Take II in Asheville, North Carolina! Mom had a conference there earlier this month, so of course I tagged along. Weather was still a bit hot and sticky, but turned beautiful just in time for us to leave ;-)
We stayed in the notable Grove Park Inn, which just celebrated its 100th year in business. I have to add we stayed in the original, 100-year-old part of the hotel too. The below picture is not mine, unfortunately, it was taken off of the website, but the two wings on the side are newer, the middle is the original section and where we stayed.
Everything else in this post is mine ;-)
View of the sixth floor where we stayed
Looking down to the third floor atrium. We found out that a ghost, known as the Pink Lady, was often seen meandering around on our floor. It was said she was a mistress of a hotel guest who fell, or may have been pushed, from the sixth floor to her death. Luckily, we never saw her ;-)
View from our tiny, high window
Close up of a house on the hill seen from our window
Front of Grove Park Inn
Back of Grove Park Inn
There’s Mom longingly looking out at the Smokey Mountains
View of the spa below the hotel
On our first night, we enjoyed an extremely wonderful dinner on the Sunset Terrace. Both the food, and the view, were highly enjoyable.
The next morning we woke up and filled up on the breakfast buffet so we would have enough energy to tackle the Biltmore House. We visited the Biltmore on our last adventure in Asheville, but the gardens were completely barren as they were prepping it for bulbs. So we made our way over again, this time to check out the gardens. And this time, we were in luck!
After the gardens, I took a turn around the back of the house to see the view of the mountains.
Then around the front to get closer shots of the gargoyles and statues.
Another thing I didn’t get to do the last time we were there was get a full-frame picture of the house and front lawn, so I decided to make the trek up to the knoll where you could get see the view.
It was very difficult to get a shot without a bus in it!
After waiting at least 10 minutes, I gave up and started making my way back to the house. I should have waited a little while longer because OF COURSE the scene was clear as I was crossing the lawn!
It’s quite impressive from any angle.
It’s probably a really good thing that I didn’t wait longer on the hill because the MOMENT I reached the house and boarded the bus, it POURED down rain. Can we say good timing?
The bus took us over to Antler Hill Village where we rested our feet for a bit, then went to the winery for our free wine tasting ;-)
We also checked out the livestock. Horses, donkeys, chickens, goats, sheep and ducks. Oh my!
We had a low-key dinner at Tupelo Honey’s. We ate there last year and couldn’t stop thinking about the homemade biscuits and blueberry jam, so we HAD to go back! And the fried okra. They call it southern popcorn. YUM!
Mom had sessions all day so I was on my own. I had done some research of things to do in the area that I didn’t think she would want to do and found that the Aquarium of the Smokies wasn’t too far away. Only a 2 hour drive, each way, in Gatlinburg, Tennessee ;-)
The drive was gorgeous, winding through the mountains, fog rolling in and out.
Gatlinburg is a quaint, beautifully scenic little town.
Unfortunately it’s nothing but a tourist trap.
But, I’m here, so I guess I fell right into it.
Poison Tree Frog
I love these things. They emit this light that seems to travel from their “pod” down to their tentacles.
The main attraction there was the shark lagoon and underwater walkway.
Trying to entice the sharks up to the surface.
There were spots where you could look down into the walkway.
After the shark tanks, there was a break in the fish and I came upon the penguins ;-)
They were either sleeping…
…but mostly sleeping!
More rain, but I was inside so it made no matter to me.
Back to the fish!
This adorable thing is a frogfish.
This scary thing is a Giant Japanese Spider Crab. They are HUGE!
I tried to enhance this one a bit. There is a man holding his young son. The crab pretty much comes up to the man’s thighs!
On my way back, I listened to the GPS, and instead of leading me back to the freeway, it led me in the opposite direction. But it turned out fine because it took me through Pigeon Forge! I’ve always wondered what was in Pigeon Forge. And now I know. It’s the Las Vegas of Tennessee!
There must have been a classic car convention because every parking lot was full of classic cars.
But, the cars did not distract from the carnivals, arcades, mini-golf courses and tourist traps lining the street.
We had another wonderful dinner at the Red Stag Grill in the Grand Bohemian Hotel. A stark contrast to where I spent my day ;-)
After dinner we drove around looking for a neon sign I saw the last time but didn’t take a picture of. Shockingly, we actually found it!
I had planned on getting up and doing some hiking looking for waterfalls, but after mapquesting the night before, I discovered the hikes were at least an hour and a half away, one way. So…I decided to sleep in instead ;-)
After Mom finished up with her sessions, we headed out for some shopping and driving along the Blue Ridge Parkway.
Any one of these houses would be fine with me, thank you.
We then went back to the hotel to relax for a bit before dinner. We sat in the lobby and had a couple of drinks (well, I had a couple anyway).
This was the elevator we had to use everyday, believe it or not. It came with an elevator operator!
Dinner was in the Blue Ridge dining room where they have a seafood buffet every Friday night. I ate a lot. And I mean A LOT. When I say a lot, I mean like 7 plates worth of food. Not.Ashamed.At.All.
The view was unbelievable too ;-)
After all that food, we had to sit in the rockers in front of the giant fireplace and let it all settle.
All good things must come to an end. We had to leave Asheville behind and go back to the real world. But at least the real world has wild flowers ;-)
Asheville is a quaint, quiet, beautifully scenic place to visit to just unwind and relax. It was just what I needed.