Saturday, July 25, 2009

Howdy from Asheville!

We had a very pleasant finish to our vegecation, with a final swim in the ocean and one last meal of fresh fish (swordfish steaks). Sadly, Ken was unable to grill them, because a storm blew in and it absolutely poured in the evening! I panfried them, and they turned out well...but not as good as grilled. I think it is kind of funny that it rained the first night we were there, and didn't rain again until the last night. Thank you, weather gods! Oh, and we found out later that tornadoes were in the area and came fairly close to us! The skies definitely looked ominous, but I didn't realize they were that bad. Yikes!

We hit the road at 10 AM, made our way up to Jacksonville, past Savannah, through South Carolina (Hi Bob!), and on into Asheville, where we're spending the night. It was really interesting to come through all the various ecosystems. I found the channel islands of Georgia fascinating, and loved seeing the large swampy areas with channels and tributaries. The palm trees and swamps of Florida and southern Georgia gave way to hardwood and pine forests in South Carolina, which eventually gave way to rolling hills, and finally the Smoky Mountains. We had sun the whole way until we started our ascent into the mountains and ran into a very intense thunderstorm...which we got through quickly and then had more sun! Ken and I remarked on how interesting it was to come through so many different areas and environments in just the space of several hours. What an amazing and wonderful place we live in, and how cool to get to enjoy so much diversity!

I was also pleased to add South Carolina to my list of states I've visited. As much time as I spent in the South as a kid, we never went through South Carolina, and I never went to Myrtle Beach or other places like that. I would like to come back and visit--it's a lovely place.

Biltmore House

It had been some time since I've been to the Smokies, and ohhh, it's still so pretty, and one of my favorite places I've ever been! Asheville is lovely, and I think it would be a neat place to live. I just scoped out Biltmore House and bought tickets online, so that's our plan for tomorrow. The gardens, the winery, a tour of the house, and then a couple more hours on the road. I'm excited to see Biltmore again, and when Ken and I were having dinner tonight, I was talking a little bit about George Vanderbilt. Ken didn't realize that Biltmore was built by a Vanderbilt--I thought I had mentioned it, but perhaps not--so is even more interested in seeing the place. Hmm, wonder if I can find a book about the place in the gift shop? I bet I can!

Oh! We had a scary moment when we first got into town. We were planning on staying right in the area of Biltmore Village, not far from the estate. Several hotels there, so we should have no problem, right? At our first attempt, a Double Tree, Ken learned that there is a major outdoor festival in town this weekend, with three to four hundred thousand people expected in the city. Bruce Hornsby was performing at Biltmore tonight, and every hotel room at that exit was booked. Uh oh. A woman at one of the hotels recommended an exit a few miles down the road, and we were able to book the penultimate (I told Ken I was so excited to be able to use that word!) room at the Holiday Inn. It's a very good thing that we made great time today, and got into town earlier than we expected. If we'd gotten here at 8 PM, we would probably have had to go even further down the road.

Time to relax and get sleepy, so we can get a fairly early start tomorrow. Hopefully more tomorrow night!


  1. As we were eating at the Bistro, at least six cars pulled in looking for rooms and they zoomed away with disappointment. We got here at just the right time, Karma Baby :o)

  2. 3 or 4 HUNDRED THOUSAND!!!!???? OMGosh!!! What kind of event are they HAVING!?? Hope they don't get in the way of your Biltmore tour!! That castle looks AMAZING!!!!!

  3. How great is that, booking the zenith of the Holiday Inn! Way to go!

  4. So glad you all are having a good vacation. I was thinking about you all yesterday and wondering how it was going. I have never been to South Carlina either and want to go! And it is entertaining to see how the terrain/vegetation growth/trees are different as you travel so many miles. Often on spring break it is fun to see the blooming begin as you head south. lol

    Oh I loved the Biltmore. It's been YEARS, but we had a good time strolling the gardens and touring the house and winery. Have fun and be safe.

  5. I'm glad you guys had a safe trip & found a place to stay :) I absolutely love the Smokies. I wished I lived up there in the area so I could visit more often. Enjoy your day today. I'm looking forward to hearing all about it!

  6. Asheville is a nice little town. I can't remember the school that is there, but it is a nice place ... definitely was on my list!

    Glad that you were able to get a decent room. Travel safely!!

  7. I've read about the Biltmore and would love to see it.
    Penultimate. I never find the right place for that word, you did. You must have the dysbindin gene going on.

    Reading about your trip I am sure we are all at different levels of "Wish we were there."
    Sounds lovely and relaxing. ~Mary

  8. I'm so envious! Asheville is near the top of our list of places we want to visit and would probably want to live. Take lots of pics for us!!!

  9. I've always wanted to see Biltmore. I can't wait for pictures!


  10. hey Beth. That was me waving as you passed through SC.
    And Asheville! Love it! Love the Biltmore. The Grove Park Inn is nice, too.
    Safe travels!

  11. I finished High School At Mars Hill College near Asheville in the summer of 63! I spent many a Sunday playing where you are visiting! It is the most beautiful! In 73 we went through the area again returning to California via the Smokys and of course, Indiana where my in-laws lived (Darlington). The worse thunderstorm I ever drove through happen in Tennessee- hope your travel is fair! Loved following your vacation!

  12. The Biltmore is quite an experience! I want to go back again. I like Asheville, too. That was a close call finding a room! Glad it worked out, and kudos to you for getting to use the word penultimate!

  13. I adore Biltmore, and after a visit I always
    dream that I am living there. Isn't that a
    hoot? They say it is lovely at Christmas, but
    that is the only season I've missed there. My
    sister wants me to go back with her. Enjoy it.

  14. I've never been to the Biltmore.. I know Shane saw the B-52s there... your trip sounds awesome. Did you guys wing it? or plan it out prior to going? Definitely it sounds like you had fun!

  15. Not that I don't like Bruce Hornsby but geesh, who knew he would draw that many people!!! Glad it worked out for you in the end though.


I'm funny how, I mean funny like I'm a clown, I amuse you?