Friday, November 20, 2015


Community-a word that evokes happy gatherings of people at parks or working together to clean up the town.  When we moved, over a year ago, my husband quickly became a volunteer firefighter. We helped with fundraisers and such.  It is great to be a member of a community.  I have always lived in big cities and this has never been an option for me.

What I have learned is that some communities are more accepting than others to new blood.  My hyper-local community accepted us with open arms, whereas, an attempt to get involved in a larger area made me feel like an outcast. Not to say everyone was closed off, but there is an obvious close-knit clique who aren’t as friendly. I am assuming you have to be born into it or give blood to join. That’s fine. I met some nice people and will stick with that. 

It’s amazing to me that one would not want to embrace new people who are coming in: offering to lighten your load, wanting to help and being fresh and full of ideas and energy.  Letting them take up the mantle for a bit would make life easier and make the work lighter for all.

That said, I will take it for what it has been: a learning experience. Any lesson in life is worth learning even if it is seeing what some people think the meaning of community really is!

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Biltmore (Mom's bucket list trip)

My mom was asked to attend an event in Charlotte NC, as a “reward” for attending the event she wanted to go to the Biltmore in Asheville.  So on Saturday afternoon after our event we packed up the car and headed to Asheville.  The drive was so stunningly beautiful I know my words or images can’t do it justice. (Mostly because the images are from my cell phone)

We got up early on Sunday and drove the 10 minutes to the gate.  Everyone was very nice and directed us to a parking lot to take the shuttle to the house.  The road was winding and beautiful.  Fall in Asheville is just spectacular.  The vibrate colors are beyond anything I had seen before. The shuttle driver did a little spiel about the little bachelor cabin Mr Vanderbilt built.  The kind driver talked about how the new Mrs Vanderbilt must have felt riding in the carriage up to the house for the first time.  We were not disappointed.  The sight took our breath away.  

We decided to tour the house first.  If you have not been and decide to go please get the audio tour. It has so much information and you are not stuck reading the guide.  You want to be looking around the whole time.

As you start the tour each room is better than the last.  There is staff everywhere to assist with questions, they all seemed to love their jobs and they all were full of information.  The up close views of the textiles and wall coverings are amazing.  I think I could walk it ten more times and see something new during each one.  I could not get over the kitchen, the copper pots and pans are original. As in everything all good things come to an end and before we knew it we were done with the tour and it was time to go tour the gardens.

At this point I was glad I choose my walking shoes for this adventure.  The gardens are large and numerous. The mums were in bloom and their were so many beautiful colors. The rose garden was at the end of blooming but still had some beautiful flowers.  The shrub garden was so cool.   But I have to admit my favorite was the hot house.  The tropical plants are so calming and beautiful.  

As we walked back to the house we decided to do some shopping then head back to the car so we could drive to the winery.  She shops are nice and again I was impressed by the friendly staff… These people love their jobs.  It makes visiting there so much fun.

The drive to the Biltmore Winery was beautiful. The winery tour is included in your ticket price and there is a free tasting at the end.  It’s a self guided tour and it was fun if you enjoy wine.  We also hit Antler village.  There was a film to watch that was great about the history of the home and land.   We met the master woodworker who was chatty and helpful.   There is a playground for kids to burn some energy if all the walking does not do it for you.  I suggest hitting the creamery and getting a waffle cone of Biltmore Vanilla… It was yummy.

The day was over and it was time to head back to the hotel.  Our feet hurt, but we both left with a smile.  It was early to bed as we had a long drive back to reality but I have to tell you it was an adventure of a lifetime.