Monday, January 24, 2011

Hot-lanta was a bit cold this weekend...

 Just to back track a little... two weekends ago I house sat for my friends that live up here. I did, basically, a whole lot-a-nothing. I enjoyed relaxing, watching movies and finally getting some reliable cell phone and internet signal. I "skyped" with Katherine and Coralie (two of my roommates from PT school). We had a great time catching up on everything. Miss you guys!

So onto this past weekend...
I drove down to Atlanta for the weekend. Quiet a few of my friends have relocated to this area so we had a mini reunion. We went to brunch at Murphy's a really cute restaurant in the area.
Later that afternoon we took a tour of the Sweetwater Brewery. This is a local brewery that only sells their beer around the southeast due to the fact that the beer is unpasteurized and should not be used more then 90 days after it is bottled. I really did not learn a whole lot from the tour, unfortunately, cause you could barely hear the guy talking. There were a TON of people. I had no idea it was that popular.

thought the beer conveyor belt on the ceiling was funny.

These sliding doors opened up into "beer heaven" (basically the industrial fridge where cases upon cases of beer are held.)

"The Dank Tank". They make limited edition brews in this special tank only a few times a year.

Had a great time catching up and visiting with my friends!

Monday, January 10, 2011

A wintery wonderland at the Biltmore

Friday, I left work early to get on my way to Asheville, NC before the freezing weather and possibly snow hit which seems to be an inevitable occurrence every time I have something planned on the weekends. Plus as you are driving from TN into NC you have to cross through the Great Smoky mountains (what the locals call "the gorge".) I knew this area usually gets dangerous when the temp goes below freezing and the rain water turns to ice on the road. Even though I left early I got about half way through the gorge and the rain turned to snow. It wasn't too bad to drive in, though, since it was new snow and had not had time to accumulate on the ground or turn to ice.

Once I arrived in Asheville area I met up with my friend from PT school, Danielle, and we went to her friend's house who was nice enough to let us stay there for the weekend.
The next morning as we left the house the roads were looking good. Of course, we could not have known that the snow would be coming down twice as thick when we arrived at the Biltmore, and the long winding road to the parking lot from the road was a beautiful, but slick. We made it safe and sound and were lucky enough to have made it in and we were touring the house before they had to close the road for a while due to someone getting stuck.
The house was beautiful! It was HUGE. But that should go without saying since it is the largest privately owned residence in the country.
Some facts:
It boasts 250 rooms!
384 doors
35 bedrooms
65 fireplaces
43 bathrooms
a 70,000 gallon indoor swimming pool with electric lights under the water (unheard of in that time)
a bowling alley
the same person who designed the gardens for the Biltmore also designed Central Park (Frederick Law Olmsted)
many examples of one of a kind paintings and tapestry's 
and my personal favorite a two story library with over 10,000 books! It was magnificent. 

After touring the house we went to the Conservatory where some of the plants for the gardens are grown. It was nice and warm in there. Then we drove around the grounds and over to Antler Village.

Antler Village is where the old dairy used to be. Now it serves as a little town with a restaurant, winery, creamery and a couple other little shops. The creamery makes ice cream from the cows on the Biltmore Estate. These cows are known for producing milk with a higher fat content. Therefore, the ice cream is much richer and tastier. I only had a sample, but it was so rich that just a spoonful was enough! Danielle and I also did the complementary wine tasting and bought one of the Biltmore's Limited Edition white wines.
Later that evening we braved the weather to go out in downtown Asheville. I was really cool and we ate dinner at an all organic restaurant Tupelo Honey. Very cool atmosphere and the food was great.
As if the bite of ice cream wasn't tempting enough we then went over to the "Chocolate Lounge." This was an awesome chocolate/coffee shop. They had a band playing folk music and an assortment of chocolate that was to die for! Truffles, chocolate mousse, chocolate cake... well I couldn't resist the house specialty, the dark chocolate liquid truffle.

WOW! Literally, the best thing I have ever tasted. It was the thickest cup of hot chocolate you can imagine and it really tasted like a truffle. Don't worry it was only a 4 oz glass and I couldn't even finish half. (But I did take the rest home and stick it in the frige for later. Hopefully, it will last.)
The ride back home was relatively uneventful except for one incident in the gorge where the person in front of me swerved off the road and into a pile of snow to avoid hitting the person in front of him when we came upon an icy spot.
However, that was nothing compared to the snow fall we had last night. We got about 8 inches and I could not get out of the driveway. Thankfully, one of Mrs. Richey's friends who has a FWD truck was able to take me in. Tomorrow may be a different story though.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Christmas at home

On the 21st of December, the day before my birthday, I was lucky enough to fly home and spend a week with all the people I love most in the whole wide world!
Christmas was packed full of family and friends and fulling myself full of togetherness, so I could make it through another couple of months without running completely dry again. I loved playing the guitar for my family and singing Christmas songs all day. I love my new Kindle (thanks Mom and Dad). I loved that I got an unexpected visit from my two youngest cousins and my uncle Jim. I loved everything about my time in FL!

I promise now that the holidays are over I am going to try to get back into my habit of writing my blog each week.
This weekend I am going to the Biltmore Estate with my friend from PT school, Danielle. Super excited! I am sure the gardens are not that pretty this time of year, but the house will still be amazing!

Happy New Year!!