I keep an app on my phone that gives me the weather...not just in Chicago, but at our lakehouse as well as Asheville. Oh, and Cupertino, wherever that is. I love seeing how it's 85 in January there while we are in the single digits. Helps me be a silent martyr. But anyway...we are in Asheville, N.C. at our condo and I am so loving every minute. We are really lucky to have gotten here twice this year. And they had a pretty substantial snowfall Friday, it was still here and slowly melting when we arrived Saturday night. I took these snaps Sunday morning when we went out for brunch.
Look at those skies! We have been to Asheville now about 5~6 times, the third time was the deal breaker and we knew we had to invest in property here. And to get to use it...priceless! We have always come in the spring, in fact, I can't remember a time that The Husband and I have ever taken a vacation other than in the spring. It just works out that way. Lake time is a frenzy all summer long and then the holidays seem to spring up out of nowhere. By April or May we are ready to climb out of our skin to get away. What I'm trying to say is that I've never been here in the fall. It's a whole different sort of beautiful. There isn't that sort of hazy atmosphere that we have in the Midwest this time of year, in fact, everything seems very focused and clean cut, sharp. Can you see that in the above picture? The temps have been in the mid to high
sixties, but we had warm clothes from our trip here from Chicago, which wasn't much better.
It has been sweater weather and perfect. The worst thing, the time change. Chicago is an hour behind and then we set the clocks back so we were two hours behind and actually, we just don't know who to believe right now. We are on "No Time"! ;-)
I love trying new foods away from home. We had brunch Sunday morning at the Grove Wood Cafe. Adjacent to it is a museum and gallery of artisan's works. There is SO much talent here. Anyway, I ordered a sandwich consisting of hummus, avocado, tomatoes and sprouts. The bread was made here and it had bits of dill in it and was slightly toasted. The Husband laughs at me, I whip out my phone and start tapping in ingredients and notes (back in the day I kept a notebook and pen in my purse just for these moments). Of course I can get this at home, it just seems different far away, I guess I want to recapture the feeling by making it in my own kitchen once the trip is a memory. It was really, really good! And we loved the gallery. I picked up two Christmas gifts. Yay!
I've been here with my Asheville blogger friends before and this time I thought I would share it with The Husband. One thing, a beautiful thing, is that we both love exploring antiques stores and flea markets. I think he actually loves it more than me. This is a really cool place. Clean, spacious, very original pieces and even furniture (as in new). It's almost a gallery of sorts. Lots of garden items outside. The Husband fell in love with two old chippy, rusty wrought iron settees and truly wracked his brain on how to get them home. The woman manning the counter wasn't really familiar with the ways of the U.S. Postal Service, or UPS for that matter, so we let it go. I have to admit, I never knew we shared an affinity for this sort of stuff. Am I rubbing off on him? When the day comes that he brings home an old olive bucket or some antlers, I'll know he's a convert.
This is one huge tobacco basket that someone wove pieces of metal into. It was quite interesting...just thought you might like to see the variety of of offerings they have here.
And this is what I came away with...no, not the whole darn thing! You may want to tap on the picture to enlarge it. These are little painted metal sculptures of bluebirds, cardinals and owls. They are on hangers that then have a spring and then the critter, so they sort of spring up (as in boing!) and bob around. I love them! At first I thought Christmas ornaments, but I must admit, the cardinals look like they could eat the tree if they so desired. Then I thought how cute they would be in the summer hanging from lower branches of a tree...so, they are going to be multi~functional! I just bought a few birds, the owls give me the creeps.
We can't come here without hitting Tops For Shoes. It's a great shoe place but nothing out of the ordinary, just sort of old fashioned service that we love and miss these days. I just happened to discover that they sold "Toms" shoes and my girls are great fans. I love them (and they do, too) because for every pair you buy, a new pair is donated to a child in need. But this always turns into a circus...they text me the ones they want and then, there are all the variables that go wrong; the size, the style, the color...so I stand around the store looking like a nit~wit on my cell phone, like, "Wow, the broad can't get off her phone long enough to look at shoes." Never judge a person on their phone, unless they are in a vehicle or blocking your way in Target. So Emily is done, Abby I will get later and I found myself a pair of comfy (finally) Hunter's. I bought Abby a pair two Christmas's ago. They are solid rubber and you have to have a lot of cushioning via thick socks and/or liners. We nailed that (we wear the same size) but because we are short, thus short legs, the tops would dig into that "behind the knee" area. Anyway, the Husband and I have plans to go to a nature center Thursday or Friday and do some horseback riding so I picked up a pair of mid~calf Hunter's and I believe Abby and I will be good to go in the nasty weather this winter and spring. And I would recommend to anyone that isn't cleaning out a barn, go for the mid~calf.
