Sunday, December 22, 2013

Christmas in the Mountains

Greetings from rainy and foggy North Carolina.  Even the rain cannot diminish the joy of being here at my happy place.  We did all our hard driving on Friday and made it to Chattanooga around 7:30 pm.  Our day began at 3:00 am and we were on the road by 4:15 am.  We stopped for lunch and breakfast at CB.  The weather wasn't too bad on the way up and thankfully so.  When we went in September we had hour after hour of hard rain to deal with.  Once we got everything into our room in Chattanooga we walked over to a Mexican restaurant that we like.  Even though I made some hot chocolate when we got back to the room, it didn't hinder me from falling right to sleep once my head hit the pillow.

Since the rain wasn't too bad and the temps were moderate, we were able to take the back way to Asheville which is a scenic drive.  Because of the weather we didn't stop at the usual spots to take pictures and it was our fastest time getting to Bryson City.  There is a gallery there that we like and we usually come through on Sundays and they are closed.  We had a delightful time with Jennifer, the agent that represents Charles Heath and she was in a holly jolly mood so Roy was able to negotiate prices on the different pieces we purchased.   Across the street was the local diner and we had lunch there.  Then we hit the road but stopped in Waynesville to go through the Mast General store.  We picked up a few winter things on sale and we continued on our way.  But first, we had to make another stop at the DQ in Canton.  Dena has told us how good the candy cane blizzard is, so we had to give it a try.  Oh yes!  It was the bomb or the bliz.  After the September run in at the check in point, I was very cautious and got through with nary a scratch.  When we made the right hand turn to the approach road, the fields were filled with wild turkeys and deer.  What a beautiful sight.  I love it when we first pull in at the Inn.  We have lots of days ahead but it is so sad on the last day when we bid our goodbyes until the next time.

We are not usually here on Saturday nights and we looked like the Beverly Hillbillies in contrast to the well dressed and well heeled crowd languidly adorning the lobby with drinks in hand.  Friday and Saturdays are little more well dressed because of weddings and such.  This morning at breakfast everything returned back to normal in a relaxed style.  It was so good to taste those Biltmore cheese grits once again.  After breakfast we went to the library for a little more coffee and the couch in front of the fireplace wasn't occupied.  So we read the paper and drank coffee as the rain continued to drench everything and everyone in it.  We thought we were going to be so smart and head into downtown Asheville to go to Malaprop's Bookstore.  I love this bookshop just about as much as I love Square Books in Oxford, MS.  Maybe I like it even a little more.  Maybe everyone else had this same idea because downtown was crowded and parking spaces were at a premium.  I took a lot of time in the bookstore and did not come home empty handed.  Roy got a couple of books but he mainly stayed in the coffee shop area drinking hot chocolate.   We tried to go to the Mast store in Asheville and even drove around the block several times, but nothing opened up except the heavens with harder rain, so we drove on back toward Biltmore Village.  We walked around and looked in at a few shops.  We also ate a great place in the village and then headed back to the friendly confines of the estate.

You would think that being in such a beautiful place the Christmas spirit of peace would be abundantly in supply.  Sadly no.  This is our second visit at Christmas, we've been here at Thanksgiving and spring and fall and in any of those visits there hasn't been a creature stirring not even a mouse but at Christmas we have been next door to two spectacular fights.  The one in 2010, the Biltmore police had to be brought in to stop the way over the limit drunk husband from yelling and screaming and threatening.  Last night the couple in the next room were arguing in the bathroom which acts like a megaphone or something.  Once again the husband was drunk and he wasn't none too pleased with his wife.  Even in such a pastoral setting, the pressure of being merry and bright overwhelms.  Probably lots of wild turkey involved but not the same as those turkeys eating in the fields.  Around here and in Biltmore Village, Christmas is in the air, lots of outdoor decorations and inside as well.  There wasn't one Christmas decoration in downtown Asheville.  Nothing draped across the streets, no wreaths on the light posts...nothing.  There was an editorial in the newspaper today bemoaning the changes that Asheville residents have let happen in who they vote for and whose agenda is being proclaimed the loudest as winter solstice is the more celebrated of the holidays.   It doesn't matter if you are surrounded with the decorations of the season or in a place where Christmas is proclaimed because if you aren't proclaiming Christ, there isn't peace.  There isn't joy, there is a lot of looking like and acting like life is good and everyone is happy.  It was a great sermon preached to my heart without the benefit of a pastor.

Well, these books need to be perused and read.  Roy has been asleep but is going to make a walk through the lobby to see if it is time for wassail and gingerbread men.  Dinner is at Cedric's Tavern tonight in Antler Hill Village.  We are contemplating where and what we will do tomorrow as the rain is supposed to end by afternoon.  There are a couple of places we like to go to on the Blue Ridge Parkway and since Tuesday is looking like a cold and sunny day, we will make a return to Black Mountain.  And this is news for sure, I have not bought one t-shirt so far....

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