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...