This last week we traveled from the Pacific Northwest to visit family in Asheville. Fall Color was gorgeous. Now, our displays in Oregon are not slouchy, but North Carolina has a lot of lovely hardwoods with blazing colors. And Now is the best time to see them.
Asheville was not fully in color, but go up the Blue Ridge Parkway a bit, and you could see vivid hues of red, orange, yellow and purple.
The second day that we were there, Our friend took us to a place near Asheville, called Chimney Rock, which is a state park with the coolest rocky outcrop that goes straight up and is separated from the rest of the cliff. We saw lots of native Rhododendrons and Azaleas, which are all over. We even saw some Azaleas in bloom.
We got a little bit of local color with the La Zoom Comedy Tour of Asheville. With a guide dressed something like Dolly Parton and playing up the Southern accent to the hilt and another guide who changed dress to play skits, we had a lot of fun. I don’t know how much I learned about Asheville. We were laughing too hard.
Asheville is known for its folk art scene, and we did lots of shopping and visiting the Folk Art Center, where we saw art created by both some early settlers to the area and contemporary artisans. Truly beautiful. I succumbed to temptation and bought some sweet ceramic glazed earrings of hummingbirds and a ceramic mirror a few days later. I also got busted for taking photos of some gorgeous quilts, which I didn’t know I wasn’t supposed to do. So I won’t show you any of those photos. But I will show you this picture of a quilt at the entry way, which was not a part of the display. I hope that one isn’t a no-no too.
We did get a chance to visit the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, which was very interesting. Former home of the Vanderbilts, this is the largest private residence in the US, the home is truly ginormous. There were endless rooms, hung with paintings, tapestries that rival those in museums, prints of famous paintings and portraits, and exquisite furniture that rivals that of the Borghese Palace in Italy. The architecture is very Gothic. I had a feeling that it could be used as a movie set. (It was, in fact, used in Forrest Gump and Hannibal, as well as many other films.)
The Blue Ridge Mountains are just beautiful.
Somewhere around 4500, the leaves were past their prime and we started to see brown and trees which had already shed their leaves. We made it to Mt. Mitchell, which is the tallest peak east of the Mississippi, at around 6500 feet. The trees here were almost bare, but the view from the top was gorgeous. We were able to take in the view from the restaurant there, where we had lunch before going back to Asheville. What a trip!.
The next day we relaxed a little and did some shopping in town and at the really cool River Arts District, and a wonderful dinner at home. Being the last full day there, we just enjoyed some good company before leaving today. Leaving for the airport, it was really noticible that the leaves in Asheville were becoming more vivid as well.
We fully enjoyed ourselves. I’m now writing this on the way home at something like 36000 feet with clouds below and sun getting lower in the sky. And in three hours I will be back in Portland, OR. It has been a wonderful trip, but also good to get home. The kitties await us.