Baby It’s Cold Outside

The weather has been up and down lately – mid-60s earlier this week and mid-30s today! Fall has been crazy busy … still.

Samantha came up for a glorious weekend of adventures and indulgence. We ate good food, drank good beer and wine, and had a wonderful leisurely time together. Thanks for coming Samantha! We loved having you here!

Biltmore Winery

Wine Tasting

Christmas Decorations at Biltmore

And now, a few photos from life lately. I got the most terrific package in the mail this week from Leigh! Inside was the loveliest honey pot! And every time I look at it makes me think of Leigh and Winnie the Pooh. Thanks Leigh! Working on a letter soon.

Love from Michigan

Honey Pot from Leigh!

Went for a lovely walk at the Biltmore yesterday afternoon. The air was crisp, the views were beautiful, and it was nice to get outside. For some reason we are much more apt to bundle up and go for a walk this time of year than during the summer. It can definitely get cold, but goodness it feels great to get outside when the air is crisp.

Shadows at Biltmore

Biltmore House

Then we found ourselves at Home Depot where we saw this cheery little fellow nestled in the Christmas Tree display. Pretty cute!

Christmas Flamingo

Finally went to Highland Brewing Company for the first time yesterday too! We both got a pint of Cold Mountain – yum!

Highland Cold Mountain

I’ve been slowly working on this cable-licious cowl – it’s so meditative for me to knit and it’s so satisfying to make something so scrumptious and snuggly. I used a gift certificate and got myself some rather decadent yarn made from baby alpaca fleece (thanks Janet and Karl!!!) and I can’t wait to finish this and wear it all the time. And yet, at the same time, the process of knitting is so methodical and peaceful that I just want to keep working on it until I come up with another project. The trials and tribulations of a knitter.


In other new, I’m looking forward to Thanksgiving, but I’ve completely moved on to Christmas already. This is very uncharacteristic of me – usually I am rather militant about not doing Christmas things until after Thanksgiving. Not this year! I decided it was arbitrary to wait and that if it makes me happy then I should just do it. Luckily Scott is on the same page. No, we don’t have our Christmas tree up yet, but we have started whole heartedly listening to Christmas music. It’s indulgent and puts a smile on my face every time. So there’s that.




Fun things happening around here! Spring is in the air!

We have been going for walks at the Biltmore a lot lately. The weather over these past few weekends has been absolutely gorgeous! Oh, and the cows. Love the cows!

Biltmore Cow!

Finally went to The Hop for the first time! I had Sweet Beet – beet ice cream! And it was delicious!!! I never would have thought of something like that, and I love it! Especially in a waffle cone with tiny chocolate chips. Omnom!

Sweet Beet

The Hop

We had our favorite pooch for a few days last week! Her humans went out of town and we had the pleasure of hosting her at our place! Such a sweetheart. Love you Cricket!

Pooch sitting!

On Thursday evening we went to the Thirsty Monk for the Mystery Brewing event! Had a flight of four of their delicious beers. It was a fun evening out! If you get the chance, check out Mystery Brewing Company at the Thirsty Monk! Excellent brews!

Mystery Brewing Company Flight

Oh, and this is what is growing in our garden!!! We planted some bulbs in the fall and they are starting to bloom! I am positively thrilled! Makes me really happy!


Lately things have been good! The sun is shining, the birds are singing, and our flowers are blooming!


Saturday morning


A walk

My handsome man

This weekend was wonderful. We took it easy since I was sick at the end of the week and am still getting better, but we still did exactly what we wanted. There was couch-sitting, coffee-sipping, waffle-eating, lounging, walking, beer-drinking, sun-soaking, and day-dreaming. The bulbs we planted in the fall are breaking through the ground outside the door and I love how they greet us whenever we are coming or going. Now there is banana bread in the oven and I am trying to stay in Sunday night as long as I can.

We give thanks.

My mom and brother joined us for Thanksgiving this year! We missed Dad and Dean and Scott’s family, but it sure was nice to have some family around! And we had so much fun, as we always do when we are together. We hiked up to Rattlesnake Lodge, watched lots of Downton Abbey, went for a walk at the Biltmore, laughed, cooked, ate, and had a great time!

