The Beauty Around Us

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Posts tagged ‘Asheville NC’

West Virginia and North Carolina Vacation – Day 8 of 9

If you have read my previous blog posts about our West Virginia and North Carolina vacation, you will recall that we traveled to Maggie Valley, NC to attend the South East Vulcan Riders and Owners Club (SEVROC) motorcycle rally.  On Saturday, May 16th, we awakened at 6:30 am, showered and got dressed. Bob rode the motorcycle to a fuel station to fill up, in preparation for the day’s group ride. We ate breakfast at Pop’s Grits & Eggs, located on the motel’s premises.

At 9:00 am we departed A Holiday Motel en route Asheville via the Blue Ridge Parkway.

Sandy and ‘Skid’ say goodbye.

I drove the car, with Sandy as a passenger. Bob rode the motorcycle, along with many others. ‘Skid’ led the ride. We made one stop along the BRP at the highest elevation.

SEVROC 2015 BRP Highest Elevation

 

Our final destination was MR Motorcycle in Asheville, where we were treated to a free BBQ lunch.

11221918_802295636534877_5333961752943305424_oI obtained this photograph from MR Motorcycle’s Facebook page.

Complimentary BBQ at MR Motorcycle Asheville

The BBQ was very good.  Thank you, MR Motorcycle for the free lunch!

MR Motorcycle provided a discount coupon for store purchases.  Motorcycles were looked at, but I don’t believe anyone purchased a motorcycle that day.  ‘Jax” of VROC and Mike of MR Motorcycle (top left photograph in the collage displayed above) set up the free BBQ lunch.  ‘Jax” also organizes the SEVROC rally.  He does an excellent job!  ‘Skid’ in the top right and lower right photographs was the lead for the motorcycle rides that Bob and I participated in.  ‘Skid’ did an excellent job leading the rides!

It was a beautiful morning/afternoon for a drive/ride. Bob, ‘Skid”, Sandy and I returned to A Holiday Motel at approximately 1:15 pm.

At 3:00 pm several of us girls went to the Seven Silver Seas, or what is popularly called the Purple Store by VROC ladies.

20150516_211621000_iOSVROC ladies at the Purple Store
(Photo obtained from Susan, who is standing in the first row at the far right.)

The Purple Store has been a popular destination for VROC ladies, while at SEVROC.  This was my first visit.  I went to browse, not intending to purchase anything.  As you can see from the photograph displayed above, I made a purchase.

20150519_194222488_iOS
I purchased this wind chime.

The wind chime is hanging on our front porch presently.  I am thinking about moving it out to our picnic pavilion, where I can enjoy its melody more often.

After shopping at Seven Silver Seas, we stopped and got ice cream.

Bob and I didn’t eat dinner out on Saturday evening, opting to have a picnic lunch inside our room.

Later in the evening was the raffle and 50/50 for D.A.R.E.  Bob won five chocolate chip cookies baked by Wanda, a knife and a VROC buff. We shared the cookies (Wanda is an excellent baker!); Bob gets the knife; and the buff belongs to me. Our raffle raised $600.00 for the local D.A.R.E. organization.

“Jax” and the local D.A.R.E. representative

“Skid” and Sandy with the local D.A.R.E. representative

I heard that the person who won the 50/50 contributed another $100.00 to the D.A.R.E. organization.

‘Jax’ arranged live entertainment for the evening. Ginny McAfee plays the guitar and has a lovely voice. One of our VROC friends shared the following video with the VROC FAcebook group.

Ginny performing “Ode to Popcorn Sutton”

With Ginny performing in the background, we said goodbye to our friends. Since Tuesday we had been visiting with friends, friends who are like family to us. I can’t believe our time together is ending. It seems like we just got here! The SEVROC motorcycle rally was a great time!

After saying our goodbyes, we finished packing and went to bed. We were in bed by 10:00 pm. I was awakened at least one time during the night. I don’t know what time it was. I heard Bill “Southern Draw” belting out a couple heartfelt tunes about SEVROC, which made me smile.

North Carolina Vacation – Day 4 of 9: Biltmore Estate Revisited (Antler Hill)

We returned to Biltmore Estate on Day 4  (May 14) of our North Carolina vacation, using the next-day passes that we purchased the day before.  After taking in the view of Biltmore House from the statue of Diana and exploring the Italian Garden, we drove to Antler Hill Village and Winery.   There is a Farmyard, a Barn, a museum, and a few shops and restaurants located at Antler Hill Village.  Our first stop was at the Farmyard, where we saw chickens, goats and cattle.

