Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Charlotte Vacation

I went on vacation with my family last week. We visited relatives in North Carolina and had a relaxing time. They live on a lake in Charlotte, so the kids loved tubing and swimming.

It surprised me how woodsy it is there. Here in Chicagoland, Midwest, our rural areas are all farmland or grasslands with a few trees here and there. Out east in the hills and mountains, the rural areas are all woods. It was kind of striking.

We drove a bit on the Blue Ridge Parkway contemplating the difference between the Appalachians, The Smokies, The Blue Ridge Mountains, and the Piedmont Region.

We spent a full day visiting The Biltmore House and Gardens. For years people have told me that I would LOVE it there. I thought much of the house was extremely fussy and overly ornamented, but certainly of it's time. Many of the rooms were lovely, especially the newly restored ones. The mountain location is spectacular and the forested grounds designed by landscape architect Frederick Law Olmstead are beautiful.

There is so much to see in that region. I hope we can return in a less steamy time of year. Some time I want to do an artists retreat and learn a bunch of the traditional handcrafts of the region. One friend of mine has done this several times. Next time I want to do more history and nature hiking. My husband and I love that sort of thing, although he grew up in lakes country in Minnesota and likes to look out on sparkling waters too. The kids go along with anything, but they do really like playing in the water.

I read three novels while we were gone including Pride and Prejudice and Zombies (Funny!), Life of Pi (Wonderful, thoughtful, and fun), and New Moon (Uh... really a glorified romance novel, but the plot compels me forward.)

The kids at home have taken hold of my crafting mojo and will not release it. They go back to school in a few weeks. Until then we are working on building up our vitamin D outside in the sunshine!


Pen Pen said...

Hi Susie... you weren't very far from me. I live about an hour from Charlotte, and can you believe I've never been to the Biltmore House??? It's on my bucket list of things to do before I die. :o) Hope you enjoyed NC.

Dana (*danavee*) said...

I lived in Asheville for an entire year, and never made it to Biltmore.

Also, I really tried to read Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, but after an hour it made me want to claw my eyes out, so I left it on the train. Of course, I can't get through the original either, so that probably explains it. I should have known.

Anonymous said...

I think the Biltmore is interesting to visit, though it's not about beauty so much as it is about excess. We also took some of the hidden areas tours, which included rooftops and other areas off-limits.

We also ended up here at Christmas, which I have to admit is kind of Christmas decoration overload for me (they go over the top). I didn't know you would be in Asheville, I know some good restaurants you might have liked.


IamSusie said...

Dana- I don't know if I could get through Jane Austin if I hadn't already seen the film and TV versions of her novels first. They are always is much ado about manners, money, and marriage, but the zombie addition is a real hoot.

Rob- We found some good food. The Biltmore is a crazy house for a guy who wasn't even making a living of his own. It's no wonder the family only lived there for about 35 years before they had to open it to the public. I definitely preferred the grounds and the views to the house itself, although I am happy to have seen it and I appreciate the handwork in the textiles they use.