The first week of October, fall arrived all of a sudden in North Carolina. At least that’s what if felt like to me. One day it was sunny, humid with temperatures in the 90’s, the next it was still sunny but crisp and about 15 degrees cooler. I sulked. Then my in-laws, Fran and Frank arrived from California and we set off for the mountains, where I had my autumnal conversion. We were headed for Asheville via the Blue Ridge Parkway. For those of you who aren’t familiar, the Blue Ridge is 469 miles of winding two lane road, which starts in Shenandoah National Park in Virginia and ends in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in North Carolina. It was constructed during the great depression as part of the New Deal, and is known for it’s beautiful vistas, particularly during fall when folks flock there to see the ‘fall color’.
Stunning no?And the fall color is just starting, apparently it turns into a blaze of color at it’s peak. Once in Asheville, we checked into the Day’s Inn on Tunnel Rd., our favorite by virtue of it’s bountiful breakfast buffet and dog-friendliness. Exhausted from hours on the road, we ate at Mela, one of the local restaurants recommended by my customer Heather. She also vouched for 12 Bones and Rezaz, all three of which were amazing.
Day 2 we headed off to explore the surrounding area.
Chimney Rock is a 315 ft tall rock which sticks out from the mountainside above the Hickory Nut Gorge and Lake Lure, about 25 miles south east of Asheville. The summit can be accessed via a series of gasp-inducing, perilously steep wooden stairs that zig-zag up it’s side, or the 26 story elevator which was bored into the rock in the early part of the century. I took the stairs. My hubby and his parents, being more sensible, took the elevator.
We had lunch in the town of Chimney Rock, which was all decked out in mountain-style autumn glory.
On the way back we stopped at a few waterfalls in the Brevard area. They weren’t in full form, it being fall and all, but there is still something intrinsically magical about standing under a waterfall, tumbling and rushing downward over the rocks.
Day 3: Asheville proper. After stuffing ourselves at the breakfast buffet, we started out our day at the North Carolina Arboretum. We saw only a tiny sliver of the 434 acres, sticking to the stunning gardens that surround the visitors center and education center, which kept Fran and I busy snapping away with our cameras.
We piled back into the car, and headed to the River Arts District to look for pottery. This was my favorite part of the day, not so much the pottery, though we saw some beautiful pieces, but more walking around the neighborhood which is a mix of developed and abandoned warehouses.
Day 4: We returned to Raleigh via the Seagrove area, a.k.a pottery heaven. The pottery tradition here dates back to the 18th century. If you haven’t already seen the Craft in America series, you absolutely should. The season 2 episode Origins & Process features one of the oldest potteries in the area, Jugtown. Fran and Frank treated us to early Christmas gifts from Jugtown and Dean & Martin.
Back in Raleigh, we visited the Raleigh arboretum, the Natural History Museum, downtown Durham, and the Nasher Art Museum. Now, lest you think I was truly on vacation, I was also working…shipping out orders from my end of summer sale on the etsy shop, sewing custom orders, and planning the fall collection. Which meant a couple of late nights in the studio, trips to the post office while site seeing, and missing out on the day trip to Wilmington. Sunday though, we planned a visit to the North Carolina State Fair, and I couldn’t miss out on that.
K goes to fairs for all the crazy food (vendors were selling Krispy Kreme donut burgers, fried Oreos, giant turkey legs, giant gummy bears, foot-long hot dogs, fried pie, caramel apples, frozen bananas dipped in chocolate, bacon dipped in chocolate, ribbon fries, anything you could think of on a stick…), I go for the animals. I am now convinced that we should get, no scratch that, absolutely NEED at least one goat, a screech owl, a mini-donkey…..
Monday Fran and Frank caught their plane back to Sacramento, I went to the thrift store and stocked up on long-sleeved tees & sweaters and decided fall has it’s good points. Then I buckled down. Most of the week was taken up with pattern development I am doing for a local clothing line, and then printing tee-shirts for my fall Twentyfive collection, finishing up a custom order and shipping the last of the sale orders….
Saturday, November 6th
1 p.m. -5 p.m.
The Handmade Market:
Saturday, November 13th
11 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Rock & Shop:
Saturday, December 4th
12 p.m. – 6 p.m.
I will be a very, very busy girl for the next 2 weeks. So it’s back to the studio and a few more late nights. In fact my next post may be a tad delayed as I’m at Troika the day before. In the meantime I’ll leave you with a last burst of color and the blouse I made from my Ermie fabric.