Monthly Archives: November 2014

Today’s is a guest post from Rob, writing about his tour and trek in the Smoky Mountains while I was steeping myself in poetry at camp.

After leaving Asheville, I spent a couple days in Hot Springs NC, once a popular health resort come WWI German Internment camp.  Now popular for trekking and rafting.

Hot Springs - North Carolina RHW

Frosty start to the next day passing through some great Madison County rural scenery en route to the town of Cherokee where there’s a captivating museum documenting the history of the Cherokee nation, including its forced removal to Oklahoma.  This is also commemorated with a recently opened hiking trail of their journey to Oklahoma, “The Trail of Tears.”

Madison County - RHWCherokee - RHWSequoyah Syllabeary - RHW

Then back on the road again, when suddenly all the traffic came to a standstill with a surprise sighting of an elk by the roadside!!

Elk - RHW

The last few photos are of the magnificent autumn colours in the Smokies, Nantahala Gorge rapids where the 2013 World Kayaking championships were held, and finally the Whitewater Falls on the border of North and South Carolina.

Smoky Mountains - RHW

Nantahala Canyon - RHW

Whitewater Falls - NC - RHW

Curiosity took us out to check out the Biltmore Estate in Asheville this morning. Not that entry was going to be likely, given the ticket price is $59.00 per person! Still, the phenomenon of hundreds of cars lined up to go in at 10.00 am on a Wednesday was something to observe.

A better deal was to visit the Thomas Wolfe Memorial in town. We learned much about the writer, and more about his mother, Julia, who ran this large boarding house quaintly called “Old Kentucky Home”.

The Pinball Museum (yes there is!) didn’t open until 4.00 pm. 😦

I had a particularly fun rendez-vous outside the Art Museum. This is where Rob and I parted ways. Temporarily, you understand. Rob is off hiking and/or exploring the surrounding area and I’m currently here for four days of catch ups and new connections. Here, there be poetry and music, a lake and squirrels, a labyrinth and autumn leaves, and a great sense of community (and chocolate and wine if you know who to ask).

Tonight’s photos are but a taste of today.

Look Homeward, Angel

Double decker coffee shop, AshevilleFine Arts Theatre, Asheville NCChalk wall - AshevilleFresh Broad Coop Shop - Asheville NC

Here’s Tuesday’s post, a day late.

At the Hotel Floyd in the small town of Floyd, Virginia, the work of individual local artisans is showcased in every room as well as in the public areas. This exquisite quilt is on display in the hotel lobby.

Quilt - Hotel Floyd lobby

Our first stop on Tuesday morning was at Maybry Mill, where we met the owner of this old Ford pickup truck and learned how he came to own it.

Ford pickup truck

Mabry Mill

The landscape of the Blue Ridge Parkway changes shape the further south you go with rolling hills, grazing horses and cattle, granite outcrops and rhododendrons. And the view from Elk Mountain Outlook speaks for itself.

Elk Mountain Overlook

Blue Ridge Parkway xBlue Ridge Parkway again

Today was Election Day.

Election Day, NC 2014

In Boone, North Carolina, rocking chairs really do sit on front porches and canine passengers check out the strangers in town.

passenger - Boone, NC

Then it was on to Asheville to catch up on some laundry and prepare for the next leg of the trip.

Wildflowers on I40 W coming into Asheville NC

Deer - Skyline Drive 3 Nov 2014

We drove down the road a bit from Skyland to Big Meadows for breakfast. I deviated from the more healthy option of oatmeal today to sample a ‘short’ stack of buttermilk pancakes. I deviated a little more and ordered a side of Apple Smoked Bacon.

The pancakes came (sans bacon) and I immediately knew that there would be no lunch today. After I’d all but completed the mission to eat the pancakes, and to ensure the bacon didn’t appear on the bill, I mentioned its absence.

“Oh. The bacon didn’ come?”


“You still wan’ it?”

Another deviation, this time into Staunton, home of the Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library and Museum. He was born in this manse and spent less than 12 months of his life here before his father, a Presbyterian Minister, took a posting in Georgia.

Woodrow Wilson birthplace

Here’s a sample of the Blue Ridge Parkway today.

Skyline Drive 1

I want to end today’s post with a plea to the person whose responsibility it is for such signage as appears below.

When the Visitor Centre is a mile or two off the Parkway, and it’s closed for the season, can you PLEASE put a sign on the sign to indicate thus.  Thank you.

We made it to Floyd tonight and found a place to stay without Visitor Centre assistance.  🙂

Blue Ridge Parkway Visitor Centre




Except for breakfast, which always lights up my morning, yesterday’s first activities were of a sombre nature. We began with a visit to Ford’s Theatre where Abraham Lincoln was shot. Before we knew it we were in Virginia, being blown off our feet by cold winds at Manassas. This is the location of two battles won by the Confederate Army in the Civil War, and the place where General Thomas Jonathan Jackson earned his moniker, Stonewall.

The Skyline Drive provides stunning views of the Shenandoah Valley. Many of the leaves are holding on at lower attitudes. Despite the seemingly hundreds of people on a Sunday drive, we managed to snaffle a room in this cabin at Skyland. The temperature was below zero around dinner time and thus required some red wine in the camp dining room to ameliorate the situation.

Sunday breakfast place in Washington DCFord's Theatre - Washington DCManassas 5Manassas 1Manassas 4 - Stonewall Jackson

Shenandoah ValleySkyline Drive - 1 November 2014Skyland accommodation - highest point on Drive

Rain threatened all day but did not eventuate. We crossed the Potomac River to Arlington Cemetery this morning where I learned that Robert E Lee lived very close to the capital before the Civil War and that he was married to the great-granddaughter of Martha Washington.

Washington DC from Arlington Cemetery

Arlington House

On to the Museum of American History where I learned that I was more excited about seeing Julia Child’s kitchen and Judy Garland’s Wizard of Oz slippers than all of the engineering and other historic marvels on display. I did take the time to photograph this Ford Mustang for a certain brother-in-law. The car was launched in New York in 1964 at the World’s Fair.

Julia Child's KitchenMustang - World's Fair 1964

When it comes to bones, fossils and stuffed animals, the Museum of Natural History does good. I do love museums on a grand scale.

Museum of Natural History - rotunda

And so it goes. It takes dinner at a German restaurant, a beverage and some sit-down time to remember that, because the memory card was playing up, I switched cards mid-stream. They were not lost after all. Thus, I can delight you with the pumpkin-ness of the Constitution Avenue end of the White House plus a couple of views from the top of the marble obelisk that is the Washington Monument.

The White House - HalloweenLincoln Memorial from Washington MonumentJefferson Memorial from Washington MonumentCapitol Building - Washington DC - 31 Oct 2014

These photos from today come to you in no particular order. It’s been a long day pounding the pavements. My camera card played up today and I lost about 50 shots, including those from the Washington Monument and of the White House decked out in Halloween garb. So, here’s a sample of this day before dinner calls.

(Brought to you from the lobby of our hotel, as we refuse to pay $14.00 per person per day for wifi!)

Roy Lichtenstein - National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden FDR Memorial

FDR quote Eleanor Roosevelt Air and Space Museum 1 Korean War Memorial

Vietnam Memorial - National MallWashington Monument Lincoln Memorial Martin Luther King Memorial Helicopter

Friday night commuters - Washington DC