On Thursday, which was a beautiful day, we made the hour drive up to the Vanderbuilt Biltmore home in Asheville NC. It is peak color and the drive was so beautiful. This time we took the “Legacy of the Land” tour and learned more about how the home came to be where it is and what the family is doing to restore not only the house but the land. It is impossible for me to believe that when this was built in 1895 the land had been all clear cut of timber and was pretty much useless for anything. How far they have come!
Here is a photo of part of the gardens. I also got photos of some beautiful orchids that I will post later.
How about this for a very creative pumpkin turkey?
They were already starting to decorate for Christmas. I think they have over 40 trees and a special house tour that tells about how the family celebrated the holidays. That starts Nov. 6. I guess by Thanksgiving it gets very busy so we are planning on going again the week of Nov. 16.
Bob is at an all day Woodcraft Store router class today. The link will show you other classes coming up and I would bet he takes some of those also. Tomorrow he will start laying tile in the last bathroom downstairs and next week the plumber can install the toilet and sink. Then we will tile the rest of the 600 sq ft space and put in the molding and then I have a great beautiful art studio that may someday become an efficiency apartment.
Yesterday I went to a Greenville Newcomers Spooktacular Pot Luck Luncheon and White elephant exchange. It was at the Greenville Woman’s Club. A gorgeous restored home. I came home with a book on Chinese cooking for American kitchens, 1000 recipes. I thought I did pretty good. There wer about 60 women there, a few in costumes and many with fall or Halloween sweaters or clothes. It is nice to be able to go to these events now and actually know people by name!
I am just puttering around the house today. Nothing very exciting but relaxing.
Looks like Halloween here in SC will be cloudy with maybe a little rain and 65. Last year we only got a few little trick or treaters. The trees are still turning here. As soon as the sun peaks out I will post a picture of the gorgeous color in our back yard.
Todays words of wisdom – Don’t eat all your trick or treat candy in one day!
You may have heard a few days ago there was a big rock slide at the border of NC and TN on I 40. This is about 80 miles from our house. They say it will take 3 months to clean it up and this is a HUGE deal for businesses with this being the fall colors time of year and the holiday shopping season. I thought ”How could a rock slide be that big?” Check out this link and you will see a BIG rock mess. It is a miracle no one was killed. I heard many of the rocks are as big as cars.
Bob and I have been so busy it is hard to get to the computer to update my blog. That is a good thing. Tonight Bob is at another wood craft class. Today we drove to Asheville NC where the lower mountain colors are at peak and we went on a “Legacy of the Land” tour at Biltmore Estate. I will show and tell you more about that in a few days. In a few words “Spectacular Colors and Tour”.
A few days ago we toured Bob Jones University art exhibit of antiquities – items from Egypt, Palestine and Babaloyona before Christ. Bob Jones is a VERY conservative university with a huge religious art collection. Their is a dress code on campus – no pants for women and no blue jeans anywhere. Young men wear dress slacks, dress shirts and ties! In a couple weeks we go on a tour again to see more of the art collection.
We are making progress on Fay’s art studio and Bob’s work room. A long story to be told later. On Friday Fay is going to a pot luck/white elephant event for Greenville Newcomers. I am making a wild and brown rice chicken casserole. It is at the Greenville Womans Club which looks beautiful.
I hope some of you were able to watch the PBS series on National Parks. We recorded it and I love it. I am only on part two up till 1919 so I still haven’t seen the story of the parks in my mountains (that is 75 years ago) – Blue Ridge, Smoky, Appalacian. So after I watch this – are our next adventures visiting all the parks? Definitely a possibility? I certainly want to explore that idea. There are many parks and monuments I am not familiar with and look beautiful.
There is so much good energy when you are in these mountains. They don’t have snow capped peaks but they have their own different majesty. I love them! I can tell Bob feels what I do when we drive through our new home land. It is hard to describe. Calm, peaceful, different in a good way. Once again I can say that this feels like and is home.
Lots of links and photos in the post for you to check out. I did a gallery of photos becasue there were so many but also because I wanted you to be able to see larger photos of the mountains.
