 strawberries and 2 baskets."

Duke University Chapel and Gardens

We all felt the power of the ecumenical church towering above us and reaching high into the sky. In fact, 13 giraffes tall which is over 200 feet. The intricate wood work, the powerful stone figures, and telling stained glass windows provided for a spiritual experience regardless of belief. The organ played in the background engaging the powerful sensory experience of music surrounding you. The chapel truly exudes an inclusive feel to learn, engage, worship and grieve regardless of your religious background. 

What animal did we find hiding in the banisters?

Saraya - "A mouse"

How did you feel standing in the middle of the chapel looking up at the intricate landscape?

Saraya - "I felt very small inside but in a good way. It was so big and so detailed, I just loved it"

Soren - "I felt kind of sad because I missed my friends."

Falls River Lake

Much of my childhood is filled with memories of being on a boat during a hot, summer day in the south. This year, it was not so hot, but still fun to be out on the lake on Pop's pontoon boat. 

Saraya attempted water skiing but unfortunately the skis did not fit her feet. 

Soren - "The boat was awesome!"

Of all the water-going vessels, the pontoon boat is the most elegant of all.Abraham Lincoln

The Carolina Zoo

Honey treated us to a day at the Carolina Zoo. I am not typically a fan of zoos, but it is true that this zoo does it the best. 

The kids saw many animals but noted that the Gorilla who sat down in front of them, touched the glass where they sat was by far the coolest. The Gorilla wants to communicate especially with children. He ignored all the adults but chose to interact with any small children who approached the clear wall.