For some reason I thought of Asheville, North Carolina. Charlie lived in Western North Carolina for a few years and speaks so fondly of the area. I've always wanted to see the Biltmore House and winery - as well as the town - so I made our plans. We'd only have two half-days of driving, with time to relax on the way in, and time to get settled when we got home. I bought our Biltmore tickets over the phone, always preferring to speak with a human than click buttons online. It was exciting! I purchased a guided house tour, a behind-the-scenes tour and a rooftop tour. So many tours! But if I'm going to be at the Biltmore, I want to SEE the Biltmore!
I managed to do all the things at home that make me happy before I leave on a trip. I love to clean the refrigerator - well, no, I don't love to clean the refrigerator - but I love to have a clean refrigerator. It's too long ago to remember which trip, but I'll never forget coming home with the boys to find, fuzzy, foul food growing in the petri dish of my fridge. If you've ever just thrown out the tupperware rather than deal with the contents, then you understand. Anyhoo, my fridge, house and sheets (I just love coming home to clean sheets on the bed!) were clean and we left on time - unbelievable.
The only concern was getting through Knoxville at rush hour, but that turned out to be nothing. We made it through and entered the Smokies with plenty of daylight to see the beautiful hills. Even in the winter with their loss of green, the Smokies have their beauty. I love driving through the park. We arrived in Asheville by late dinner time, only to forget one major detail: it was Valentine's Day! Have you ever tried to get into a restaurant without a reservation on Valentine's Day? Oy vey. Even bad restaurants are full!
Providence knew, so we ordered pizza and salad from a local place and had it delivered. Thank-you to our friends at the front desk! Dinner was great, and Tommy and Charlie hit the pool. I hit HGTV. Those who know me know I don't have TV at home - haven't for more than a decade - but when I'm travelling, I'm addicted to House and Garden Television. On our last trip I watched so long I got a headache. Charlie would come in to talk and it was "SSSHHHH! He's sponge painting!"
So we had a fun and safe car ride (Charlie and I just love to talk in the car; sometimes he reads to me, or I to him), a great pizza (alas, hard to find in Huntsville), and HGTV before I konked out. Victory!