Biltmore ~ America’s Largest Home

Part of Katie and my hotel package in Asheville, North Carolina included a two day pass to Biltmore House and Gardens. Biltmore began in 1895 as George Vanderbilt’s vision and continues today under the stewardship of his descendants.

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Biltmore 006The family still owns 8000 acres of Blue Ridge Mountain land and this is just a fraction of what they started with. They sold thousands of acres to the Federal government which is now the Pisgah National Forest.

Biltmore 001A view from the Loggia. No photography was allowed in the house but they had an area for a photo op that the house provided.

1613887_752783355838_8978143314473116858_nYou could pay for a larger copy for $30.00, pricey. We opted for the free little version!

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This is just a taste of the Biltmore. You can imagine with 8000 acres that there is more to share.  The gardens were bursting with color from thousands of Azalea bushes.  We ended our day at the Biltmore House with a meal at Antler Hill Village and a tour of the winery. Stay tuned!

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My time is winding down here in Jacksonville. Tomorrow I’ll board a plane for Orlando and meet up with my Dear. Looking forward to it. I leave knowing our daughter will soon be reunited with her beloved and that makes me happy and oh so thankful.

One thing I know is that the Pacific Northwest is a very good location for me. I am quite intolerant of heat and humidity in my older years. My hair is very intolerant of the humidity, too. The “South” is fun to visit but I’m not looking to buy property here.

Road Trip Re-Cap

It’s time for ABC Wednesday and we are on the letter R.

Thank you to the ABC team!

I’ll share a few snapshots of my daughter and my road trip across the U.S.A. The reason for our road trip was to return her and her car to Jacksonville, North Carolina to be ready for her husband’s return from Afghanistan. The reunion will be rewarding for them. We left Seattle on April 27th and arrived at our final destination on May 4th.

In the meantime it’s interesting living in a Marine populated city with license plates from all over the U.S.A. I will leave Jacksonville on Thursday and re-unite with my Dear in Orlando, Florida for a conference he is attending and then finally be back home later in May.

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Day one on the road. We stopped in Spokane Valley for lunch with my son and his girl friend and then carried on.

P1050070Day one we drove across Washington and Idaho and into Montana!

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Day two started with snow in Bozeman, Montana. Retreating was not an option so we returned to the road hoping for good traction and no sliding on the road.

SeaJack #2 009Day two ended in Rapid City, South Dakota. We drove across Montana, down into Wyoming and across to South Dakota. Three states a day became our road trip theme. The other theme we did not want to repeat was snow but when we woke up in Rapid City to start our third day on the road snow was whipping side ways in some extreme wind conditions. Again retreat was not an option.

P1050082We learned to rely on Rest areas in many states across the U.S.A. They appeared just when we needed them most and they were all clean and well maintained. This is how the snow was sticking because of the severe winds in and around Rapid City.

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Many times along the roads that were unknown to us our minds recalled the reassuring verses in the New Testament from Matthew that read…

“Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?

I also would sing in my head…His eye is on the sparrow and I know He watches me.

P1050086Day three ended in Nebraska which means we traveled across South Dakota, into Iowa, and finished in Nebraska.

P1050111Day four we left Nebraska, entered Iowa again, and headed to Kansas City Missouri to meet up with a bloggy friend for RIBS!

Collages7After a great lunch and meeting Pam face to face along with her daughter we continued on to our stop for the night which would be just outside St. Louis, Missouri in the state of Illinois.  Day four ended up being a four state day!

P1050182On Day five our goal was to reach Hendersonville, Tennessee. We traveled along some rock lined highways and other areas full of green trees from Illinois into Kentucky and then down to Tennessee.

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On day Six we would only travel in two states Tennessee and North Carolina. Our goal was to take a scenic road to Asheville, North Carolina nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains for a two day retreat and rest before we traveled the final five hours to Jacksonville, North Carolina (Camp Lejeune Marine Base).

SeaJack #6 010Our scenic route took us through some towns that surprised us with their weird attractions not so much rural charm.

SeaJack #6 019Finally after passing a few attractions like these in Pigeon Forge we entered some refreshing views like these.

SeaJack #6 027We were rewarded after our sixth day of travel with dinner at the Omni Grove in Asheville, North Carolina with beautiful views of the Blue Ridge Mountains.

SeaJack #6 126 If you’d like to see more photos from this grand Inn click here.

Biltmore 066Our seventh day was spent at the Biltmore Estate and Gardens. The azaleas at the Biltmore were in their glory. I will be posting more about our day at the Biltmore in the future.

