Sunday, July 31, 2016

BEAUTIFUL ASHEVILLE IN SUMMER


I am technically still on vacation, we leave bright and early at 10:45 tomorrow morning and with the time change we will be home at 11:15 a.m.  Love that.  And it's just enough time for a short nap~~from takeoff to landing.  I have motion sleepiness.  
Seriously; planes, cars, trains.  It's a great way to pass the time snoozing but not when I'm driving and it has happened on long boring trips.  Coffee is seriously needed.

You know I have to start off a post with a pretty photo.  My flowers are doing well despite the heat and I didn't have to worry about them as Chicago has been deluged with rain.  Then again that causes the weeds to pop up everywhere, but as long as we have cooler weather this coming week I can play in the garden.  I miss that a bit and Milo and Layla (a lot).  



It was great to walk in the door of our little place here in the mountains.  The weather was sweltering but we were really excited to see Asheville in the summer.  In the 5 years we've been here we've only come in the spring and fall.  The lakehouse keeps us busy from April until September. 

 We hit the pool right away and I wish I had brought my camera or phone but I was thinking all that I needed and wanted was my water and sunscreen.  I was really tying to get away from the media other than a little Instagram to document the trip.  Thanks for the 'likes' ladies.  I'm guessing it was in the low 90's and in the few steps from our lounge chairs to the pool my feet felt like I was walking on hot coals.  In spite of the heat we enjoyed ourselves.  The pool is large and sparkling clean.  There is a hot tub that can probably hold 20 people.  That's a lot of fun in the evening when it gets cooler, you really get to know people as the conversation starts to flow.  There's also a fire pit which is also great for cool nights.  This area is surrounded by black wrought iron fencing, brick and stone walls, gorgeous hedges and blooming plants.  The only thing it needs is a little bar and waiter, and perhaps a few cabanas.  Ha!  Although the 90 degree heat continued all week, this was our one and only trip to the pool but as you can see from the above pic, I enjoyed time on our balcony to kick back and relax in the shade.  Fresh air always makes me feel alive.



This was the year of trying new things, mostly restaurants we had never been to and parts of Asheville we weren't familiar with.  I don't want to go into restaurant reviews but I took a few photos here and there to give you the feel of some of the wonderful eateries and great food we had.

My sister in law was here last month with her daughters and they gave us a gift certificate to a restaurant right here in Biltmore Village.  Cantina is fantastic...gourmet Mexican food.  We had dinner there twice, both times dining al fresco (my favorite).  Funny, we had never heard of it.  



And how can you not celebrate your first night at home in the mountains without an after~dinner drink?  we dined at 2 other 'new to us' restaurants, Chestnut and Fig.  We met long time friends at each restaurant.  I can't rave enough about the food in Asheville.  I have written a few restaurant reviews for social media but on my own blog I simply like to tell you about great places with great food.  These 2 equal good times.  


Fig is tucked away in a courtyard just a bit beyond where the shops taper off in Biltmore Village.  We are really happy with the area in which we chose to have our home away from home.  It seems like new shops and restaurants pop up every year.  But back to Fig.  We met up with some of our favorite people and had such a wonderful time it was miraculous we stopped talking enough to eat.  The menu is American with some perfect French touches and I like that the chef creates new and delicious dishes all the time. Our waitress was very sweet, you know when someone loves their job.  


Look at these Prince Edward Island mussels, we had them as an appetizer. We just can't get this quality seafood in the Midwest.  In the simple broth I detected (Yes, me, Inspector Clouseau) some garlic and kick and something earthy which balanced it quite nicely.  Just perfect.  I'm going low carb again so when I asked to substitute the potatoes in my dinner with another veggie, I was served the most fresh and greenest cut green beans immersed in a wonderful sauce under my steak.  Whenever The Husband cleans his plate he tells the waitress, "I didn't like it."  Always funny.  Well, we all could have said that.:)


We returned to Fig Friday night for a drink in the courtyard.  The weather was finally feeling a bit cooler and we felt so comfortable, full and content tucked away in this special little place.

