Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Biltmore Estates

Over the Christmas holiday I went to Asheville, NC and visited the Biltmore Estates and toured their winery. The grounds were spectacularly beautiful despite the dreary winter weather.

It had snowed a few days before (of course it couldn't wait until we got there) and I managed to capture a picture of some still on the ground.

When you first enter the estate you pass by a branch of the Swannanoa River and eventually travel under the interstate to be in the heart of the grounds.

The driveway is long and winding and the vegetation is breathtaking ... living in Florida you don't see the scale of the trees like you do in the mountains. It was so beautiful, even in the midst of winter.

The Biltmore Estate once managed a large dairy farm which has now been converted to their winery. The cows were so friendly and came right up to the fence which was quite a treat for my niece and nephew.

For dinner that evening we ate at the Deerpark Restaurant. They have a nightly buffet which was delicious but HIGHLY overpriced for the ambiance and service, unfortunately. I'm sure that in the summer when you can sit outside it has more charm.

The Biltmore house itself was absolutely amazing. We participated in Candlelight Christmas Evenings which is the only time of the year they open the house at night. Every room had a Christmas tree and the whole home was elaborately decorated and they take you into parts not open for general admission. There was a choir singing in the Winter Garden and all I can say is that I can't wait to go back one summer and take the Rooftop Tour and tour the gardens and Bass Lake.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Christmas trip

On Christmas day we hopped in the Highlander ... yes all three girls on the bench seat ... and headed for North Carolina to see my step-sister, Kristen, her husband, Darren, and their children, McKenna, Reed and and baby Kian. Dad even switched places with me on the trip while he and Ashley and Lauren watched Talladega Nights. We got to see Krissy's new house and we even went over to Biltmore in Asheville.

Christmas with Grandma Joan and Joey

This year we left on Christmas day to travel up north and visit family so Christmas with Grandma Joan happened the day before Christmas eve.

It was one of the most hilarious family dinners I have ever experienced ... the dinner Grandma had picked up from Publix was frozen and mom sent Ashley and I to grab a non-frozen one from a different Publix only to realize as we're halfway home that this dinner was not frozen but definitely needed to be cooked.

Mom sent us back to Publix and the nice lady in the deli gave us three rotisserie chickens. We took one dinner up to North Carolina and the other was given to a needy friend of Ashley's. This will definitely be one of my favorite memories for sure.

alright already

I really didn't think that many people read my blog but I have been given a lot of feedback on my lack o'skills in the updating department so here we go ...

First ... Thanksgiving was spent with my dad's family in south Florida. I was able to see my dad and Ann's condo ... it's beautiful ... overlooking a marsh ... very nice and I think they will be very happy in Venice (much, much better than Port Charlotte)!

Here is a picture of me and my dad when we went for dinner in Sarasota.