P1050206On day eight of our travels we reached our final destination in Jacksonville, North Carolina, home of MCCS Camp Lejeune. We checked into our hotel and started the planning lists for securing an apartment asap and setting up a temporary home for Katie and Andrew upon Andrew’s return and homecoming from Afghanistan. I’m happy to report that I’m preparing this post from that apartment with wifi and all the bare essentials are in place for Katie and Andrew to live comfortably for the next few months. I might have even lost a pound or two carrying boxes up the three flights of stairs to their third floor apartment. (no elevators)

Road trip mission accomplished. Semper Fi!

Relief and Rejoicing upon Andrew’s Return soon to commence!

 

Sunset Terrace at the Grove

We were so happy we listened to several recommendations we got to make sure we made it to the historic Omni Grove Park Inn in Asheville, North Carolina. Mary from A Breath of Fresh Air first suggested that Katie and I shouldn’t miss this historic Inn. Two co-workers of Dear’s also said it was a “not to be missed” destination.

SeaJack #6 121We arrived to Asheville on the 6th day of our Road trip across the U.S.A. We had preplanned a two day stop in this beautiful mountain city.

SeaJack #6 122 We made reservations on the Sunset Terrace for the evening that we arrived to Asheville. Can you see Katie on the right  looking down at me?

SeaJack #6 126The Terrace has wonderful views of the Blue Ridge Mountains.

SeaJack #6 127We had a nice visit with this local couple and I did mention they might end up in some of my photos.

2014-05-02 SeaJack #6Because of traveling all day and making our reservations later than we normally eat we ordered on the “light” side. No big steaks this night. Katie ordered Caesar salad, crab cake, and macaroni and cheese. I ordered a fresh beet salad and the onion soup.

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SeaJack #6 141For dessert we shared the Sticky Toffee Pudding.

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2014-05-02 SeaJack #62After our dinner and before we left we walked around the lodge and it was fun to see that they were featuring wines from our neck of the woods!

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We really enjoyed our time at the Historic Omni Grove in Asheland, North Carolina. As Mary told us even if you don’t have dinner on the terrace make sure you visit and enjoy a drink there. We thought sunset was the perfect time to be there, too. Thanks for the recommendation. This stop was one of the highlights of our SeaJack Road Trip!

Today in Jacksonville Katie has scheduled massages for us. We have come up with a few more necessary items to purchase for the apartment, too, so a little shopping is on the agenda.

What does Monday hold for you?

 

 

Colorful ~ A Photo Challenge

Biltmore 053The images I’ve chosen for the challenge are all from the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, North Carolina. My daughter Katie and I visited the grounds on our recent SeaJack road trip from Seattle to Jacksonville the week of April 28th through May4th. We visited the Biltmore Estate on Saturday May 3rd. Soon I’ll share an entire post of our time on the grounds.

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Biltmore 066Donna’s challenge this month is Colorful. To see some colorful posts or join in the fun click on the image below.

4ff58-personalphotochallengebuttonThank you Donna for your challenges!

Today in Jacksonville, North Carolina Katie and I are chillin in the apartment and not venturing out at all. It’s good to have a do nothing day!

The Here and Now!

Katie and I have been very busy in Jacksonville these last few days. We arrived here Sunday night and checked into our hotel and had dinner at O’Charley’s. On Monday we hit the ground running…

ApartmentFirst order of business was to find an apartment for Katie and Andrew. The second complex we visited had a one bedroom apartment available to rent on the 3rd floor with immediate occupancy subject to credit and background checks. Katie filled out all the forms and by 4:00 on Monday she had the keys to the new apartment.

Apartment1The one bedroom is 824 square feet and has nice high ceilings. It is 100 square feet larger than Dear and my condo that we had in California.

Apartment2There are some nice closets and the washer/dryer and all kitchen appliances are included.

Apartment3Of course upon close inspection we found some flaws but this is the nature of the beast with apartment living. One big thing is that the complex is pet friendly.

Apartment5Even though the apartment was supposedly cleaned and carpets washed after the last tenant left we still found an amazing amount of cat hair from just a once over in the living room with the vacuum. Disgusting! I’m thinking the apartment cleaners need to upgrade their vacuums!

On the bright side, the views from the windows are of a lovely green space between this apartment complex and the next one over.

Apartment4It was not easy for Katie and me to trudge up and down the 3 floors of stairs with the minimal belongings that they are setting up home with. We had to break down some of the boxes of kitchen items that Katie had packed so well and that were stored here in Jacksonville for the last eight and a half months because they were just too heavy for us to get up the stairs.