I hope you can check out some of the restaurants we've loved in Asheville, hence the links.  We also had dinner at Corner Kitchen and Rezaz.  All of these are near our place in the village but for Chestnut, which is in downtown Asheville.   LAB (Lexington Ave. Brewery) is perfect for a mid afternoon snack and a local brew.   I don't like to use pics from the Internet so this is what you get.  So many times you miss the scenery in the moment when you're trying to capture it in photos.  It's not the same.  



Over the years I've shared pictures with you guys of downtown Asheville trying to capture the vibe, cool art scene and eclectic shops.  Sometimes you have to turn away from the shop windows and look at the beauty.  This is a city that has respect for its streets, sidewalks and parks. I'm always in awe by the scenery and the friendly shop and restaurant owners.  



I love stopping to listen to street musicians...



We drove past this wall and I told The Husband we just had to go back to it after we parked.  For some reason the "Before I Die" resonated with me more than the good 'ol Bucket List.  The latter sounds a bit...playful, and there's nothing wrong with that.  I watched people reaching in the pail for chalk; pondering a bit, laughing and talking with strangers, and for a few good minutes I felt a true sense of community and humanity.  I'm not going to start waxing poetic, I simply feel such a yearning for world peace for the sake of all the dreamers who believe hopes and dreams and goals are still attainable, and of course for our children.   



Here's a close~up.  I love them all, from, "Marry my best friend", to "Swim w/ the sharks".   The enthusiasm is catchy, no?  My contribution, "World Peace".   



We found new areas of Asheville to explore.  I had to take a snap of this shop.  I thought of some of my blog friends who love to knit and crochet;  Shelia, Helen, Meredith and Tammy to name a few.  Don't you just love the little sheep?  Is that a black sheep?  That would definitely be me. ;-D



We had been by the historical Grove Park Inn many times but never stopped.  It opened way back in 1913.  When we visited a few days ago we simply weren't prepared.  Without modern machinery in 1909 when construction began, mules pulling sleds and wagons brought in huge boulders down from the mountains.  This is a view of the inn I captured in a photo from one of the newer wings.  We walked and read all of the information posted here and there on the walls.  So many past presidents stayed at the inn while speaking at various venues in Asheville.  President Obama actually took a 2 week vacation here with his family last year.  And a host of dignitaries, writers, artists and movie stars from waaaaay back also enjoyed this magnificent inn.  The Husband and I sat in a little pub area off the lobby where we had a cocktail and a plate of small bites; roasted cauliflowers with cheese and garlic and a sweet pea mint sauce.  You can bet I'm going to try to duplicate this.  



You can see the mountains in the distance beyond this 18 hole golf course.  Maybe I can entice my boys visiting using this as bait.  ;-D 



I am so grateful for the friends I've made in Asheville through blogging.  Just the best.  We were so lucky to meet up with a few...it takes perfect timing.  I received this lovely gift from one sweet friend.  All of you ladies, please know I enjoy when we can get together and pick up like there aren't miles between us.  Friendship.  How lucky we are to have it, even 'across the miles'.

I have to stop here.  I'll post a bit more later, I just wanted to touch base.  I love vacations but I really do miss those darn dogs.  I simply can't think about them or I get very down.  We have a house/dogsitter but I know 'normal' life with The Husband and I is something that keeps them calm.  My kids tell me I'm becoming neurotic about them but really, Milo has seizures when he's upset and Layla pretty much loses her bladder function all over the place when she's frightened by anyone new.  The bare truth!

Off I go.  Oh, I wanted to mention that I'm having a glitch on my laptop with sending emails directly to you from your comments.  I feel it's more important to visit your blog when I see a comment yet I'd like to respond to a question and that thought gets lost in the process.  So if you don't get an email from me, please know I'll be prompted to visit you as soon as possible 

Welcome August.  Hopefully smooth sailing!

Have a great week...

Jane x



40 comments:

Starting Over, Accepting Changes - Maybe said...

It looks like you are having a wonderful time in Asheville despite the heat.

Silvana Joanne said...

What a great post! I'm glad to see you had such a nice time Jane. I was following along on your instagram page :-) I still have one week to go before I go on vacation and I am so looking forward to it. The weather has been super hot here so I can't wait to get to the beach and cool off. Hope you have a great month of August!

