Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Friday, October 24th

The Blue Ridge Mountains from the Blue Ridge Parkway

So, if you were really paying attention to yesterday's entry, then you should be asking yourself, "what about Kathi's luggage??  Did it every arrive?"  The answer, dear readers is NO!!  What the heck??  There was supposed to be a flight arriving in Asheville sometime last night with her luggage on it, but apparently that never happened.  Fortunately, Kathi did have SOME essentials in her carry on, but others she was sadly lacking.  For instance, she had contact lens case and solution and a toothbrush, but she did NOT have clean undies and socks or a change of clothes!  This is Girls Weekend, however, and we never let anything make us grumpy or set us back in any way, so Kathi sucked it up and made the best of it, bless her heart.

We woke up this morning feeling pretty rested and knowing that Kathi's four sister-in-laws ( would be joining us today for a couple of days because they leave here in the great state of North Carolina and we all thought it would be fun to spend some time together while we were here.  Kathi had been in contact with them a bit yesterday, but we weren't really sure what time they would be arriving as they would be coming from the Raleigh area which is about 4 hours away from Asheville.  We also realized that we had not "tossed the states" last night and decided that we would do it this morning.  Kathi did the honors and we were left with:

That piece in between Texas and Florida has 3  of the little Eastern seaboard states on it that are too small to be a puzzle piece all their own.  It includes New Jersey, Maryland and Delaware.  Kathi and I are rooting for Arizona with Sedona in mind as our destination there.  We'll see what happens!!

Kathi had some studying to do (she is back in school working on her master's degree) so I offered to go do the grocery shopping and grab us each a Starbucks while she did some homework.  We were thinking that we would have a leisurely breakfast and relax a bit while waiting for the sisters' arrival.  This was not to be, however, because about 5 minutes after I left to go to the store, the sisters called to say that they should be with us in about an hour!!  So Kathi skipped out on the studying and hopped in the shower instead so that she could be clean under those same clothes she had on yesterday. (I did buy her some new undies and socks at the store)  By the time I arrived back at the cabin, the sisters were there and the party was on!  Kathi and I made breakfast for everyone while the sisters checked into their cabin which is conveniently located just across the driveway from ours.  Once they got checked in and we realized that their cabin was much larger than ours we took breakfast over to their place and enjoyed.  We made a plan for the remainder of the day which included a drive on the nearby Blue Ridge Parkway, then a drive into Asheville for dinner once we got back.

Now, the Blue Ridge Parkway is a very scenic drive but not a road that all people enjoy.  It is a two lane road with many serpentine twists and turns and pretty much no guard rails.  It didn't take long to find out that there were some amongst the six of us piled into Ingrid's car that, while enjoying the spectacularly beautiful views from the parkway, they were not enjoying the ride at all.  After making a few stops at the turn outs provided at view points and taking some pictures, we decided to turn around an make our way back down the mountain before it got dark.

Down the mountain we came with more twists and turns and anxiety, but we finally arrived at the valley floor and headed into town.  We decided to eat at the Lobster Trap in downtown Asheville.  We put our name on the waiting list then wandered around at some of the nearby shops.  Kathi, unfortunately, was not able to enjoy this activity as much as the rest of us because she was on the phone with the airport trying to figure out if her bag had been located yet and when she would be receiving it.  We did, however, wander into a guitar store that was just a couple of doors down from the restaurant because my husband has taught me enough about vintage guitars that I am drawn to looking at them whenever I see them.  This place, Axis Guitars, has some beauties.
  We got paged to the restaurant and gathered everyone to sit down for dinner and drinks.  I ordered a very interesting drink off the cocktail menu that was made with bourbon, pumpkin liqueur and smoked ice.  Wait, what was that?  Smoked ice?  How does one smoke ice?  Of course I had to ask our waitress, who explained the process to me.  They take a block of ice, melt it over a wood fire so that the smoke infuses into the water, then refreeze.  Voila, smoked ice.  Clever, huh?  And made a tasty drink!!  Between the 6 of us we had a variety of dishes and we all seemed to be quite happy with our choices which included french bread, homemade corn bread, bisque, a lobster roll, grilled salmon, stuffed mushrooms, cioppino, mussels, pasta alfredo (for me, the non seafood eater) and brussels sprouts with bacon and a light mustard glaze.  Everything was quite delicious and we headed back to the cabins thoroughly full and satisfied.  AND, KATHI'S BAG WAS ON OUR PORCH WHEN WE ARRIVED!!!  Hooray!!

We went over to the sisters' cabin for a little while for a bit of end of day conversation, then headed back to our own cabin for the tossing of the states before climbing into bed.  After tonight's toss we are left with:  Nebraska, Arizona, Virginia and Florida.

Tomorrow we plan to explore the Biltmore Mansion, the largest home in the United States.

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