What do these two things have to do with one another, you ask? Well, nothing, except while we were in North Carolina there was a bit of painting being done here at home.
First, our vacation to Asheville, NC.
We got to Asheville on Saturday and our friends Phil and Terry picked us up at the airport. Now, I'd never been to North Carolina or anywhere near there for that matter, so I wasn't sure what to expect. You hear of the 'back-woods', 'hillbilly' folk that are reported to be in those parts, so I was a little apprehensive when I got off the plane and entered the airport to see this:
Yes, that's right. Front porch rocking chairs in the freaking airport terminal! I heard banjos begin to play in my head and fought my urge to turn around, get back on the plane and claim I'd made a terrible mistake and they needed to take me back home. Now.
Seriously, our experience in Asheville was great. A beautiful town surrounded by the Blue Ridge and Great Smokey Mountains. Asheville itself is a fairly diverse college town with tons of charm and character.
On the first day there we took a trolley tour around Asheville and learned a little about the area and it's history.
Almost the entire second day was spent at the amazing Biltmore Estate.
This place was unreal. It was hard to imagine having the cash at age 28 to build the largest single family home in America. The house was finished in 1895 and at 175,000 square feet, it's still the largest, privately owned home in this country. It was built by George Vanderbilt for himself and his mother to live in. She died a year after it was completed so this enormous house was all for just one person until he met his wife-to-be a few years later. Heck, I'd marry him just to get to live there! Walking through the house took most of the afternoon. The tour is self guided, which I thought was nice. It allowed time to take it all in and read about each room as you walk through it.
The next day we drove up into the mountains to take in some of the most beautiful scenery.
The water in this mountain stream was so clear, you could see right to the bottom even in the parts that were more than a few feet deep.
This is Chimney Rock. You can go all the way up onto the rock where you see the flag, but there was no way I was going up there. I can't stand looking down to the ground from my second floor windows, so standing at the edge of a damn rock, precariously perched the way that is was just something I did not feel the need to do.
I thought it looked like a big penis standing there. No one else seemed to think that. I know I have a dirty mind, but biggie size the picture, you'll see what I mean.
After that we went back into Asheville for lunch and then headed in the other direction and took the Blue Ridge Parkway up into the mountains for some views of nature that are totally unspoiled by people. This road took us up to a place called Craggy Gardens. I never did really understand what was implied by the name. There were no gardens. just great views looking out over the mountains at an altitude of about 5000 ft.
I was rather nervous on the drive up the mountain. I was sitting on the passenger side of the car and for most of the trip I was looking down at 1000 foot drops within a few feet of the road. I didn't like that part very much. The drive back down was much better.
It was a great trip and great fun with friends. Now I'm trying to talk them into meeting us in Chicago at some point so we can show them around our favorite part of the Midwest.
Before we left, we found a painter and picked colors and arranged for him to start on painting the entire inside of the house. Check back to my previous post for before shots. Here are the after shots.
At this point only the bedrooms and bathrooms are done.
More to come as the place finally gets some color!