Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Slide Show From Our Trip!

We needed a vacation! So we up and took one! Off to Biltmore we went, via Gatlinburg, TN and Cherokee, NC. I was pretty worried about the scenic byway from Gatlinburg to Cherokee but didn't want to miss Santa's Land so I sucked it up and went anyway! The roads turned out to be better than I had imagined and I never even had to use the motion sickness medicine I went armed with! On the way down we stopped in Corbin, KY, home of the original Kentucky Fried Chicken. The building is now a museum/restaurant combo and I'm quite glad we didn't miss it! Especially the chocolate chip cookies!

We changed our accommodations in Gatlinburg prior to our trip after friends recommended the Gatlinburg Inn, one of the original hotels built in the 1940s. Last remodel was late 1960s early 1970s. All in all, it wasn't bad, except for the horrible mattress. It was a rock and coming off a water bed I have issues anyway! I woke up all night long and finally attempted to pad myself with pillows. The ambiance was retro with a capital R and we got a huge kick out of having a real key to open our room door! I confess, I snatched the Do Not Disturb/Maid Service sign from the door because it too was retro and I really needed it!

We had a little time the next morning to catch a glimpse of Gatlinburg and all its tackiness. It and Pigeon Forge are just quirky enough to warrant an extended stay some other time! We didn't take the time to eat at the legendary Pancake Pantry but we snapped a picture.

On to Cherokee via the Great Smoky Mtns. National Park. Windy roads and scenery pretty much describes it! It was much cooler up there in the mts and I kept changing my pants; over the course of the day I wore shorts, capris and jeans at one time or another! We drove into Cherokee and it was Gatlinburg on a much smaller scale but with more of an Indian theme! The Hampton Inn there was definitely a step up from the Gatlinburg Inn, especially the bed! We took pictures of old signs as we made our way to Santa's Land, the real reason we were even there in the first place! It was all we expected and more! Circa 1966. The buildings and concrete characters get a fresh coat of paint every spring but other than that it was pretty much as it was back in the day!

We acted like little kids and jumped into Santa's sleigh, sat on the REAL Santa's lap, rode the little train, took a helicopter ride, looked at wild animals, did the paddle boats and got our money's worth! Tim road the Rudicoaster but I wimped out at the last minute! The highlight of the day, other than the baby bear cub bottle feeding session, had to be the souvenirs we found in the gift shop on close out! Most were from the 1960s and 1970s! The sweet manager even went back to the warehouse and dug out more for us! We left with a boxful.

Dinner that night was at Paul's where we had "the best cheeseburgers" and were enjoying the nice breeze while we ate on the front porch until our alarm company called. House alarm had gone off and I had to call our house/cat sitter. There I was smack dab in the middle of the Smoky Mts. barely getting cell phone service and having to deal with all that drama. At that point, I realized that one just simply cannot get away and have a relaxing vacation! Our sweet neighbor ran back down to our house and couldn't find a thing out of whack. I called ADT back and they went through the list of what could have set it off from a moving curtain to a bug. (Upon our return, I immediately discovered bird poop and realized we'd had a BIRD in the house! Tim found the ex-bird the next morning in his editing room, ick!)

Sunday morning we checked out after a nice breakfast and headed to Asheville. More windy roads! We found a small scrapbook store in Maggie Valley and the most crowded book store in the whole entire world! It was a hoarder's heaven! Unfortunately, the prices were high and it smelled musty. I still found a bagful and the experience was priceless!

We finally arrived in Asheville about noon and checked into the Inn on Biltmore Estate. Just sounds fancy doesn't it? It was! Then we hightailed it over to the Estate where we met up with our neighbors who just happened to be there at the very same time! We got a group shot but I don't have it yet so I will post later! Too fun though! Tim and I went ahead and toured the GIANT MANSION and then took a specialty tour called Behind the Scenes. That place is really something! And hot! Let me tell ya, NOWHERE in any literature or website or anything did anyone mention that there was no A/C!!!!! Hello! It was rather toasty outside and I was dressed for the usual Siberia I find inside buildings in the summer! That was rough but they did at least have fans and open windows.