DUTA said...

Your "home away from home" sounds great. So does your vacation in Ashville. I've enjoyed reading about the pool, the balcony, the eateries, the bucket list, the inn where the famous stayed. And of course, viewing your pictures which are "worth a thousand words".

Vicki @ lifeinmyemptynest said...

It looks like you have been doing lots of outdoor dining - my favorite. Enjoy your last day!

ann said...

It is nice to get away and explore. Let Mother Nature take care of things at home. You can clean up her mess later.

Penny from Enjoying The Simple Things said...

Asheville is a great city and I love all of the restaurants you mentioned. Glad you were able to meet up with some of gals! Sorry I missed you this time around.

Kim said...

I always love going on vacation with you, Jane! The wall is really neat. I think I would sit there, read them all and realize how truly boring I am!! ;-)

Karen said...

Loved this post and the opportunity to see Asheville. I was there years ago and don't remember very much, as it was a business trip. I have a cousin who has his studio there, now I can see why, it's a lovely location!

Beth said...

You got a great flight time. When we were in Asheville in May there were only two choices for flight time into Chicago: 6:00 a.m. and 5:45 p.m. (Perhaps we chose the wrong airline). I wasn't too crazy about the 6 a.m. flight but we made it.
I can tell you love Asheville! We really enjoyed it ourselves; lots of fun. We have eaten at Fig and seen the Grove Park Inn. We did spend the bulk of our time on the Biltmore estate; for a short trip like ours there is plenty to do right there. Your condo looks great, Jane. Very nice, very relaxing with the pool, hot tub, fire pit and balcony. Thanks for sharing and hope to see you sharing from the lakehouse again soon!
Hugs, Beth

podso said...

It sounds like you had a wonderful week in the mountains. And enjoyed all kinds of restaurants. I hope everything is well when you arrive home. You could send us some of your rain!

Lisa said...

Jane,
I love when you take us along on your travels! Asheville looks so beautiful! Glad you had such a wonderful time. Have a great week!

Kathleen George said...

I understand about missing the dogs and how they react when you're not home, a strong loving connection:). A beautiful town with lots of good eats, deliciousness at its best! Home sweet home with happy dogs to greet you, Kathleen in Az

Marty@A Stroll Thru Life said...

Sounds like the perfect vacation.

Pondside said...

Good morning, Jane. What a lovely holiday you've had in Asheville. Yours is the second post on this town that I've read this week. How I wish I could get in the car and just drive down there! The food sounds wonderful - love the idea of the little bites you had with your drink one evening and hope that if you replicate them you'll share your recipe.

Melanie said...

Sounds like a wonderful vacation, Jane! I had to laugh about your kids saying you were neurotic about the dogs, because I'm the same way with my cats when I'm away. I actually miss them. Maybe it's because we're empty nesters now? (Though I'm not an EN as of two days ago, again! lol) Tim calls me the Crazy Cat Lady.

Well, welcome back home to Chicago. It's a beautiful day to come back home with the sun shining and the temps not too hot.

PS - My back is doing fantastic. Just two yoga classes (and they kick my butt - they're intense classes!) has me feeling 99% better already. Now I know I absolutely can't let these classes slide anymore. This is what keeps me in better shape and pain-free.

Kathy Moreland said...

Sounds divine, Jane! I love the Asheville area. Glad you could visit the good restaurants and had a relaxing time. Take care!

20 North Ora said...

Sounds like a fabulous place to getaway to. Glad you had a wonderful time. Have a great week and stay cool. We're really heating up here in Oklahoma this week.

Judy

It's me said...

That must be a wonderful time.....happy week love Ria x

Traci said...

Asheville looks gorgeous! I fall asleep if we're moving too! I had a really nice nap on the train from Boston to NY! My husband says the same thing when he finishes food at a restaurant!

Empty Nester said...

I've been visiting Asheville for decades and it never disappoints. I love having friends and family up there so I don't have to do the usual touristy things. Living in a tourist town (Charleston, SC) I tend to avoid the tourists. LOL

Mary@mydogsmygardenandmary said...