Tuesday was the big long move the boxes and possessions in day. We worked for many hours and shopped for some needed items in between. At 9:30 PM we finally made it back to the hotel pretty much in a delirious state of mind.

On Wednesday we checked out of our hotel and headed to the apartment for the mattress delivery. We vacuumed some more, washed floors and put away all the kitchen items. We also started loads of laundry. The mattress delivery was made and we made up the bed. Katie called the cable company to set up internet and minimum cable and the technician said he was working 2 days out but he’d put Katie on his ASAP list and if anything opened up he’d give us a call. Well…by 4:00 today the internet was hooked up. We headed out to Wal-Mart again and bought a wireless modem. Katie with some difficulty figured out how to hook everything up and we are now connected to the W.W.W.!

Apartment6Sunrise to Sunset has been the theme the last few days. Tomorrow we are taking it slower and returning some items we bought and doing our grocery shopping. We need all the staples (flour, sugar, spices, salt) and extras.

Let’s talk about my hair and humidity. My hair takes on a life of it’s own here in the southeast! It gets some added curl and twists and turns when I’m working hard in the humidity. I think the humidity tires me out faster, too.

Some of Andrew’s company that are good friends of him and Katie will be arriving home sooner than Andrew in the Advon party and we plan to put them to work bribing them with food and company. We need some strong young men to help us get a T.V. into the apartment.

Tomorrow I’m looking forward to a nice strong cup of french press coffee here at K & A’s apartment. What are you looking forward to?

SeaJack #6 The Smoky Mountain Detour…

We left Hendersonville, Tennessee after a stop at Starbucks and filling up our gas tank at a Kroeger Grocery store Station. Kroeger in Washington is either our Fred Meyer stores or our QFC stores.

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Right about here on the road our clocks turned forward an hour and we were now in the Eastern Time Zone!

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SeaJack #6 008We really weren’t prepared for our drive through Sevierville and Pigeon Forge and the strange sights we would see.

SeaJack #6 010This was promising but then we drove into the bizarre world of Pigeon Forge.

SeaJack #6 014What!?

SeaJack #6 016The Hatfields and the McCoys!

SeaJack #6 017The Titanic?

SeaJack #6 019We weren’t able to make it to Rushmore but this did not make up for it!

SeaJack #6 023A Bavarian Denny’s? This town had an amazing amount of dinner theaters of different genres to experience. There were some great looking miniature golf properties but so many other tacky unusual properties.

SeaJack #6 025We did not divert our path further to go to Dollywood.

SeaJack #6 027Now this was more like it. This was the scenery we were expecting on our Smoky Mountain Detour.

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SeaJack #6 035This was in the town of Gatlinburg. This town had a lot of candy shops, donut shops, fudge shops, taffy shops and Whiskey shops.

SeaJack #6 034Ripley’s Aquarium was also located here. I’m scared to think of what kind of creatures you would see in there.

SeaJack #6 053We bought a sandwich here and headed out to our destination on this day which was Asheville, North Carolina.

SeaJack #6 112We laughed real hard when we crossed this river 8 times during our detour!

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SeaJack #6 117We made it to Asheville at 5:30, checked into our hotel and then got ready for our dinner reservation at the Omni Grove Hotel on their Sunset Terrace. That experience will be a future post!

We are so happy to be here in Asheville for a two day stretch. We spent most of the day at the Biltmore Estate properties today and walked our feet off. We are chilling in our hotel room tonight having a picnic in our room instead of heading out to eat. The weather was beautiful today. Tomorrow we drive our final miles on this road trip across the U.S.A.

Thanks to all of you bloggy friends for following along with us on this journey across the U.S.A.

God Be With You Till We Meet Again ~ Hymn

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God Be With You Till We Meet Again

God be with you till we meet again;
By His counsels guide, uphold you,
With His sheep securely fold you;
God be with you till we meet again.

Refrain

Till we meet, till we meet,
Till we meet at Jesus’ feet;
Till we meet, till we meet,
God be with you till we meet again.

God be with you till we meet again;
Neath His wings protecting hide you;
Daily manna still provide you;
God be with you till we meet again.

Refrain

God be with you till we meet again;
With the oil of joy anoint you;
Sacred ministries appoint you;
God be with you till we meet again.

Refrain

God be with you till we meet again;
When life’s perils thick confound you;
Put His arms unfailing round you;
God be with you till we meet again.

Refrain

God be with you till we meet again;
Of His promises remind you;
For life’s upper garner bind you;
God be with you till we meet again.

Refrain

God be with you till we meet again;
Sicknesses and sorrows taking,
Never leaving or forsaking;
God be with you till we meet again.