Our friends Lynn and Bob B. drove up from Charleston SC (4 hours) on Thursday and we spent the next three days creating a wonderful weekend memory for all of us. We had planned on driving directly to the wineries in the Yadkin and Swan Creek in NC. Bob B. suggested taking a little longer route and driving part of the Blue Ridge Parkway. The rest of us were more interested in going directly to the wineries but he convinced us, thank goodness. Bob and I have driven the mountains int he fall and thought Maggie Valley was pretty spectacular. This was even more beautiful and our short journey about 20 miles long. I think we hit peak color and around every bend we raved about the view. It was cloudy and at one point we actually drove through a cloud. We stopped at many overlooks. This drive in the fall should definitely be on your list of things to see. The drive starts in the Shenandoa Valley and goes 469 miles to the Great Smoky mountains.
We stopped in a cute little town called Little Switzerland for lunch. The pumpkin photo is from there.
We stayed at a charming little bed and breakfast called Home Coming in Elkin NC and had a fantastic dinner at 21 on Main. We all agreed it was one of the best meals we have ever had. Bob and I had gumbo soup, a butterknife tender fillet of beef with goat cheese mashed potatoes and roasted asparagus and a trio of chocolate desserts. I think maybe there were also a few bottles of fantastic wine. It was worth every penny.
Check out a few photos. Click on the little photo so see a larger photo.
Here is a link to all the photos: http://picasaweb.google.com/fchoban/2009_10_16?authkey=Gv1sRgCPuGh6fNp4-z1QE&feat=directlink
Since it was cloudy and we didn’t spend a large amount of time on this first trip, Bob and I are driving back this Wed. and taking our chairs, books, wine, cheese and fruit picnic basket and really soak up the beauty.
In my next post I will tell you more about the wineries.
Posted in Food, General, Travel
Tagged 21 on Main, beauty, Blue Ridge Parkway, Elkin NC, Little Switzerland, mountains, Swan Creek NC, wineries, Yadkin NC
A few weeks ago on our OLLIE walking tour we visited the Greenville War Museum. It is in downtown Greenville and covers wars from the Civil war to now. It is at the American Legion and was created and maintained by the legion. They brought in about 6 Legion members who told us briefly of their experiences in various wars. This post has over 1300 members! They are looking for a bigger space for the museum. The Legion is involved in many fund raising programs that help veterans and their families as well as youth programs in the area.
That week we also visited Christs Episcopal Church, a historic church that was started in the 1820′s. They currently have about 4000 members at this church. This stained glass window is immense. On the left side, which you can’t see well, are two large round stained glass windows, probably 8 feet across. They also have one Tiffany window.
The organ is quite new and was funded by a private doner, over a million dollars. I would like to hear it played sometime.
After that our tour continued on a guided trolley trip through historic downtown Greenville and the main street area. It was a beautiful day. The trolley is open and gives us a good view. The day ended with Bob and I having lunch at an Asian restaurant downtown and then home for a nap because it had been such a strenous day!
Bob is so excited about his classes at the Greenville Woodworkers Guild that he can hardley stand it. Bob likes to research everything so he already has purchased and read many books on woodworking as well as lots of web articles and videos. I think they almost scared him out of this hobby but now he can get some hands on to give him confidence.
We have both been looking for deals on woodworking equipment on craigslist.com but so far nothing. He already has started a 4 night hand tool class and a 5 or 6 night wood turning class. I have a bowl he made which really impressed me to have him make it at the first class. He says it needs much more work but I think it looks great. We are both going to go to an all day wood finishing seminar and he has one night classes on routers, joiner/plainer, tablesaws and a dovetail jig class. I think I know how he feels because I was the same way with my art classes.
A couple weekends ago we finally got the last of the boxes unpacked so now I have all my art and craft supplies out and a work area set up downstairs right in front of the window that looks out into the trees. I ordered a couple more DVD’s on water color and have to buy a vcr/dvd player to hook up downstairs to play my old vhs art tapes. Now I just need to get over my resistance that I can’t paint and just do something! Wish me luck.
The leaves are just now starting to turn. The weekend was around 75-80 with some rain but not at a time that bothered our fun plans. On Friday we went to a wine tasting of the wines of Sonoma CA at the Northhampton Wines Cafe in beautiful downtown Greenville. The city was starting to get set up for Fall For Greenville starting Friday night and so many streets were closed down. We ended up getting their about 15 minutes late but still got to enjoy the lovely lunch, good wines and and exceptional speaker/owner. They also have a very nice wine store complete with an excellent selection of cheese. Somehow a few things made it into our bags!