It was a wonderful holiday! So glad to have a few days off with family! Scott and I both worked Friday and Saturday, so Mom and Parker headed home. Black Friday and Small Business Saturday. It was crazy! I am so thankful for my life, my loved ones, and the opportunities I have.


Yesterday my brother turned 20!!! He is such a great guy and I am so proud of him!

Happy Birthday Parker!!!


Sunny Point and Section 9

Dad and Dean came to visit this weekend! Dad was aiming for a last hurrah of summer with a white water rafting trip and Dean and I were all over it! They arrived late last night and have already headed back east, so it was a very brief trip, but totally awesome!

We started out our morning with brunch at Sunny Point Cafe. I had the special: Sunny Point Pop Tart! “Local Gala apples and currants tossed in brown sugar and cinnamon and sandwiched between a buttery puff pastry. Topped with cinnamon-rosemary-maple creme fraiche and served with an apple-chicken sausage.” (Quote found on Sunny Point Cafe’s website from their menu.) It was, how do you say, deee-scruptiou-licious! (Delicious + Scrumptious = Deee-scrumptiou-licious.) Yep.

After brunch we headed back to the apartment to get ready for white water rafting! A swim suit, some sunscreen, some spandex clothing, my contacts of yore, sunglasses, and a heavy dose of excitement later and we were off! We went down Section 9 of the French Broad River with the Nantahala Outdoor Center (NOC). The outpost is in Walnut, NC – just north of Marshall. It was a pretty drive up there!

And we had an absolute blast! We were in a raft with a couple and they were super fun, and our raft guide was terrific! The weather could not have been much better – it was sunny and warm, but not humid, and the water was the perfect temperature. Ideal conditions for this outdoor excursion! We got good and wet, jumped off a big rock into the river (I almost chickened out the first time and then went a second time for good measure), swam a bit in a calm spot, and just had a glorious time. It was nice chatting with the other people in our boat, and now I’m super excited to try Zumba because they are both instructors and told me all about it! Yay! What a fun day!

Right by the French Broad Outpost there was a fenced in area of kudzu being eaten by several goats! They will eat anything! Here’s one chewing away! What a face.

Today was awesome! It was so good to see Dad and Dean, a treat to go out for brunch, and an absolute blast to go white water rafting with them!!! Thanks for coming to visit guys! Miss you already!

Biltmore in August

We went for a walk around the Biltmore today and it was beautiful! The gardens are different all throughout the year, and they truly are beautiful with every change, but today they were particularly breathtaking. The flowers that are blooming now are such rich saturated colors and the variety brings such depth and texture. It’s absolutely amazing! Our season passes have WAY more than paid for themselves this year. We go all the time!!!


Praying Mantis

Wednesday, June 27, 2012: We went for a lovely walk at the Biltmore this evening after dinner! The weather has been so nice the last couple of days, and I’ve been inside at work, so I was feeling overdue for some outside time. It was really nice to go for a walk. And I nearly stepped on this little guy on the path! So cool!!! (Photo courtesy of Scott.)

Coon Hollow

Sunday, June 3, 2012: This is Coon Hollow*. Just take a moment to let in all the beauty.

This is where we camped for the wedding this weekend.  These photos don’t even come close to doing it justice. Words cannot describe the intense feeling of calm and wonder that this place has on a person. We were right by a little creek, just down from the tiny house where Lakota and Katie live, in the same general area as Lakota’s parents (Coon is their last name, hence Coon Hollow). To get there you drive along a road by various farms and huge pastures, then after that becomes narrow you turn on another road that goes from paved to gravel back to paved again, and then you get to Coon Hollow Road (and no, that does not show up on Google Maps, so don’t even try to find it), which is a narrow gravel road surrounded by so much luscious green that it causes your mouth to fall open and for you to stare around dumbfounded as if you’ve just stumbled upon the most amazing little place on the planet, and then you remember that your friends live here. LIVE HERE! And it’s quiet. So quiet. And so peaceful and beautiful. And I feel like I’ve had a little taste of heaven.

*And for those of you not in-the-know, the word “hollow” is pronounce “holler” here in Appalachia.