Refrain

God be with you till we meet again;
Keep love’s banner floating o’er you,
Strike death’s threatening wave before you;
God be with you till we meet again.

Refrain

God be with you till we meet again;
Ended when for you earth’s story,
Israel’s chariot sweep to glory;
God be with you till we meet again.

Till we meet, till we meet,
Till we meet at Jesus’ feet;
Till we meet, till we meet,
God be with you till we meet again.

Words: Jeremiah E. Rankin, 1880.

Katie and I are now on the road headed to North Carolina to get ready for Andrew’s homecoming.

Father & Daughter Notecards

It’s almost time for Vee’s Notecard Party and I picked a theme so my choices would be easier. All of these photos are from North Carolina on Emerald Isle in early December of 2011.

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Emerald Isle N.C 043This trip came about because Katie was moving into Base housing a month before Andrew would be returning from Afghanistan on his first deployment there.

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Katie and I traveled together with 11 suitcases right after Thanksgiving of that year and Dear joined us the Saturday after and stayed a week. We got the house all moved in and organized and then had time for some little adventures. Andrew arrived home that year on Christmas Day. A wonderful Christmas gift for Katie and Andrew.

We will have Katie and Andrew visiting most likely the end of August or early September and then Katie will stay on with us as Andrew is deployed again sometime in the Fall. They are moving out of their Base housing before his deployment.

Oops! After visiting many of the Notecard participants I noticed I blew it and posted 5 instead of 4. I’m blaming it on hormonies…

Fort Macon, North Carolina

We all really enjoyed this sign. Finally a site with some common sense signage…

We are approaching the main entrance to the citadel.

This is called the sally port. It is the primary entrance to Fort Macon. The three sets of original doors date from 1843-44.

This is the inner court known as the parade ground. On either side of the parade are vaulted rooms known as casemates.

The upper area is called the Covertway. This is where the original cannon emplacements stood. This is also the best place to view the surrounding area.

The danger of naval attack along the North Carolina coast seems remote now but during the 18th and 19th centuries the region around Beaufort was extremely vulnerable to attack. Blackbeard and other pirates passed through Beaufort Inlet at will and successive wars with Spain, France and Great Britain during the Colonial Period provided a constant threat of coastal raids by enemy warships.

This area is the ditch and moat. This sunken area was deeper and could be turned into a moat by flooding it with sea water from a nearby canal. The moat posed an obstacle to an enemy assault.

Fort Macon was designed by Brig. Gen. Simon Bernard and built by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. It was named after North Carolina’s eminent statesman of the period, Nathaniel Macon.

And now back to Christmas preparations…

I managed to get down a few boxes from the attic and finally have our wreath on our front door. Are you sitting down? I don’t know how to explain it except for it being a God thing, our Christmas cards are in the mail. My roots were all fixed up by my great hairdresser today and I even got a last minute doctor appointment to check some nasty moles on my head that the hairdresser was concerned about. All is well, sigh of relief. I truly hope all is well with all of you, too! Blessings.

Beaufort, N. C.

Katie and I were in Beaufort, S.C. (pronounced byoo-furt) in 2010 and now in 2011 Katie, Dear and I visited Beaufort, N.C. (pronounced bow-furt).

Settled in 1709, Beaufort is North Carolina’s third oldest town. Originally a fishing village and port of safety dating from the 1600’s, Beaufort has been visited by patriots, privateers and pirates!

This two acre complex interprets the town’s colonial maritime heritage in nine houses and buildings dating from 1732 to 1859.

We had lunch at Clawson’s. The original Clawson’s grocery store was owned by Charles and Mary Clawson who were immigrants from Sweden and Ireland, respectively. Its first location was on the south (water) side of Front St. where all the retail shops were able to serve customers that arrived by boat from Harkers Island and points east. Clawson’s claim to fame back then was its bakery, located behind our current building where Backstreet Pub is located. It’s believed to be the oldest building in Beaufort built about 1870 completely of brick. The original waterside grocery store was destroyed by a hurricane, so the current Clawson’s was re-established on the north side of Front Street where it is today.

We also visited the fudge shop and bought some freshly made fudge to enjoy later. After we left Beaufort we headed to Fort Macon on the northern tip of the Emerald Isle.

I think all my Christmas shopping is done now. Today I picked up our mystery tree at Home Depot. Thursday I get my grey roots taken care of just in time for Dear’s company Christmas function on Friday at the Fairmont/Four Seasons in downtown Seattle. I’m hoping to have all my decorating done by Sunday. Still haven’t decided about the Christmas cards…