Thursday, January 6, 2011

Asheville Girl's Week-end

My sister generously offered to take us on a girl's week-end and we were all elated!  There were 5 of us - my Mom, my sister, her daughter, Rebecca and I.  Eliana will have to be a bit older before joining us.  One day though it will be fun to have her along too!

We went to Asheville for the week-end staying in a suite-style hotel close to the downtown area.  Our only firm plans upon arrival were to visit the Biltmore house on Friday night.  After settling in our room, we made our way to the Biltmore Village for dinner.  We chose to go to Neo Cantina for a yummy Mexican dinner.

After eating, we bundled up and headed to the Biltmore House.  We went on a Christmas tour held in the evening.  It was self-guided.  We had brochures to tell us about the rooms, though I wish we had known to get an audio guide.  Something new to do the next time!  I don't have any photos of inside the house as they weren't allowed.  It was stunningly beautiful!  So many decorations and so many trees!  We made guesses over dinner as to how trees there would be and Rebecca guessed the number correctly!    52

After touring the house, we visited the adjacent gift shops.  Lots of fun things to see. 

We talked over our plans for the next day and decided to go on a trolley tour.  We did this about 4 or 5 years ago when we toured Asheville with our History Group and it was great fun.  It was great again!  So many fun stories about the city and the people. 

What I had not anticipated though were the fun and interesting stories from my Mom!  She grew up in Asheville.  We saw the hospital where she was born, where she went to high school (its on the historic register), saw friend's homes, saw a place where she worked and also her mom and much more!  I'm so thankful to have been able to visit Asheville with her!

The trolley has a variety of stops.  You can get on or off at any of them and pick up the next trolley coming by.  Since it is winter, there was only 1 trolley running.  So if you got off, you had two hours until the next trolley came by.  We decided to make just one stop in the downtown area near the Grove Arcade.

We looked around at some of the shops.  There was a lovely knitting and yarn shop.

We saw some gingerbread houses on display.

I even found a statue that made my chuckle.  (Note the name on the label!)  We also visited a chocolate shop and various arts/crafts exhibits.

By now, we were getting hungry and began looking for a lunch spot.  We chose one Mom had been to before (and that Christopher had recommended to our group when we were here last too!).  What an excellent choice!  Southern cooking using organic and local foods.  YUM!  The Early Girl Eatery

I'm not sure this picture will do it justice, but oh my was this good!!!    It was fried green tomatoes layered with fresh basil and herbed goat cheese, topped with salsa and balsamic dressing, served over grits.  Some of the best food ever!
We then finished up the trolley tour learning more about historic Asheville.  I highly recommend this if you are ever in the area!  We decided to go back to the Biltmore House to see the grounds in the day time.  It was bitterly cold, but we ventured around for awhile and took some pictures. 

The views are amazing.  He owned all of the land for as far as he could see.  Such beautiful country!
And the house.  What an incredible work of architecture.  The details both inside and our are astounding.  I can't imagine all the planning it took to design and build this mansion.  What a treat to be able to tour it!

This is a view of the terrace just outside of the library.  This was one of my favorite rooms in the house.  I bet this is just lovely in the spring and summer.
We did not walk all around the gardens - too cold and not too much to see.  The ponds were obviously cold.  Did I mention how very cold it was there this afternoon?!
I'm so glad we were able to visit.  I'm hoping that one day I can go with our whole family during their homeschool days.  I'd love to the know the dates if anyone sees them.  (I've looked and can't find any for 2011.)
After a quick dinner at Subway, we headed to the theater to see Tangled.  Fun movie!

The next morning, the girls were delighted to wake up to SNOW!  They ran out to play in it.  Making a snowman too.

Then went swimming in the heated pool, ate breakfast and headed out.  We visited a mall nearby for awhile and then got on the road.  The snow wasn't bad, but none of us wanted to get stuck either.  (Not that it would have been a bad place to be stuck.)

Thanks Laura for planning such a fun week-end!  We are already looking forward to our next girls' week-end!