We dined at Texas Roadhouse for supper after going 'round and 'round with the concierge trying to find a place to eat! She just didn't seem to understand that the on site restaurants weren't for me and I wasn't too interested in paying $12 for a cheeseburger. Dinner was fab as always! And we found out that Andie McDowell lives in town.

We went back to the Inn and sat outside on the back terrace for a bit. Can we say view? Wowzer.

The next morning we treated ourselves to the breakfast buffet in the dining room. Yummo. Best $46 breakfast ever! Then on to the Estate again via our included shuttle service. Tim went through the house once more and I read a book in the old converted stables after hitting the gift shop. We toured the gardens and I snapped a really nice picture of a bee on a flower. I'm really excited about that! I'm really glad I didn't get stung! We took another tour called Family and Friends and were able to see more rooms that weren't open for the regular tour as well as period clothing and such.

And guess what we did for supper that night? We met my mom and aunt at Vinnie's for the best NY style pizza we've had since Mama's in Tucson! Yeah, they just happened to be in town passing through from Georgia! Too fun! We also got to see the beautiful B&B they were staying at!

Tuesday was shop Asheville day. I imagine we were the only guests in The Inn's history who had the concierge mapquest every thrift store in town...her fleeting expression was priceless I must say! I told her that's what we like to do. So, armed with our mapquest directions we ventured out beyond the gates to thrift and go antiquing after filling our bellies once again with yet another delicious breakfast! In the end, we hit far more antique malls and shops than thrift stores and didn't get to half of the ones on the list! Found some goodies though and had a blast! Had a yummy dinner at a local Mexican restaurant and then I beat Tim at a mean game of Travel Battleship (He's still never won a game of Battleship in the 11 years we've known each other! I rule the Battleship waters!)

The next day it was time already to pack up and leave NC! We actually pulled away at 8:30 am and arrived home in New Albany exactly 12 1/2 hours later. (It's only a 6 hour drive) We were doing pretty well, stopping only to get a picture of the Thacker Christmas Inn sign until we hit Clinton, TN. There we managed to kill four hours at the antique shops. And most were closed because it was Wednesday which I was very whiny about! We had also planned to stop at the Parkette Drive In in Lexington, KY on the way home but the woman at AAA gave us directions to a residential neighborhood instead of the correct directions. They are going to get an earful about that in the very near future!

We finally arrived home to our kitties, emptied the entire car and collapsed! Still going through the stuff that came back with us but will post some pictures soon! And, we forgot to take our feathers so there are no Wigwamers Do Cherokee or Wigwamers Do Biltmore pictures which is very, very sad.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Book Sale- HOT HOT HOT

I wasn't going to go. I said I would never go again. A few years ago I went to the Louisville Public Library sale and it was so awful I swore it off.

And then I went again last Sunday.

I was prepared for the unsorted mess that would greet me because that's how it was advertised.

What I wasn't prepared for was the quantity still remaining and the HEAT. Many of the books were still in boxes! It was at least 100 degrees in the high school gym that was the site for this year's book sale. I was drenched in sweat, my hair was wet, I could hardly breath! There were at least "200" other people in there along with me according to the woman I complained to!

I'm not sure that my $10 box of books and two hours worth of time was worth it but, well, maybe it was.

I crammed and crammed and packed and repacked to get all 56 books in that cardboard box! I was pretty determined not to use two boxes! I was doing great until I discovered the encyclopedias from 1906 and we are all aware of my encyclopedia weakness.

And then as I write this post and upload pictures I am once again stumped at which picture of the box of books to use. Do you see the problem? They are both good pictures! So, I decided to use both, one close up and one not so close up.

I learned my expert packing skills from my dad and in the book dept, from fellow book buyers!

And Then It Was Free Donut Day!