My guy and I are fun shoppers. We should do this for a living. We go up and down the streets (in any town/city we are in), browse through store after store, and about every 2-3 blocks we duck into a bar and have a drink and sometimes split an appetizer. Rinse and repeat. The Husband loves this pub, Lexington Avenue Brewery. or LAB. They have a great appetizer...Green Chili Pork Nachos with red beans, Queso blanco and scallions. Notes, notes, notes.
We had plans, and we so looked forward to meeting Mary and her husband Bob from Raleigh. Good friends that I met through through blogging three years ago when we first came to Asheville. Last May when we wove our way from D.C. through Virginia, we took a little detour to Raleigh and spent an evening with them, So it was just the icing on the cake to meet up with them again here. They already had plans to be here but also accommodated us. We met at The Lobster Trap, a very casual place right in town. These are fun pictures. Bob and I ordered the Cioppino, and like ribs, we were given bibs! So here I am helping him prepare for our feast. Cioppino is also known as "Fisherman's Stew". A somewhat thin tomato based broth with an abundance of clams. oysters, shrimp and various white fish, as well as a few veggies. Lots of crusty bread help soak up those juices. Hungry?!! The Husband and Mary had the salmon which looked outstanding. We were quite happy and content after this feast!
We had a ball, laughing and talking. It is such a unique and amazing thing to meet a blogger (and in this case their spouse) and then get together several more times. There is a short history and still so much to know about one another. I have such an affinity with Mary, and Bob is just one of the most happiest, upbeat, and ever jovial person all around. You just can't help but smile when you re in his company.
After dinner Mary and Bob came back with us to our condo, our "home". Now this is what makes a house a home. Friends. I can't decorate, although I may buy fresh flowers. This is a "hotel" of sorts and all the units must be uniform and furnished by the management. Even though we "own" our space, that's just the way it is. Then again, we have maid service everyday! ;-) So I happened to have some apples and cheese in the fridge. We had some wine and a fire going and it was fun and happy and most of all, I felt truly AT HOME here in Asheville for the first time.
I've been rambling a good long time here now. We relaxed today reading, watching TV and I made lunch. We generally eat just two meals a day, I have some basics...cereal and bagels for breakfast, and then we make do with a small snack and dinner out. Or we have a breakfast here and then a lunch out. I've made simple dinners a couple of times. We really live here. You do not want to know what we pay for our rental car, You have to cut corners somewhere.
There is a small area of shops practically within walking distance of us and we hit them early this evening before dinner. Chico's, Coldwater Creek, J. Crew and my fave...Williams & Sonoma. I have to say my shopping has been quite light. I just don't have room in my bags. Almost everything I've picked up are gifts...some for Christmas, some not. I can't hide gifts from my kids...I give them away early at least until Dec. 1. :(
I spied this pale, dusty gray/blue table runner at W&S and it was speaking to me. Thanksgiving? Why not? Sometimes you just get a feeling. And my mind is whirling with possibilities. I can't wait to fiddle with some of my other linens and dishes to come up with ideas, And of course find out who the heck is coming to dinner! lol!
I miss my dogs!!! I wish they could text me! Jeff and Emily take turns coming and taking them out midday. Playing with them for a bit... but I know it's just terrible for them to sleep all day with just that brief intermission til Abby gets home at 6 p.m. And then she goes to bed early. Emily came Monday on her day off and brought them to her house. Now good 'ol Rusty is still quite a wild boy. But Milo is older and wiser and doesn't tolerate much! Tomorrow Jeff is going to take Milo to his house to hang with cousin Tulo. Layla will have to stay home...Tulo is a gentle giant but she is terrified of him. And Jeffery's home is humongous, we might not find her for days!
Tomorrow we are getting up with the sun to take a day trip to a town called Blowing Rock, just under 2 hours away. I'm so excited. Not sure what to expect but I've been to the website and I hear it's a great town to explore, shop and eat. I will tell you all about it the next time I come by. We get home very early Saturday morning and I have much to do before my date with the doctor Monday morning. Wish me luck. :)
I'm joining up with Stan and Jody at Rooted In Thyme for Simple And Sweet Fridays. Please go and have a look at their Etsy shop. She has the most beautiful handmade velvet and knit pumpkins. I ordered a few today and I definitely plan on using them straight through December 1!!!