Thursday, March 28, 2013

Burke's Garden And Beyond

Ellen tagged up with us for our journey back to Hilltop. 23N took us through the prettiest mountains in Tennessee. Prettiest Place I Ever Did See! Davy, Davy Crocket!

 Made Elle listen maybe one too many times to Wagon Wheel But hey we were getting close to Johnson City.  No nice long toke for us!

Saw the aftermath of a race at Bristol Motor Speedway. Put Elle through the Hare Krishna paces, (she has got to get to a Krishnas Das concert) as we descended into the valley....Burke's upland valley!

Photo Courtesy of Ellen Rogan

Photo Courtesy of Ellen Rogan
Elle will be happy to know that I was not able to post the videos from this excursion. She is safe for now. The fog that settled in the valley lent a mystical quality to our very magical experience. Whoo-hoo for Burke's Garden.

Onward to Lexington. We were starving, ravenous, and Hangry! But our guide gave us something sinister to chew on.

Unverified Area! We prevailed and found #43 at the Bistro On Main.

I am not sure what it all was but portion size was not wanting.
Look at these desserts.

Linus timed our layover in Lexington so that all shops would be closed for the day. We will be back.

Back at Hilltop our plans (Elle's) were to hit every consignment shop within a 50 mile radius. I had no idea that there are at least 50 shops within 5 miles of home!

We were mis-communicating a tad....Elle thought I was spying on the woman on the right. Store Detective I am not. But how cute is Elle? She was getting right on board with my undercover op!
Regardless of what was at stake, or was hanging, ( I am not going near hung, leave that to Miss Grammar), in the balance she remained obedient and followed the nagging voice (mine) in her head to always pose with a hand on hip....just as the little figurine does on the upper left. Anyway,  I am a little more high maintenance than this store and the other 49 indulged. Ellen gave me a mission though, I was to look for 2 specific items, and on top of that I was looking for Golden Book's Caroline And Her Friends  by Pierre Probst....down on my hands and knees going through old Golden Books, searching high and low for the other surprise items kept me occupied. Does she know I love a good puzzle? The thrill of the hunt! There is a method to Ellen's madness. Plus, I scored some pears for $15.

Linus used his little free time to install a new bike rack.

And we ate. Bittman's Chili, #44 Bittman's Espresso Black Bean Chilli

#45 was leftover Bittman's Chilli as a quesadilla. Elle like the carrots.

#46 was white beans & spinach with a side of pasta or vice versa.

#47 was Sprouted Kitchens' Lentil Meatballs, and

from Sprouted Kitchens' book, (love it), Kale and Mashed Potatoes.

Elle drove by the city so nice they named it twice and is safe at home with her views of The Shawangunk Mountains, not too shabby, but unpronounceable! She found and purchased her surprise gifts while antiquing in Pa. with Gerry. I am sure she will have another mission for me next time we meet! She left me with a parting gift of a shadow box that contains memories of our road trip to New Orleans. She thinks I might throw it out....maybe I will surprise her!

Monday, March 25, 2013

Asheville Apps

     We began our last full day in Asheville with breakfast.

                              City Bakery Cafe

     Raced off to find The North Carolina Arboretum, found it but put it on the back burner, watched a women's bike race in a mall parking lot, toured the Folk Art Center on the Blue Ridge Parkway,

                           got a broom,

                           toured the Blue Ridge,

                               at a scenic overlook

 took a photo of a couple who just a few minutes before had gotten engaged,
got our picture take by the newly engaged couple,

                       took some pictures of the mountains,

 visited the Ballard Cemetery on Ox Creek Rd., took some pictures on Ox Creek Rd.,

drove to Weaverville for no apparent reason,
had lunch and toured The River Arts District, fell in love with a painting in The Contraption Series by Kathryn Phillips,(which would always remind me if we were to purchase it of Ellen's aphorism that she lives in a frat house with heavy equipment), went up and down Town Mountain Rd. a lot, but not Vance Gap, (all the while I was suffering with vertigo and Linus was cheering on the bike riders), walked all around Asheville, had #42 Thai for dinner,

Linus discovered Hot is not exclusive to NY, had coffee in Double D's bus, and was treated to more goodies including shamrocks for our 35th (daffodils came later from Ellen and the girl with a rabbit I dipped into my mad money to purchase at Nancy Thomas Gallery)

back at the hotel with Ellen, Terry, and John, which included Champagne too and lots of laughter.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

The Night The Lights Went Out In ....Asheville

                                  #35 Salad

                                and Shrimp Scampi.

      #36. Guacamole solo version while Primate scavenges up north.

     #37. Friday night during Lent Tuna Sandwich at the Lentz'....hey wait a minute it's Friday night in Lent 365 days a year here.

      I thought I had the Primate trained to come to dinner  as soon as he hears the camera click.......he just needs a little fine tuning. 


                 and Bob's Red Mill 13 Bean Soup for #38.

                 Faulty's Waldorf Salad to welcome Ellen.

     Crab cakes and spinach quiche to round out #39. I overdid it. There was coconut shrimp too.  I hope Elle doesn't think I cook like this all the time.

                     #40 was the usual at The Crust,

                 but special because this time  we were joined by Ellen and Bobby.

                               #41, a leftover feast.

     #42 should have been Soquel's rehearsal dinner but I was so busy eating pasta and cake, coconut and chocolate, I forgot. For the record that is one slice of chocolate and one slice of coconut.  Just as I was beginning to get Terry's daughters straight the lights went out! Cell phones, candles, flashlight from our car, (Cathy had one in her handbag!! talk about being prepared!!) shed enough light to keep the party going.
     One outfit in the books, one outfit to go!
     Lights came back on in time for a little nightcap and went to sleep relieved, knowing the bridal party would find use for all that electricity in the morning.

                            We met Cathy for breakfast,

and toured Biltmore Forest. Unbeknownst to me, the day before The Biltmore Estate had heralded the arrival of Ellen, Terry, and Bobby, with a band and much hoopla. I forget the exact lineage that connects this generation to the Cornelius Vanderbilts but I think the family chart is housed out in Centerport at the Vanderbilt Museum and includes the fact that Elle always wears Gloria Vanderbilt jeans. I am twice related,  my paternal ancestors go back to Cornelius' father and the Moravian Church on Staten Island where my ancestor Peter Coulon, formerly of Montbeliard, was a member along with the Vanderbilts. I am sure Cornie ferried the Coulons of Windsor Chair fame back and forth to Manhattan where they were "in business". My dismay when hearing that Anderson Cooper would not be attending the events of the day was overwhelming... as I was so looking forward to catching up.

     Primate wanted a closer look at natural gas station and then we went off to......
A  Beautiful Wedding at the Basilica of St. Lawrence....

 The deacon reminded all of us, marriage is not a 50-50 proposition. Mary Walsh, too, always emphasized the same, adding that you will often be called on to give more than 100%. For this happy couple, I'm sure it will be a piece of cake.

Responsibilities done!

     #42 but barely, as you can see I forgot again. I made not one, but two trips to the buffet.  I'm just saying... Collard Greens.....delicious.

      See that railing behind the beautiful bride? Primate wished he could have jumped off it when he found himself called to the dance floor. He made it through the entire song!  35 years and one dance for us and 7 years of marriage for Tim and Erica!

                           It is what it is.

     After my own self inflicted hoopla getting my wedding attire together...primate does have a lot of patience, I was surprised to meet Sarah.

                             John subs for John W.

Veronique and Linus

                         Meg with her dancing shoes on.