I love free!

So when I discovered that last Friday was National Donut Day and that Krispy Kreme was giving away one free donut per person I put it on the calendar!

Mom and I stopped by after hitting an estate sale presale right nearby and munched away on our just cooked still warm glazed donuts! Doesn't get much yummier than that!

We Saw Wicked!

I really had no interest in seeing this play when it came to Louisville last time. But when our friend Jamie mentioned free tickets, I suddenly became interested! I researched the story a bit on the internet and it actually sounded enjoyable.

So, when the official "invite" to usher at the KY Center and watch the show for free came our way, we jumped on it! It was actually pretty fun and even though we didn't end up with actual seats this go 'round, standing and sitting on the floor was well worth it! The performance was incredible, the costumes were fabulous and the music and acting top notch! I just loved every minute of it! Tim enjoyed it too!

Thanks Jamie and Janice!!

Mr. and Ms. Cute

I thought we needed a cute cat picture right about now! So, ta da! Here's one!

Taste of Jeffersonville

Way back in MAY, we attended the annual Taste of Jeffersonville at Kye's. Once again, our good friends Jamie and Janice accompanied mom and I as Tim shot video and squeezed in some food tasting.

There didn't seem to be quite as many food vendors there as in past years but it was still fun and there was some "to die for" chicken from The Lighthouse in Jeff!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Diann's Book Release Day!

Once upon a time there were two young girls who lived in the very same neighborhood but never got to know each other until they met in 9th grade at Ferguson High School in Newport News, VA. They became fast friends and spent many an hour together. One of their favorite after school activities was to watch a "new" soap opera called Santa Barbara. The girls would watch the dramas of the Capwell and Lockridge families unfold daily and then get busy and do their homework.

Time flew by as they shared the ups and downs of adolescence together....boyfriends, dances, first cars, car accidents, trips to Nags Head, Mr. Hespenhide's 50 prepositions and finally graduation. Soon it was time to go off to college and start a new chapter in their lives.

Each girl went their separate way and they didn't talk as often or see each other as much but they always remained in touch and could pick up the phone and chat almost as if no time had even passed.

They would be in each others weddings, share sad times and happy times and move forward down the paths life took them.

And then one day one of them wrote a book. She called it The Outer Banks House. The author is Diann (Schnell) Ducharme and tonight after work I raced to Borders in downtown Louisville and proudly bought my very own copy! Always the sentimental one and scrapbooker, I toted along my camera and asked a couple of people if they would mind taking my picture with the book that my best friend from high school wrote. They happily obliged.

I am proud of Diann. She always excelled in English and creative writing. From the glimpses I caught of the novel, she's written a fine piece. She's headed down a new road and I hope it's one that brings her deserved success and joy. I had tears in my eyes as I read her dedication and acknowledgments. I guess I'm just a sap. But honestly, if anyone in the world deserves to have this moment in time it's my best friend from high school...Diann Ducharme.

Please visit her website at http://diannducharme.com/.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Howard Steamboat Museum Chautauqua 2010

May 15th brought another Chautauqua festival to the Howard Steamboat Museum in Jeffersonville, IN. Exactly 11 years ago on the very same date, also a Saturday, I met Tim! Little did either one of us know that fateful day that a couple of months later we would meet for supper and ultimately spend the rest of our lives together!

Saturday was a beautiful day and it was nice once again to sit under the same tree where we met and enjoy the festival, food and customers. I found a few goodies in the carriage house (antiques section) and fell in love with Anastatia's Button Jewelry! This artist makes the most beautiful bracelets out of gorgeous antique buttons and cuff links! I couldn't get enough of them and it was hard to pick out my favorites! I won't see them again until Christmas but they will definitely be worth the wait!

Tim got to try out the retro patio chair tray I found at the Goodwill last year! It was pretty cool although you had to be careful not to tip over the chair!

Sadly, it rained Sunday so we didn't go back except at the end of the day to retrieve the gazebo!