Facing A Fear At National Harbor

I’m afraid of heights. No. Scratch that. I’m terrified of heights. I’m good in planes but anything attached to the ground is a bad idea. Tall buildings, step ladders, Ferris wheels and anything more than about two feet tall is a bad idea. Just to be clear, it’s ALL a bad idea.

I do occasionally force myself to face this fear. I make myself climb lighthouses when I travel and there’s a particularly terrifying staircase where I sometimes hike. It feels good to face a fear occasionally and this one is both terrifying and inconvenient.

As we were headed toward Mount Vernon, Nichola gestured toward a Ferris wheel in the distance and said that she really wanted to ride it someday. She has a bucket list of Ferris wheels. She sounded kind of wistful and, in a fit of temporary insanity. I suggested that there’s no time like the present.

So we toured Mount Vernon, hiked and ended our day at National Harbor where we had dinner, shopped a bookstore (you know I would find a bookstore) and wandered around.

The Capitol Wheel at National Harbor is 180 feet tall with 42 climate controlled gondolas. It soars over the Potomac River and has breathtaking views.

Well, breathtaking views if you can get past the terror. Hahahaha… ahem.

My friend loved it and I was thrilled for her to check this off her list. I was fine as long as we were moving but really despised sitting still. It’s great learning new things about yourself. I had no idea that the movement would be acceptable as opposed to the stillness.

I was thrilled when it ended but also glad I went. My only other Ferris wheel experience was at Niagara Falls – equally terrifying but also a spectacular view.

Anyway, if this is your thing, because you enjoy it or because you’re trying to overcome a fear, it’s just $15 for a ride with a fabulous view. Get info here. There’s a ton to do in this area including shopping, food and some cool public art to see. There’s a Gaylord Hotel and the place has the buzz and excitement of the circus coming to town. It’s perfect for people watching too!

Lighthouse Complex

Anytime I’m near a lighthouse, I have this unexplainable urge to prove I can climb the darn thing. This is especially odd given that I am terrified of heights.

Old lighthouses always have scary iron staircases with steps that have open backs large enough to lose a small child through. There is always something that looks like this that you have to climb through to get outside.

Plus it’s always windy up there and one of the most terrifying experiences imaginable for someone afraid of heights.

I absolutely despise the experience but tend to force myself to do it anyway. Why? I’ve been trying to answer this question for years. I suppose just to prove I can.

I’ve only been up in a handful and have to admit that I’m always a little relieved when they aren’t open to the public!

This is Marblehead, a relatively small lighthouse on the Lake Erie shore. It’s part of a state park with a museum and grounds. It’s just 77 terrifying steps to the top for a bargain price of $3 per person.

Click here to visit their website and plan your trip.

Flying Like A Bird


It isn’t every day that you have a chance to check something off your bucket list. So when the opportunity presents itself, you have to do it. Even if it’s something that scares you a little. Actually, especially if it’s something that scares you.

b3It has long been my goal to take a ride in a biplane. There’s just something  romantic about these open air planes and the barnstorming that has been done with them since the years following World War I.

I can’t describe it but my heart takes flight a little every time I see one in the air. 

There was an opportunity to take a ride a couple of weeks ago at a hot air balloon festival but I found every excuse in the book to not do it. So when I learned there would be rides given at an airport in a neighboring community, I simply had to go.

Incidentally, the James A. Rhodes Airport in Jackson County was celebrating their 50th anniversary yesterday with a big shindig – cool aircraft on display, some RC flyers, a Model A Club and rides with Dewey Davenport of Goodfolk and O’Tymes Biplane Rides of the Xenia area. 

This was a really fun blue sky day of celebration but it was a big day for me too. You see, part of the reason that excuses were made to not take a biplane ride is that I have a ridiculous fear of heights. I don’t do roller coasters and cringe at the thought of a glass elevator. But I’ve been up in aircraft before – commercial flights, small planes at my local airport and even a helicopter (sans door as I was taking pictures for a newspaper that day) and it’s ok.

But to glide through the air with the wind in your face and nothing between you and the sky? In a 1930 D-25 New Standard that looks like it belongs in a museum?

Never before.

And guys. Wow. It’s fabulous. 


It probably helps that I had an experienced pilot who is so enthusiastic about his work that I had no choice but to trust him. He’s fantastic. Really. Dewey Davenport is his name and if you see that he’s coming to an event near you, go take a ride. You won’t regret it.  That’s him pictured with me above. And if you’re wondering what’s up with the sign, click here to read about the origins.   Long story short – I have a smart mouth and warped sense of humor.

But this story isn’t really about the plane ride, funny sign or pilot. Sure, the experience was amazing. But it’s really about you and whatever is holding you back.

There has to be something that you’ve always wanted to do, maybe even something that scares you. Please don’t let fear prevent you from doing something that you want to do.

Friends, life is worth living. Go do it. Have an adventure. Go far away. Stay close to home. Do what scares you. Embrace the thing you love most. Whatever it is, do something that will make you smile at the end of this day and every day.

Life IS worth living. Make it what you want. 

This is an area I’m still working on. Truth is, I don’t know what I want my life to look like so I’m just exploring the world as much as possible and doing the things that make me happy as well as the ones that scare me because they often are the same. We’ve discussed this topic here a couple of times before but we all could use a periodic refresher.

I imagine myself to be a kindred spirit of Amelia Earhart, Sheriff Maude Collins and other strong women from history. However, I’m probably a little more closely related to Snoopy versus the Red Barron and maybe Deputy Barney Fyffe! Regardless, I faced a fear and had such a fabulous time doing it that I’m already plotting to take another ride with Dewey someday.

And if you wonder what makes me an authority on this topic, just scroll up and look at that smile. It really was the best day. But this story is going to be a two parter! I checked something else off my bucket list but you’ll have to wait till Monday to read about it!

Want to know more about Dewey and biplanes? Check out his website and his YouTube vlog by searching his name.