The Farmyard

Farmyard Rooster

As we were leaving the farmyard, making our way to the barn, we saw cattle in a distant field.

See that building behind Bob?
That building is the barn.

We walked through the barn, where we saw a variety of exhibits — wood making, blacksmith and mercantile — and lots of farm equipment.

Woodworking Exhibit

Blacksmith Exhibit

Mercantile

There was farm equipment that we were encouraged to climb up on.

We ate lunch at Cedric’s Tavern, which our friends Pete and Karen had recommended.

Cedric’s Tavern

Bob ordered a Reuben Sandwich, described on the menu as “corned beef piled high on rye bread with melted Swiss, sauerkraut, Russian dressing and Tavern chips”.  I ordered Cedric’s Tavern Tuna Melt, described on the menu as “tuna salad served open faced on an English muffin,melted provolone, tomatoes, and “comeback” sauce, with whole grain vegetable salad”.  Pete and Karen said that the food was excellent at Cedric’s Tavern.  We agree 100% with Karen and Pete!

This bronze sculpture of Cornelia Vanderbilt and Cedric sits between Cedric’s Tavern and the Creamery.

After lunch, we walked through The Biltmore Legacy museum, where we learned about the lives of the Vanderbilts here and abroad.  The Vanderbilts at Home and Abroad exhibition was interesting and very informative.  No photography was permitted inside the museum.

We walked to the Winery when we completed our tour of The Biltmore Legacy museum exhibit.

These two photographs taken, as we were leaving Antler Hill Village behind.

Goodbye Antler Hill Village

Antler Hill Winery

When we visited Biltmore Estate in May 2008, we took a tour of the winery.  We were not interested in another tour of the winery, nor were we interested in participating in any wine tasting.  What brought us to the winery was to see a rare automobile that is housed at the winery.

This is a 1913 Stevens-Duryea Model “C-6” automobile — one of 10 in existence.

We departed Biltmore Estate at 1:30 pm.  You may have noticed that we enjoyed gorgeous weather in Asheville, particularly while visiting Biltmore Estate.  The weather was about to change, dramatically.  As a result of the imminent change in weather, we cut our stay in Asheville from 3 nights to 2 nights and arrived in Maggie Valley a day early.  More on that subject in my next blog post!

North Carolina Vacation – Day 4 of 9: Biltmore Estate Revisited

We returned to Biltmore Estate on Day 4  (May 14) of our North Carolina vacation, using the next-day passes that we purchased the day before. We followed a trail from parking lot A to the marble statue of Diana.

Statue of Diana

Diana

Diana sits high on a hill with a sweeping vista of Biltmore House and the Blue Ridge Mountains.

We walked down to Biltmore House taking more pictures along the way.

View of Biltmore House from Diana statue

Once we reached the roadway in front of Biltmore House, we walked over to the Italian Garden.

the Italian Garden

We returned to Biltmore House and caught the shuttle bus back to Parking Lot A. Our next destination was Antler Hill Farm, Village and Winery – the subject of my next blog post.

 

North Carolina Vacation – Day 3 of 9 (Biltmore Estates: Geese, Sheep and Horses)

We spent Days 3 and 4 (May 13 and May 14) of our North Carolina vacation at Biltmore Estates in Asheville NC. After admiring Biltmore House and the Library and South Terraces, the Walled Garden and Conservatory, and the Azalea Garden and Bass Pond, we returned to our car by shuttle bus and drove through the estate grounds to the lagoon.

the Lagoon

At the lagoon, we spread a blanket on the ground under the shade of a tree.  The photograph of the lagoon shown above was our view, as we ate a picnic lunch.  Our picnic fare was the same as other days: tuna salad and crackers, peaches and a couple sugar-free chocolate chip cookies.  We should go on a picnic more often.  Lunch was so relaxing.  After lunch, I entertained myself by watching and photographing the many geese and baby geese at the lagoon.

We drove to the other side of the lagoon and were rewarded with a magnificent view of the backside of the Biltmore House.

Lagoon view of Biltmore House

While on the shuttle bus ride, the driver pointed out two barns, one housing sheep and the other housing horses.  We stopped at both barns on our drive through the estate.

