Sunday, October 16, 2016

Asheville Day 3

Today is the last day of our adventure, but we didn't let that stop us from jamming it full of awesomeness. We got up early and headed to the famous Biltmore. We had reservations at 9 and I wasn't sure how it all worked so I wanted to get there on time. We were actually 10 minutes early :)

Doing research ahead of time I knew I wanted to eat at the Dining Room for breakfast - what I didn't realize was taht it was not actually at the house. Well, let me back up. I knew I wanted to either eat at The Dining Room or the Village Social. We went to the Village Social first, but when we drove down and realized it was at the Lodge I decided I'd rather eat at the Dining Room. So... we drive back; get parked for The Biltmore; walk down and ask directions. Only to find The Dining Room is at the Inn, back where we came from. Now...it said The Dining Room at the Inn, buy my small brain did not register that. So we walked back, got in the car, and drove to The Dining Room.

We parked and walked in - the confusion I caused and the stress it caused me were worth it to eat here. Fine China, Linen Tablecloths were fabulous, but I could care less about that - the French Toast. Oh MY the french toast; it was good. Light, fluffy, just great. The menu had some weird explanation of it so when they first brought my plate I thought it was just fancy french toast, but the waitress laughed and said no - they brought you the wrong plate :). She went to get my food and I enjoyed the coffee (so good), the fresh fruit and the fresh squeezed OJ while I waited. Not a bad wait at all, then the real french toast came (will the real french toast please stand up?) and it was as I said above, delectable and well worth the drive!

We then headed back to The Biltmore and went into the house. It was quite enjoyable. The building itself mirrors the Chateau's we've seen in Europe and the interior work was just exquisite. One thing I loved was how much of the house was open - that was really unique for private home tours. I will say one you've seen the inside of one 18th century you've home - you've been in most. They all have a similar look/feel, this one was unique to me in 2 ways 1) Bowling Alley, Pool and Gym -- I mean come on! 2) the Kitchen/Store Room/Laundry rooms, were pretty cool.

BTW Jack totally saved my trip to the house; he had brought headphones. I had my camera and the audio tour of the Biltmore are these things you hold up to your ear - odd design! Jack's headset fit though and he let me use them so I could still take pictures vs. using my hands for the device. Have I told you lately how awesome my hubs is?

After the tour of the house we wandered to the shop area and bought a few souvenirs then headed to the Stables for dinner. This restaurant used to be the Stable and was converted! The food was really good, the server very nice and being able to see the old stable architecture was cool. My only issue was that it was freezing in there - we didn't linger.

We then went and walked through some of the gardens, I regret not bringing my Macro lens - I would love to have seen some of the pictures had I had it! The Mums were in full bloom and also the rose garden was still colorful. It was so nice and the weather was perfect! We also walked through the conservatory and enjoyed seeing some of the more unique plants!

By this time it was 4 and we decided to forego Chimney Rock for another trip and headed home. I drove the first part of the trip and let me say that it took a while to get used to driving the behemoth! This truck is big! I'm typing this as Jack drives the last leg of the journey home.

It's been a great weekend - here is looking forward to the next adventure. I want to go back to the Biltmore with Mama. We also want to go up to Grandfather Mtn, Chimney Rock, back to Maggie Valley, etc. I see many mini trips in our future!

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Asheville Day 2

Today was jammed packed, but awesome! So why was it awesome? Well, let me share:

We got up and out of the hotel by 8:15 and headed to a local breakfast place called the Sunny Point Cafe. It had great trip adviser ratings, but they warned us it would be packed. I put extra time in our morning to accommodate, but not enough. We had to leave by 9:40 to make a tour we had booked, and at 9:32 we still didn't have food. That being said the staff were all super nice and the waitress did rush for us -- when we did get our food, it was to die for heavenly. The french toast was awesome and the fruit was fresh! They had fresh pineapple on my plate - hWeaven!. Jack loved their maple bacon and what he got as well, though he said the eggs could have been cooked more. My only regret was that we had to rush through the actual eating part :(

We left there and went to meet our tour guide for a walking tour of Asheville. At this point we are rushing a bit... We get parked and hop out of the truck. And it happens.... my camera falls to the pavement. Not just a cheap point and shoot, but a several thousand dollar Canon 7D with a pretty nice lens on the it. The rabid strap D ring was not propely secured so when I hoped out it let go. The battery popped out; the $5 lens protector pops off and I just stare. Jack says my name and ask what happens, which wakes me up enough to move.

At this point, I'm just in a little bit of shock, but also still worried about being late -- I hate being late; it makes me super anxious. So I tell him to worry about the parking and proceed to look at my camera. I say a quick shout of thanks as the lens is fine - the lens protector did it's job. The battery pops back in and I think I'm golden. So we start to walk toward the tour guide and I'm putting the battery door back on as it just pops on and off. Jack is meandering behind me on his phone trying to get the parking meter to work (it's pay by app) and I'm thinking I've got this. I get a bit a head of Jack and go to look for the bronze pigs where we are to meet our guide, yes I said bronze pigs. You can't make this up...!

I see the oblosisk, but no pigs. They were in the middle of a craft fair, so I asked one of the vendors and she was kind enough to direct me to the pigs where our guide and group were waiting. At this point it is 10:02 and I'm late... I apologize to him, obtain our "whispers" and I go over to a wall to get settled while the tour guide starts talking. I still can't get the battery door on the camera and without it latched there is no camera; it will not come on.

