A Grand Show

“This grand show is eternal. It is always sunrise somewhere; the dew is never all dried at once; a shower is forever falling; vapor ever rising.” John Muir

Early morning from the Blue Ridge Parkway.

The Path Of Least Resistance

It’s Thursday of what is turning out to be a very long week. The path of least resistance is pretty darn appealing right now.

So, instead of actually writing something that requires thought and effort, here’s a pretty picture to remind you to schedule yourself for some rest or adventure or whatever it is you need this weekend. It’s a long holiday weekend for many of us. Try not to waste it all on yard work and Netflix. Instead spend time doing the things that make your heart and mind truly happy.

I really wish I had a pep talk in me today but I’m running low on pep. Just remember that self care is not an indulgence and it is not selfish. It’s a form of self preservation and you owe yourself that much.

So, go forth and take care of yourselves, friends. We will resume our trip through North Carolina next time.

A Day On the Blue Ridge Parkway

The Blue Ridge Parkway is said to be one of the most scenic drives in the country. It connects the Shenandoah National Park’s Skyline Drive in Virginia with the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in North Carolina. It’s two lane, following the Blue Ridge Mountains, so it’s curvy and lots of fun to drive if you like mountain driving.

Work began in 1935 on the astounding 469 miles long road.

I have not driven the entire thing but have been on sections at various times and it is always a treat. There are side trips to enjoy from the parkway, scenic overlooks, and hiking opportunities. Plus, the looks of the mountains change with the weather and time of day.

We started out early to avoid Saturday morning sightseers. As we drove up the mountain road that morning, we experienced rain and gloom, saw sunshine burning off fog, felt the wind whip through our hair and even drive through a cloud high atop one mountain section.

It was early spring at the highest points where things were just starting to come alive. Down the mountain a ways, spring wildflowers bloomed and trees were in full leaf. The contrast was great fun to experience

The birds were especially vocal everywhere we went and this made my heart happy.

There are some things to see and do along the way including visitors centers, a folk art center and Mount Mitchell which is the highest point east of the Mississippi.

We took a couple of side trips that are worth stories of their own so I’ll tell you about those spots another day.

If you want to do some sightseeing but struggle with walking, this is great way to safely enjoy your natural surroundings. Pack a snack, roll down the windows, and enjoy the ride.

Back To Reality

I’m traveling home from an adventure with a friend today. There are so many stories to share but, for now, here’s a picture from the North Carolina Arboretum in Asheville.

I tell you to make the journey fun and am pleased to say that I did exactly that for the last few days. I’ll be dragging myself in tired tonight, almost overwhelmed with memories of beauty, history and the magic of finding something spectacular around the next bend.

Stay tuned. Stories will be on the way soon!

Christmas At Biltmore

I have been thinking a lot lately about an after Christmas trip a few years ago. I went to the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, North Carolina to see the mansion decorated for Christmas.

In case you don’t know, the Biltmore is known as America’s Largest Home with 175,000 square feet of living space. The 250 room home has 35 bedrooms, 43 bathrooms and 65 fireplaces. Built by George Vanderbilt (grandson of industrialist and philanthropist Cornelius Vanderbilt), construction required over a thousand men and about ten million pounds of limestone.

Modest, right?

The home was opened to family and friends for the first time on Christmas Eve 1895 despite the fact it wasn’t complete even after six years of construction. So it seems fitting that they celebrate Christmas in a big way each year.

This is an amazing place to visit any day – I was once there in the summer and it was fabulous.  However, it is truly special during the holidays.

You can’t take pictures inside the house and I regret that I have no photos of my own to show you. The house is decorated to the nines with dozens of gorgeous trees, wreaths, displays of poinsettias, garlands and other amazing pieces of holiday decor.

It is breathtaking.

Here are a few images from the outside.


If you go, keep in mind that the day after Christmas is typically their busiest day of the year. My advice is to either not go that day or get an early start in the morning. They have a gorgeous hotel on the estate but staying there will cost you. Consider choosing from one of the many hotels in nearby Asheville. That town also has a nice downtown with some neat shops and there’s a good bit to do in the area.

If you’re from Ohio, it is an easy trip straight down U.S. Rt. 23. Just watch your speed through Virginia. They’re pretty serious about their speed limits down there.

I wish I could remember the name of the sidewalk cafe where I had the most amazing blueberry pancakes ever. The ingredients were locally sourced and the atmosphere was a lot of fun.

Click here to look at other things to do in the Asheville area. 

Have you been to the Biltmore? Comment and tell me your favorite part. I’m a bit obsessed with the lion statues out front and have several pictures (including the one above) to prove it!