I always love your posts. They are so interesting and amazing. Thank you for the visit in Asheville. I was there about 15 years ago, but didn't have the time to visit the town. I did however tour the Biltmore Estate.

I know your little one missed you and probably were so excited to have you back home. I am so glad that you had a terrific rest and vacation.

Hugs,
Mary

Rita C. said...

Hi Jane, so glad you were able to have what sounds like a great time. Slide into the routine back hone nice and easy, enjoy your fur babies' company and the garden. Happy August!

Junkchiccottage said...

Even with the heat it looks like you had a great time. Safe travels home.
Kris

Lynne said...

You have me sold . . .
I/we need to pack our bags for Asheville . . .
Oh my . . . looks, sounds wonderful . . .

Doreen@foxdenrd said...

Something tells me this trip was a bit special for some reason. As if you were committed to doing some things that you've never done before, go places you've been meaning to, and seeing people without letting excuses get in your way. The tone of your post just hit me that way. Good for you!

I know how you feel about your fur babies. It's impossible not to miss them, they're so precious and loved.

xxx

Primitive Stars said...

Oh Jane, looks like such a charming place and your having a good time heat and all.Safe travels home,Hugs Francine.

Carla from The River said...

Hi Jane,
Love, love, love traveling with you.
I always enjoy what you write.
Love, Carla

Lisa @ Texas Decor said...

Looks like you had fun, despite the heat. What a beautiful place! I love seeing your vacation pics. Wishing you safe travels home. :)

Kathleen Grace said...

I am determined to visit Ashville some day, it sounds so beautiful! Glad you had a great time :)

Row homes and Cobblestones said...

Hi Jane,
By now you are back home and hopefully catching up on sleep. I enjoyed following your postings on IG on your vacation and actually did a spit take when I saw the photo of beer at 11AM, but what will linger in my thoughts is the blackboard and I am thankful you shared that. So all in all I felt I was your travel companion on your vacation spot in Ashville. Welcome back sweet lady.
xoxo,
Vera

Bluebird49 said...

So glad you both had a beautiful time! When our kids were young, Asheville was our vacations spot. It was heavenly!
Love, Trudy
PS Hope you are well!

Sarah said...

Asheville is a lovely spot for a summer break. Enjoy your time in the mountains.

Beatrice Euphemie said...

Sounds absolutely wonderful, Jane and seems like you made the most of every day with some quality R&R. Asheville is one place I would love to visit some day. It's so green and lush and everything does look very well loved and taken care of. The 'Before I die' chalk wall is great ! I laughed when I read the one 'swimming with the sharks.'Lol! Now that is one brave soul! I love that you were able to meet up with friends, old and new, too. So sweet how you worry about your fur-babies. I hate leaving mine, too - they develop all sorts of phobias that need time to recover from. The culinary delights have my lips smacking and I can't wait to see your versions :) Glad your gardens survived, too. Now it's back to the 'real world'. Take it slow and easy. xo Karen

Summer said...

Sounds really nice! Great photos ♥

summerdaisy.net

Linda said...

HI Jane...
So glad to see you are enjoying yourself...not all flustered!! hahaha!
WHen are you back home?
We are sweltering up here in Ontario...and it is not letting up!
Safe trip home...whenever that is!
Cheers!
Linda :o)

Kit said...

Oh what a lovely trip you had! I love all the photos and it is great to know you enjoyed the area to the max. I am the same way about leaving my cat. So I totally understand. I hope the rest of your summer is special and fun! :) Kit

Maggie said...

Your home from home in Asheville sounds wonderful, I'm so glad you're having such a good time. Hope your doggies forgive you soon!

Penny said...

It was great spending time with the two of you. So glad that you love our home turf!

~Lavender Dreamer~ said...

I've really enjoyed reading your posts about Asheville. We have a condo there and live most of the year in Florida. We're planning to be there in the Fall...can't wait! I'll have to add some of the restaurants that you mentioned to my list! Hugs, Diane

Jody and Stan said...

Jane, Asheville looks like a beautiful place to visit. I'll have to put it on my bucket list. I loved reading about all the places you went to. Glad you're having a wonderful trip ♥
Hugs, Jody