On Saturday as part of a fund raiser for Greenville Newcomers we volunteered for 3 hours to sell wrist bands. People get the wrist band and then can get wine and beer. I checked a lot of ID’s. We had the 11-2 shift so it was pretty quiet. Fall for Greenville celebrates the restaurants of downtown Greenville. In 8 blocks they have food from 30 different places. You have to purchase the food. Also a Wine tasting block and an Beer Garden and places for the kids to play. Volunteering really made us feel a part of the event. We had a great time as well as some yummy crabcakes, ribs and pumpkin cheesecake! There were also 3 or 4 big music stages so you had live music everywhere. We had a great band playing right where we were selling tickets. Lots of rock and roll and Chicago music with plenty of brass instruments.
Sams Club provided meals for all the volunteers, of which there were hundreds and hundreds over the three days. Thank you Sam’s Club.
Bob and I absolutely agree that our tour of Hanson Granite Quarry was probably the most interesting tour we have had here in Greenville. Neither of us expected much, after all how much is there to know about a hole in the ground? Turns out there is A LOT to the quarry business. The quarry is about 10 minutes from our house. Their stone is used mainly in asphalt and concrete but they have everything from 8-10 inch chunks that are use to prevent erosion around water, 3-4 inch granite that you could use in landscaping, many different sizes and mixes of gravel and man made sand. No granite countertops.
The quarry opened around the mid 1970′s and they figure they have enough to quarry until 2090 and then the hole will turn into a lake and a park. In addition to a fascinating tour the staff treated us like VIP’s. Their were about 25 of us from the Life Long Learning group. We will never even be their customers and yet they were so generous with their time and information. They drove us around, showed us how they test rock and gave us lunch.
The photos won’t show you the scale of how huge this is. I believe the hole is something like 2000 ft long, 800 ft. wide and 400 ft. deep. Looking at the equipment with us and on site will give you some idea. During busy time they have 400 gravel trucks a day leaving the quarry.
The equipment is circled in the next photo.
These mini mountains of gravel are probably 30-40 ft high.
First they dynamite to break the stone mountain and the rocks are loaded into dump trucks and the stone starts going through various equipment to break it into the appropriate size stone. Here is the first stop where the stones come out about 8-10 inches and go up this huge conveyer to the next processing point. If the stone that is loaded in is to large there is a gigantic hammer that smashes it into smaller pieces.
They work very hard at keeping the dust down. I remember driving by a quarry somewhere in TN and literally everything was covered in dust – the mountain, the trees, the houses. It was awful. This was nothing like that at all. Much better.
Last week was again busy. Later posts will come with photos of our adventures. I am loving Tai Chi! On Friday we go to a food and wine paring lunch and on Sat. we volunteer for 3 hours at Fall for Greenville, a music, food, wine/beer 3 day festival in downtown Greenville. That was the first activity that we did a year ago. How much has transpired since then!
Right now I am kicking back and feeling good because I just finished a project with website, blog and shopping cart (http://lifetapestrycreations.com) and with Bob’s help a 60 page directory for Greenville Newcomers. We had to brush up on Access skills and learn Publisher. I’m very happy with what we created. I now have to give my body less time at the computer for a few days.
Bob is really having fun at two woodworkers classes on Wed. and Thurs. nights. I have my art studio set up on our lower level and can’t wait to paint. Right now I am having a glass of wine and getting into Eric Clapton Unplugged album. We have been gifted about 50 country western CD’s and I am going to see how those and my oriental music collection come together to inspire me with my paints. Should be interesting!
Did I mention the weather? It is 75 and sunny and the sky is so blue. It will be like this at least until Christmas. The trees are just starting to change.
Next weekend friends are coming from Charleston and we are going to Yadkin Valley, NC (about 3 hours from here) to tour a few of their 50 – 60 wineries and stay at a bed and breakfast. Bob and I explored a few of those wineries last fall.
After a year here I have no doubt that we made the right choice for us. I am home.