The sheep and lambs were in the pasture grazing.

Sheep

Sheep

Sheep

Sheep

Carriage and trail rides are available at the horse barns.  We didn’t go on a ride; however, we did enjoy looking at the horses.

Two Horses

Carriage & Trail Ride Barns

A farrier was in the barn shoeing this horse.

This is a smart dog.  It is staying out of the way of the horse’s hoofs!

We returned to our hotel around 2:30 pm, where we relaxed until it was time to leave for dinner.

Dinner was at Cracker Barrel Restaurant.  We met our friends, Karen and Pete, at the restaurant.  Pete and Bob used to be coworkers.  Karen and Pete moved to North Carolina several years ago.  Whenever we visit this part of North Carolina, we make arrangements to meet Karen and Pete for dinner.  Dinner was good, as was the conversation.  Karen and I are Facebook friends, and we keep in touch there.  However, nothing compares to a face-to-face conversation.   Much of the conversation centered around Bob’s workplace and coworkers that Bob and Pete both knew.  Before leaving the restaurant, Pete gave me a painting of two Carolina Wrens.  We now own three Pete Ferry original paintings!

imageThis covered bridge scene was the first painting that Pete gave to us.
Pete mailed this painting to us.

 imagePete gave us this painting of the ocean last year, when he and Karen visited us at our home.

imageThis is the newest addition to our Pete Ferry original paintings.

Pete is a talented painter.  His paintings are gorgeous!  Thank you, Pete, for your wonderful gifts.  We will treasure them always!

We returned to the hotel around 6:30 pm.  We spent the rest of the evening relaxing in our room.  Before retiring for the night, we watched a movie on Amazon Prime (Bob packed the ROKU).  The movie that we watched was called “Flight of the Phoenix”.  The movie was about survivors of a plane crash in the Mongolian desert working together to build a new plane.  We enjoyed the movie.  Hugh Laurie was one of the characters in the movie.  It was interesting to see him cast in a different role than that which he was cast in the TV show “House”.

 

 

North Carolina Vacation – Day 3 of 9 (Biltmore Estates: Azalea Garden and Bass Pond)

As I wrote in the last two blog posts, we spent Days 3 and 4 (May 13 and May 14) at Biltmore Estates in Asheville NC. After admiring Biltmore House and the Library and South Terraces and the Walled Garden and Conservatory, we walked through the Azalea Garden to Bass Pond.

Azalea Garden

Azalea Garden

Azalea Garden

Azalea Garden

The walk from the Conservatory to Bass Pond is approximately 1/3 mile.

Bass Pond

Bass Pond Boat House

We would have walked around Bass Pond to a waterfall on the other side of the pond; however, the trails were closed.

 On our way back from Bass Pond to Biltmore House and from there to our car, we came across a shuttle bus (near the Conservatory). We rode the shuttle bus to parking lot A. We planned to eat a picnic lunch at the parking lot inside our car and then head over to Antler Hill Village and Winery. Our plans changed, though, while on the shuttle bus ride. While on the shuttle bus ride, the driver pointed out a lagoon and two barns, one housing sheep and the other housing horses.  The driver suggested having a picnic at the lagoon and told us that there was a lovely view of the back of Biltmore House from the lagoon.  We  decided to save the Antler Hill Village and Winery visit for the next day, using our next-day tickets that we had purchased earlier in the day.

On our drive from Parking Lot A to the lagoon, we passed by Bass Pond.  We stopped at the far end of Bass Pond where we saw and photographed the waterfall.

Bass Pond Waterfall

The remainder of our day at Biltmore Estate on May 13th was spent picnicking at the lagoon and checking out the sheep and horse barns — the subject of my next blog post.

North Carolina Vacation – Day 3 of 9 (Biltmore Estates: Walled Garden and Conservatory)

As I wrote in my previous blog post, we spent Days 3 and 4 (May 13 and May 14) at Biltmore Estates in Asheville NC. After admiring Biltmore House and the Library and South Terraces, we walked through the Shrub Garden to the Walled Garden and Conservatory.  The Walled Garden is a four-acre formal garden featuring flowerbeds of seasonal color.  A Rose Garden is showcased in the lower half of the Walled Garden, with the glass-roofed Conservatory as a backdrop.

Walled Garden

Rose Garden

Rose Garden

Rose Garden and Conservatory

The Conservatory houses tropical plants to include exotic orchids, ferns and palms.

