I just returned today with my family from our spring break vacation to VA/NC. What a trip!! I made lists in the hotel using their complementary notepads/pens of all these events I did not want to forget. I have so much to blog about that it excites me! It is amazing what a week away from your computer can do to one’s mind. However, I just checked my email inbox. My apologies to all who emailed during last week. I will write back as soon as possible.
Where to start? I thought I would take tonight and just tell you the fun events in general. We were able to see family during our first half of the trip: aunts, uncles, cousins!, my grandparents, and even some second cousins…but really, first or second cousins does not matter in my mind. I love them all and seeing family was such a wonderful time~but I just have one regret…that I was only with one hearing aid all week. My left ear is still having problems with fluid behind the eardrum. The week before we left I had a hearing test–and it was not very good. So, I went on spring break Deaf in my left ear relying on only my right hearing aid (which is not the stronger of the two) and lip-reading skills. It had moments of frustration and isolation feelings, but for the most part even if I had no clue what the conversation was about, it was nice just being there seeing faces anyway.
Otherwise, the trip had many rewards: Go-carting with cousins; playing Scrabble with the grandparents (team Grandma and Marcia won!); I tried octopus (no comment); I turned a quarter-of-a-century old (yeah the big 2-5); we visited Samaritan’s Purse headquarters in Boone, NC; and I finished Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. I even added thirty new words to my vocabulary…now the task is learning to use them in my sentences. This might sound sarcastic, but my favorite new word is “odious.” I just laugh at the sound of it and love the way Elizabeth used it in her personal reflections of Mr. Darcy in the beginning of the book when she thought him as prideful. Such a classic written story. I highly recommend it!!
And, as you might guess–we also saw historical places and lots of art!!! We visited Old Salem, NC. Being a Monday, all shops were closed but two: the bakery and the bookstore. It was such a nice day we still ventured around the street and saw the old buildings. Quite the place with interesting history!
They were not “one a penny, two a penny…”, but they were delicious!
They still use this brick oven today!
We visited Boone, NC and actually got a snow day there. Instead of going further in the Blue Ridge Parkway, we were able to see the town and the Mast General Store. It has been in business since 1883. They had a whole room of candy–mostly “old-time candy”, meaning candy that is now very hard to find anywhere else. We were able to stop into two art stores: an art shop where local artists’ work was on display and an art supply store. The more I see art, the more I see how much I can improve my art and how much there is to learn! I was able to get a book at the art supply store about using mixed media with your paintings. I can’t wait to try some of the ideas!
We were able to drive up Grandfather Mountain. I learned something new about winter beauty: hoar-frost. It is truly a beautiful frost that made me feel like I was entering the land of Narnia. Dad, Marcia and I walked the mile high swinging bridge. It was INSANE COLD!!!!!!!!! But it was fun memories having walked it in the blissful winter weather (and the hot chocolate machine was broken when we got back inside, LOL.)
And our final destination was Asheville, NC. We ate at a great pizza place called the Mellow Mushroom (thank you Melissa for the recommendation!!). Then the next day we toured the Biltmore Estate. I am just going to leave you with that suspense, because if I start on the subject this post will never end! Let’s just say having just been reading Pride and Prejudice, I felt that I was on the drive through Derbyshire towards Mr. Darcy’s Pemberly Estate. 🙂
The Biltmore Estate far exceeded any expectation I had of grandeur, art, history, beauty. It seemed so unreal. I literally felt like I was in France, not NC. I have much to tell you about the day here, but if curiosity overtakes you before my next post I added the website at the bottom.
Fun facts of that day: first, it was my birthday. What a birthday to remember!!! I am serious–this is milestone memory! I will have to plan something this great for when I turn 30. LOL. And second, I had an interpreter for both tours and I cannot thank her enough! I was able to understand everything or ask questions. I just really enjoyed that service! All in all, it was a great day with my family as we toured this historic landmark.
Mellow Mushroom…now a pizza place was once an old gas station. Pretty neat!
The front of Biltmore Estate.
Path leading out to the gardens.
We saw more art on the journey home. In Asheville there is a Folk Art Center which had more original artwork…art that I consider the last of “heritage art,” such as calligraphy, making dolls out of corn husks, or weaving (baskets, chairs or rugs on a loom). Art just amazes me…as it did Mr. George Vanderbilt!! And with that, I am putting myself in suspense for writing all about the day so I will end for tonight.
More to come!!!