So as you can imagine, I'm thinking how not having a camera is really going to put a damper on the weekend. I mean, I'm in NC to take pictures. Jack then meanders over, having taken care of the parking and I as I do just hand it to him with a look I'm sure said more than I ever could have. Jack - Oh my Jack - I wouldn't trade him for a million others. He says "yep it's broke" and proceeds to finagle it to where it's attached and 100% working again! I don't know how - I don't care. I just know Jack did what Jack does and all was right with the world again. The pressure in my chest subsided and I actually started listening to this guide we paid for.

It's funny - God shows up - in the little and the small things. On our drive over I to the city I had an urge to pray with Jack, something that is very new to us, praying together. I just simply prayed that God help the little things not to ruin our day and that we not "bicker" but really just enjoy the day. And then this "little thing" in the grand scheme of things was just taken care of. What could have turned into a real weekend dampner ended up being - just well, nothing! God and Jack were there - who needs anything else :)

So... we walked around Asheville for 2 hours with Ashville by Foot and I really did enjoy it. I'm not a huge history person so much of what he said didn't stick between my ears, but it was nice for him to point out the architecture, things I never would have noticed on my own. To be guided to areas we probably wouldn't have wondered (or known to) and well to just enjoy. Not to mention the weather was out of this world gorgous; we could have not begged for a better day!

We then ended our tour and got back in the truck to go look at the fall colors. We headed up 19N to Burnsville to eat at a restaurant called the Garden Deli. It has a wonderful outdoor patio that is just delightful. We sat, enjoyed the sun, the garden, each other and the food. It was all exquisite.

We then walked around the little town of Burnsville a bit before heading out. Not much there, but it was quaint and nice to stretch our legs after eating. We then headed back out on 19 toward Spruce Pine Town and just drove. The leaves were pretty, some orange and red... my guess is in another week they will be even more so. The articles I read said they are turning a bit late this year due to the summer we had, but I've still enjoyed them. Once in Spruce Pine we hit the Blue Ridge parkway and headed back toward Asheville.

We drove, stopped and took a few pictures (though not as many as normal, I was just enjoying being) and drove some more. We got off and went up to Mt. Mitchel, driving through some amazingly thick fog on the way - it was beautiful in it's eeriness and I could see how one could easily get lost in it. Reminded me of poetry in a way.

The Mountain was amazing - the view off of it was like looking down on clouds due to the fog. Just white as far as you could see - it was worth the drive and the hike all by itself. We then headed back down and proceeded to Asheville on the parkway. Now let me just say - I love and hate the Blue Ridge Parkway. Jack and I both love the scenic drive, the gorgeous vistas and this was no different. It was so peaceful -- until well -- you are ready to get off and go on. Finding a way off that is expedient is never easy. I remember the reaction when we drove it back from DC. We were enjoying it and then we were ready to go. the roads that parallel it to get you back to civilization are just as curvy so no real time saving, you are just stuck... until you are done, lol. That being said -- I'll probably get on it again next year :)

Once in Asheville we headed out to grab a bite to eat. I hadn't planned the restaurant ahead because I didn't really know where we would during dinner time. I know better, but here we were. So we decided to go downtown and meander around and figure out what to eat. After looking for a few minutes, having a married moment, and then getting over said married moment we ended up at a restaurant called White Duck Taco Soup. Not one I will ever recommend to anyone! Jack liked his food, I found it ok. I didn't enjoy the ambiance (similar to a TacoMac) nor the cleanliness. Just not my vibe.

After eating we walked around downtown Asheville, did a tiny bit of shopping, and then headed back to the hotel. I will say I like Ashville, it's a quaint town, but I don't know we will come back to the town itself. The area - YES - but not to Asheville per se. We like towns like Charleston / Chattanooga a bit better. Asheville has more of a artsy, funk vibe - similar to little 5 in downtown Atlanta. I like it - don't get me wrong - just not our "vibe" per se.

The area though is second ot none in the SE for waterfalls, fall colors, etc.. So we will be back for sure!

And that is day 2 - as you can see jammed packed. We really enjoyed it and are looking forward to exploring The Biltmore and maybe Chimney Rock tomorrow; we shall see how it goes.

Sleep well blogland - here is wishing you and yours the best.

Friday, October 14, 2016

Asheville Day 1

We left the house today around 5 on our way to the Asheville NC area. We bought a new 2014 Chevrolet Silverado earlier this week and are driving it on this weeks adventure. I honestly thought we were just buying a truck to pick stuff up in, haul it, etc... however, now that I've ridden it I think it is our new riding vehicle. Super comfy! Its a dual cab with leather and all the perks. Jack and I enjoyed calling people on the bluetoothe and playing with it's features on the ride up.

The ride itself was uneventful. It was mainly on back roads, which was a nice change of pace from interstate.

Once we got to Hendersonville (which is where we are staying) we stopped at a restaurant called the Flat Rock Wood Room. It had high Trip Adviser ratings and I know why. The food was pretty good. Jack had a BBQ plate and I ate one of their wood fired pizza's. The pizza was good, though I liked the wood fired pizza in Jamica better. However, the BBQ seemed to be really good and the sides were exceptionally tasty. I would come back if I was in the area again, but I'd stick with the BBQ :)

We then headed to our hotel. We are staying at the Hampton in for $20 due to points. So basically, free!!! The room is smaller than we normally get, but hey it's free - you can't beat free. It's clean, I have lots of pillows and it makes a good home base for the weekends adventures.

And that pretty much wraps up day 1 :) Tomorrow we get an early start and I am looking forward to some quality time with the hubs as we explore this SE US wonderland.

Sleep well blogland, praying God blesses you and yours on this fabulous weekend.

Jamaica Day 2 and Part of 3

I'm relaxed - I mean really relaxed and it feels amazing.  Yesterday after the post they showed us a new room and I was really undecided...