Conservatory1 Conservatory2

Conservatory Flower

Conservatory Flower

Conservatory Flower

I will share more photographs from our visit to Biltmore Estates in my next blog post.

North Carolina Vacation – Day 3 of 9 (Biltmore Estates: the House and the Library & South Terraces)

We spent Days 3 and 4 (May 13 and May 14) at Biltmore Estates in Asheville NC.  A little more than a week before leaving on vacation, we purchased tickets online for admission to Biltmore Estates.  Ordering tickets online at least 7 days in advance provided a 15% discount on the ticket price.  Even with the discount, the price for admission to Biltmore Estates is pricey (but well worth the cost).  I paid $94.16 for two tickets.  Admission includes a self-guided visit of Biltmore House, access to acres of historic gardens, access to Antler Hill Village, admission to “The Vanderbilts at Home and Abroad” exhibit, and a free wine tasting and guided Winery tour.

We visited Biltmore Estate one time before. Our first visit was 6 years ago, in May 2008. We were in North Carolina that year to attend the South Eastern Vulcan Riders and Owners Club (SEVROC) motorcycle rally, the same reason that brought us to North Carolina this year. Neither Bob nor I was interested in touring Biltmore House a second time. We were interested only in seeing the grounds again, in a more leisurely fashion.  On our visit in 2008 we attempted to see everything on the estate in one day.  By the end of the day, we were exhausted and didn’t come anywhere close to seeing everything on the estate.   We didn’t see everything on the estate this year either; however, we had a much more relaxing visit! This blog post and several more posts to follow will provide details and photographs of our visit to Biltmore Estates.

Biltmore Estates was a short drive from the Best Western of Asheville Biltmore East, our hotel while staying in Asheville.  After passing through the entrance gate, it is a 3-mile drive to Biltmore House. We were directed to Parking Lot A. Signs at the parking lot indicated it was an 8-minute walk to Biltmore House. A shuttle bus was already at the parking lot, so we chose to ride the bus to Biltmore House.  I realized, upon reaching Biltmore House, that I had forgotten to put on suntan lotion.  We walked back to our car.   After putting on suntan lotion, we walked back to Biltmore House.  By the way, we easily made the walk to Biltmore House in 8 minutes or less.

Biltmore House

Biltmore House is America’s largest home.  George Vanderbilt commissioned its construction in 1889.  The 250-room French Renaissance chateau was completed six years later and officially opened to friends and family on Christmas Eve 1895.  Three years later, George Vanderbilt brought his bride Edith Stuyvesant Dresser to Biltmore, and in 1900, their only child Cornelia was born here.  George Vanderbilt died in 1914.  In 1924 Cornelia married the Honorable John Francis Amherst Cecil.  The young couple made Biltmore their home.  The Cecils opened Biltmore House to the public in 1930, in response to requests to increase area tourism and to bring in money to preserve the estate.  Biltmore Estates remains a family business to this date.

We walked to the right of the expansive green lawn to an information booth, where we purchased two next-day admission tickets for $10.00 each.  After paying for the next-day admission tickets, we continued walking to the right of Biltmore House through a courtyard to the location of public restrooms.  The next two photographs were taken on our way back through the Courtyard and as we walked across the front of Biltmore House.

Biltmore House
(view from Courtyard)

One Entrance to Biltmore House

To the left of Biltmore House are the Library Terrace and the South Terrace.

Library and South Terraces

The terraces provided the Vanderbilts and their guests a relaxing setting near the house.  The South Terrace was originally designed as a bowling green for playing the sport of lawn bowls.  On the South Terrace are several statues and a Teahouse.  Spectacular mountain views are provided from the South Terrace.  The Library Terrace provided shaded seating.

Steps from Library Terrace Lead Down to South Terrace

Steps from Library Terrace Lead Down to South Terrace

South Terrace

South Terrace

South Terrace

South Terrace

I believe that this canopied walkway is part of the Library and South Terraces.

While I was photographing the statues and admiring the magnificent view of the Blue Ridge Mountains from the South Terrace, Bob relaxed in the shade.  This walkway leads to the Shrub Garden.

.

Library Terrace

Library Terrace Wisteria

Looking back toward Biltmore House and Library Terrace from the Shrub Garden

I will share more photographs from our visit to Biltmore Estates in my next blog post.

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